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blueBlack Crow Pass / Eagle River Trail - Iditarod National Historic Trail

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Trail

22.5 mile 36.2 kilometer point to point
Singletrack
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,213' 979 m
Descent: -4,231' -1,290 m
High: 3,610' 1,100 m
Low: 407' 124 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 61% (31°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Aj Schirack

A multi-day hike from Girdwood to the Eagle River Nature Center.

Aj Schirack

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildlife · Commonly Backpacked

Campfires are allowed only on the wide gravel river bars found next to the trail or in fire rings at rustic campsites. Dogs are allowed off-leash, but you should have good command of your animal and keep them close, and not have them leading an angry moose or bear back to you!

Description

To hike the entire trail, you'll need to arrange for a pickup at the Eagle River Nature Center, which is the north terminus of the trail, and about 70 road miles from your drop off point. (Or do an out-and-back hike from either end.)

From the Chugach National Forest Crow Pass trailhead parking lot, the trail climbs 2200 ft. on a wide, earth and rock trail over the next 3 miles to Crow Pass. Fantastic views of high peaks, thundering waterfalls and the Raven Glacier surround you in the approach to the Pass, although the area is exposed to any weather that might be moving through. A century ago, this was the most-challenging pass for sleddog teams traveling to the Iditarod goldfields from Seward. With the majority of the climbing out of the way, the trail then descends continuously through low shrubs and alder for the next 9 miles to the crossing at Eagle River.

A rustic camping area with a fire ring is found where the trail first reaches the river, although you're still a half mile away from the marked river crossing. The river is approximately 150 ft. wide and quite cold year round, as it flows out of a glacial lake. The height of water can vary by time of day, especially on warm summer days when maximum glacial melt occurs, so you better brush up on your river crossing skills. Look for white posts on either side of the river that denote the best footing and widest (i.e., potentially lowest water) crossing. Plenty of camping can be found in this area if you need to dry out.

After crossing Eagle River, the trail generally follows the north side of the river. Just after the crossing you'll traverse an area of sparse, small trees. This area was was covered by the Eagle Glacier in 1900, but has been exposed as it retreated up valley. The trail then rejoins the river in big timber, with frequent short ups-and-downs to cross small creeks that drain the mountains lining the valley. Although there is little elevation loss and gain on this section, footing can be challenging, as the trail tread is very rocky and frequently narrow. Good camping can be found at the other rustic campsites along the creeks flowing into the river.

The area is known to have plenty of wildlife, so bring bear spray in the event they get curious, though most of the black bears along the way tend to run from humans. Pack out everything you bring in and hang your food so the bears aren't tempted to pilfer your camp or pester other trail users.

Flora & Fauna

Mountain goat (at pass only), hoary marmot, moose, black bear, brown bear

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Aug 16, 2018
Frank Trotter
Great day. Lots of scat, much steaming but no encounters. Distance in one day is difficult, trail itself is between ratings. Fantastic. 25.3mi — 13h 36m
Jul 10, 2018
Brian Emmons
13mi
Jun 27, 2018
Brianna S
9.8mi
Jun 9, 2018
Abe H
Lots of snow above 2000'. Turned around at the top of the waterfall. Other hikers said snow near the pass was knee deep. 4.4mi — 2h 30m
Oct 1, 2017
Aaron D.
Crow Pass in a day! Phenomenal. Best hike to date. Daniel and I slept in the good ole 94 Camry. Started the hike around 5am. Finished at around 5pm. 26mi
Jul 26, 2017
Dan Lackey
Sep 2, 2016
Clay Tettelbach
Sep 2, 2016
Jimmy Mole

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 12 votes

#1

in Girdwood

#165

Overall
  4.8 from 12 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
17%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Rankings

#1

in Girdwood

#2

in Alaska

#165

Overall
24 Views Last Month
1,570 Since Feb 9, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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17%
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How would you suggest getting to the trailhead from Anchorage? Is there a cab? Bus? Hitchhike? Thanks guys Mar 17, 2019

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