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Shawn Forry
(porkpie73) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra
Alaska Wish List on 10/14/2012 08:08:43 MDT Print View

If you could only visit one range in Alaska, which one would it be? Scenery being high on the priority list.

Thanks

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Alaska Wish List on 10/14/2012 09:20:38 MDT Print View

My experience in Alaska is very limited but here goes. I hiked in the Alaska Range (Denali State Park) and the Kenai Peninsula. Both were great but we didn't really have time to get into a truly remote area. In some ways it was just a more scenic version of a trip to Colorado. If I went back I'd make sure I took advantage of the opportunity to go to some more remote areas.

I think good options would be.
1. Denali NATIONAL park - We could not make it that far but my grandparents went and loved it. Lots of wildlife and very scenic when the weather clears and you can the the mountain.
2. Wrangles - Very big mountains, lots of glaciers. Its possible to get very remote here.
3. Brooks Range - Never been there but some people love it. I'd kinda hate to miss all the big glaciers down south though.

Shawn Forry
(porkpie73) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra
Alaska Wish List on 10/17/2012 13:16:44 MDT Print View

Anyone else been to there? Thoughts?

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Denali and Gates of the Arctic on 10/21/2012 09:59:18 MDT Print View

I backpacked Denali and camped by Gates of the Arctic in 2003. Wow...what amazing places. Honestly, it's so remote and wild, unlike anything I've ever encountered in the lower 48. The tundra is what was soooo impressive and made it different. There are no trails or roads (except the one park road, on which only the park's shuttle buses are allowed) in Denali National Park, and only 4 people (on average) are allowed in each unit. It was one of the most amazing backpacking trips I've ever done.

If you've never been, I can't imagine being disappointed no matter where you go (except I'd probably recommend staying away from the Kenai...too developed for what I was looking for).

The permit situation in Denali is interesting, but if you have the time I'd highly highly recommend starting there. When I go back...and I WILL go back...I'd like to actually backpack in Gates of the Arctic...and I'd never pass up an opportunity to go to Denali again.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
More options on 11/15/2012 02:18:36 MST Print View

The Brooks range is spectacular. Denali ain't a range unless you are making an expedition of it. Great scenery looking up from the valley, though. Wrangell-Saint Elias offers a huge range of scenery and elevations.

Very accessible would be the 3,000-5,000 foot mountains on the Kenai Peninsula. The Resurrection Trail, Hope to Cooper Landing or CL to Seward, gives you easy access ( I had a personal best of 25 trails mikes before seeing another human heading south from Hope). Just get above brushline and you can go for miles off-trail on the ridges. I've done 40+ miles in a day or you could spend a week off trail.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 11/15/2012 02:19:30 MST.

Ryan Christman
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: OH & AK
Re: Alaska Wish List on 11/15/2012 22:43:57 MST Print View

Out of all the places I have visited in Alaska thus far, Lake Clark National Park is very high on the list.

It has been called the essence of Alaska and offers some of everything the state has to offer, along with being the junction of three mountain ranges: The Aleutian Range, The Alaskan Range, and the region's own Chigmit Mountains. On top of that, there are no permit issues, no crowds, and plenty of wild critters to see (yes, we saw a Mama Grizz with cubs and even a wolverine).

Picture this setting: you are standing on the pebbled beach of a turquoise glacial lake surrounded by snow capped canyon walls 6000' tall with only your pack and mind as the float plane that dropped you off fades from view. With no trails and only a topographic map as a guide, over the week you must make your way around the mountains on tundra, through heavy bush, and boreal forest in order to rendezvous with the float plane at a different lake.

We were only a few hours from Anchorage but it was the most isolated I have ever felt in my life. On the same trip we also visited Katmai NP and kayaked in Kenai Fjords NP.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: AK wish list on 11/16/2012 10:50:15 MST Print View

Roman Dial told me that for him the Brooks Range is the best backpacking on earth, so I'd go with that.

The Hayes Range traverse I did last year (Black Rapids to McKinley Village) was amazing and varied, and one I'd do again.