A hiking trip in Alaska can be an exciting and rewarding wilderness
experience if you are prepared for the difficulties and hazards
of traveling through rugged, undeveloped land. Here, you will experience
solitude, self-reliance, and unaltered nature to an extent seldom
found elsewhere. Because there are very few maintained trails, travel
through dense brush, along steep slopes, and across fast and cold
glacial streams and rivers should be expected.
Weather in these vast and spectacular mountain
ranges can vary to extremes in relatively short time periods.
It is best to expect (and prepare for) almost any possibility
with a variety of layer able clothing (polypropylene, wool or
pile), raingear and extra food. Summer snow storms may occur at
elevations of 4,500 feet and above.
(caribou crossing the river)
A successful hiking trip requires adequate planning. You should
be prepared for everything and should not count on aid or rescue
from others. Here, you will be on your own. Caution and good judgment
are key ingredients for a pleasant expedition. For many hikers,
hiring the services of a local guide will make the trip safer and
more enjoyable. In general, the areas above tree line approximately
3000' afford the easiest hiking and best views. These areas are
often accessed by chartering a flight to one of the many possible
"bush" landing strips. Note that there are many more places
to land than are shown on maps. Air taxis will often land on gravel
bars or on the tundra. The routes depicted on the "Trail Illustrated"
map are the most popular.
Don't Leave Home Without Them:
Be aware that many
of the historic trails shown on older U.S.G.S. maps are often
non-existent or overgrown. If you prefer not to see others on
your trip, ask a ranger local
resident or pilot about
some of the lesser known areas. A list of licensed air taxi operators
is available from the park. Be flexible and prepared for alternative
destinations. Your air taxi, local resident or the Park Service
may know of high water conditions, wildlife hazards or overcrowding
in an area and may encourage you to choose an alternative at the