April Bowl / Hatch Peak

Matanuska Valley
This hike was rated 5 stars.
Submitted By
Eric Tarbert
Somewhat Easy; Only an 800ft elevation gain. The first 400ft of which is easily switch-backed.
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
59; in the Hatcher Pass area
June through September


This is a beautiful hike. It’s fairly short and not very steep because of the switchbacks on the first half. There is only about an 800ft elevation gain to the top which is Hatch Peak (roughly 4800ft), only 400ft to the bowl, which contains 2 beautiful blue lakes. A very family friendly trail.

Important Information

No parking fees. However, the gate on the road leading to the trailhead and Summit Lake doesn’t open until late June, sometimes not until July, and closes in August/September (depends on snowfall).

Finding the Trailhead

From Glenn Highway Milepost 49.5, north on Palmer-Fishhook Road to Hatcher Pass for 15 miles, take a left on the gated road (just before Hatcher Pass Lodge) up the mountains. Trailhead is 1.5 miles up the road.

or from George Parks Highway Milepost 36.1, north on Trunk Road to Palmer-Fishhook Road, turn left (north) to Hatcher Pass for 15 miles, take a left on the gated road (just before Hatcher Pass Lodge) up the mountains. Trailhead is 1.5 miles up the road.


Comments on hiking April Bowl / Hatch Peak

  1. Annie lawler — June 26, 2019

    I have done this hike dozens of times in all sorts of weather and times during the season. It is a favorite to take visitors to! If you go please stay on the trail; and not cut off the switchbacks. If you choose to bring your children be aware of trail conditions and trail etiquette and safety. As for dogs…..please pack out your dog’s poop.

    This is a wonderful trail and well cut out to make it moe walker friendly yo everyone. The views are well worth the hike .
    Let’s all try to keep it the fine trail it is.

    I went today June 26, 2019 on early…hiking by 10:15am with 6 Anchorage/Phoenix friends ages 16- 57 yrs.
    I required them to wear (hiking boots orlace-up tennis shoes and carry water and a windbreaker or sweatshirt.
    Friends who were not comfortable going higher stopped at the 2 lakes. 3 of us hikes on. The clouds were kissing the ridge and broke open as we reached the high ridge. Beautiful vistas (even with the fire smoke on the horizon)

    The early trail conditions were good but not dry….with the creek still running gently over the rocky steps at the end of the 1st lower switchback. Higher up the switchbacks had snow still melting on the trail leaving slick dirt-covered ice on the trail. Care needs to be taken along these areas.

    Trail Signs as hikers start up and continue along the trail to remind them to stay on the trail and pick up after their dogs would be greatly appreciated!

  2. […] also find the beautiful and iconic cabins of Hatcher Pass Lodge, explore Independence Mine, hike April Bowl, and try out tons of hikes. If you’re looking for an overnight adventure, try backpacking to […]

  3. Shadara Wood — May 17, 2017

    Not too difficult of a hike, the switchbacks make the elevation gain much easier than most of the hike in Alaska. You will rarely find this trail not being used. It is a popular trail since you are able to look out over the surrounding area nicely. The drive up is a beautiful sight, make sure to stop off and check out Independence Mine! A wonderful tribute to the gold mining era of Alaska with a super cheap $6 tour that gets you inside multiple buildings. If you arrive early enough you can combine this hike into the mine and also into Gold Cord Lake, which is across from the mine, just look for the small cabin on the mountain side to your right of the parking lot. April Bowl has a small trickling run off waterfall most summers and the bowl lake itself on a clear flat day turns a gorgeous green/blue. Definitely a must do for a new or beginning hiker to get you hooked on the longer and more adventures hikes.

  4. Danielle — March 6, 2016

    I love this hike!!! It’s beautiful, fun, and super kid friendly.
    It’s also very popular, there will almost always be a small crowd. (nothing like flattop or the butte but I have had to park on the road etc)
    Anyway, if I’m trying to sell Alaska, this is the place I go.
    Just the drive there is worth it.

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