Mt. Magnificent

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 4 stars.
Difficulty
Somewhat Difficult; very steep sections, not recommended for physically unfit. The last part of trail (false summit to true summit) should only be attempted by experienced hikers as it involves rock scrambling and precarious sections to cross.
Connects With
Mt. Significant
Miles One Way
2.5
Miles from Anchorage
15; in the town of Eagle River
Season
June to September

Description

When they named this mountain, I don’t think they were referring to the mountain itself, rather than the view. It’s amazing and 360°. It gives you a real sense of the Eagle River area of the Chugach State Park, including the BaldyBlacktail-Vista range, the North Fork of Eagle River (and it’s glacier source at the end), the entrance to the South Fork, and the Gordon LyonsRendezvous range. In addition, you can get a great view of the town of Eagle River, Knik Arm, and I suspect on a clear day, Denali and the Alaska Range.

While the actual distance is short, this is a real cardio workout. From the trailhead, you’ll switchback up a steep wooded area till you get to a saddle on the mountain. If you head left, you will head to the overlook section, 2 rocky knobs and beyond to explore and see the views. If you head right, you’ll start heading to the summit. The first section is a real lung buster, but it’s over before you know it. The next section is a lot easier to manage and takes you to the false summit. For the majority of folks, I recommend this is as far as you go. To get to the summit, at least from what I could tell from this point, it looks as if you’d have to do some scary rock scrambling over some precarious sections. The views from the false summit are amazing, so why risk it, unless you’re someone skilled in that kind of hiking.

For those who do want to go to the summit, you can even continue on to Mt. Significant, but be prepared for a long day.

While the elevation gain and steepness of this hike made this a real effort for my dog and I, it didn’t take too long.  We managed to go the false summit and then headed over to the Overlook section.  We were back at my truck in less than 3 hours and we certainly weren’t rushing.

For those in Eagle River, this is a great after-work, weekday hike.  For others, definitely put this on your list!  If you’ve hiked the other parts of this area, it’s a great new perspective to see where you’ve been.

Important Information

There is not a lot of parking available near the trailhead. Be prepared you may have to park far away and downhill.

There are no water sources anywhere! Bring and adequate supply.

I would imagine this trail would be very muddy in rainy conditions and very slippery. As stated above, the steepness in some sections would command extreme caution under those conditions. The same caution applies if icy in early or late season. Be safe and bring a walking stick.

Finding the Trailhead

Take the Eagle River exit from the Glenn Highway, then take a right onto Eagle River Road (where the Wal-Mart is). After about 2 miles, take a left on Mile Hi road. Keep switch backing up till you see a sign right in front of you that says, “No Parking Beyond this Point”, just to the right of this is the entrance to the trailhead.

As for finding the trailhead from the parking area: go past the gate and head to the end of the road. At the very end is a small, fenced in structure, with a metal utility pole sticking out of it. The trail is to the left of it.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Topo Map

Mt. Magnificent topo map

Comments on hiking Mt. Magnificent

  1. Jak — May 26, 2016

    This is a great hike but like the description says, not recommended for the unfit. I personally hiked this after hiking Baldy and deciding to adventure a bit. It’s farther than it looks from the summit of Baldy and there’s several false summits (the real one is able to be seen from Baldy so one can get a good idea of where it is beforehand, but it’s covered by the angle of the false summits soon enough. It’s steep for most of it, hence the warning for the unfit, but the view is well worth it. 10/10, would hike again

  2. The Best-est - PT Adventures — April 23, 2016

    […] from the Mile-Hi trailhead you first pass Mt. Tucker (its a a little guy so you might miss it), Mt. Magnificent, Mt. Significant, Vista Peak, Round Top, Black Tail Rocks, and finally Mt. […]

  3. Paul G — August 7, 2015

    This was a great hike for a newbie. Definitely worked the lungs. Well worth the trip. Views were incredible and the blue berries were plentiful. Would recommend it.

  4. Cody B. — May 10, 2015

    The above description is dead on, except where Chris clarified the false summit to summit trail. I also thought it was much easier than appeared and once you hit the upper north side, you find a relatively gradual incline to the flag pole. It is a perfect spot to take it all in.

  5. The following was submitted by Chris Kennedy:

    The continuation to the true summit is not as hard as it looks. In fact, if you pick the right sheep trail along the left (north) side and you’ve got nice dry conditions, it’s not much harder than the last hundred feet of the regular route up Flattop. The little trail takes you about a hundred yards around till you can easily scramble up the grass to the summit.

    I replied back:

    I saw the trail that wraps around the left. I thought it was a dall sheep trail. Still looks scary to me. Is it sturdy? Is there a big drop off?

    He responded:

    There are two little sheep trails out of that final pass–one that leaves more or less right at the level of the pass and another you can take after scrambling 20 or 30 feet up the ridge. The lower one is the better one, and yes, it’s stable. It’s one of those deals where it looks way worse than it is (which beats the opposite situation that we’ve all also experienced, where things turn out to be way worse than they look). Once you’re out there, you realize that while the slope is steep, it’s not steep enough to hurt yourself badly as long as you pay attention. I actually think that top bit of Flattop has more real risk than this one–Flattop has a longer scrambly section with more chances to take a wrong step, not to mention your friendly fellow hikers knocking rocks down on you! But this might be slightly more intimidating, just because the slope is dark and it goes DOWN so far, even though it’s not really steep enough for a bad fall.

    That said, the N face of Mt. Magnificent is not something most casual hikers would want to do in the wet or with any snow on it–the first time I went up there, there was some snow and I just said forget it. In slippery conditions you could go for a longer slide and get cut up on those sharp Chugach rocks.

    So, Bill, you’ll just have to schlep all the way back up there and try it again!

    I haven’t gone on down the ridge toward Mt. Significant, but from the top that looks pretty straightforward … but, as you said, it would be a heck of a long day out.

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