Crow Pass Trail

With a few extra days of vacation left before I had to be back at work, I thought I would give the Crow Pass Trail a go. This is an excellent trail and a favorite for avid hikers in Anchorage, Eagle River and Girdwood.  A 25 mile trek takes a person from the Girdwood, through the Chugach Range to Eagle River.  This was a tough hike for me to do in two days and I wish that I had given myself three days.  There were others I met along the trail who do the hike in one day, starting early in the morning and finishing in the evening, bringing with them only a fanny pack containing water and a lunch.  Overall, this is just an awesome adventure for people in moderate to good shape. 

The trail is recommended only during June, July August and September.  During any other months the avalanche danger is high.  The U.S. Forest Service rents a cabin near the top of the pass, but only during these months due to avalanche dangers.

It is important to pack for the trip according to how long you plan to stay.  Water is heavy, and it is difficult to carry enough water for the entire trip.  However, water is plentiful all along the way.  Once you get past the public use cabin, all the water will be glacial, and therefore full of silt.  Bring a filter that can handle silt-filled water.  You will be fording at several points along the way.  I brought a pair of Teva sandals and cargo pants that zip-off into shorts.  Switching from my hiking boots to my Tevas and zipping off my pants from the knee down worked wonderfully. 

There were two items that I wished I had packed.  The most dangerous parts of the trip by far were the snowfield crossings found when dropping down into the valley beyond the pass.  I envied the people who thought to bring hiking poles.  The poles are also highly recommended for fording Eagle River.  The second thing I should have brought was moleskin for blistering feet.  Other than these items, the packing list contained in the introduction covered what was needed.

To find the trailhead, leave Anchorage going south on the Seward Highway.  After approximately 40 miles, take a left on Alyeska Highway.  Turn left on Crow Creek Road found a mile and a half from the Seward Highway.  Follow this road to the very end.  Near the end the road is in poor condition and is narrow so proceed with caution.  The road ends at a parking lot approximately six miles from Alyeska Highway.

 Parking at the trailhead is free and there is no cost to use the trail or camp anywhere along it.  The only exception is the U.S. Forest Service’s public use cabin, which costs $35 per night.   Click here to jump to the Reserve America site that allows one to reserve the cabin.  There are no toilets or water pumps anywhere along the trail, including at the campsites.  It is just you and nature, baby!

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