McHugh / Rabbit Lakes Trail

Anchorage, Alaska 99516

McHugh / Rabbit Lakes Trail

McHugh / Rabbit Lakes Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The McHugh/Rabbit Lakes Trail climbs steadily through mixed forests, high grasslands, and open tundra to McHugh and Rabbit Lakes, two azure tarns walled by steep mountains. The trail starts near sea level and gains considerable elevation, but it does so at a gentle grade.

It’s a manageable out-and-back day trip, but Rabbit and McHugh Lakes abound in beautiful (and popular) camping spots. Consider spending a night under the stars and exploring the lake environs the next day."

More McHugh / Rabbit Lakes Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This trail winds through forest, meadow and into alpine tundra
with wonderful views, lakes, and prominent peaks in McHugh
Creek Valley. The McHugh Trail leads through forest, meadow, and brush into alpine tundra and lake country below the craggy Suicide Peaks.

Great views, two lakes, and McHugh Creek’s alpine basin are the highlights of the hike. Moose, Dall sheep, grouse, ptarmigan, and bears frequent this wild valley."

"The McHugh Lake Trail traverses in a northeasterly direction along the McHugh Creek Valley and parallel with McHugh Creek, finally ending at two pristine alpine lakes—Rabbit and McHugh. This excellent full-day hike guarantees outstanding scenic views of Turnagain Arm and Cook Inlet, mountain peaks, glacially carved valleys, mature forests, wildflowers, and Alaskan wildlife.

This is a very popular stopping place with a large paved parking area, picnic facilities, restrooms, and a scenic overlook. In addition to hiking the trails, many people stop here to view Turnagain Arm, bore tides, beluga whales, and a large picturesque waterfall near the road. The facility also has a seasonal park host on site."

"With its blue-black waters set below 2,000-foot walls of the Suicide Peaks, Rabbit Lake is a scenic beauty. Smaller McHugh Lake is just next door. The lakes make good destinations for an overnight or a long day hike. Camping is good, and there are several options for additional hikes and climbs from the lakes."

McHugh / Rabbit Lakes Trail Reviews

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good weather, if not a bit windy. easy mid week hike
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Trail was a bit overgrown and mostly in brush and trees. About a quarter of the hike seemed to be walking in devil's club that was face high. Did see lots of wildlife - a black bear that was about a half mile away (around mile 5), about 15 dall sheep, 2 moose and a momma black bear and her 2 cubs about a mile from the parking area and just right off the trail. Definitely bear country in this area of the Chugach. Due to time constraint, did not make it all the way to the Lakes. I plan to approach the lakes from the North off of Upper Canyon road on the old Rabbit Lake trail, which supposedly passes through some private property. Very pretty valley, but just way too much brush. I might give it a try again as an early Spring hike when the brush has not grown up yet.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
3,100 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
6 to 9 hours
Best in the summer months
Chugach State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Anchorage A-7, Anchorage A-8
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018