Here are some of the other trails in the area:
Little OMalley Peak: 7.5 miles roundtrip and less than 2,000 feet elevation gain. This would have been a better alternative to Flattop if I'd had more time.
Wedge Peak: Another moderate hike to higher elevation and better views. This one gains about 2500 feet of elevation in 5.5 miles. Not overly difficult but the 11 mile roundtrip will consume the better portion of the morning or afternoon.
Ship Lake: Longer hike, 14 mi but minimal elevation gain.
Favorite thing: Flattop Mountain is Anchorage's most popular hiking trail. At least, that's what the website says, and websites never lie. The "summit" is located a5 3,510 feet of elevation. In the state that has the highest mountain in North America, as well as numerous other peaks that tower higher than anything found in the lower 48, that is hardly impressive. But the top of Flattop is a great place to take in some of the incredible views of mountainous Alaska to the north
Favorite thing: On a clearer day, the view would be excellent. If you look closely, you can see the Alaska Range in the distance. The Chugach Mountains surround the park, giving it both its name as well as its unpredictable weather.
Favorite thing: There are several hikes in the Hillside area of Chugach State Park. Most are rated as moderate but lengthy, ranging from 7 to 20 miles, the longer of these used more for backpacking trips. Flattop is the shortest of the hikes, at 3.5 miles roundtrip. Depending on how much time you have, you may want to consider a longer hike farther away from the crowds
This was the scramble part of the hike. Ok, it was no Mount Ranier, but the loose rock and scree made it quite slippery. You could make it to the top in a pair of tennis shoes, and I am sure that many people do, but you'd be slipping and sliding just a bit
Unfortunately, I wasn't rewarded with many great views as the weather, which had started to break a bit the night before, went back to rain and clouds that left the area socked in
My visit to Alaska in 2002 predated my attempts to hike any high peaks. While doing research for my trip, I read about Flattop Mountain. For a flatlander like me, it sounded like ot would be a pretty cool feat. I later learned that Flattop is one of the most popular hiking trails in Chugach State Park. That is hike, as opposed to climb. The trail to the top has an elevation gain of about 1,500 feet in 3.5 miles, which is more of a gym replacement workout than a challenging physical activity. Later on while having beers with a couple of locals, they scoff at my endeavor into "mountain climbing". One guy told me that he used to jog up and back on his lunch break.
But my first mountain was a pretty decent hike. Steep in some parts as well. It gets a bit dicey towards the top, if you're a city born and bred pseudo hiker like myself. The last part involves a bit of hand over foot scrambling. At least it did for me.
Favorite thing: Trees in Chugach include cottonwood, birch, spruce and many others. While this may not be of much interest, the fact remains that lines of sight are limited by the forest. In areas dominated by spruce, visitation is highly reduced so making loud noises is advisable to warn the bears of your presence. Birch bark is a favorite staple with the innumerable moose around the Anchorage area. Your park experience will depend somewhat on the trees that surround your hike.
Favorite thing: Chugach State Park is one of few areas in Alaska where trails are developed and well-maintained. Otherwise the hiker would confront (nay, combat) some of the worst vegetation on the globe. Despite the cleared path, expect soggy areas and slippery results, and as always avoid contact with noxious plants (pootschki, etc).