Black Tail Rocks

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 4 stars.
Moderate; steep but manageable when going up Black Tail proper.
Connects With
Ptarmigan Valley
Round Top
Mt. Baldy
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
15; near the town of Eagle River
May to September


After Dan submitted Baldy to me last year, I’ve been itching to check it out and proceed further on to the other mountains nearby. I finally had a chance last weekend to check some out.

This was a relatively easy hike and I’m really glad I did it. Black Tail looks really intimidating from a distance but I was up by the rocks in no time. As you go up, The views are really spectacular and you can really see into the glacial valleys that comprise the Eagle River area. Besides that, you have great views of Knik Arm and if it had been sunny when I went, Denali and the Alaska Range, Sleeping Lady and Cook Inlet. When you get to the top, there are really great views of Mt. Magnificent and Round Top in the clefts of the big rocks on top.

If you live in Eagle River, this is a must for an after work cardio. For East-siders in Anchorage, this is definitely better than Flat Top and a lot quicker to get to. I’m really discovering that the north part of Chugach State Park has a lot more to offer than just Eagle and Symphony Lakes.

I would have continued on to Round Top but between the scree, ominous clouds, and foolishly forgetting to tell someone where I was going that day, I decided against it. Later when I was rambling around the tundra in front of Black Tail, I could see that there would be a sharp descent before going back up to the ridge of Vista.

Important Information

The most common approach is to first summit Baldy, then continue along the ridge to Black Tail.

There is no water near any of the trails. There is a small, boggy tarn off in the valley below the mountain that would be adequate for your dog but would need filtering for humans. There would be a good chance of it being empty if we were having a dry summer.

There are some minor parts on top that require careful footing. Pay attention!

Finding the Trailhead

The trailhead for Black Tail is the same as for Mt. Baldy, found at the top of Skyline Drive in Eagle River. A new parking area was built in 2009 that can accommodate many more vehicles than previously.

Topo Map

Black Tail Rocks topo map

Comments on hiking Black Tail Rocks

  1. The Best-est - PT Adventures — February 5, 2018

    […] (its a a little guy so you might miss it), Mt. Magnificent, Mt. Significant, Vista Peak, Round Top, Black Tail Rocks, and finally Mt. […]

  2. Jacob Buller — August 30, 2015

    i climbed Vista today, and went over Blacktail Rocks in the process. I second the other comment about a melt stream going down the gully in the middle of the west face. On the west side of the gully about halfway down the water comes out of the rocks, I drank some there. Vista is easy to get to but pretty far too. The top few hundred feet are really steep and you have to scramble, and there isn’t much room on top. Great views and room to hike maybe another ten ridge miles back.

  3. The following was submitted by Micah McGuire (Chugachpics):

    To proceed from Blacktail Rocks to Round Top, continue past the summit, down a moderately steep hill for a few hundred feet. A trail will lead up an obvious ridge and then split off between Vista and Round Top. Getting up Round Top is a piece of cake, simply follow the trail up the ridge to the summit. Getting to Vista is equally easy, follow the obvious trail along the ridge. Near the summit of Vista, there is a steeper section that ascends to the summit for a few hundred feet. There is still a trail, but occasionally it requires a tiny bit of scrambling. I did it in some seriously thick clouds, so I may have deviated from a larger trail, but I doubt it.

    I would also like to amend your comment about water availability on Blacktail. If you climb Blacktail via the gully between Blacktail and Round Top, there is a decent stream that goes much of the way up. Good meltwater there.

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