A fairly easy hike that gets much less traffic than the hikes that leave from Glen Alps and Prospect Heights areas. My favorite aspects of this hike are the potential to see wildlife, the varied foliage from thick forest to tundra, berry picking in season and a great view of the city.
Start at Stuckagain Heights parking area (basic gravel parking pad) go up the gravel road and take the trail cutting down into the woods on your left. This trail will take you down to the valey bottom and the bridge crossing the North Fork of Campbell Creek. After the creek you will start to climb. When you come to an unmarked intersection stay right. From the intersection it is about 2 miles to the top of The Dome. Watch your footing near the top of the trail as erosion has left a lot of loose rock in the trail.
Once you reach the dome you are on top of a broad ridge and have unlimited options to roam and explore the tundra. Weather permitting you will have views of Anchoarge with the Alaska Range in the background. Mosquitos can be a problem some times of the year so consider some repellant or a long sleeved shirt.
Compared to Flattop this hike gets much less traffic and gives you the opportunity to see moose and ramble around on the tundra once you reach the ballpark. It is called the Ballpark because the huge area of green tundra would hold any major league stadium in the USA. If you hit it at the right time in early summer all of the tundra will be in bloom and you are overwhelmed with the scent of flowering plants. In the fall the tundra changes to bright yellow and reds. Great place to chill out and watch the clouds go by!
To get there park at Glen Alps parking area and follow the trail out to the Powerline Trail. Take a right and head southeast on Powerline. After a very short distance downhill take your first left onto a trail signed Middle Fork Loop trail. Take this trail until you cross a bridge across Campbell Creek. Instead of following the trail left take a right branch and start climbing the steep hill in front and to your right. The small peak you see straight ahead and to your left is little O'malley (the trail is obvious). Once you reach the saddle go left to Little O'malley or go right up into the Ballpark and Deep Lake at the base of O'Malley Peak. The top end of the Ballpark is about 5 miles round trip and about 1800 feet elevation gain.
From the top end of the Ballpark, if you still have the legs left, you have the option of climbing O'Malley Peak (straight behind in photo) or dropping down to Williwaw Lakes Trail. If you intend to climb O'malley know how to scramble and beware of falling rock on the loose slopes.
Look for moose in the valley bottom and be on the look out for ptarmagain on the upper slopes.
Flattop is probably the most popular trail in the Anchorage area and surely is the most climbed mountain in Alaska. With good reason. It has great views from the summit of Cook Inlet, the surrounding mountains and the city of Anchorage. And, the access is fast and relatively easy.
The hike starts at Glen Alps parking area and climbs over Blueberry Hill to the ascent on the west side of Flattop. You will reach a saddle area that overlooks the Powerline Valley then the trail starts to climb steadily to the top. Overall this trail is a 1300 ft elevation gain over 3.5 miles round trip. While almost anyone can handle this hike I would caution you to not take it lightly. Wear good footwear and be careful on the top section as it is steep and can be slippery if wet.
Return the way you came up or there is an alternate way down that goes off the backside and drops through the first notch to the east that you come to (do not take the west fork). This trail will drop you down to Powerline Trail and that will return you to the parking area at Glen Alps. Nice round trip and you will lose some of the people going this way. Again good footing is important so wear sturdy shoes.
One word of warning. Do not come here to be alone on the mountain. It is a rare day when you have the place to yourself. But that's not to say that it isn't a great way to spend a half day in Anchorage. It is a beautiful hike on a sunny day when you have some time to kill.
Alpenglow is a volunteer run ski area that is a half hour north of downtown Anchorage and has been around since the 1940's. Because it is volunteer run it has a great atmosphere when compared to big resorts. Very friendly and sociable ski experience at half the price of resort skiing. You will probably know someone who works there on a first name basis when you leave.
The terrain is limited but great when the snow piles up. The nice thing here is that the area is only open weekends so any snow that falls mid-week is still there for you to tear up on Saturday and Sunday. They usually operate a t-bar and one chair lift and this services the whole ridge.
No equipment rentals or lessons available so if you don't have gear get hooked up in Anchorage before heading to the mountain. You will also find a few choice sledding runs along the road on the way to the day lodge and the area can also be a great place to start a backcountry trip up the opposite ridge.
Have 4WD or have chains/studs on your vehicle as the road can get fairly icy and it is steep in places.
The photo was taken at about 8am, when I was driving from Seward to Anchorage. The overall highway scenery between the two cities (Highway #1 and #9) was gorgeous. I was driving north near Turnagain Pass, approaching Portage Glacier. I saw the marsh land with trees half-merged in the water surrounded by the beautiful Chugach Mountains. I just had to pull over and freeze the frame. Looking at the photo I'm glad I did.
While the locals will scoff that this is not a real mountain (one guy told me he used to jog it during his lunch hour) its still worth a trip to the top.
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