Hidden Valley

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 3 stars.
Easy; gentle increase in elevation
Connects With
Ship Lake Valley and The Ramp
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
In town; about a 20 minute drive from downtown
May to September


This is an easy place to get to with lots of places to explore and wander about. Hidden Valley is a gently sloping glacial valley with really cool rock formations. A creek with lush greenery runs through the middle.

On the south side, a huge jagged mountain known as The Wedge dominates a reddish rocky terrain that almost seems Mars like. Off to the side is a small lake.

On the north side of the valley, near O’Malley Peak lie 2 tarns (the upper one being Hidden Lake) with a waterfall connecting the two. Also to the north is a rocky pond on top of a cliff with a stunning view.

I used to just walk through here to get to Ship Lake but now I stay overnight and continue on the next morning. Most people camp out right in the flat part of the valley but I like the upper Hidden Lake which is ringed by a mountain so it seems a lot more cozier. Once I saw a wolverine (a very rare sight) run up the mountain.

On the east side of the lake is a trail that runs up the moraine and onto Hidden Peak. It makes a great “day” hike after dinner.

This trail also makes a fine day hike. Either way, make sure you go to The Ramp to check out the view. And take the time to really walk around and check out the whole area.

The following was added August 13, 2006:

Since it looked like it was going to be a crappy weekend, I didn’t feel like driving a long way for nothing, plus I wanted to be near the trailhead in case it was really coming down. I thought I’d camp near Rock Lake, near The Wedge as this part of the valley is really cool and I’ve never really taken the time to explore it. Surprisingly, the lake is gone! It must have drained out or something. I can’t believe it dried up as this year has been very rainy.

Luckily, there was a meltwater pond nearby so I set up camp on a secluded moraine. Later on, I really walked around the area. This part of the valley is so cool! It’s just one endless rocky tundra with tons of moraines. There’s no privacy at Hidden Lake, but you could be 10 yards away from someone and not even know it on this side. Next time you’re looking for a quick and easy getaway but want some solitude, head over to this section.

Important Information

At the start of the trailhead you will have to cross Campbell Creek using a line of medium size boulders. If you don’t have confidence in your balance, the water is about 1 foot if you want to just go ahead and ford it. Don’t forget to detach your chest and hip straps on your pack.

It can get pretty windy up here. Make sure you face your tent away from the wind and have it securely tied down.

This is a pretty popular place for Anchorage residents so the solitude factor can be low on the weekends.


The Glen Alps Parking Lot requires a $5 parking fee (bring exact amount). The price for an annual parking pass is $40. You can purchase a pass at the Federal Building at 4th and F or the Atwood Building on 7th and E, 12th Floor.

Here are the directions for getting there: take the Seward Highway to the O’Malley exit and head east. After a few miles, follow the signs to Glen Alps. Make a right on Hillside Drive then a left on Upper Huffman. Turn right on Toilsome Hill. this road will twist and wind up the hills for about two miles.

Topo Map

Hidden Valley topo map

Comments on hiking Hidden Valley

  1. Anthony Martin — August 28, 2018

    Objectives: To incorporate a bike to facilitate access, hike up the Ramp, hike the ridge to the base of Hidden Peak, and recon a link between O’Malley Peak and Hidden Peak. The day turned out beautiful with fall colors, the start was late, the total trip from downtown to the Flatop parking lot and back was 8 hrs. I used a bike from the parking lot to the the Hidden Lake trail head bridge. Round trip trailhead to trailhead was 6 hrs (I’m no speed demon). The bike was a pleasant warm up and cool down; and probably saved over an hour & a half of walking on the Powerline Pass trail. The trail to Ship Pass crosses a creek and I crossed too low ( there was a trail that veered off to the right) which necessitated crossing another creek (slippery rocks). It is probably best to cross where the main trail crosses this creek and intercept a low ridge, on the north side, that parallels the creek from Ship Pass . No trail markers of course. Higher up I lost the trail and more or less navigated up somewhere between a 1000 and 1100 meter contour. I ended up intercepting the pass at 1250 meters. Great views that kept getting better. Steep climb, but OK. Very small rock platform on top. I then worked the ridge going west towards the base of Hidden Peak. This was a great hike. My route ended at a big block of rock (1450 meters) at the top of the ridge which leads to the main trail and trailhead (the lower part is easily seen from high or low). I opted not to go to the top of Hidden Peak because of time, but didn’t see any problem. I wasn’t sure about the link between Hidden and O’Malley, another day. I also scoped out the southern slope approach to O’Malley, another day, maybe. Using a bike opens up some opportunities.

  2. The following was submitted by Jean:

    08.20.08 – Hiked up there with Molly and Jen, with 2 of our dogs as well.

    The bridge mentioned before still has it’s sign up. The steps on the north side (‘other’ side if outbound) of the creek have not been completed yet, just FYI.

    What a great hike though! It is always a pleasant surprise to go through so many terrain changes in a short distance. I would love to spend more time exploring the area. Probably won’t be able to this summer, but I’m not going anywhere.

    Bonus: We found about six delicious blueberries! Well, the way this summer has been, it was exciting to me. 🙂

  3. The following was Submitted by Kris Scorup on July 9, 2008:

    In “Important information” you stated, “At the start of the trailhead you will have to cross Campbell Creek using a line of medium size boulders. . .” There is now a bridge over the creek, although when I went (July 5 2008) the bridge was marked with “do not trespass” signs. Since the creek was high, we trespassed anyway. The bridge is fairly massive – probably 4 feet wide. Just FYI. Thanks for the great site! My wife and I hope to get out more this summer!

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