Families with children or those looking for a mellow time in the mountains will love this area. The easier terrain of the and the many lakes that are sprinked all around make it a great family hiking choice. This is a delightful route through a magical, almost pastoral landscape. We will pass through rolling hills sprinkled with tiny lakes that sparkle like freshly cut emeralds nestled among velvety green pillows. At the periphery of the central hill country is a ragged ridge line of rugged crags and peaks that form a dramatic backdrop to the gentler terrain of our route. The gently rolling terrain makes this a good choice for a family oriented wilderness vacation or for those just wanting a more mellow adventure.
Our journey begins on the eastern edge of a high plateau with commanding views of the surrounding area including a view into the expansive Chitina River valley to the north. We will work our way slowly across this undulating plateau taking time to explore the many lakes that are hidden behind gentle ridges or tucked away in dramatic cirques at the feet of jagged peaks.
One of the highlights of this route is the opportunity for viewing the many Dall sheep that inhabit the area. The wide open terrain makes them easy to spot from afar. But bring your telephoto lens if you want to get up close and personal with these elusive animals.
There is one difficulty we might encounter - trying to decide on camping sites among the many idyllic spots that beckon at every turn. Bubbling streams with story book waterfalls will compete with towering slopes nearby for our attention.
The Steamboat Hills trip is an excellent introduction to wilderness travel in the Alaskan back country and a great choice for a family oriented Alaskan vacation. This route can be done as a base camp or loop trek.
If you would like to see more pictures of this vacation trek request our CD of photo slideshows from the park.
Contact us if you would like to know more about this Alaska hiking trip.
7 days Anchorage to Anchorage
2 nights in McCarthy, Alaska
5 days/4 nights trekking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Type: Loop/base camp
Difficulty: Easier to Moderate
Duration: 5 day wilderness trek
Group Trips: See online calendar for dates
Custom Trips: Custom trips can be scheduled mid June to mid Sept.
Call to discuss
Day 1 - Transport Anchorage to McCarthy, overnight McCarthy
Day 2 - Day 1 of 5 day Steamboat Hills Trek
Day 6 - Last day of trek, overnight McCarthy
Day 7 - Depart for Anchorage
This is an amazing area that is ideal for those wanting to get the full wilderness experience while keeping the hiking within the easier to moderate range. One of the great things about the Steamboat Hills region is that although the terrain is moderate there is just so much to explore. There are little gem-like lakes that are tucked around every corner it seems and we have plenty of time to hunt them out. For this trek we do a looping route ending up back at our starting airstrip but with a minimum of backtracking.
We have a lot of freedom on this trip and we tailor each trip differently to suit the interests and abilities of the group.
Day 1: Arrive in McCarthy around 5-6:00 PM and meet at Trek Alaska to get acquainted as we as distribute group gear and food. Then it’s off to Ma Johnson’s Hotel to get checked in.
Day 2: We usually get an early start the next morning and are flying into the backcountry after breakfast. Most people find the flight in a small bush plane to be a real highlight of the trip. But before long the pilot is touching down on an airstrip that is little more than two worn tracks on the tundra. It will probably take two flights to get our group into the drop off point but we’re in no hurry. From here we will likely head off towards a sweet little lake that is right on the edge of a steep plateau. This will be our camp for the next two nights.
Day 3: We won’t be moving camp this day so we can enjoy a leisurly breakfast followed by some hiking without the loads. We have a couple of options today to go for a hike up to the top of the nearby ridge where we enjoy spectacular views of the Chitina river valley below. Just enough of a hike to work up an appetite for dinner.
Day 4: Today we shoulder the packs and head off for a spot in Steamboat Hills that I call the Lake District. We’ll set up camp at the first one and enjoy this idyllic spot.
Day 5: This is another layover day so we enjoy a lazy breakfast before packing up our lunch. This is a great day to do a bit of exploring. There are over half a dozen little lakes in the area and some of them are tucked into out of the way corners. But we will have plenty of time to visit them all and still be back in camp for a well-earned dinner.
Day 6: It’s back on the move today as we enjoy our last day in the backcountry we return to our airstrip for the flight back to McCarthy. Later this evening we gather at the Golden Saloon for dinner and a cold brew as we toast our adventures.
Day 7: Depart for Anchorage.
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