Archangel Valley

Matanuska Valley
This hike was rated 3 stars.
Submitted By
Kelsey Gray
Somewhat Easy; trail is an old rough mining road
Connects With
Reed Lakes
Snowbird Mine
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
50; near Palmer
All year (cross-country ski in the winter)


This is a great valley situated within the Hatcher Pass area. The road to it is pretty rough on vehicles. However, the road makes a pretty easy hike to the actual valley itself.

This valley is rather remote compared to all the people that go through Hatcher Pass. Also, be prepared to share this hike with rock climbers since this has some of the best climbing in Alaska. There are also trails which go past Fern Mine and over the mountain to Lane Glacier. I hear there is a cabin back there which costs nothing to use. The best time to climb in this area is probably from July to September. However, I believe there are also snow sports here throughout the winter.

Important Information

We didn’t see any bears or any kind of wildlife of that order. And my friend, who has been here tons of time said he has never seen anything more than ground squirrels. The best information for being safe on this trail would be just to look out for the large crevasses when boulder hopping and watch out for the cars on the road.

Webmaster’s note: Archangel Road may be closed in the spring during breakup to keep the ruts in the road from getting worse. It’s usually opened back up the same day Independence Mine opens (June 20). Call (907) 745-3975 to confirm.


There are several technical climbs in this area. The main ones are: The Monolith, The Gargoyle, Toto, The Diamond, and Zulu wall.

Topo Map

Archangel Valley topo map

Comments on hiking Archangel Valley

  1. Joe Bellavance — September 22, 2019

    I hiked this in early September, on a cloudy day….with poor visibility. Hiked up to the mine entrance fast and went right around the monolith. Climbed up the back side of the monolith and went to the top where we could see nothing. LOL. Then down the trail back to the small Tarn we had just passed on the way up. Through a winding path and old mining road of a boulder strewn moor like area….you climb the trail to a large central plateau surrounded on three sides by mountains. Really neat. A small creek meanders through the plateau and the trail either follows it or you can just go right thru the middle of it. Once on the other side you can find where the Lane Hut was……….and the trail continues up over the mountains and into the next valley. But we stopped here. The trip back we hit the boulder field on the other side of the monolith. Large deep crevasses here, which turned our easy hike to somewhat difficult for about 250 yards. But out we popped back near the mine.

    Easy! Kid Friendly! Great vistas and views. Mine exploration! Creeks with Salmon Frye! We even heard, but did not see a rock slide. Lasted a good 20 seconds. This hike has a lot to offer.

  2. Scott Bailey — April 7, 2019

    I did this hike 4 years ago. There is an overlook to a small glacial pond near the ruins at the top of a ridge. Hiked into the triangle shaped mine. Cool in there. Parking on the road was limited due to the number of blueberry pickers parking. Suggest high clearance 4WD

  3. Shaun Davis — June 15, 2016

    Coming from Anchorage, drive until about 6.5 miles before Wasilla, will see “Trunk Road” sign on right. Take it. At Stop sign, go right. Follow straight through all traffic circles, until you come to a “T” in the road (“Palmer Fishhook), with Stop sign. Go left. Road takes you past a gas station. Might wanna use the BATHROOM, and grab some cold drinks or food. Continue on road again. Will take you directly to Hatchers Pass, IF you follow to it’s end. But, for Archangel Valley trail, take switchback (takes you left), when you see the second scenic view on left, look RIGHT, will see a switchback on right. Take to the end, four miles back, (will see a guardrail), turn around, leave room for others to turn around…..park, and ENJOY!

    Loved Gozilla and King Kong movies as a child, the jaged dark mountain tops here, remind me of those movies! Love it!

    You’ll see a huuuuugeee rock formation other side of guardrail. a huge King Kong (Gorilla) face. Either climb it (not too hard), or simply avoid it all together and walk to the right of tail, to find the other trail around Gorilla face, and out back. Make your own or find trail and enjoy!

  4. The following is contributed by Ross Timm:

    Hiked up from Independence Mine (State Park Area).. established trail they are redoing at this time on right hand side of Mine’s valley (if you are facing looking uphill on the road to the fee station). Nice new route goes by a cool deteriorated sod/corrugated metal cabin, then steep uphill to a hidden tarn.. Water from it runs under overgrown boulders, real neat sound. From Lake you can go left and skirt shore and then boulder field, and make way to saddle, but trail is gone half way there and you are just sloping along steep (sometimes very steep) alpine tundra and boulder fields. Thought we could gain ridge to the right, get around the lake valley, and make it back to the road along a nice gradual ridge, but once we made the saddle we realized it was a little too sketchy: VERY steep drop-offs along ridge and down to Archangel Valley. My two photos are 1. saddle looking down at Tarn (amazingly clear water) and towards road and Bonanza Mine. 2. saddle looking out at Archangel Valley/ Reed Lakes Valley. This route was not really described in guide books or at trail head, but is pretty short; took us 1.5 hours total. The state park mine area is lacking in established trails, at least in my books.

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