Talkeetna Mountains: Independence Pass-Bomber Pass

Glaciers, high passes, and pristine tundra highlight this intermediate hike.

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Don’t have 2 weeks of vacation, cash for a bush flight, or advanced skills for a remote expedition? Just an hour from Anchorage, The Talkeetnas are your answer. The range is full of pointy summits that call to mind the Wind Rivers or Sierra on steroids, plus endless soaring passes and a wealth of glaciers.
This 5-day, 21-mile sampler is an excellent intro to the route-finding and terrain challenges of Alaskan trekking, but it also offers numerous opportunities for more advanced hikers to explore utterly deserted backcountry. The route hits a little bit of everything by looping through the southwest corner of the Talkeetnas in the Hatcher Pass Management Area, land loosely administered by Alaska State Parks. While the trailheads can be bustling on weekends, you’ll quickly escape the crowds.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 34.2



Location: 61.7917518615723, -149.282089233398

Begin at Independence Mine State Park, hiking through a mile of gold-rush ruins to the steep snow- and-boulder climb over Independence Gap.


Location: 61.8083343505859, -149.30061340332

Independence Pass; a steep notch in the ridgeline begins the route


Location: 61.8134002685547, -149.306259155273

Small backcountry tarn on R


Location: 61.8188171386719, -149.304306030273

Head NE on tundra


Location: 61.8413314819336, -149.287017822266

Dogsled Pass then drop into the broad alpine valley of Peters Creek


Location: 61.8442649841309, -149.28596496582

Good campsite with water


Location: 61.8588485717774, -149.287567138672

Cross Peters Creek; slow climb ahead past a series of alpine ponds


Location: 61.8810653686524, -149.250717163086

Cross a rugged, unnamed pass


Location: 61.8777847290039, -149.226684570312

Continue E over second unnamed pass. Wind through cliff bands with superb views of Montana Peak and the Mint Spires, to the blueberry fields of Bartholf Creek.


Location: 61.8770332336426, -149.22102355957

Beautiful campsite


Location: 61.8786506652832, -149.186370849609

Carefully cross Bartholf Creek


Location: 61.8793182373047, -149.135330200195

From here, climb S up the Bombler Glacier (crampons helpful on the rock-hard ice).


Location: 61.8583984375, -149.119720458984

Pass the remains of a giant B-29 Superfortress that crashed in 1957. Swing W.


Location: 61.8547172546387, -149.1337890625

Cross the sketchy dirt scramble atop Bomber Pass and drop steeply SW down talus to Reed Lakes, a popular dayhike with Matanuska locals.


Location: 61.8479843139648, -149.157638549805

Good campsite @ upper Reed Lake


Location: 61.8226165771484, -149.187423706055

Good trail leads to dirt road.


Location: 61.8044166564941, -149.202499389648

End hike: Pick-up shuttle car or hitchhike 6.2 miles back to Independence Mine.

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