Chena Dome

Fairbanks, Alaska 99712

Chena Dome

Chena Dome Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A strenuous trail into alpine country, with wild?owers, berries, and spectacular views in Chena River State Recreation Area. A hike for true animals, the Chena Dome Trail loops around the Angel Creek watershed on an alpine ridgeline with views that go on forever.

About 3 miles of developed trail lead to the ridgeline from either trailhead, and from there the hike is an alpine route marked with rock cairns and mileage posts. To follow this route, especially in inclement weather with low visibility, map-reading and route-finding skills are essential."

Chena Dome Trip Reports

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I made the mistake of going on this trail in two conditions that made it worse than hard. It was far to late to find water on the trail, forcing me to carry 90 pounds of water. And the forrest fires made the sight worth about nothing. The farthest I could see was about 30' at any given time. But for the challenge, it was a nice one. There is a old WWII plane around mile 8, very neat to look at. However, in Aug... don't bother looking for that spring. I spent 1/2 a day looking for it with no luck. I'm going agian, I hope to getting a better time around. Good luck!
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This trail is incredible in terms of scenery, challenge, and sheer isolation! If you're not in great shape, it is quite a challenge- by the third day, I was basically dreading every step. But the first two days made up for that. The hike up the ridgeline on the first day was totally cold and wet, but we found a great camping spot about 7 miles in, next to a big patch of snow, that we used to replenish our water for the next day. Water was extremely scarce, we found some pools up high on the second day. If you see these, DON'T PASS THEM BY. We didn't find anything deep enough to filter on the third day. We had four dogs with us, they LOVED the hike, but even our wolf/border collie was sore and depleted by the middle of the last day. They found enough wet ground to lap some water out of.

The cabin/shelter is okay for eating in, but I would recommend sleeping in your tent to stay warm... when we were there, the little stove wasn't properly vented and the cabin was drafty.

I would HIGHLY recommend this trail... Fun, beautiful, challenging!

We found a lost dog on our way down to our car at the end, and called the owner, who treated us all to prime rib at Two Rivers! I can't guarantee that this will happen to you.
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I disagree with the previous review. Although the setting is not quite as dramatic as Denali Park or the Brooks Range, this is a challenging hike. The ascent is steep and grueling. As with any Interior Alaska hike, be prepared for just about any weather. Take a day hike above the tree line or spend a couple of days backpacking the trail. Significant portions of the trail are burned thanks to a forest fire during the summer of 2002. The real allure of this trail is the challenge of the hike - there aren''t really any attractions (except for great views of the valleys) like the rocks at Granite Tors or Angel Rocks. And just to correct the previous review, hiking along the road in Denali National Park is permitted; the rangers do not care. If you have a backcountry camping permit, you do have to camp out of sight of the park road.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
8,300 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
June through Sept, water availability is best in June
Alaska State Parks, Northern Area, 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 99709; (907) 451- 2695;
Local Contacts
USGS Circle A-5 and A-6, Big Delta D-5 (route not shown); Alaska State Parks leaflet Chena Dome Trail
Local Maps

Trail Log