For its size, Alaska has surprisingly few marked and maintained trails. A notable exception is the 38-mile Resurrection Pass Trail that connects the communities of Hope and Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage. Starting in mixed spruce and birch forest, the trail gradually breaks out above treeline to reveal panoramas of wildflowers, rolling tundra, and sharp peaks connected by hogback ridges.
If the weather is clear, make the side trip up to the ridgeline due west of Resurrection Pass. The climb is 1,600 vertical feet, but the reward is a truly jaw-dropping, 360-degree view stretching from the Harding Icefield 50 miles to the south all the way to Mt. McKinley 150 miles to the north.
Wildlife is abundant and includes moose, Dall sheep, mountain goats, a small but thriving caribou herd, two packs of wolves, and brown and black bears. Adhere to bear safety recommendations on the trail and in camp.
Resurrection Pass Trip Planner
LENGTH: Hope to Cooper Landing is 38 miles.
RATING: The main trail is easy to moderate, and side trails moderate to strenuous. The Hope trailhead lies at 300 feet above sea level. At the halfway point you top out at 2,600-foot Resurrection Pass, then drop back down to 300 feet again at Cooper Landing. With the long summer daylight hours, you could hike end-to-end in three long days, but five days allows for side trips and sightseeing.
WHERE: From Anchorage, it's 85 miles to the trailhead in Hope; 106 miles to Cooper Landing.
MAPS: USGS topo maps Seward B-8, C-8, and D-8 cover the main trail, Seward C-7 the side routes. You can get USGS maps at The Maps Place 601 W. 36th Ave., Suite 19, Anchorage, AK 99503; (907) 563-6277.
CONTACT: Chugach National Forest, Seward Ranger District, P.O. Box 390, Seward, AK 99664; (907) 224-3374.