Crow Pass Trail to Crystal Lake and Barnes Mountain

HARD 54 reviews
#7 of 41 trails in

Crow Pass Trail to Crystal Lake and Barnes Mountain is a 6.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Girdwood, Alaska that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

6.2 miles
1958 feet




nature trips






no dogs

Alaska Division of Tourism, P.O. Box 110801 , Juneau, AK, 99811-0801, Phone: 907-465-2010

7 months ago

Got up to crystal lake and crows pass cabin. Snowing and windy. Used crampons. Still beautiful scenery and will be back in the summertime

8 months ago

8 months ago

After spending a year and a half hiking AK this was the most beautiful hike I've found.

It was super foggy and raining all the way up and down , but it was worth it ! Lake is super wee and so lovely , we could hardly see the glacier but again , not bad at all ! Go for it

9 months ago

There are two ways to get up this trail. If you are feeling good and in good shape you can go left and take the steep way up which is a lot faster. Otherwise you can go right at the top and take the zig zags across. There were a lot of rocks at the top. It was pretty overcast and rainy when I went so it was a bit slippery. There are two small streams you have to cross before reaching the lake. There are a lot of rocks though so you don't have to worry about getting your feet too wet if you're not wearing waterproof shoes. There's a beautiful clear blue lake at the top. Overall this is a great hike. I would highly recommend wearing the right hiking boots if you plan on doing this trail.

10 months ago

Great trail, with some awesome viewpoints. Not that hard to do. Water falls, wild goats.

10 months ago

It was pretty foggy, and still was an awesome trail. Highly recommend to keep going a bit after the crow pass sing, there is a great viewpoint on the glacier about 10-15 min walk from there.

10 months ago

7 July 17 - great trail. Great views. Turn around point is pretty much at the cabin by crystal lake. Bring bug spray.

10 months ago

Great Trail, lake is beautiful and wonderful waterfalls.

11 months ago

Great trail have done it twice now!

11 months ago

We did this hike this morning, in the rain. There is still a lot of snow on the trail in places. It was slow going. There were some other hikers with overnight gear, intent on spending a few days up there. It looked like they were in a for a cool night. I'd give this trail a couple more weeks of sunshine, before expecting a relatively dry trail.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Beginning of the crow pass trail to Eagle River gorgeous sites and wildlife!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beautiful! Dress warm!! It's was freezing at the glacier, very strong winds when I went yesterday. Amazing hike

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Great hike!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Even though it had rained for 3 weeks prior and during the 2 days we were out, I had an amazing experience. Equal parts incredible natural beauty, abject terror, and pain. Much of the Eagle River side trail was washed out, bridges missing, thick mud, etc. We survived it all and gained a great sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Great hike with amazing views. The only thing difficult about this hike is the distance and the number of water crossings where you are likely to get your feet wet.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Great a lot of loose rocks

Saturday, July 09, 2016

It was a great trail. went in June, hardly any snow left and that river was passable. Black bears a plenty with cubs so make noise in wooded areas.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Totally worth it. If you've been thinking about hiking this at all, just do it! I've heard that this through hike can be done in a day but why would you want to? Take at least 2 days (1 night) and enjoy the amazing scenery. I've lived in AK my whole life and I've done a lot of hiking and this IS the hike you've been looking for. Start on the easier Girdwood side. You'll hike up into Crow Pass (3hr to the top of the pass at a mellow pace). Hiking down into the valley you are greeted with glaciers, the spectacular Raven George, and a lush, meandering river bed. This section was by far the best. You are still mostly above the brush line and get the best views and (of course) hiking down hill. Keep in mind that there isn't really any good access to water until you are up and over the pass (about 5 hrs in). By the end of the first day (about 12ish miles in) you come up to the main river crossing (the ford site). Many people camp here and cross the river the next morning. We chose to cross that night because our core temps were up, the water level was relatively low, and the camp sites on the Eagle River side of the river are much better. If the water is low enough, just get it out of the way. Two more miles after the river ford is a perfect campsite with good access to water and lots of dry, downed wood. The next day is all the Eagle River side that is mostly flat with some more, smaller river crossings on primitive bridges. Depending on the water levels you may have to take the high water route (harder/slower) or you might luck out with the low water route. All in all the second day can be a tough push but there are tons of great camping spots and easy access to water if you wanted to camp a second night.
Overall this is a very tough hike that will push your limits especially if you've never done a through hike before. Be very bear aware, be loud, and cary protection. Pack it in, pack it out. *Wear shoes for the river crossing* Bring hiking poles for sure! Great hike for a group. Enjoy!

Monday, June 06, 2016

It was still snow on the upper trail before and after passing Mile 1.8 (Monarch Mine), but it was partial of snow on the lower trail to Mile 1.8. Passing by USFS Cabin on a packed snow trail, there were couples of descending on the snow trails after Crow Pass sign; crossing snow bridge over a stream to avoid a moose and her calves. I was sighting a black bear on the mountain side around 10 pm while crossing the stream to go back to the main trail... The trail was well marked after crossing the small stream all the way to Eagle River Nature Center.
P.S. Crossing the river - the water was about waist high, but some spots were about knee high while crossing it. The water was super cold. Bring your water shoes to protect your feet from cold water. It was awesome for backpacking trail!

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Great trail, lots of sight seeing and some pretty cold glacier water

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Just completed the trail a few days ago eagle to girdwood. Definitely not recommended this time of year. I am sure a lot know that but just wanted to give a first hand account. Very steep pitches, ice in certain areas, some flooded campsites, try to stay on the trail and use gps to verify. There were some areas that were at risk of avalanche and there were signs of past avalanches. If someone were to do the trail around this time, I would highly recommend roping up, crampons, and ice axe, along with the usual winter gear, Don't try to take the south river branch, there is an awesome waterfall there but super hard to get to and pretty much no way around it. Up partway in the mountains there were tracks that I could not identify, right on the gps track but had a 4 legged gate. Picture to follow, any help identifying would be appreciated

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Completed trail July 15 in 13.5 hours gps said 24 miles with my two daughters age 14 and 16. We had limited to no experience for a hike like this, but for the logistics of equipment decided to do it in one day. Started on the Girdwood side knowing what I know now would have gone other direction trail would have been easier to follow. (by raven glacier trail kinda disappears ending up crossing strong current there which we did not have to because trail is a small hole in the bushes off to the right) The river crossing is intimidating recommend a walking stick we did the whole link arms thing. It was challenging for three people who's prior experience was walking up baldy.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Just completed in July 2015 with 2 friends. Beautiful views, bit of an intense of a hike. Make sure you bring plenty of water!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Me and 3 others went on this trail in late September starting at Girdwood. the only reasonably difficult part was the initial mountain pass. if you are used to hiking up mountains at all though, it won't be that bad. the rest is either downhill or pretty flat. glacier views are pretty cool, and the river crossing is really super cold. there are also a lot of really nice camping spots. we stayed at one right next to a small water fall; absolutely gorgeous.
If you are in good shape and go during the solstice when the days are long, you could almost definitely hike this through in one day.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Outstanding...trek for lifetime memories! Don't go team of three loved it - will be an annual trip!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Breath taking views and a great chance to see sheep and bears. We saw a mother black bear and three cubs. There were also dall sheep on the cliff sides. We did not do the full hike unfortunately due to a wardrobe malfunction...the soles falling off my asolo boots, but the few miles we got in to the trail were great.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Not for the faint of heart.
We went in May of '96. It took three days. We got snowed on at the Raven glacier, spooked a black bear, watched a large brownie chase another brown bear and had to wait to for a moose to let us pass. Spring is a good time to go as it was easy to ford the Eagle River, but the weather can get foul. This is bear country and beaver-fever country, beware!

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