Twin Peaks

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 3 stars.
Difficulty
Difficult; uphill the whole way
Connects With
Miles One Way
5.5
Miles from Anchorage
35; take the Eklutna exit off the Parks Highway
Season
June to September to the peaks, lower maintained trails can be accessed all year

Description

The trail proper switchbacks steeply uphill offering better and better views of Eklutna Lake. The end of the trail is the second bench. This is a great hike if you’re already camping out at Eklutna Lake. Otherwise, I wouldn’t make a special trip unless you plan on continuing on the primitive trail.

Once you get to the second bench, you can continue up towards your right to Pepper Peak which is a great hike as well.

To continue into the Twin Peaks valley, head into the gulch and work your way towards the two identical peaks (and No!-it’s not named after the TV show). Most of the hike is sub-alpine tundra. The view of Eklutna and the mountains is incredible. You can get to 5000 feet with not too much difficulty and if you’re lucky like I was, you’ll get a chance for up close views of dall sheep.

When I did this hike, it became a very cool moment for me. I was at about 5200 feet when over 50 dall sheep arrived in the valley below. I had to walk through the middle of the herd. It was an incredible experience for me and I hope you can have the same opportunity.

Important Information

The Falcon Guide and the maps make the primitive trail to Twin Peaks a little confusing. First, cross over the creek and the gully. After a little ways, you’ll cross a small stream. Head left and up toward the hill and not right, towards the downward slope. Basically there is a loop that goes around the inner rim. There is really no need to to do this loop as you can head down anywhere and pick up the trail.

If you’re going to go to the very peaks, don’t bite off more than you can chew. From the last part of the trail, it looks very doable. Then when you’re halfway up, you realize just how vertical it is. Think carefully about your approach. I didn’t and had to crab it on my butt to come down because I was unable to stand. It was a hair raising experience.

Do this as a day hike. There is no flat ground anywhere. I wound up scrunched up at the bottom of my tent the next morning.

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 for a few miles instead of taking the left onto the Glenn Highway. Stay outside the fenced area and be respectful of the premises.

Topo Map

Twin Peaks topo map

Comments on hiking Twin Peaks

  1. […] Eklutna: Part of Chugach State Park. Here we kayaked on the most gorgeous lake. We also did the Twin Peaks Trail, which was a 2.5 steep uphill trek to the top but the view was totally worth it. Tip: be nice to […]

  2. Dylan Jacobs — June 17, 2015

    my father and i did this hike on the 12th. (we only did east peak or goat rock, the tallest one) I took about 30,000 steps, according to the fitbit. it took 11 hours. you follow the trail until you make it to the ridge. when you are on the ridge and lose the trail, stick to the left/south side. you loop around the front of the cliffs and go up gulleys when suitable. we made it to the peak in about 6 1/2 hours. the name log has been there for almost a decade! you have an absolutely awesome view, east peak is higher than everything on its ridge, and higher than everything in the vicinity except pioneer peaks. the elevation is 5873′, and the trail starts at 900′. we saw 6 goats up close and almost 20 in the distance. it was very cloudy when we started, and we only saw the sun a couple of times before the ridge. when we reached the ridge, you could see NOTHING north but clouds and the ground steeply descending and disappearing. it made it look like the Edge of The World was out there. just before you reach the peak, you descend to a small saddle that is well worn. it goes to a gulley, and we slid down this on the way home. you just angle back for where you know the trail is on the tundra after you get out of the rocks. it is the first gulley as you come back form east peak, and is a bit red. it is very obvious. it looks questionable, but it is fine.

  3. Toast117 — February 20, 2013

    For those who are planning on summitting East Twin Peak, I would plan on going in a group of no more than three or four people. The couloirs you climb are filled with precariously placed baseball to watermelon sized rocks that you will invariably knock off from time to time. The bigger the group, the more time you will spend cowering next to the cliffs as your companions make their way one at a time up certain sections. With seven people, I was wishing for a helmet, if not body armor. Beyond the loose rock, it is a great route with some pretty fun scrambling and excellent views.

  4. Frank Baker — February 20, 2013

    Below are just a few notes about East Twin Peak (also known as Goat Peak) (5,783′) — not a full trip report.

    East Twin Peak was a good gully scramble August 1, 2009, but there is a lot of loose rock in the gully and we had a near catastrophe. Bruce and I were above and the other member of our party, Dan, was below. He didn’t angle around a big rock obstruction like we did–stayed right in the center of the gully–and we accidentally knocked a bundle of big rocks down on him. One put a big dent in his helmet. He gave up the climb at that point and insisted that we keep going. Against my advice, Bruce didn’t bring a helmet, and had that been him, he would have been seriously injured, or killed.

    In the past I’ve climbed East Twin either solo or with one person, so here are a few things I’ve learned about this one:

    1- Do not take dogs. They will kick rocks down on you. (Both Bruce and Dan wanted to bring dogs on this trip and I insisted they leave them home).

    2- Stage (stagger) every move, both on ascent and descent. One or more stay in one place, to right or left of the fall line, and let one person go ahead. He or she then gets to a safe point, and calls ahead for the next to move. (I’ve always used this strategy on descents, but seldom on ascent. In this gully, it’s totally necessary.

    3- About half way up gully it splits — take the gully to the left, not the right. The right gully has a big rock right in the middle. You can get past it, but that gully has A WHOLE BUNCH of loose rock. Stay left, and that gully will take you right to the summit ridge. At that point, a sharp turn to the left and about 8 minutes takes you to the 5,783′ top. The gully is about 1000′ of the hike.

    The register indicated only two people have climbed East Twin this year and about seven in 2008. I took us about 5 hrs. 30 min. up and about 3 hours, 30 min. down, with plenty of time spent eating blueberries.

  5. Scoobnuts — February 20, 2013

    I Love this Hike! This was one of the first hikes I did in Alaska, and boy did it pay off. I was bored one day and set out to Eklutna Lake for a hike. I started up the Twin Peaks trail and realized it was uphill trail, and also realized I wasn’t going to stop until I got to the top. Once I reached the end of the trail, I spotted a whole bunch of sheep and decided to go up to them. I crossed a little creek and journeyed on up to the rock quarry area and got within 20 feet of the little guys before they flew off down the steep rocks. It was awesome being way up there as far as you can go! I recommend it to people who want to walk off trail and explore.

  6. Ross Timm — February 20, 2013

    I have gone up parts of the official (relatively easy) Twin Peaks trail twice- the first time was early May 2005– the first part is in the forest switchbacks, mostly on the south face of the hillside above Eklutna Lake’s west shore and the campground/ parking area.. There is a first bench right before the trail heads west for a final switchback and then heads up the valley below Twin Peaks to the second bench mentioned as the end of the final trail. That part is on the shaded side.. it was much colder and we started finding snow patches on the trail well before the second bench. By the time we got to the bench we were post-holing. The snow was deep and icy, tearing up our previously sun warmed, short-wearing legs, so we turned back.

    Also- this bench is not really the good stopping point in the summer. There is a distinct trail to a viewpoint on the ridge top on the right, which then leads to a shorter peak to the east of Twin Peaks (and I believe to views into the valley beyond, which would be the same valley you view to the south from the official stop of the Pioneer Ridge trail.)

    We tried it again in mid September 2006. Of course, the trail to the second bench and beyond was clear well before this time, but we still decided instead to go straight up an easily seen side trail right next to the first bench, gaining the ridge that way (a fellow hiker had told us about this trick the last time as we retreated from the post-holing). It is a much drier, warmer way to go, but also very steep. To avoid the side trail’s steep downhill, we went down the main trail. This is definitely an option for a more strenuous hike for the last portion up to the ridge viewpoint, and in late spring/early summer it would be a way to avoid the post-holing on the shady side. Someday I would like to go up the ridge more, or get up Twin Peaks using the gully route.

  7. Frank Baker — February 20, 2013

    Goat Peak–

    I’m not sure of names, but the larger peak at the right-hand side of the photo used to be called Goat Peak–it summits out at about 5,800 feet. I’ve found the best route is directly up a gully on the south face–which can be seen in the photo, at far right.

    Don’t enter the gully until it gets so steep that you can no longer stay on the grassy tundra slope, at right. Stay in the gully all the way–about 2,000 feet of climbing. Always stay in the center of the gully to avoid the cliffs. When you crest out hang a sharp left and follow the ridge to the summit. Rock scrambling skills are required but it isn’t technical. I’ve done this route four or five times without any ropes or protection. Take time and care on the descent. However. If you don’t feel comfortable in the early portions of the gully–turn around–it doesn’t get any easier.

    Etc:

    I’ve always done this trip when it’s dry and the rocks aren’t slippery. If the weather is good, it’s pretty good bivouac up on top if you make yourself a flat place among the rocks. Great views.

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