Explore the most popular forest trails near Palmer with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

So intense and so beautiful!!!!! What a workout!!!

scenic driving
4 days ago

Stunning views from start to finish.

hiking
9 days ago

Steep and a tad difficult, but definitely worth it. 4 miles each way, so 8 total. Don't let the false peaks fool ya!

Went with a group of 5 with varied experience (from a homegrown Alaskan to a first time visitor), and we all managed to make it to tracks end. Steady, rolling steep inclines made for a good challenge. Most made it on the ridge peak (advised for more experienced hikers) where it does get a bit more technical, lots of shale etc, but got turned around for various reason. If uncomfortable with heights/climbing etc that portion is not for you. Descent was just as steep and rolling so hope you don’t skip leg day. Advise to consider your water, if you’re thinking “should be enough” bring a little more. All in all fantastic experience with amazing scenery, would def give it another go!

Just awesome, a few different routes it looked like to get yourself up there, one being more difficult than the other according to the signage. Took the harder one so I’ll have to go back and try the other and see how that is. Either way, nice challenge, steep all the way up and down, the work to get to the top makes the view all the more worth it!

hiking
11 days ago

Simply put, this was amazing....one of the best experiences in my life.

For a more lengthy description.... for me, this was a hike of a lifetime. It was “one down on my bucket list”, and yes, I’ve heard of and plan to hike Kesugi, AT, CDT, and PCT.....in a perfect world.

Prelude: This was my experience. Yours may differ. My reasons for a hike like this are my own. It wasn’t a race, nor was it for bragging rights. The best views are what’s important to me on a hike. That’s just one of the reasons why I did this hike. I’m in good shape, not just decent. But I’m not part goat either, like some people, so I use poles.

The reviewer’s description is on point, with respect to difficulty. The first 3 miles of switch backing brush will wake up your thighs for sure. It was 02 July 2018 when I started this hike. The path was well marked with distance markers, not to be confused with elevation markers, up until about 30k. Where there was water in the brush, there was mud. Tall brush too, around the curves. Stay vigilant.

Once you’re out of the brush, you’ll come to what I call “selfie rock”. Say goodbye to the roots, and hello to the rocks and soft tundra. The path up......AND I DO MEAN UP, to the ridge line is beautiful and aggressively taxing. There were so many times I stopped, smiled and laughed. This truly is an Alaskan gem.

Once you’re on the ridge line to the ‘summit’, on a day like I had, words can’t describe the beauty. Keep pushing. You’ll lose the trail, find the trail, and climb over rock formations that you’ll think twice about yet do anyway.

And that’s where I lost it. I think I was somewhere around 5400 feet in elevation, climbing (not hiking anymore...the sign at the entrance DID READ something like ‘experienced hikers only beyond this point’), when a rock that shouldn’t have broke in half under my feet, broke in half. According to the app, I was less than 1 mile away to the summit, but I decided to turn back.

I ran into a few people who passed me on their way down. They said this wasn’t technically Pioneer Peak, but rather a false peak, and the true Pioneer Peak was two peaks after the app tells you to stop at. Heartbroken (again). Big thanks to the guys that let me follow them off the ridge, and to the woman in the red jacket that prayed for my leg. It helped after you all left.

App said over 7k calories burned. I consumed 2gal of water, one from existing water source from way up top. FYI, make sure if you use a lifestraw, that it fits your jugs or use ziploc bags.

I would do this again in a heartbeat. Follow me to see pics and other info if you wish. Cellphone died with a little over a mile left to the parking lot.

Hope this helps someone.

Take care.

hiking
11 days ago

Great challenging trail that hits you with steep inclines just a few meters out of the parking lot. Steep incline the whole way up and the false summits definitely trick you if you are thinking your done. Views at the top definitely well worth the pain of hiking the incline. My lab and me both enjoyed the hike

If you enjoy STEEP incline and STEEP decline (NO JOKE) this is absolutely for you. 1 star because the views, other than that, not my cup of tea. Enjoyed the challenge though!

Such a pretty view!! Lots of stops on the way up with beautiful views

We visited Alaska from Michigan for a week. We laugh because when something says "scenic drive" we're like: "Where isn't it a scenic drive?". Everywhere was so beautiful and Hatcher's Pass was no exception!

Great views! Difficult trail and really paying for it but still worth every bit.

I don’t think I would categorize this as a “hike” simply due to the fact that there is next to no elevation gain/loss, but it is a very nice nature walk.
The trail travels over the top of some old abandoned train tracks with portions of rail still exposed and various derailed train cars for viewing as you pass by.
At several points along the trail, you can exit and walk on the MatSu riverbed.
Recommended for a pleasant, low impact stroll.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is steep and difficult. We actually went up the Lazy Moose side about 4.5 miles one way and down the steeper side about 2ish miles. Round trip 6.60 miles according to MapMyHike. There are serval false peaks that get your hopes up but the view at the end makes the pain worth it! I would not recommend this trail if it has been raining as the few muddy spots we encountered were very slick. We encountered a moose on our way up the Lazy Moose trail definitely keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is a great workout if you like a constant incline. We seen a bear in the very far distance during this hike. The view at the top was well worth it, just be prepared for a serious day hike. Bring a jacket (tie it around your waste if you have to) as it can get super windy at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty steep all the way up. Went up and down the steeper route. Would recommend going down on the Lazy Moose Trail. Hike is really only worth it if you go all the way to the top and not stop at the first picnic table.

Went up hard steep route due to a moose and switchback on way back. Busy trail — too many people for me. Ok trail but was expecting more . Won’t do it again but crossed off our list .

Beautiful hike. The trail splits at the beginning, to the right is the easier, less steep trail but it's 4 miles long to the top. To the left at the split is the harder trail that is quite steep but only about 2 1/4 miles to the top.
At the halfway point of the shorter trail, the two meet at one of two picnic tables and its about a mile to the peak from there.
We took the longer/easier trail up then the shorter/steeper trail down all in about 3.5 hours with a 30 minute stop at the top.
I would rate the short trail as hard, physically, and the long trail moderate. Both are well kept trails though, mostly dirt, and then some gravel/rocky sand up closer to the top.

scenic driving
1 month ago

Love this spot. Still too much snow to hike the pass but we did enjoy the drive.

hiking
1 month ago

In my experience, I would rate this as hard compared to some other hikes I have done on this site that are rated comparatively. I did this hike last fall with my husband and 17yo son. We took the steep side and it was super steep and muddy/slippery. A lot of it is brushy at the lower elevation which is not my cup of tea. The view is nice once at the top, especially of Mat Peak!

There’s a much easier trail to access the beaver pond and trail portions behind the mine than scrambling up the rocks; look for a trail spur on the right a few hundred feet back from the mine. It’s muddier but gradual.

hiking
1 month ago

Took the more difficult route up. Made it to the summit (2.2 miles) in 1hr 20mins, but was moving fast! Great views! The trail was in good condition...tacky enough to keep you sticking to it. Maybe a little slippery in some spots. Took the longer, easier route back. Somehow ended up on the horse trail for the very last portion. 3hrs, 6.3 miles round trip.

hiking
1 month ago

I would rank this trail as more difficult than moderate. It’s seriously steep going up and steep coming down. The view is totally worth every step you take. If you get to the first picnic table just keep going! The worst part is over. At least in my opinion anyway. Happy trails.

Nice smooth hike!!! Nothing like a breath of fresh air

Steep climb, trail is in mediocre shape because of its design, strait up mostly. I would say the trail is more then “lightly trafficked” in the summer months. Braided and muddy but if you take it one piece at a time with frequent rests to enjoy the views it’s not too bad. Rewarded with great views of the valley and Matanuska peak.

Took the easy route after attempting 10mins of the harder one and nearly passed out haha I'm so unconditioned but take the easy one don't overestimate yourself like I did. I'll come back again for that harder trail later.

hiking
2 months ago

It was a beautiful hike, there were a few places where it got muddy and slippery due to the snow melting. It is a great practice hike.

moderate?! LMAO "most difficult" or "more difficult" is what the signs says when starting the trail.
amazing view the entire way up on the side of the "more difficult" bring extra clothes if you fall down on the muddy/snowy steep hike coming down in the early spring (April); water source is a must.

hiking
3 months ago

Took the longer but easier trail (Lazy Moose), was still a pretty difficult climb with the mud and ice. Lots of switchbacks and a couple of false peaks that make you think you're almost at the top. But the view at the top is absolutely gorgeous and well worth it! Pack a lunch and a sweatshirt for the summit and it's an awesome day hike!

hiking
8 months ago

The views are amazing.
Time: We got to the trail at 10 am and back to the car by 7:30-8. By we, I mean I did this hike with my 10-12 yr old nephews, it’s all about keeping their mindset on track.
Food: I packed enough food for 2 meals each for the hike and 3 liters of water. Then had them carry 2 oz waters. My nephew brought an MRE and a mini jet boiler, which totally came in handy when we got midway and it was raining and cold.
Equipment: defiantly wish I would have brought paracord rope for us when we started scaling the rocky/shingle area. I brought all the other basics for hiking in Alaska.
Watch out for underground bees on the trail, mynephew stepped on one and it defiantly kicked our butts in gear.

Beautiful winter hike up to Summit Lake. Used crampons. Lot of people skiing and snowshoeing. Can’t wait to snowmobile

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