Resurrection Pass

Chugach National Forest

Difficulty
Somewhat Easy; northern portion is easy. Gradual elevation gain going south for half the trip. More dramatic elevation gain heading North.
Connects With
Miles One Way
38
Miles from Anchorage
100; 100 if starting near Hope at the north end; 120 if starting near Cooper Landing at the south end
Season
All year (cross country ski, hike or snowshoe in winter)
Ratings
Hike rating
This trail was rated 4 moose hooves for hiking.
Bike rating
This trail was rated 4 moose hooves for biking.
XC Ski rating
This trail was rated 4 moose hooves for XC skiing.

Description

First off, I haven’t done the whole trail. I have gone in about 7 miles for a winter hike to Caribou Cabin, but the little I’ve seen makes me want to do the whole thing.

The trail basically stays in the valley with great views of the surrounding Kenai Mountains. The best part of this hike is the different ecosystems you’ll travel through, from aspen and spruce to tundra and muskeg.

The main attraction of this trail, especially in winter, are the 8 Federal Cabins interspersed for you to rent and stay overnight.

The following was added May 3, 2005:

I hiked this weekend to the Fox Creek Cabin from the Hope Trailhead (11.5 miles one way). Saturday was perfect weather. Sunday was cloudy but it didn’t rain till I was already in the truck heading home. I’m glad I got to finally do this hike again without a lot of snow (mostly).

The first part, to Caribou Creek Cabin, was mostly small ups and downs, where sometimes you’re right by Resurrection Creek (pretty wide and fierce for a creek), and sometimes 500-1000 feet above. At one point when the trail is by the river, there is a whole network of beaver dams. While on the ridge, views of the river and surrounding mountains pop in and out. As you get further in, the views get better, except for mile 6 where a controlled burn was ignited a few years back. A little too post-apocalyptic for my taste.

You’ll cross over Caribou Creek, just before the cabin, and then you’ll be hiking on the other side of Resurrection Creek. Most of the trail to the Fox Creek Cabin was away from the creek and somewhat boring (with one major exception! – see below). You’re mostly under canopy and there are few views along the way.

Fox Creek Cabin is nice but the view is kind of so-so. Most distressing was the seriously rude occupants beforehand who let their horses crap over all the area. It was pretty disgusting to see pile after pile right in front of the cabin, especially since there was a sign that tells you where to corral them in the back. Seriously, this has to be one of the most white trash things I’ve ever seen on a trail and I hope one day the perpetrators fall face first into a pile of manure.

I plan on doing the other 27 miles sometime this summer but all in all, I think I would rather stay at the designated campsites. It just doesn’t feel the same to be indoors in a cabin. But that’s just me (on the other hand, it was nice not to have to add more weight in the pack with a tent).

The following was added May 6, 2006:

Last weekend, I came in from the Sterling Highway side (first time) and stayed at the Juneau Lake Cabin. After mile 4, the ground was completely covered in snow, but on the trail it was packed enough that I wasn’t post holing. The first 4 miles as well are switchbacks to get up into the valley and then follows along a deep gorge. After you cross the bridge, the views really open up as you head into the wide pass.

Just before the Juneau Lake Cabin, I passed the Romig Cabin (on the south tip of the lake). Subsidence has caused the porch to sink in and I would avoid renting this one for awhile until they fix it. However, the Juneau Lake one is really nice, one of the nicest on the Pass I’ve seen so far. It’s up a small hill with a great view of the lake and the mountains. The porch faces south for nice warmth (it was in the 40′s). The lake was frozen solid but there were 2 canoes underneath the porch.

Important Information

For information on renting and reserving the huts go to Recreation.gov.

If you’re going to stay at the huts and using a sled, bring wood. I don’t know if it was typical but when we stayed at the Caribou Creek Cabin, there was none. Finding enough under the snow was, at the least, annoying.

The reason why I haven’t done the whole thing is because I haven’t found someone who would want to do it with me so we can drop a car off at the other end. Your other alternatives are turning back or hiring a driver.

If you’re hiking in winter, please educate yourself about hypothermia.

The following was added May 3, 2005:

I’ve been backpacking up in Alaska for over 5 years and fortunately have experienced few mishaps. I feel that is because I pay attention to my surroundings and continually try to update my wilderness skills. But a momentary lapse in concentration almost caused me serious injury and I want to let you know what happen; not to scare you but to reinforce to you that the only way to really enjoy Alaska is to be aware.

As I was hiking this weekend, I did notice bear scat on the trail. The trail is very straight so since I could see way ahead of me, I didn’t feel it was necessary to shout and make noise but did make sure I was always looking ahead. After a few miles of this, I started drifting into my own little world and started daydreaming. I turned a corner and there stood a black bear drinking at a stream. Not more than 10 feet from him, I let out an “Oh S***!”. The bear was surprised!, and luckily was scared too and took off within seconds. I continued on the trail to the cabin and it wasn’t till I was settled in, with the adrenaline wearing off, that I realized how lucky I was that the bear ran instead of attacked.

So please! When in forest or limited visibility, stay in your hiking world and pay attention! For further info about bears, go here.

There is a new shuttle service for transportation to and from the trailheads: Girdwood Shuttle, Tours and Transportation

Etc.

For great information on winter camping, I recommend the book Winter Camping, 2nd Edition by Stephen Gorman (Appalachian Mountain Club Books) 1999.

The best way to hike this in the winter is to buy a cheap plastic sled and carry your stuff on it. For details about how I built mine, go here.

  1. The following was submitted anonymously:

    I just wanted to add my two cents to the comments left by the hiker who mentioned the mess left by equestrians. We biked the trail in September 2007 and stayed at the Swan Lake cabin. We were disgusted by the mess. Horse crap everywhere – near the cabin, near the stream, near the lake, in the fire ring – everywhere. The amount of manure on the trail also really detracted from our experience. It’s really obnoxious and disrespectful behavior. No one wants to bike through horse crap or sit around a fire ring that smells of manure, much less have to pull drinking water from a stream contaminated with horse manure.

    Between this and the trail damage caused by horse hooves, I’m seriously hoping that the forest service and the parks will consider closing the trails to horses!

    Devils Pass Cabin has been rebuilt with a new oil burning stove/oven. We didn’t use the stove but noted many comments in the register from people who were unable to get the stove to function. A few parties were at the cabin in the winter/spring with no heat because the stove wasn’t working. Parties who stay at this cabin should be prepared to forgo heat and bring a camp stove until the problems with the cabin stove are resolved. There is no wood in the area so a campfire cannot be counted on.

    A group of us ranging from ages 10-49 hiked the trail this summer from Hope to Cooper Landing (40 miles) We stayed at five different cabins along the way and had a wonderful time. I would recommend staying at Swan Lake Cabin if I had to pick one. It was our favorite because it is off the main trail about a half a mile and we were able to use the boat provided for the rent of the cabin. We caught fish…(bring a fishing pole), saw eagles, and moose swimming across the lake with her young ones. It was quiet and nearby was a herd of caribou. I would like to do this trail again. It would never get old.

  2. The following was submitted by Medusa on May 19, 2004:

    More patchy info, but hopefully it covers the uncovered patches!

    First 8-9 miles (from Hope): in mid-late summer can be muddy, overgrown. Nothing really steep; up and down and up again. The scenery only really goes from trees to interesting in the last mile or two.

    Second 7ish miles: more wood and forest rather than alder, longer gradual up hills and down hills, steeper than first 8-9 miles.

    Third section (7ish more miles) up to Devil’s Pass: really opens up with some beautiful views. I imagine very exposed during bad weather. There are trail markers that would hopefully be helpful in snow, but I could get lost easily if it were blizzardy. A lot more elevation gain.

    Fourth section (down to Juneau Lake): starting to lose major elevation, beautiful views down. Gets more alder and devil’s club. Trail turns more gravelly, flattens out to Juneau Lake (higher traffic).

    Fifth section down to Cooper’s Landing: a major loss in elevation; after a mile or two -flat. Switchbacks heading down in the more forested environment of the second section. If one has knee injuries I wouldn’t plan on any sprints with backpacks in this section. In mid-late summer it can be hot enough for shorts (and not much else) or cold with wind and rain, so come well prepared! and don’t forget your mosquito head net.

  3. The following was submitted by Jessica N. regarding the Summit Creek/Devil’s Pass Loop:

    I did the Devil’s Pass/Summit Creek loop hike yesterday (8/17/06) starting from the Devil’s Creek Trailhead. The hike up to the pass was gorgeous with tons of berries along the side of the trail. The trail wasn’t too muddy and the views are amazing. Tons and tons of marmots up by the lake. The Devil’s Pass fee cabin is currently undergoing renovation and will probably be closed for the rest of the season. I had a bit of trouble finding the turn off for the Summit Creek trail and ended up hiking an extra hour past the junction (ah well, more great views). Here’s a hint: When hiking north on the Resurrection Pass trail, look for a little side trail cutting back and to the right. It is just BEFORE the “Resurrection Pass 2,600 feet” wooden sign. If you get to the sign, you’ve missed it. The Summit Creek trail had even better scenery than Devil’s Pass. It was pretty overgrown once you get out of the tundra (still easy to follow, but prepare to get soaked if it has recently rained!) and VERY muddy (I ended up with mud to my knee with one misstep!). The best part about this hike was that, in 11 hours, I saw three other people! Definitely a must do hike for anyone headed to the peninsula!

  4. The following was submitted by Frank Baker:

    Dave Gahm and I biked Resurrection Trail from Hope to Caribou Creek July 16, 2007 from Caribou Creek to Devil’s Pass Cabin July 17, and down Devils Pass trail to Seward Highway July 18. The new Devil’s Pass Forest Service cabin is a dream–windows all around, spacious, a deck, and even an oil stove (which people seem to have trouble with, according to log entries). It’s $35 per night, but one that is indeed worth it. It’s unfortunate, however, they have padlocked the old cabin and are not renting it out. Spotted six caribou near cabin and the day before, from Caribou Creek cabin, spotted blonde grizzly bear on the mountain.

    Top part of Devil’s Pass trail, going downhill, is challenging, dodging around rocks, but bottom 2/3 of trail is excellent. It appears trail crews have been doing quite a bit of work on the trail, widening portions.

  5. The following was submitted by Tapia:

    We clocked the mileage for this trail from the Hope trailhead to the parking lot in Cooper Landing. We got 38.3 miles. The trail was in great shape (14Aug2007) even after it rained on us about the last 15 miles out. The first half (right to the pass marker) offers a lot of up and down hill with some beautifully engineered plateaus for “breathers.” The vegetation was quite thick on about 1/3 of the trail with grass taller than our riders and some spots with difficult visibility. We didn’t camp, but the cabins were beautiful and well kept. The sights on this trail are varied and breathtaking…VERY worth the bunged up arm I got shortly after the Devil’s Pass cabin! Enjoy!

    Etc:

    If you hitch (which I don’t) it would be easy to get from Cooper Landing to the Hope cutoff, but traffic really dies down from the cutoff to the Hope trailhead.

Have you done this hike? Please share your experience below: