Explore Hikes to do before PCS - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hikes to do before PCS Map
6 hours ago

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This trail is marked at the beginning of the trailhead as being 2.6 miles one way. I’m pretty sure this is referring to the distance to the second bench. I’ve done this trail 3 times the first two times the goal was always to the first bench which has an amazing view of Eklutna. This last time decided to continue on. The second bench has a great view of the twin peaks and we were lucky to be able to see lots of Dall Sheep on the peaks. We ended up following the trail to the right towards Pepper Peak to get another view of Eklutna. Round trip we did 6.40 miles (starting in the parking lot and ending in the parking lot) it took us 4 hours minus the time we spent at the benches and the top view. So glad we continued on for those views, they were worth it. This trail is all uphill and has some steep sections past the second bench. My legs are sore today. Don’t forget to wear sunblock and bug spray!!

Went up on the right fork, came down on the left. Beautiful views. For someone who’s afraid of heights, it took us an hour to reach the top. Loved this hike!

Was disappointed in this hike. It was relentless, straight up, and boring. No variety. Views include the mountains, hotel parking lot and the Tram wires. The top is a good view but nothing compared to Cross Pass. Shoulder height thick vegetation and buggy today. .

3 days ago

beautiful but by no means a moderate trail

3 days ago

The first two miles are really boring-then it starts to get good. Easy trail overall, doesn’t feel like you’re really gaining hardly any elevation. A lot of cars at the trailhead, but pretty sure 85% of them were for Flattop.

4 days ago

What a wonderful hike for the family! Every stair was worth the view! What a Gorgeous view! I would highly recommend this.

5 days ago

Fun hike. We made it to the first bench and then home on a work night. It is very apparent that you gain elevation. The mosquitos, black flies and no-see-ums were annoying so definitely wear bug spray

Easy hike with two high-reward destinations closely accessible. The hand trolley is awesome, and the river gorge is impressive and beautiful. Access both from the road on one side or Alyeska Resort.

Amazing hike. Don’t stop at the hand trolly keep going. The forest is beautiful and the trail is well maintained.

I love this hike!! Such a good workout and beautiful views! It does get super windy and very slick in the winter.

6 days ago

Great hike! Recommend trekking poles to help with the climb down if you choose to go down the steeper side.

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scenic driving
8 days ago

Stunning views from start to finish.

Very good workout. Not too long but it is pretty steep in some places. Lots of dust so you will be dirty at the end of it. The view is well worth it! We brought our dog along and he was able to do it, even climb up some of the rocks! Would definitely do it again

Closed due to brown bear attacks 7/12/18

Don’t do this hike right now, there was a fatal bear attack weeks ago and Fish and Game was unable to find the bear responsible in this area. They recently reopened the area, but with an increase in bear sightings in the area they closed it and placed traps. Please be safe! (ADN article below for more information)


11 days ago

Easy beautiful trail that is dog and kid friendly. Our 3-year old loved it. It’s amazing the temperature difference when you reach the portion of the trail that is up against the Knik River. I’d recommend starting on the right side of the trail so your back isn’t to some of the towering peaks.

I would call this trail more of a path. It's wheelchair accessible and well maintained. There are a couple little side trails that you out to the confluence (not wheelchair accessible) that's pretty nice stroll. There is a cool look out tower that gives a nice view of the flats. you have a good chance of seeing wild life like moose, birds and I saw a porcupine when I was there. great for all ages and abilities.

12 days ago

nice view from the platform. I like the view on the flats better myself. It wasn't a problem for me but there are a lot of roots in the trail so pick up your toes. The time of year I was out on this little trail there were swarms of flies and mosquitos so bring your bug spray or wear the righ clothes.

My favorite hike. Done it many times!

If Flat Top is “hard”, this trip to the peak at times is harder, but well worth it. The climb from the Ballpark up the north side to the ridge line is loose gravel and steep so use what vegetation there is to your advantage. Be careful nearing the peak as the north side drop off is extreme.

13 days ago

I did the hike on June 25th. It was just what I was looking for. Its fairly flat. You start by going over a bit of a rise, nothing demanding, and then the rest relatively flat through a valley where it ends at a pretty lake. I should say that I was going to do the backside of Flat Top Mountain and noticed clouds rolling in and decided to do Rabbit Lake Trail instead. (The trail heads are very close to each other). In truth I’m out of shape and had just flown in the night before from NYC and was feeling out of sorts and did not want anything all that strenuous. The trail delivered. It’s quite beautiful. You definitely feel like you are out in nature. The work:benefit ratio is quite high.

Only saw one couple on the way out and they were off to the side picking berries or something. Otherwise I had the place to myself. On the return hike I passed a number of folks - family with four kids and a dog, a couple with dogs, mountain bikers (with dogs).

I definitely appreciate that I stepped off around 8:00. It took me a little over 4 hours.

13 days ago

Great hike! One of my favorites in Alaska so far. Beautiful view of Eklutna! The clouds were pretty low, so we couldn't see all the peaks, but still worth it!

The reason for 3 stars is the horrible gravel road you have to drive up to get to the trail head. Was definitely a one time thing for me. If you have a 4 wheel drive you'll be good. $5 for parking. Also as others mentioned this is more a moderate hike than easy.

Good for a workout. View doesn’t change much. Footing is terrible. Not heading back any time soon.

Beautiful easy trail. The surrounding peaks, river, pond and waterfalls were breathtaking. Be aware....or should I say bear aware....we saw multiple black bears along the trail. We also saw many large brown bear tracks and another hiker we ran into confirmed he saw a brown mama & cub. Don’t let that scare you away though. We’ll definitely be back.

15 days ago

Hiked this one on July 4, 2018. Wonderful views once you get up close to the top and there’s a couple different trail options you can take halfway up. Would definitely rate it moderate due to the incline. If you hike this one on a sunny day, there is no shade so keep that in mind. We brought our two dogs and had them on leashes, but it seemed that almost everyone else ignores those signs and we constantly had other dogs running up on ours. It didn’t seem like almost anyone else had their dogs on leashes up here, so if you have a dog that doesn’t play well with others this might not be the best place to bring them.

Great first hike with my dog. Views aren't the best but still a relaxing hike. The trail leads off into a few other trails to explore next time. We only went as far as the bridge over the creek this time around.

Amazing . Just amazing.

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