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April Bowl Trail is a 2.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Palmer, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 2.2 mi Elevation gain 856 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Hiking Mountain biking Nature trips Lake River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Snow No shade
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Getting There

This is a consistently steep and scenic trail up to a set of glacial lakes. The trail gets rocky as you traverse up along the ridge to the first peak with great views of the lakes below as well as willow on one side and the Mat-Su Valley down the other. The trail continues up the ridge until you reach the top. This point is roughly 1,000 feet in elevation gain from the starting point at Hatcher Pass.

No parking fees. However, the gate on the road leading to the trailhead and Summit Lake doesn’t open until late June, sometimes not until July, and closes in August/September (depends on snowfall).

Access: Mile 19 of the Hatcher Pass Road Hatcher Pass Road Conditions: Please note that only the Palmer-Fishhook Road from the Palmer side to Independence Mine State Historical Park is paved. This road is open year-round except for the last mile to Independence Mine in winter months. Four-wheel-drive is recommended during the winter which is basically October 1 through May 31. The Hatcher Pass Road from Mile 17.5 to Mile 32.5 is a rough, gravel, narrow and steep road that is not maintained and is not open in the winter. Generally, the road over the Hatcher Pass summit is open only from about July 1 through September 15, depending on snow conditions. In the summer, the road is open to highway vehicles but expect slow passage. Use of RV's or large vehicles are not recommended due to the steep grades, rough roads and tight hairpin corners.

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Reviews (204)
Photos (226)
Recordings (152)
Completed (439)
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Yuqing Chen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail, beautiful during these days but gets a little dangerous when it’s covered by the snow

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Shelly Inda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

This was a beautiful short hike. I got an amazing Quad workout on the way back down! It was busy with lots of families and dogs out there! Made for a great spur of the moment hike and the drive up there was gorgeous with all of the fall colors and the Little Susitna along the road!

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Daniel Libassi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking
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Viresh Gehlawat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingMuddySnow

Great views, lakes were surrounded with recent snow that made the whole place even more picturesque. Hiking poles/shoes with very good grip recommended.

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Caleb Erika Laughlin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

Great views, muddy and very windy

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Caleb Beauvais
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

9/16/2020: the trail is really well marked and is worth your time to travel on! It was a little slick and muddy because of the recent snow yesterday (it didn't stick) and rain, but was not bad at all. Be sure to take your time when it is wet on the hike down.

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gary lemme
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Hiking
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Sean Poynter
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Hiking
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Andrea O'Malley
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HikingGreat!
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Mike Sylvester
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Incredible hike for such a short distance. Great views the entire way up of the mountain valley, lakes, and peaks all around. If you're lucky enough to get clear weather like we did, you'll have an amazing view of Denali as well. A downside, if any, was the amount of people. This was a popular spot for families and dogs, though it did get less crowded towards the peak. Most families just hike the first half before the ridge line. If the weather looks clear, you should absolutely go. You can view some of the trail in the latter half of my trip video: https://youtu.be/9BKBOqLuEZU

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Alex Shelton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking

One of my favorite hikes of the week. Beautiful views of Hatcher’s Pass in all directions. Bright blue lakes, and smaller pools of water along the way up. The view of Denali from the top capped off the hike.

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Amy Peltier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Stunning!

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Heather Heusser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking

The view was amazing, so glad I did it and would go again. The trail shown here goes to Hatch Peak. If you continue the ridgeline and follow it back down it makes a nice loop. I have a fear of heights and poor balance. If it wasn't for a friend I wouldn't have made it; I never would have felt safe going it alone. Having him to follow and know he was there if I got stuck or hurt was huge. Up to the lakes was fairly heavily trafficked. Up to the top and coming down much less so. I recommend good boots for traction and ankle stability. Poles may be helpful. I didn't take mine out of my bag, but saw others using them. My friend had his hands in his pocket most of the time so it probably is a lot of you fitness level (he's incredibly athletic) and balance. I'm notably overweight with a bad knee. Up to the lakes I saw babies being carried, young kids, and dogs. On the trail above I only noticed 1 dog and no small humans. Personally I wouldn't carry my son beyond the lakes. Maybe when he's 5-ish I'd take him to try going beyond.

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Chelsea Cassell
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Hiking
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Mae Grundman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2020
HikingGreat!

Easy hike and beautiful view.

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Roxanne Sanchez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
HikingGreat!

It was an awesome hike and didn’t take too long to get to the top! I went on a decently foggy day but the views at the top were worth it and I was able to make it a little above the clouds. If you are fearful of heights then I could see this being a challenge and there were a few parts where I walked along a ridge with what seemed like straight drop offs on both sides. If you are fearful, just bring some poles! This didn’t seem crowded at all but that is likely due to the cloud cover the day I went. I saw a few people to and from the lake but beyond that one saw a total of two groups of two. Felt like I had the trail pretty much to myself :)

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Michael Dykstra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail with views of the surrounding mountains and glacial lakes. Steep at times, especially rocky portion as you pass the lakes, but well worth it for the views. We did this trail as a stop-off point on our way from Anchorage to Denali which was very doable even though we didn't get a very early start.

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Amy Latham
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Hiking

Absolutely beautiful! Easily accessible and wonderful views.

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Sheila Bernabe
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HikingGreat!

Amazing views! Peaked with my 6 yo, 5 yo & 3 yo.

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Kevin England
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Hiking
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B M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020

Short little trail with plenty of enjoyable spots to stop and enjoy the view.

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Leann Mason
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HikingGreat!
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Charlie Morse
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HikingGreat!
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Heather Stewart
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Easy hike that had beautiful views. I did it with 4 young kids and three dogs. We had an amazing time. We ended up doing 2.75 miles on this trail.

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