Pioneer Ridge Trail is a 13.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Palmer, AK that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from June until September.
Great trail - definitely strenuous, but doable. Views of the surrounding mountains and the Knick River and Knick Glacier are spectacular. Made it to the south summit in 5hrs, but lost the trail and my bearings in the clouds on the way down the summit ridge and from there it turned into a VERY long day. If you are just doing the ridge, the trail is easy to follow. If you plan on going all the way, then I'd recommend doing it on a clear day - for the views, and for safety. I'll be back to do this one again!
great hike. quite strenuous for those in good shape, but if you keep to the trail, it isn't too technical of a hike. We got split from the trail near the top and ended up having to climb up the side of the ridge. that was a bit scary, but on the way back, we kept to the trail and it wasn't hard, but it was muddy towards the bottom and we slipped quite a few times and fell on our butts. (it had been raining for about 15 days straight at this point and was raining the whole hike).
Be in good shape and be a pretty experienced hiker before you try this.
Not confusing at all. Message me for info. Peak 2 next year!!
You start this hiking in the woods with lots of up and down terrain but pretty easy. The bushes and trees are thick along with the mosquitoes. Eventually the trail gets pretty steep but solid footing. You will go over several small streams and can get muddy at times. You are very much in moose and bear country so be aware. You will definitely see them or at least their droppings and tracks along the way. After pushing hard to get out of the brush/woods you get above tree line. This is when the hike gets good. You can now periodically stop and take amazing views of the valley. The trail is pretty steady up with a few down hills as you work back to Pioneer Peak from the side. After hiking quite awhile you find yourself looking for another layer. The tundra and flowers are like nothing you have ever seen. It can get pretty windy from here on. You will hike a long ways on the ridgeline of mountains leading to Pioneer. You will also be crossing snow, no way around it. Once you get to Pioneer peak, the hike can get a little crazy if you want to get to the very top. Lots of boulders, loose shale rock, and up and down ridges to get to the highest point. You will be using your hands at times. Once you are at the top you swear you are at the top of the world. It's probably going to be cloudy but you might get lucky. It's pretty much straight down on all sides except the way you got to the point and it's not really a trail, just find your way for the most part. I do a lot of hiking and this trip was everything I hoped for. The views were incredible. Walking along the ridgeline of the mountains makes you feel like you are in a North Face commercial or something. Be careful on the way down. We got a little carried away and really felt it in the knees going down to fast on the bottom half of the trail. We just beat a rain storm. My sister, her husband, and I did this hike and we are all in good shape. I think it took us 6-7 hours to complete but can't remember for sure. Most of this hike isn't extremely difficult just strenuous inclines. The top 1/4 of this hike is a little more difficult and heights could become an issue if that's a problem for you.