Baldy is my go-to hike to get into the mountains near our home in Chugiak. If I’m looking for a challenging trail run, Baldy’s quick, steep ascent will crank my heart rate up in a hurry. If I’m looking for a quiet escape, the trail is rarely crowded and offers great views of the Knik Arm, the Chugach Range and far to the north, Denali and Foraker. And whether swathed in clouds or bathed in sunlight, the foliage and terrain through which the trail winds offers its own sublime beauty.
The trail steepens quickly as it zig-zags up the face of the 3,038-foot peak, ascending through the upper end of the willow, spruce and birch forest into mossy tundra and finally to lichen-stained rock. As the forest falls away, the views open up, except to the east, where the horizon comes into view only at Baldy’s crest, revealing a corduroy of stony peaks and rugged valleys that march into the distance.
IF YOU GO: MOUNT BALDY
• Distance: 1.5 miles, one way
• Difficulty: Short, but steep, especially at the end. A good hike for children.
• Details: Baldy is located in Chugach State Park and offers commanding views of Denali on a clear day, as well as clear views of Knik Arm and the town of Eagle River, below. It’s a good blueberry-picking spot in early fall.
• Directions: From Anchorage, drive north on the Glenn Highway, and take the Eagle River/Hiland Road exit. Follow it past the Eagle River Road light and turn right on Skyline Drive. Follow this road, despite its name changes, to the end, where the trailhead is located.
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