Friday, June 17, 2016

Crow Pass as a Day Hike

Since I was already in Girdwood, my family came up and joined me the last day and we did the hike I have been itching to do for years, since I backpacked it with a group of 25 folks from the Lower 48 about six years ago:  Crow Pass. I wanted to see if it was as beautiful as I remembered it, and as easy. It was more beautiful than I remembered it (perhaps because I was with fewer people so I could stop, look around and enjoy it more) and it was as easy as I recalled. We were doing it as an out and back.

From Alyeska Resort it was a 20 minute drive, up the gravel Crow Pass Road to the trailhead. The first part of the trail climbs through alders with only peeks at the mountains between them. Shortly one climbs gradually out of the alders and brush into the barren mountainous region of Crow Pass. An impressive waterfall thunders through a chasm to the left of the trail, with a narrow ledge one can scootch right next to the plummeting water. 

A relatively easy stream crossing before one reaches the top slowed me down a bit but I still managed to get to the the top in an hour, including a stop at the falls. I opted to get only to the level area I'd camped with the group years before. It was still covered with feet of snow this time. Further along was the Crow Pass sign, the "official" pass, and a glacier off the the right of the trail that one can walk onto if so inclined. We were not, particularly as the kids were planning to hike the Primrose-Lost Lake Trail that same afternoon so we were watching the time.

Here are a few shots of this relatively easy hike, which I hear climbs 3 miles and is at 3500 feet (not sure what gain that is).

Pussy willows were budding out and the snow is down to a few feet on the trail 

"Historical mining" apparently contaminated the earth in this area, resulting in this warning to not touch the soil or drink the water from this area which is on the way up Crow Pass

Mountains, is a gorgeous mountain valley. This is looking towards Girdwood from partway up Crow Pass

Here is my humbly unprofessional video of the area--for a 360 view:

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