Backpacking the Talkeetna Mountains

Backpacking the Talkeetna Mountains

Perhaps Steve Howe of Backpacker Magazine described the Talkeetnas best. In his May 2003 article he said, “Once we dry out, I’ll be grateful for this more intimate encounter with the surprising Talkeetnas. I’d expected rounded talus peaks, but these summits are awesomely steep, and the tundra travel is as rugged as anywhere I’ve seen. Separated from the Chugach by the Matanuska Valley and Glenn Highway, the Talkeetnas have their own distinct flavor, a blend of sawtoothed pinnacles, milky creeks, and rock-hard glaciers, spiced with strong overtones of remoteness and solitude. We’ll hike out in the morning, but a glance at my map shows another hundred miles of higher, snowier mountains to the north. By the time Joe hands me a steaming mug, I’ve already resolved to return with a tent and full food bag”.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

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Trip Details

DURATION 4 days
LENGTH 25+ miles
INTENSITY Level 2
SEASON Summer
MIN AGE 12
BEGINS IN Anchorage
ENDS IN Anchorage
AIRPORT Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
Moose, Bear, Lynx
Price$995
Youth Price$995
Great ForFamilies Couples Individuals

This 25 mile backpacking adventure will give you a savory taste of this rugged range. From the sublime beauty of Reed Lakes to the granite peaks above the remote Mint Glacier, our 4-day tour of the Talkeentas offers the full spectrum of Alaska backpacking challenges. Some of our hiking will be done off-trail and will include glaciers, rugged mountain scenery, and remote splendor.

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Trekking poles
  • Roundtrip transportation from Anchorage to Chugach State Park
  • Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 guest to guide ratio
  • All meals & snacks from lunch on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
  • Storage for your extra travel items while in the field
Day
1

Your trip begins today in Anchorage, Alaska. Your guide will pick you up this morning at your hotel or B&B at 8am. You’ll load into our passenger van and will begin the drive north to the Talkeena Mountains. Your route will take you from Anchorage along the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains and into Alaska’s breadbasket – the Matanuska/ Susitna Valleys. From rural farmlands along the highway to the foothills of the Alaska Range, this drive will introduce you to Alaska’s real character. By noon we’ll be hoisting packs for the beginning of our 4 days and 3 nights in Alaska’s oft overlooked Talkeetna Mountains. Today’s route will take us up the Reed Lakes trail and then off-trail up into the alpine tundra above the lakes. Tonight we’ll camp next to a small creek beneath a high alpine pass after a total of 5+ miles and nearly 2500’ of elevation gain. Lunch & dinner included.

Day
2

After a hearty breakfast and hot drink, we’ll begin the day with a one-mile off-trail ascent to a narrow alpine pass – our link into the Mint Glacier valley and the Little Susitna River. We’ll then begin a long descent into the valley where we’ll continue up toward the valley’s headwaters. Our final destination will be the Mint Glacier itself. Today’s hike will take us approximately 6 miles elevation gain of approximately 2000’ and loss of nearly the same. We’ll be camped near the ice by late afternoon and will spend the evening enjoying the Alaska evening daylight and a gourmet meal. All meals included.

Day
3

Today, we’ll shoulder daypacks today and explore the dramatic upper reaches of the Mint Glacier. Weather and snow/ice conditions will determine our specific choice of objective; however we can expect to cover approximately 6 miles with at least 2000’ of elevation gain and loss. Huge granite walls, neck wrenching vertical relief, and rugged terrain shaped by the retreating glaciers common to Alaska’s remote mountain ranges characterize the upper reaches of this stunning valley. All meals included.

Day
4

After breaking camp, we’ll begin our descent out of the upper Mint Glacier. Our route will take us out the Little Susitna River, the entirety of the Gold Mint Trail, and back to the trailhead. In all the day will include 3000’ of elevation loss and 9 miles of backpacking. We’ll return to the van by 5pm and will be back in Anchorage no later than 8pm. Please schedule all homebound flights for after 10pm. Breakfast & lunch included.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

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