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April is still winter in Alaska—the perfect time to take advantage of a little-used route in America’s third-largest state park. Pack extra layers, ski goggles, and snowshoes for this moderately strenuous 4-mile loop, then hike northeast up an unnamed valley from the Alpenglow parking lot. Climb up to the saddle between Mt. Gordon Lyon and Rendezvous Peak—where most daytrippers turn around—then veer left (north) up to the snowy summit of Mt. Gordon Lyon. Drink in views of the South Fork Valley to the east, then trace the crest of the ridge running west from the peak. You’ll likely have it all to yourself, but be prepared for serious wind. About halfway down the ridge, pass the remains of a decommissioned Nike-Hercules missle site. Continue on until you’re above the parking lot, then snowshoe down to close the loop.
Info: $5 parking permit required. (907) 269-8400; www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/chugach
Hike provided by Gregory Fensterman, author of Hiking Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (Falcon).
Location: 61.2466201782226, -149.534164428711