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Destination Alaska: Thompson Pass

See the awesome Valdez Mountains on this off-trail adventure to Point Odyssey and beyond.
march 2010 alaska thompson pass 445x260Thompson Pass (Steve Howe)

Don’t be fooled by the short mileage. The routefinding, utter isolation, and potential for big weather—you’re only 18 miles from Prince William Sound and its frequent storms—up the ante here. But front-row views of the toothy, glacier-clad spires in the Valdez Mountains more than reward the effort. And thanks to the road access to Thompson Pass, set at 2,678 feet beneath the glacier-draped pyramid of Girls Mountain, you don’t have to claw through alder to reach the hiker heaven above treeline.

For a world-class dayhike, trek 5.7 miles round-trip from the pass, crossing pond-dotted tundra benches broken by short cliff bands. Follow the ridgeline east-northeast toward locally named Little Odyssey, the first large bump on the ridge. On the far side, cross the gully and scramble up class 2 rock bands to 4,539-foot Point Odyssey—with its 360-degree vistas. Multiday options: Find superb campsites on tundra shelves below the summit, or hike 10.5 miles (one-way) toward Marshall Pass.

The Way Drive 89 miles south of Glenallen on the Richardson Highway.

Contact nps.gov/aplic/center

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