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Alaska's Best Dayhike: Penguin Ridge Traverse

Brave mountain scrambles and soak in gigantic views on this 16-mile route.

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All backpackers must visit Alaska  at least once—it’s a rite of passage.
Penguin Ridge TraversePhoto by HagePhoto

Alaska’s best dayhike? Tall order, but photographer Matt Hage swears it’s the 16-mile Penguin Ridge Traverse in the Chugach Mountains. But don’t underestimate this route just because you can see the ridge from the Seward Highway. Expect tricky routefinding and lots of class 3 scrambling on an all-day epic from Girdwood to Bird Creek. Do it in dry conditions in midsummer, with plenty of light. Hage prefers starting in Girdwood for easier navigation and to hit Penguin Peak toward the end.