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Thread: Denali Highway Hiking??

  1. #1
    Member arcticfirefighter's Avatar
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    Question Denali Highway Hiking??

    Hello all,

    Was wondering if anyone had any good ideas of any hiking opportunities out on the Denali Highway? Was planning a trip down there this weekend and not very familiar with the area, only been across 3 times and have not done any hiking in the area. We will have a 7 year old with us so that may limit our choices. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in Advance!!

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    There's a marked trailhead at MacLaren Summit. The trail heads kinda along the broad pass towards the Alaska Range. Looks like it stays mostly flat, but it starts high and is beautiful. From what I understand there are also trails to Landmark Gap and Glacier Lakes in the Amphitheater Mountains just west of Tangle Lakes. These aren't too far off the highway, wouldn't have too much uphill and would be good for kids. These two aren't marked I don't think, so take a good look at a map and keep a close eye out as you drive the road. An area I'd like to get into is the Clearwater Mountains. No trails I don't think and probably a bit much for the 7-year old, but the highway is very close to the top of brush line as it hits these mountains going west. This time of year the tundra trails can be pretty soggy. Rubber boots are an option, but an obvious comfort tradeoff. The trails I listed shouldn't be too bad.

    Of course it goes without saying that you've got to keep the kids close and an eye out for bears in the brushy tundra out there.

    Have fun, I might be out that way too...

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    Member arcticfirefighter's Avatar
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    Awesome! I really appreciate the info on the trail locations. We will most likely try them out weather depending. I am hearing that we might be fighting some scattered T-storms this weekend. So i have a feeling the soggy areas are going to get even worse. Lets just hope that the forcast takes a turn for the better.

    Thanks again for the info!!!

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    I have always enjoyed Windy Creek.

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    Member Jackson's Dad's Avatar
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    arcticfirefighter, I have done the Glacier Lake and Landmark Gap Lake trails that HEATHEN recommended and both are pretty good. Both are basically ATV trails and not too long, would be fairly family oriented. They are excellent during fall when the berries are out! Both are not very hard to find and if I remember correctly are marked or at least have trailheads. I believe the Landmark Gap Lake trail is a bit shorter but again, going from memory.

    I picked up a Milepost last year and find it invaluable. I do not have mine handy as I am not at home but it will give descriptions etc.

    Another good option is the Maclaren Glacier Road (or trail?) on the West side of the Maclaren River. It also has a trailhead sign and is an old mine road, now an atv/jeep trail. Supposedly you can go 18 miles to the Maclaren glacier which I am going to try some time. I believe that at mile 4 you hit one of the forks of the Maclaren river and have to cross, so if you only get to the river that would be an 8 mile round trip hike across rambling terrain. Good on a nice day, not sure about thunderstorms though!

    The Clearwater Mtns area is spectacular with a few buts..... Lots of mining going on so you need to know where you are, and there are not really any trails. Nothing marked anyways, some atv trails if you are up for exploring.

    Hope this helps, have fun!
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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    A little clarification on the Clearwater Mountains: most of the private land and mining activity is up Valdez Creek, which is supposedly driveable (with HC and maybe 4x4) all the way to Roosevelt Lake if it's been dry. Personally, I'll skip that and head for the high country, right off the Denali Highway just as you hit the mountains going west, towards the Susitna. It's looking like it might be a bit smoky this weekend (already...). There's substantial firest burning near Tanacross and Toklat. Just depends on the winds.

  7. #7
    Member arcticfirefighter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info! We did make it out there this past weekend and had a blast. Camped right on a lake about 10 mile West of Alpine Lake Lodge. We we the only people around and the weather was great Saturday night. T-Storms blew in on Sunday so that limited our hiking ability becasue we were already around Tangle Lakes. We didn't want to be out on open ground with the lighting. The smoke was not bad at all for the most part, I think we had the wind working in our favor on that one.

    Thanks Again!

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