Bomber Glacier and Reed Lakes

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Palmer, Alaska

Bomber Glacier and Reed Lakes is a 12 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Palmer, Alaska that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September.

Distance: 12.0 miles Elevation Gain: 3,713 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Parking is available in the lot at the trailhead - when full, you can park along the road. There are no facilities at the trailhead, so plan accordingly. Some user's report a single outhouse located further up the dirt road. The hike is in a valley with lots of running water. An extra pair of socks, a pair in the car, or water proof shoes/boots might make you more comfortable. Also, if it rains or even sprinkles, be prepared for ankle deep water. Be prepared for some boulder-hopping along the way. While dogs are technically allowed, the boulders on the trail can be difficult for dogs and other pets to cross. You must cross the glacier to get to the bomber. Micro spikes and/or poles are recommended for crossing the glacier.

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
1 day ago

I didn’t make it all the way - snow was real rotten and every step I was punching through to my waist. Small avalanche in the reed lakes valley you have to climb over to get to the base of the mountain. Still - absolutely beautiful, and a lot of fun! I’m going to try again next week when my crampons come in.

hiking
8 days ago

Amazing backpacking trip! Make sure to scout out common trails and spend time analyzing both a map and where most people go, bc the shale in this area is plentiful and brittle, so correct trail strategy is advised. At lower Reeds lake you think you’ve hit the max mountain majestic count but it honestly just gets better. Although this adventure is for experienced hikers, it is perfectly manageable for most if an experienced traverser and past bomber survivor;) is present! Truly one of the best hikes in Alaska!

hiking
7 months ago

This traverse is by far the most amazing memory and experience I have ever been on! Absolutely perspective altering and breathtaking.

hiking
8 months ago

amazing view the entire way. did this as part of the big traverse, even tho the weather was shitty and rainy the entire time - making the boulder real slippery and I fell a couple of times, it's still such a gorgeous trail. amazing lake color, fun waterfalls and just so much to see.

hiking
9 months ago

The weather was beautiful, cool, clear, blue sky. I started at 6:30am. The trail starts off easy and grows to moderate and difficult. Difficulty not necessary because of overly strenuous, but because of boulders and technical foot placement. Its a workout. You need to think your way through and pay attention through some parts. After the 2nd lake, I went further up to the ridge to Bomber Glacier. From there you can see the bomber that crashed on the glacier in the 1950's. You can hike down to the glacier and bomber, but recommended spikes because of the ice. I just have boots so didn't take it all the way down. Plus I was running out of time... If I had more time I would have charged it. That last part up from the 2nd lake to the ridge is very difficult and strenuous. Requires care. Its 100% bouldering up a glacier boulder field. Careful foot placement and using all 4 limbs is required at times. Both going up and coming back down. Views are epic, the lakes are beautiful. Its well worth it, for both the physical challenge, and the beautiful views/rewards. I charged the whole thing in 4.5 hours. However I was on a mission to get this hike in before a meeting. Definitely plan on at least 6-7 hours for this one.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike but challenging after upper reed to the ridge, bomber can be seen from the ridge, steep descent First 300 feet, glacier is steep than it appears, crampons are required, highly recommend for those with some experience

hiking
10 months ago

Did this hike on Aug 3rd, 2019. With a group of 8 moderately experienced hikers, we made it to the bomber and back in 9 hours. Due to varying abilities in rock scrambling, there are some people in the group who could have done the whole thing in 7 hours, while I could see some wishing they had 11 hours to take longer breaks. If you just wanted to see the two lakes and not the bomber, the hike could be done in 4-5 hours no problem. It is approximately 3 miles to the first lake, and 4.25 to the second. After the second lake, it takes about 1.5 miles to get the bomber with ~1.5k in elevation gain. This is by far the most challenging section of the hike which is why you'll see the majority of people turn around at the 1st or 2nd lake. In the conditions we came in, crampons/spikes were 100% necessary to make it to the bomber as the glacier on the other side of the ridge was smooth ice. We rented ours from REI. We saw some people use ICEtrekker diamond grips which got the job done, but we also saw them fall many times and they had to take a less direct route to avoid steep sections. It is also my understanding that the glacier is particularly slick this summer, but I am not sure. Since there isn't too much about how to actually get to the bomber, I thought I'd add a bit more. Once you get to the upper reed lake, the canyon will come to an end. It is here where you have to scramble up the rocks for about 0.75 miles, climbing a class 2 (YDS) section of large boulders. I'll upload a picture with a red line showing the route we took. At the top of the ridge, we could see the bomber about 0.75 miles away. It appeared closer than it actually was as the bomber is actually quite massive. It is from here you can decide if seeing it is enough, or if you want to walk to it. If you want to go down, there is a steep section down where ropes (that were already there when we were there) are a tremendous help. After the rope section, the dirt turns into the glacier and this is where we put on our crampons. The ice was actually much steeper than we initially thought, but with crampons, it wasn't much of a problem. Be prepared to jump over a few crevasses where the streams have cut through the ice Regarding dogs, our golden retriever definitely could not have done this hike, but we saw one dog who made it all the way up and to the bomber and many more that made it to the upper lake. Be prepared to carry your dog for portions of this hike if they are not comfortable/able to jump from boulder to boulder. A moderately coordinated dog can make it to the lakes (still about ~0.75 miles of mostly level rock scrambling throughout the hike) while you'd need a very coordinated and savvy dog to make it to the bomber as the route up the face after the upper lake is steep and it is much harder to assist your dog.

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

Absolutely beautiful trail! Dogs had a blast. The rock garden was a little bit technical for the pups but they figured it out.

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
11 months ago

hiking
snow
Sat May 18 2019

Access road is closed, adding 2 miles of moderate snow travel. Trail itself is awful post holing in knee deep spring slush. We made it about 4 total miles. Don’t do without snowshoes

hiking
Wed Oct 03 2018

This is a great hike. The lakes are very blue and beautiful. I went when there was snow on the ground so it was very easy finding a place to camp. Would no suggest bringing a dog since there are a couple spots that you may have to rock hop.

Wed Sep 19 2018

Absolutely beautiful, I highly recommend this to anyone.

hiking
Fri Sep 14 2018

My group made it to the Bomber! Another note from the field. To get down to the glacier you must climb down one of two vertical or near vertical ropes. You pet won't make it.

hiking
Tue Aug 28 2018

Great hike, but here are some notes from the field: - No facilities at the hike entrance. About 3/4 on the dirt road is one lonely out house. Might want to use it. - The hike is in a valley with lots of running water. An extra pair of socks, a pair in the car, or water proof shoes/boots might make you more comfortable. Also, if it rains or even sprinkles, be prepared for ankle deep water. - Moderate hike, but at about 2.5 miles in you are boulder-hoping (no trail ) for about 1/4-.5 miles. - In regard to boulder hoping, if your pet is squeemish, might want to leave them home. Also, please control your pet for the sake of other hikers. - You must CROSS the glacier to get to the bomber. Bring your Kahtoolas (micro spikes) and poles. - Parking is along the road if lot full and they patrol the whole thing. With these in mind, you should have a great time.

hiking
Tue Aug 14 2018

Amazing hike! The trail is indeed moderate until you get to the terminus of the Reed Lakes trail, but the scramble up to Bomber Glacier is very tough - steep and sketchy rock slide-outs. If you give the glacier a shot, give yourself lots of time to tackle it safely. You will be rewarded with some incredible views.

hiking
Sun Aug 05 2018

One of my favorite hikes in Alaska!

Mon Jul 09 2018

I loved the hike, I went last year and planning to go back again ❤️❤️❤️

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

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