Crow Pass is the highest point on the historic Iditarod Trail and one of the finest day hikes in south-central Alaska. Arctic ground squirrels, marmots, and mountain goats inhabit the high country near Crow Pass, and bears, moose, and Dall sheep are frequently spotted too, especially on the Eagle River side of the pass.
This hike, in groups of no more than 10 guests per guide, is for guests who have previous hiking experience and in good shape. The total distance hiked on this tour may be up to 6 miles round trip. The trail is relatively snow-free by late June, though the Crystal Lake basin south of the pass and some of the gullies north of the pass may hold snow well into the summer. Depending on the weather and the group's ability, your guide will plan the best hike for that day. It is 2 miles one way to a mine site (moderate, steep), and 3 miles one way to Crystal Lake and Raven Glacier viewpoint (moderate, steep, exceptional vistas). The elevation gain from the trailhead to Crow Pass is 2100 feet.
The mining history starts even before you reach the trailhead: The Crow Creek and Girdwood Mines, both just off Crow Creek Road, were two of the earliest mining claims in this part of the state. The Monarch Mine, 1.7 miles up the trail, was a lode (vein) mine active from 1909 to 1938. Just after the turn of the twentieth century, hundreds of prospectors heading for other parts of the state on the Iditarod Trail passed the Monarch's undiscovered vein without knowing it. This is one of Alaska's most impressive hikes.
Please Note: Participants must arrive prepared. Guests must dress in warm synthetic clothes in multiple layers, the top layer being waterproof. Cotton clothes, including blue jeans, are not recommended. Long synthetic pants, a fleece jacket or thin mid layer, and sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes are required. Each guest should bring a backpack, a warm hat, light weight gloves, and sunglasses. Cameras and binoculars are strongly recommended.
Trekking poles, bear protection, a snack, and bottled water will be provided. The tour operates in all weather conditions, at the discretion of the guide. As train tickets must be pre-purchased, this tour must be cancelled a minimum 18 days prior to tour departure to receive a partial refund.