This trail system is entirely on JBER military land and requires a $10 annual recreation pass permit, which can be purchased online at jber.isportsman.net/. You must also sign in and out as you enter and exit the area. There are times that training exercises are being held, closing the area off, and closures are also posted on the website.
This route begins on the Dome Trail
, so please refer to that trail page for a detailed description of that stretch of the hike. From the Dome Trail
, continue northeast toward a prominent pass between Snowhawk Mountain and Kanchee Peak. Stick to the Snowhawk Mountain side of the pass, away from Kanchee, to avoid lots of low brush as you move through the pass.
There looks like an old Jeep trail when heading towards Snowhawk from the Dome Trail
, and you should take that and traverse over to the pass. We came back following a fairly established trail that hugged the base of Kanchee through the pass and we ended up cross through endless bushes and hidden streams.
As you descend down towards Snowhawk Creek, you'll encounter Snowhawk Trail
which you'll take south (up-valley) for about three quarters of a mile. As of 2017, there was a temporary bridge placed across the stream maybe half a mile from gaining the Snowhawk creek trail from the pass that is not mentioned in any beta I've read.
This really wasn't a great way to gain the spine up to the tarn below Temptation, nor is there a sign of a trail, but the tundra was manageable enough. Once you reach the spine, you'll see a tarn located in a picturesque amphitheater, which would make for an amazing camping spot if it wasn't so far from a trailhead. From the spine, it is a fairly straightforward hike up to the summit.
Gaining the summit, you get great views of Ship Creek Valley, Eagle River peaks, the Chugach front range, and the Knik.
The descent we took, which is different from what is mapped here, was pretty much straight down the scree slopes down to the bottom of the valley where the Snowhawk Trail
is encountered once again. Heading down-valley, north, you'll encounter Snowhawk cabin, which is operated by JBER. Continuing down the trail, you can retrace your steps back to the Dome or you can follow the trail out all the way to Snowhawk Trailhead.
This Featured Hike has a difficult rating due to its length, steep grade, and descent down scree slopes.