Destinatons Alaska: Johnson Pass

Hike a historic, kid-friendly trail to wildflower meadows and fish-filled lakes.

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Gold rushers blazed the Johnson Pass Trail, originally part of the Iditarod miner’s route from Seward to Nome. Today, the trail’s bridged streams and easy grade make it perfect for families. In midsummer, fireweed and lupine grow thick and grasses sprout chest high. Nearly the entire trail lies below treeline and trailside vegetation is thick; make plenty of noise as you hike to avoid sudden bear encounters.

Your destination: Johnson Creek Summit’s broad saddle (10 miles one-way, starting from the northern trailhead). Here you’ll find the best campsite hidden on a spruce-covered knoll above the trail, just before it descends to Bench Lake. Pack a rod for the Arctic grayling in Bench and rainbows in Johnson Lake. Return the way you came (the 13-mile thru-hike to Moose Pass is muddy and overgrown, and not worth the shuttle).

The Way Go 96 miles south of Anchorage on AK 1, to milepost 64.