Kenai Peninsula: Resurrection Pass and Johnson Pass Trail
The Chugach Forest is the second largest national forest in the USA. This vast 5 940 000-acre area contains an impressive array of forests, rivers, mountains and glaciers. Wildlife patrol the region here, with moose, caribou, Dall sheep, mountain goats and both black and grizzly bear present.
Wolves may also be encountered, as can wolverine, river otters, marmots, and a host of other mammals, along with countless species of birds; bald eagles, ptarmigans, ducks, shorebirds and more. The Chugach has the greatest trail system in Alaska, and Johnson Pass Trail and Resurrection Pass Trails are two of the better backpacking experiences in the region. Enjoy some leisurely lakeside camping, revel in the amazing wildflower display of the lush Chugach forest, and explore the high mountain passes, scoping for wildlife.
Both Johnson Pass and Resurrection Pass trails were carved by the gold miner's of the late 19th century as they made their way north towards the gold fields of Alaska's interior. Similar in their terrain, both trips begin in the lush spruce forests of the Chugach, and gradually ascend through open meadows and traces of aspens stands toward the treeless tundra of the high alpine region. Both trips offer fantastic lakeside camping, and we spend more than a few days here, day hiking and exploring the surrounding ridge tops and relaxing in this alpine playground.
Most lakes here offer good fishing. At 23 miles long, Johnson Pass trail is the shorter of the two, and usually makes a good four day hike. Campsites next to the cool waters of Bench and Johnson Lake are perfect for allowing day hiking and exploration of the surrounding alpine pass.
We allow for 6 nights on the trail on the more popular Resurrection Pass trip, climbing gradually towards the pass, continuing south and ultimately passing Juneau Falls, a magnificent roaring drop of water that plunges deep into the gorge before a final short and easy hike leads us to the trailhead at Sterling highway.
Hiking in Alaska is never easier than in the lush climes of the Kenai, and you'll definitely enjoy this fantastic adventure. These trips are perfect for those on a tighter budget than the fly in trips we do elsewhere, or those not yet looking for an off-trail adventure, but prefer the relative comfort of a maintained trail. It's also a great option for those folks who enjoy the woods, as much of the trip stays within the boreal forest. Spruce, aspen and Black Cottonwood trees grow tall here, and there's a wealth of exploration to do within their groves.