Prospect Heights Trailhead

The Chugach Mountains offer a number of wonderful, well maintained hiking trails.  There are a number of different accesses to the trails near Anchorage.  Prospect Heights is one such access that not as many people use.  Nevertheless, it is one of the best maintained and easier hikes.  There are a number of different adventures that await an explorer when coming through these trails, and the trails are longer than those leaving from Glen Alps further to the south.

To find the Prospect Heights Trailhead from downtown, drive south on either Minnesota (L Street) or the New Seward Highway (Gambell).  Minnesota will hook to the left and become O’Malley where it meets the New Seward Highway.  Continue on O’Malley Road east up the mountains.  O’Malley will hook to the left and become Hillside Drive.  Once it does this, take the first right, which will be Upper O’Malley Road.  When Upper O’Malley ends, take a left on Prospect Drive.  Prospect Heights Trailhead is at the end of this road in the parking lot on the left.

Although there is a sign indicating no camping, this may mean only at the parking lot.  Several years ago I tent camped along the side of the trail, and I imagine that nobody will bother campers who are not visible from the trail itself.  There are toilets at the beginning of the trail.  There is also a large sign showing maps of the trail system and how Prospect Heights connects to the other Chugach Mountain trails.  The state charges $5.00 per day to park here.

Claimjumper and I have explored the lower part of these trails on bicycle.  It is an easy trail for hikers, but we rate it as moderate for bicyclers due to the long assent up.  There may be some points where one would prefer to walk the bicycle up a hill.  The trail starts out wide enough to drive a truck through for the first mile or two.  The trail descends into the valley and crosses a creek via a sturdy wooden bridge.  Then it begins a long steady assent up into the hillside.  The branches of the trail system are clearly marked.  Eventually, one must leave the bikes if one wishes to continue higher. 

Be careful to keep eyes and ears open for moose.  Just about every time I’ve been on these trails I have seen moose.  They prefer the lower forested areas, so usually you will hear them crashing through the brush before you see them emerge.  One jumped out on the trail not more than ten feet from Claimjumper and I during our assent in July 2000.  Fortunately, we had heard it coming and stopped our bikes to watch.

The trails are quite woodsy and insect repellant is recommended.  We also recommend bringing good hiking boots.  If you do plan to bicycle the trail, but you wish to continue with a hike, we recommend bringing waterproof hiking boots as there are some mucky areas on some of the trails.  This is one of the best places to see wildflowers.  We were amazed at how many monk’s hood flowers (one of our favorites) we found along the way.

For more information, check out the State's info posted at www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/chugach/hillside.htm  

Last Visited: July 2000


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