Chugach National Forest, AK: Devil's Pass

Easy routefinding and life-list sights make this hike from Devils Creek to Summit Creek a must for Alaska novices.
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Easy routefinding and life-list sights make this hike from Devils Creek to Summit Creek a must for Alaska novices.

With the massive Kenai Range and rugged Gilpatrick Mountain as backdrops, your photos will make this trek (mostly on trails) look a lot harder than it is. Sample the best of the area on this 20.7-mile point-to-point (no extra car needed; the 4.5-mile road shuttle on the Seward Highway is easy to hike or hitch). And don’t mistake trails for crowds: The open tundra country above treeline makes solitude guaranteed for those who seek it--just head cross-country almost anywhere between Devil’s Pass and Summit Creek, and find your own private Alaska.

Begin by climbing 8.2 miles and 1,300 vertical feet on Trail #5 to wide-open Devil’s Pass. Continue 1.5 miles to a junction and the Devil’s Pass Forest Service cabin, ($35/night,; book up to 180 days in advance). Just southeast of the cabin, take the fork signed “Hope” (Trail #17) and follow it 1.75 miles, to an old trail that forks east just short of Resurrection Pass. Look up to the east and you’ll see Trail #48 (officially an unmaintained route, but in fine condition) switchbacking up to ridgeline. On the ascent, avoid beaver pond swamps by rounding their northern end. After the pass, a small pond just southeast of the trail at mile 13 makes an excellent, isolated campsite. Schedule an extra night here, or at another tundra pond at the head of Colorado Creek, just north of the Summit Creek Pass, for a three-day adventure.

Beyond the pond, drop steeply down to East Creek, passing another lake (too swampy for good camping). Climb gradual trail east to your last pass, at mile 16.8, a narrow gap set amid rocky cliffs, and descend into Summit Creek drainage. Extended backpacking option: The ridgeline north from this pass is also the junction for a three- or four-day off-trail trek northward, through the headwaters of Colorado, Fox, Fresno, and Pass Creeks, to the town of Hope. To finish the shorter alternative, head four miles down the Summit Creek Trail--steep, and overgrown with shoulder-high grass down low. End at a trailhead near milepost 35 on the Seward Highway.

--mapped by Steve Howe

MORE INFO: Alaska Public Lands Information Center, (907) 644-3661;

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 33.3



Location: 60.55914, -149.581521

Devil's Pass trailhead


Location: 60.555042, -149.59441



Location: 60.55248, -149.628781

Campsite with bear box


Location: 60.571441, -149.680767

Near mile 5.1 is another campsite with bear box


Location: 60.604837, -149.717091

Bridge at mile 8


Location: 60.608251, -149.718722

Devils Pass Summit


Location: 60.620349, -149.750712

Junction with Resurrection Pass Trail


Location: 60.621512, -149.752193

Devil's Pass Cabin ($35/night.


Location: 60.630105, -149.722641

Old trailbed veers to right


Location: 60.63895, -149.721801

Junction to Summit Creek Trail (APPROXIMATE)


Location: 60.632465, -149.711083

Author's route intersects with trailbed


Location: 60.632666, -149.700578

Unnamed Pass at mile 12.3


Location: 60.633263, -149.685436

Excellent campsite beside unnamed lake


Location: 60.640127, -149.670165

Large lake: Muddy shores and swampy ground makes for poor camping. Move on.


Location: 60.621798, -149.625171

Scenic pass into Summit Creek. Good campsites on ledges between small cliff bands; water available from tarns.


Location: 60.616743, -149.531152

Trail register


Location: 60.617023, -149.530501

The end: Summit Creek trailhead parking lot.

Unnamed pass

Location: 60.632122, -149.703827

Campsite view

Location: 60.633553, -149.688549

Fields of purple

Location: 60.597082, -149.7155

More wildflowers

Location: 60.554916, -149.654388

Wild raspberries

Location: 60.553228, -149.649582

Green mountain views

Location: 60.561666, -149.674988

Mountain bikers

Location: 60.608879, -149.71962

Devil’s Pass Forest Service cabin

Location: 60.621008, -149.750519

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