55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska
by Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr. (The Mountaineers Books)
© Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr./The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Everyone who spends more than a week in the Mat-Su Valley eventually finds their way to this Trail. There are two trailheads, one next to the Reindeer Farm and another one off of Mothershead Rd.. The one by the Reindeer Farm is steeper with a bit of hands and feet climbing at spots, but has more views on the trail. The one on Mothershead is a bit easier to climb with ropes to assist at its worst spots. About half way up there are a few benches with a nice view of Palmer and the Knik River. When you break out of the treeline, there's about another hundred yards or so to the top. The view is spectacular of the whole valley and the Knik Glacier. It's just over 900 feet to the top and I've seen all ages climb it. They use plastic mats to help control erosion, so lightweight climbing shoes would be preferred over just sneakers. Cleats are definitely a plus in the winter. This is a very popular trail, so you'd be better off following the rules and keeping your dogs on a leash. There are no waterfalls or streams at any point, so you may want to carry up some water/bowl for your dog during the warmer summer days.
We started on the North trail head located on Mothershead Rd, you can't miss the parking area. The trail starts a bit further up the road. We were met at the trail head by a random sheppard dog who then led us up to the top of the butte like a sherpa. He was nice, got along with our Ridgeback just fine. We did the trail in early April and the trail was snowy the whole way, but nice and packed down. The trail is really easy most of the way up, but has a series of narrow switchbacks that are pretty steep toward the top. The view from the top is spectacular and we spent almost an hour up there. All in all, a wonderful trip, would recommend to everyone!
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