Wolverine Peak

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 4 stars.
Difficulty
Somewhat Difficult; mostly uphill, but not dispiriting. This is a long day hike; give yourself 5-6 hours.
Connects With
Miles One Way
5
Miles from Anchorage
In town; about a 20 minute drive from downtown
Season
June to September

Description

This is a great day hike and the view at the peak (one of highest in the park) is spectacular. Going 360 degrees, you can see: Canyon Valley, Williwaw Valley, O’Malley, Flat Top, the Chugach Mountains, the Kenai Mountains, the Anchorage Bowl, Cook Inlet, Mt. Susitna (Sleeping Lady), the Alaska Range, and the Talkeetna Mountains.

The Mountain itself resembles a huge bowl (almost like a moon crater). Some people walk along the ridge around the whole perimeter.

If you have some time in Anchorage and can’t get away from the city, I heartily recommend this hike. I think this is one of the best day hikes in the immediate Anchorage vicinity.

Important Information

Once you pass the creek in the lower valley on the way to the trail, there is no water anywhere. Bring an adequate supply with you.

There are a whole lot of criss-crossing trails before you get to the Wolverine Trail proper from the Prospect Heights Trailhead. You basically want to head down the valley over the bridge, then curve around and back up. You should see the sign on the right as as you level off.

If you’re half way up and feel you can’t make it, you have the option of just hiking the moraine on your right or if Wolverine seems to daunting, head further along the Prospect Heights Trailhead, and hike to Near Point.

Etc.

The Prospect Heights 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.

Topo Map

Wolverine Peak topo map

Comments on hiking Wolverine Peak

  1. Riddley — May 16, 2017

    Did this as an after work hike today, 5-16-2017. Left from the Basher Trail head and was at the top in 2 hours, 4.35 miles. There were a few snow patches and sone muddy spots, but nothing too bad. Took 1.5 hours to come back down at a quick walk.

  2. Debbie — July 3, 2016

    Hike 7/3/16 in light drizzle and clouds floating in and around. The hike is not too strenuous, with no scary or sketchy terrain in the summer. Took my young adult daughter for the first time. We didn’t run at all and took short breaks. We took less than 2.5 hours to the top at our relaxed walk up pace. Even with a snack break at the top, taking in the views, and making videos and pics our total time was about 4.5 hours. Our gps said round trip just short of 9.5 miles. Saw marmots and one coyote who serenaded part of our trip up. Lovely day!

  3. Montana Andrew — June 20, 2016

    Hiked this on 06/20/2016. Start to finish 5 hours 15 minutes with a 15 min break at the top and multiple short stops on the ridge, the rest hiking a slow, but steady pace. Warm day in the lower section. Wore shorts and a tank. The wind picked up as the elevation rose up the first valley. Put on a wind breaker and gloves at the top of the ridge. Temperature at the bottom was 72. Temperature at the top was 48 (estimated from temperature watch). Beautiful cloudy views from the top. We couldn’t see the top of O’Malley due to clouds. Heading down there was light rain and much heavy wind. It was still warm at the bottom when we got down.

  4. Daniel bausch — June 14, 2016

    We used this mountain as the starting point for our hike. Took about 50 minutes to ascend at a cruising pace. We then went on to far back along the ridgeline past the lakes. The point is that if you hike at a good pase it takes an hour or 1.5.

  5. Gary Rogers — May 29, 2016

    We started up on April 30 2016 but turned back at 2.6 miles, just a bit past big rock. So we came back and went up yesterday, May 28th. Beautiful weather, tagged summit. I am 62, so not so fast, but what a great hike.

  6. Katie — April 30, 2016

    Thanks to this site I went for the summit today! I am new to AK and my book said this was a 10-12 hr hike. Not so. I am a trail runner, but did only a moderate amount of running today as my dog was with me and it was slippery in spots either from melting snow, rocks or mud. It’s 4/30/16 and there was a light snow at the top. Strong wind in places, but nothing too bad. Did it in 4:15 round trip, but again that was with some running. It is a stunner and I am SO thankful for today! Making my husband go up now while I do kid watch. (They are much too small for this.) very worth-it views from that moraine that is mentioned too and it will shave at least 1.5hrs off the time. The longest part is the short switch-backs right after the rock pile. Gorgeous all along. Goes through forest and tundra. A high alpine wonderland.

  7. Nolan Klouda — November 26, 2014

    This is a favorite of mine because of the steady, gentle grade of the trail to the top. There’s no scrambling required on Wolverine, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a strenuous hike. At 11 miles round trip and 3500 feet or so elevation gain, it takes around 6 hours if you hike at a moderate pace. The length and intensity are similar to O’Malley Peak, but without the scree and jagged scrambles.

    As I write this, I just finished summiting earlier today, on November 26, 2014. The mountain had just received a light dusting of snow the night before, but otherwise there was very little accumulation. There was less than one inch of powder in most places, but a few hidden icy spots. I left the trailhead around 9:00 AM and didn’t see another person until I was on my way down from the peak. I didn’t need crampons until I was within few hundred yards of the top, and I kept them on for the descent to give me better control.

    I would agree with some of the earlier comments about Wolverine being a good winter hike, but urge anyone attempting it to use crampons and trekking poles. There was some ice buildup on the approach to the moraine, after the fork as you break out of the timber and alders. The final approach to the summit would also be dicey without crampons, as it gets steeper and the snow builds up into deep, hard-packed drifts.

  8. Ross Timm — February 21, 2013

    The danger on Wolverine is 1st the overflow on the approach – it can be built up clear ice in areas, ice grippers strongly recommended – and, more importantly, the lateral traverse of the lower ridge approach after you get on the side trail and get up past the stand of hemlocks. This is a north facing slope with wind driven hard packed snow that has a clear slide fall of over a a few hundred yards in many areas, without clearly visible stopping points until the valley shrubs. I have traversed this ridge and been quite scared with just ice grippers. The hard packed snow does not allow trail making unless softened, and when hard packed it has shown signs of slab cracking while crossing it. I have gone across in crampons and felt much safer, but the danger still exists that if you fall you had better be prepared for an arrest. I am continuously amazed seeing people cross these kind of long fall 35-45 degree slopes of hard packed snow with only trail runners on- no traction, no poles even, let alone ice axes. Perhaps they should read my account of my long fall down flat top in similar conditions, with a similar lack of traction devices or a proper thought of arresting my potential fall. I have since turned away from similar snow packed traverses, most recently towards the top of the valley between Flat Top and Peak Two, because there was only one way to cross, a lateral traverse across a long hard packed steep snow field, and we only had ice grippers. Perhaps I am psyching myself out, but those who are only psyched to get to the top and have not thought it out properly are really tempting fate.

  9. James Wright — February 21, 2013

    I noticed that wolverine is not considered a winter hike. I was hoping you would change that as I think a lot of people are missing out on a great trail. A friend and I ran up wolverine today. It was beautiful blue skies, great conditions, a little slippery but totally hikable. We glissaded down to the base of the saddle and hiked the rest of the way out. We only saw one other person the entire time.

  10. GQ Punk — February 21, 2013

    I noticed that this hike does not come up when you search the winter season for trails. I have hiked this in the winter and the trail is well traveled and pretty easy. Just make sure and bring some crampons then it will be a lot easier, but is doable without them depending on the weather.

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