Pioneer Ridge and South Summit

Palmer, Alaska

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1 Review
4 out of 5
On a clear summer day, no outing can compare with a hike up Pioneer Peak. This quintessential Chugach trek climbs through a dense forest to rolling alpine tundra and spectacular vistas. Yet Pioneer Peak is also unique, a high peak rising with alarming abruptness from the muddy banks of Knik Arm. Few mountains have such a dramatic profile—and fewer still are so pleasant to climb. A well-maintained trail, stopping just short of Pioneer’s summit, makes the miles zip by. Above tree line you’ll find three improbably placed picnic tables, so pack a lunch and snack in style while admiring Knik Glacier and the distant white peaks of the high Chugach Mountains. Ambitious scramblers can cap off a wonderful day in the sun by continuing to Pioneer Peak’s craggy south summit, a good scramble past the trail’s end.
50 Hikes in Alaska's Chugach State Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

50 Hikes in Alaska's Chugach State Park

by Shane Shepherd & Owen Wozniak (The Mountaineers Books)

On a clear summer day, no outing can compare with a hike up Pioneer Peak. This quintessential Chugach trek climbs through a dense forest to rolling alpine tundra and spectacular vistas. Yet Pioneer Peak is also unique, a high peak rising with alarming abruptness from the muddy banks of Knik Arm. Few mountains have such a dramatic profile—and fewer still are so pleasant to climb.

A well-maintained trail, stopping just short of Pioneer’s summit, makes the miles zip by. Above tree line you’ll find three improbably placed picnic tables, so pack a lunch and snack in style while admiring Knik Glacier and the distant white peaks of the high Chugach Mountains. Ambitious scramblers can cap off a wonderful day in the sun by continuing to Pioneer Peak’s craggy south summit, a good scramble past the trail’s end.

©  Shane Shepherd & Owen Wozniak/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Palmer
Distance: 12
Elevation Gain: 6,400 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 8 to 12 hours
Season: Best in the summer months
Local Contacts: Chugach State Park
Local Maps: USGS Anchorage B-6
Driving Directions: Directions to Pioneer Ridge and South Summit

Recent Trail Reviews

7/31/2006
0

This trail is a fairly long and steep hike. The trail is straight forward until you reach the ridge, where considerable rock scrambling is required to reach the South summit. The views on the way up of the river and glacier are outstanding. On reaching the ridge, the views of the surrounding mountains also open up. Due to incoming rain, lateness of day and awkwardness of terrain near the top, I chose to not complete the final push to the summit.



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May 2018