Wrangell - St. Elias National Park: Hidden Creek Backpacking Trip
This backpacking trip is a shorter part of a longer route we do, from Nugget Creek and the Kuskulana Glacier to Kennicott. Your hike starts at the Lakina River, in the Wrangell Mountains, just south of the glaring face of 16 000' Mt. Blackburn.
We hike up towards the mountain, cross a creek and ascend into one of the prettiest little alpine passes in the mountains - locals call it "Oz".
Backpacking this route is becoming more popular every year, and for good reason. It's not an overly difficult hike, though still challenging enough for most folks. It's also flexible with lots of options for exploring the many hanging valleys and ridges along the way. You'll have a blast up here.
The alpine pass between Hidden Creek drainage and the Lakina is simply gorgeous; green hillsides, alpine lakes, hanging glaciers and cirques on the mountaintops. You'll fall in love with this region.
Once over the pass, we descend the drainage alongside Hidden Creek down to Hidden Lake, what's known as a joukaloupe. Then we head north along the lateral moraine of the Kennicott Glacier to our destination at the Fosse.
This trip is the mid-section of the above Nugget Creek-Kennicott route. It's a good option for those maybe not quite up to the rigors of that particular route, but still looking for an adventurous hike in some amazing landscape. We get many of the same big views, with few miles to cross, and we avoid the 2 strenuous moraine crossings at either of the complete route.
This route is possible in just a few days, but really is a great option for a week long trip, allowing time to explore the massive high country up in the pass. The Hidden Creek is one of the prettiest little alpine valleys in the park, if not Alaska, and a real treat to hike through. We then cross a small ridge and ascend up the valley towards Mt. Blackburn and the 'the Fosse', a small depression between the glacier and the western ridge, next to the lateral moraine.
Nugget Creek to Kennicott ExtensionThis trip is quite an adventure; we fly in to a landing strip at Nugget Creek, and backpack through the Wrangell mountains all the way back to Kennicott. Typically an 8-12 day walk for strong hikers. Not for the timid. The route involves some pretty rugged terrain, crossing the Kuskulana Glacier and moraine, as well as the Kennicott Glacier at trips' end. Few people hike this route all the way through, although the mid-section, from the Lakina River to the beginning of the Kennicott Glacier, via Hidden Creek, is a common route.
Highlights on this trip include traversing a 7000' knife edge ridge, or arête, the gorgeous alpine entry in Hidden Creek valley, and crossing Kennicott Glacier toward the end of our route. Views of Mt Blackburn and Castle Peak are superb; we hike within a few miles of Castle Peak, a massive 10 000'+ peak. The route involves crossing a couple of rivers, nothing too major, but definitely something for folks who're good on their feet. The moraines of the Kuskulana and Kennicott glaciers are probably the toughest sections. We'll have some video from this trip online soon.
We travel from Anchorage to McCarthy, overnight in McCarthy and then fly in to the backcountry. A week in the Skolai Pass area and we fly back to McCarthy, show and eat, and then enjoy the afternoon relaxing in the slow-paced rustic town of McCarthy, or venture up to Kennicott and look at the historic copper mine Mill buildings and leftovers of this ghost town. We spend the night in McCarthy, and travel back to Anchorage on the final day.
Where are we?
View Eastern Wrangell Mountains in a larger map