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Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike

Chugach State Park

Anchorage + Western Chugach, Alaska

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Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
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  • Crow Creek at the trailhead.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • View looking back down the Crow Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Small cascades along the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Crow Creek and Crow Creek Valley near Crow Pass.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Crow Pass.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Campers overnighting at Crow Pass.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Crystal Lake at Crow Pass.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Morning dew at near a Crow Pass camp.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Early morning at Crow Pass and Crystal Lake.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • First view of Raven Glacier from Crow Pass.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Hiker looking north down the Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Raven Glacier.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) along the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Beginning the descent from Crow Pass.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) along the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • View down Raven Creek Valley toward the Eagle River.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Small cascades along Raven Creek and the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Raven Creek surrounded by the Chugach.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa) in the Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Waterfall and box canyon crossing en route to Eagle River.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Waterfall and box canyon crossing en route to Eagle River.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Thick wildflowers along the Crow Pass Trail in the Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) in Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Wildflowers in Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Side creek in the Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Monkshood (Aconitum delphiniifolium), a highly poisonous plant, in Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Wildflowers in Raven Creek Valley.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • First view of Eagle Glacier from the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Cugach Mountains along the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Preview of the glacial waters of Eagle River that you'll be required to ford.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Recovering from the sharp sting that comes after fording sub-40 degree water.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Camp along the Eagle River.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • View of the Eagle River and flood plane.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • View of the Eagle River and flood plane.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Waterfalls on the slopes beside the Eagle River viewed from the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • View of the Eagle River and flood plane.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Waterfalls on the slopes beside the Eagle River viewed from the Crow Pass Trail.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Paper birch (Betula neoalaskana) along the final stretch to the Eagle River Visitor Center.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
  • Final leg before reaching the Eagle River Visitor Center.- Crow Pass Trail Thru-Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning wildflower-filled valleys. Glacial pass. Reservable shelter. Proximity to Anchorage.
Cons: 
Extremely cold river crossing.
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Region:
Anchorage + Western Chugach, AK
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,100.00 ft (944.88 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
23.10 mi (37.18 km)
Trail type: 
Shuttle
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,620.00 ft (493.78 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

What was once a part of the famed and historic Iditarod Trail is now the 23-mile thru-hike called Crows Pass. A short 50 miles from Anchorage, this one is choice for an adventurous but not-too-strenuous weekend backpacking trip. It’s a bit crowded, especially on peak weekends, but it’s worth it over and over again. The sweeping views of the glacial Raven and Crow valleys peppered with cascades and ethereal blue glaciers are downright spectacular.

Most choose to drop a car at the Eagle River Nature Center and begin at the Crow Creek Trailhead, though the trek before Crow Creek Pass arguably features the most saturated natural beauty, and many choose to end in its splendor (but let’s be real, every step of every last mile is stunningly beautiful). Plan to gain over 3,000 feet in elevation over the duration of the hike. When spread over 23 miles, this isn’t too serious, though the first 2 miles from the Crow Creek Trailhead are quite strenuous. Plan for some frigid and mandatory creek crossings. Even on the hottest day in the summer, crossing Eagle River can set in a mighty chill. Prepare either with smart waterproofing or queue up a quick change into dry clothes. ALWAYS unbuckle waist and chest buckles on your backpack. The best fording locations are denoted with white sticks. Choose your timing wisely—the water level can rise due to glacial melting under the summer sun as well as after a heavy rain. Typically, the ideal crossing time is in the early morning.

Other mandatory preparations include bear spray and bear-proof food storage capabilities. One hiker reported a total of 13 bear sightings along the trail, and although they typically won’t molest a human unprovoked, it’s imperative to be prepared. 

The local residents are typically quite busy in the Chugach Mountain backcountry during the summertime—keep an eye out for moose, caribou, sheep, wolf, coyote, beaver, fox, hare, squirrels, marmots and lynx, and hordes of birds. Likewise, in the summer months wildflowers proliferate throughout the region and paint the hills in purples, reds, yellows, and whites. Ask any local, or anyone that's ever set foot in this incredible terrain, and they'll tell you it's absolutely a must-do.

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