Pepper Peak

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 4 stars.
Difficulty
Somewhat Difficult; it's uphill the whole way but it does have switchbacks
Connects With
Twin Peaks
Eklutna Lake Trail
Miles One Way
4.5
Miles from Anchorage
35; drive north from Anchorage, take the Eklutna Lake exit
Season
June to September

Description

This wasn’t high on my list but I had a Sunday free and wanted to get it on the site. I always thought it was the poor man’s Twin Peaks and that there wasn’t much to it.

Another instance when this website prevented me from making a bad mistake (see Hanging Valley). This was a great hike! The views are incredible! And they get better and better as you reach the peak (or close to it as the last 300 feet are too rocky). You’ll get great views of Eklutna Lake (the city’s reservoir), both branches of Eklutna Glacier, Twin Peaks, and the surrounding Chugach Mountains. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness one of the largest herds of Dall Sheep in the State Park (I counted over 30 of them off in the distance).

You’ll work for the views as the entire hike is uphill, but anybody in reasonably good shape should be able to get to the top if they pace themselves. There are many switchbacks to help you reach the summit. If necessary, there are plenty of great overlooks to stop at.

Important Information

Navigation Alert 1: The actual Pepper Peak trail looks like it ends at an overlook1/3 the way up. Start walking up through the scrub till you pick up the trail again.

Navigation Alert 2: The trail starts at the second bench, or the end of the Twin Peaks main trail. Head up the trail on your right. Some topo maps show the trail starting much further down the mountain.

There are no water sources on the trail unless you want to take a quick hike onto the primitive trail of Twin Peaks to the creek (starts at the second bench on the left) before proceeding up. Depending on the time of the year, the creek may be dry or low so best to pack an adequate supply before hiking.

Be careful on the rocky parts of the trail especially at some of the steep inclines.

A state campground exists at the trailhead on a first come, first serve basis.

Etc.

Please go to the trail description for Eklutna Lake for more information about the entire area. There is a lot to do and see here. It’s a great place to hang out.

There is 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.

If you’re heading back to Anchorage, take a quick side trip and visit the Native Russian Church and Cemetery. Continue straight after the bridge for a few miles instead of taking the left turn onto the Glenn Highway. Stay outside the fenced area and be respectful of the premises.

Topo Map

Pepper Peak topo map

Comments on hiking Pepper Peak

  1. The following was submitted by Chris Kennedy:

    Just went up Pepper Peak, which I’d first read about in your guide. It’s a real gem, and so thanks for the lead.
    I think one thing in the description could be changed. It says: “Navigation Alert 2: The trail starts at the second bench, or the end of the Twin Peaks main trail. Head up the trail on your right. Some topo maps show the trail starting much further down the mountain. Ignore this; it is outdated.”

    I think it’s outdated that this is outdated. There is now a prominent footpath leaving from the first bench and going up the main ridge of Pepper. The trail from the second bench joins it about halfway up, at a little plateau that might aptly be called “Blueberry Heaven.”

    The footpath from the first bench is extremely steep for 1000′ before easing off as the top comes into view, but in dry weather the footing is good and this trail provides a more direct and faster route to the top. It is very scenic.

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