Be sure to check out our other posts for Anchorage lodging information, things to do in the Anchorage area, as well as vacation guides that can be helpful when exploring Alaska.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
There is no shortage of beautiful scenery within the
Anchorage area, but one of our favorite areas to visit for a quick day out is
Hatcher Pass, about 60 miles north of Anchorage in the Talkeetna Mountain
range.Hatcher Pass offers year round
recreation, with summer time offering hiking, berry picking, site seeing, and
gold mining (as well as gold mining history) in the area.In the winter, there are opportunities for great cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Hatcher Pass typically gets some of the earliest snow in the area, drawing winter recreation enthusiasts out once the first snow falls.
A great reason for our guests to visit Hatcher Pass is it provides
a more scenic and "off the beaten path" way to get to Denali or Talkeetna from Anchorage. Typically,
beginning in July, once the snow has melted and the roads have been serviced, the
mountain pass opens up allowing drivers to connect from Palmer to Willow.The drive through the pass has such
incredible views of the valley floor and plenty of spots to pull over to take
pictures. The drive through the Pass will add about 45 minutes to your drive,
so if you’re in a rush this may not work, but for those looking to take a more
leisure trip this is one drive you shouldn’t miss.
Map of Hatcher Pass Scenic Drive
Things to do at Hatcher Pass
Zack eating lunch at his favorite rock on the Gold Mint Trail!
Our favorite trail to hike in Hatcher Pass is the Gold Mint Trail, which
offers a very mild hike with little elevation gain until the last mile or
so. The total round trip hike is 16 miles which follows the Little Susitna
River providing lots of opportunities to see beavers, ducks, and small mammals.
Due to beaver dams, the trail can be washed out in areas close to the river
line, so high boots are a must, but otherwise the trail is well maintained and
busy enough to not get lost for too long. Another great hike is Reed Lakes,
which in the late summer also offer some great berry picking opportunities.
Waking up in the valley of the Little Susitna River
Berry season is typically in mid August, depending on how dry the year has been. If you're visiting during August you'll have to make the trip though Hatcher Pass to pick some fresh blueberries right off the mountain!
The mountain sides within the area are loaded with blueberries. You won't need to ask anyone where they are at as you'll be able to see the cars along side the road and lots of people with their 5-gallon buckets trying to fill them up.
Another great opportunity if you have some extra time in the area is camping out for a night or two. Both the Gold Mint Trail and Reed Lakes Trail have several primitive sites you can hike out to, and there are also two semi-improved campgrounds on the eastern portion of the area. The semi-improved campgrounds are located along the Little Susitna River. For more information on the route or activities in the area please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to give you additional in-site on Hatcher Pass and the surrounding area.