Temptation Peak

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 4 stars.
Submitted By
Paul "Kegger" Koecher
Somewhat Difficult; distance and Slope near the end of the hike. Approximately 5,000ft Elevation Gain. I highly suggest going with someone who's at least previously been to the Snowhawk Cabins as it is very easy to get lost in the first 2-3 miles of the trail.
Connects With
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
5; off Arctic Valley Road
All year


Once you get on this small trail, stay to the right initially (there’s yet another fork right after you get on the trail…go right). From this point on, follow the extremely small yellow “Trail” signs that have been placed on trees as well as the little ribbons.

Although the trail can be hiked year round, I suggest spring to early summer, as the trail can get very overgrown which makes it even harder to find your path. If you’ve done things right, you’ll make it past the majority of the mud and get to the burned down cabin after about 2 miles. The trail goes to the right of the cabin, back toward the valley…at this point the “trail” sign was behind a tree, so if you went up close to the wreckage of the cabin, just back track slightly and head toward the valley (away from Anchorage).

It’s not as easy to get lost after this point. Just stay on the trail and you’ll break above tree-line after another mile or so. The upper cabin is about 3 more miles up the trail, just before the spine in the middle of the valley. It’s difficult to see until you’re right on top of it. This is a great spot to take a break and grab some lunch before the push to Temptation.

When looking at the spine from the cabin, take the valley on the left. Hike (approx.) 3/4 of a mile back into this valley and Temptation is on the left. Here’s where the elevation gain begins; make your way up to the rounded saddle for your first view of the beautiful tarn nestled within Temptation’s walls. It feels like you’re in a Volcano up there. Follow the ridge to the right of the tarn all the way up to the summit (approx. 5,350ft…although I’ve also read 5,384ft).

Important Information

Necessities: extra socks, 2 meals (sandwiches etc.), bear spray, rain gear, someone who knows the trail.

This hike took my friends and I 10.5 hours with 2 stops at the upper cabin for food. The cabin also has sleeping bags, a camper stove, and some emergency food. The overall slope of this hike was very forgiving on the knees; the only somewhat steep part was the final ascent to the tarn/summit. You feel like you’re the only person in that valley…and you just might be.


Getting to the trailhead: take Arctic Valley Rd from northbound on the Glenn Highway (first exit after Muldoon). Shortly after passing the driving range on the right, there will be a sign that reads “Snowhawk Cabins”. Turn right onto this dirt road and follow it down a small hill to the parking area. I recommend bringing a Mountain bike to go over the bridge (blocked off to vehicles unless you contact Ft. Richardson, 907-384-1476, to get the key – must have military friends or be a member of the service).

There’s a split in the road shortly after the bridge. Take the left road. You’ll soon end up at a fenced in dam of what I believe is Ship Creek. The trail is on the right just before you get to this small parking area and heads immediately up a small hill.

Temptation Trail is on military land. You will need to get a permit to hike there and let them know. Go here for more information.

Topo Map

Temptation Peak topo map

Comments on hiking Temptation Peak

  1. Kat Mcneil — July 14, 2017

    Did this hike many years ago (2003-2004). So sad to see that the lower cabin has been destroyed. We had to be rescued from that cabin in January 2004. Ex husband walked outside and slipped on the ice and snow. Seems like a lifetime ago! Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures!

  2. Ned — February 14, 2013

    If you hike in on the Ship Creek Valley Trail the first couloirs on the lower face of Temptation Peak is a pretty good climb in the winter. Most of the way up it is about WI2-3; there are two crux sections that are probably WI4.

  3. Neil — February 14, 2013

    The scoop is the cabin must be reserved by a military person so you can add that to your website. There is one lady on Post who is in charge of reservations. One month out is the max you can reserve for.

  4. Kathy — February 14, 2013

    My husband, our dog and I just did this hike this past weekend (Memorial Day – 2005- ). We hiked to the Upper cabin on Saturday in 3.5 hours and stayed the night. We hiked Temptation Peak Sunday morning in 3 hours roundtrip back to the cabin, then hiked out of the valley that afternoon in 2.5 hours. It’s about 6 miles to the cabin and 5 miles roundtrip from the cabin to Temptation Peak. This hike is posted in the book “50 Hikes in Alaska’s Chugach State Park” under “Snow Hawk Valley and Temptation Peak.”

    To reserve the cabin the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) on Ft. Richardson needs to be contacted at 384-1475 or stop by the ORC in BLDG 794 on post. I believe the person renting the cabin either needs to be in the military or a DOD employee. Not sure if that is true, so it is worth contacting the ORC. Prior to starting your hike, contact Range Control at 384-6230 or 6231 to confirm that there are no military exercises in the area. If Range control does not answer (as in our case), contact Military Police at 384-0823.

    This was a great hike! We are quite new to hiking in Alaska as we just moved here from the East Coast, so even though this hike is somewhat difficult, even new people to the great outdoors of Alaska can do this hike. There is no trail to Temptation Peak from the Upper cabin, so having good map reading ability is a must. We did not see any wildlife on this hike except Dall Sheep quite far away and some ground squirrels. We were able to spot the Cabin when we were about one to 1.5 miles away. Note some reference points near the cabin because the closer you get to the cabin, you’ll lose sight of it behind the rolling terrain.

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