Difficulty
Easy; a few easy elevation gains here and there. Potential to get off trail but always head east to mountains and you can pick up the trail again at the Wolverine Trailhead.
Connects With
Miles One Way
1.5
Miles from Anchorage
In town; take Tudor to Campbell Airstrip Road (just east of Boniface). Head up the road as it becomes Basher, approximately 3.3 miles, until you pass under the power lines (about a mile past the South and North Bivouac Parking Lots). You will see the small parking lot on the right before the first house of the Stuckagain Heights development.
Season
All year (trail may be hard to find in heavy snow)
Ratings
Hike rating
This trail was rated 2 moose hooves for hiking.
XC Ski rating
This trail was rated 2 moose hooves for XC skiing.

Description

One of my biggest complaints about living on the east side of Anchorage is the irony that we live so close to many of the best hikes in Chugach State Park yet have the hardest time getting to them. Getting to the trailheads of Wolverine, Near Point, and Williwaw entails either bushwhacking and taking obscure paths to the Prospect Heights Trail or driving all the way to South Anchorage to get to its trailhead, a not very welcoming prospect during rush hour.

I’ve done both and mostly use an old trail on Campbell Airstrip Road that someone had to take me on first so I understood how to use it. I hadn’t been on it in awhile and last weekend, to my utter joy, found that work is being done on converting it into a real access trail. You use to have to park on the shoulder of the road; now there is a parking lot. It looks like work is being done on the trail itself with brush being cleared and dead trees being chainsawed out of the way. They even paved the road to it so no more hardcore potholes!

The hike itself isn’t much although there are some great views of Flat Top, O’Malley, and Wolverine. It’s a short hike and pretty soon, there you are, ready to start the real part of your hike.

Important Information

It is very easy to get off trail the first few times you use it. Don’t worry. Just keeping heading towards the mountains and when you get to the main trail, Prospect Heights, find the trailhead at Wolverine and that is the end of the trail.

The basic directions are as follow: From the new parking lot, take the trail to the second set of power line poles just before the canyon. You will see the trail curve up. Continue on the trail making sure you stay on the one that follows the rim of the canyon. The trail will eventually head down where you will cross over a small hollow. Just ahead you will see a tree with a yellow metal tag attached to it.

STOP! Turn around and take a mental picture of your surroundings. It is easy to miss the trail going back up to the rim when returning. You’ll know you missed it when you come back if you wind up at the creek.

Turn back towards the mountains. A few feet ahead of the yellow tagged tree, take a left and go up the small hill. Take a right and continue following the tags to the Prospect Heights Trail.. Continue forward to take the trail up Wolverine. Take a left to get to the Near Point trail and access to the Canyon Creek Trail. Take a right to get to the Middle Fork Loop trail which will take you to Williwaw Valley and the Glen Alps (Flat Top) section of the Chugach.

The trail can get buggy in the summer; bring the DEET.

You can use this trail in the winter but the snow can make it hard to find. You will most likely need snow shoes or cross country skis.

Etc.

If you live on the east side of Anchorage, tell you legislators you want to see more trails like this into the Chugach.

  1. The following is a contribution from Ross Timm:

    My girlfriend and I decided to check this route out one day in July 2005. We thought “great, it will avoid some of the long approach to Near Point, or at least just be different”. That day was overcast, and there had been a lot of stories about an abundance of bears in the Campbell Airstrip Road area.

    We started off and were instantly taken aback by how un-kept-up this new trail was. It still felt like a local’s access route, not an official park route, once you got past the fancy trailhead.

    The first part up the power line was overgrown, with wet grass and cow parsnip. Then we turned to follow the canyon, and were amazed that the trail has been built right on the side of the eroding bluff. A lot of this portion will be lost within a year or two! It was really cool to see the Campbell Creek Canyon (when you could catch a glimpse through the trees.)

    Basically though, even though Stuckagain Height’s houses were probably just a few dozen yards away (we could hear dogs barking), we felt very exposed to bears and isolated. And then, once you get to the head of the canyon, you have an unmarked fork in the trail. I guess this is where this website says to start following the yellow flags, but we did not know this. It seemed to me we were just heading back to the Prospect Heights area, and saving no time or distance, and we seemed to be on a “bear highway” (scat, strange clearings in the brush, etc..).

    Maybe it was just our mood. I see now from the map on this website that it would have worked if we had just gone left at the fork. Instead we bagged it at the fork, hightailed it back while calling out for any unseen bears to stay away, and went and did Near Point that day from Prospect Heights.

    Unless you are avoiding traffic at rush-hour or you live right near that area, I do not see the advantage of taking this route. It seems dangerous to do on on your own. Of course I still am not sold on Near Point from either way, due to the long approach and lack of elevation. There are better hikes, closer, and with more immediate access to alpine tundra (if that is your deal, as it is mine.)

  2. The following is a contribution from Ben Siwiec:

    (October 11, 2005) I feel it’s necessary to comment in response to the recent contribution to the Eastside Access Trail review by Ross Timm. I have hiked this trail a bunch of times this summer and fall and it is currently in remarkably good shape. Sometime in August someone did an extensive trail clearing project that chopped back ALL the cow parsnip, devil’s club, and grass from the entire length of the trail. I don’t know who is working on this trail, but somebody cares about it! Someone also has placed three new wooden foot bridges on the trail (two across active creeks and one across a small dry creek bed). I wonder whether this is a State Park project, Municipality project or just concerned hikers. Also of note is that the section of trail mentioned by Ross Timm as being too near the cliff has since been relocated 50-100 feet farther back from the bluff–and many alders were cut to create this new trail section.

    One confusing thing about this trail is that it is totally unsigned and there are certain turns that must be made. From Basher Drive, the first half of the trail (about 15-20 minutes walking time) is under the power lines, and near the bluff.

    The second half (another 15-20 minutes) is the confusing part. You will cross a new small footbridge across a dry creek then come to an intersection with a winter cross country skiing route where you must turn left. Beyond this point flagging is intermittent and not particularly helpful (as of late Sept. 2005).

    Shortly after joining the ski route there will be a rough foot path to the right (might or might not be flagged). This is a decent option and following it for 15 minutes or so will bring you to the normal Prospect Heights trail near the Wolverine Peak turnoff. It had not been cleared of brush and was muddy when I last used it.

    Choosing not to follow the footpath to the right and continuing straight along the ski route for a short distance will take you across a very small creek bed and up a small hill, then you will come to another intersection where the larger trail goes to the right. This had been cleared and was obvious last time I was there. It is also the route that follows the yellow metal flags (in the trees) marking the winter ski route (following these markers will bring you all the way to the Prospect Heights trail). You will continue for about 15 minutes and cross two foot bridges before the trail meets the Prospect Heights trail at the Wolverine Peak intersection.

    This trail takes me about 30 minutes to get from my car to the Wolverine Peak intersection if I walk fast, which is about the same as if I had started at Prospect Heights. There isn’t much of a time advantage in going this way, but it’s great for people who don’t want to drive all the way to Prospect Heights. I also think it’s more scenic.

    One other thing I should mention is that the trailhead information isn’t quite correct. The trailhead parking isn’t on the left side of Basher Drive; it’s on the right (south). Look for the power lines. Immediately after passing under them, look on the right for a driveway leading into a small parking area. This is the trailhead, although it is unsigned as of yet.

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