Hatcher Pass

Management Area - Alaska

The Hatcher Pass Management Area primarily consists of mountainous terrain in the Talkeetna Mountain Range that climb from the 1000 ft. valley floor to summits higher than 6,000 ft. The area includes more than 30 prominent summits and associated glaciers. It can be accessed on paved roads and is only an hour and 20 minutes away from Anchorage, and 20 minutes from either Palmer or Wasilla. The Palmer-Fishhook road north of Palmer from Mile 49.5 Glenn Highway leads to the east side of Hatcher Pass while the Willow-Fishhook Road off the Parks Highway leads to the west entrance. Hatcher Pass offers access to extraordinary mountaineering terrain, beautiful mountain scenery, gold panning, berry picking, hiking, biking and horseback riding in the summer. It also offers mountain skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter. Hatcher Pass has a rich history of gold prospecting, claims and active mining, and includes Independence Mine State Historical Park.
Hatcher Pass MA https://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/hatcherpass/hatcherpass.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatcher_Pass The Hatcher Pass Management Area primarily consists of mountainous terrain in the Talkeetna Mountain Range that climb from the 1000 ft. valley floor to summits higher than 6,000 ft. The area includes more than 30 prominent summits and associated glaciers. It can be accessed on paved roads and is only an hour and 20 minutes away from Anchorage, and 20 minutes from either Palmer or Wasilla. The Palmer-Fishhook road north of Palmer from Mile 49.5 Glenn Highway leads to the east side of Hatcher Pass while the Willow-Fishhook Road off the Parks Highway leads to the west entrance. Hatcher Pass offers access to extraordinary mountaineering terrain, beautiful mountain scenery, gold panning, berry picking, hiking, biking and horseback riding in the summer. It also offers mountain skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter. Hatcher Pass has a rich history of gold prospecting, claims and active mining, and includes Independence Mine State Historical Park.
Welcome to Area History For More Information Alaska State Parks Mat-Su/Copper Basin Area Office 7278 E. Bogard Road Wasilla, AK 99654 Hatcher Pass Management Area, located in the southwestern Talkeetna Mountains, owes its rugged, vertical landscape to tectonic collisions occurring along the Castle Mountain Fault. The fault—crossing under the road a few miles south of Hatcher Pass—forced ancient slabs of rock skyward, with some containing veins of gold that would attract fortune seekers millions of years later. (907)745-3975 www.alaskastateparks.org H atcher P ass East Management Area Robert Lee Hatcher discovered lode gold near the summit of Skyscraper Mountain in September 1906. After the discovery, the area sprang to life with industry and multiple mining interests. Business was booming, but when the United States entered World War II, gold production was deemed nonessential and the mines fell silent. Welcome Long ago, miners wandered into the Talkeetna Mountains searching for gold, but what they found was even more precious. With over 300,000 mountainous acres, historic sites, and diverse wildlife, Hatcher Pass is one of Alaska’s favorite backcountry getaways. Most of the Hatcher Pass East Management Area is managed by Alaska State Parks. However, portions are cooperatively managed with the Division of Mining Land and Water and the Mat-Su Borough. Hiking, biking, berry picking, paragliding, and horseback riding will thrill you in the summer. Skiing (cross-country and downhill), snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmachining will chill you in the winter. Beautiful alpine scenery can be appreciated any time of the year. After the mines closed, local residents were quick to realize the value of the access roads leading deep into the mountains. The area surrounding Hatcher Pass became known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. In 1974, Independence Mine was added to the National Register of Historic Places and later to the Hatcher Pass Management Area. Camping Hiking Hatcher Pass East Management Area has two camping areas located along Hatcher Pass Road: Government Peak Campground (mile 11), and Gold Mint Trailhead (mile 14). Well water is available at both campgrounds. Backcountry campers must set up camp at least 0.5 mile from any road or facility. Hatcher Pass has plenty to offer those making their way by foot. The scenic walk around Summit Lake is short and easy. Gold Mint Trail is moderate and popular, but those looking for a challenge can hike the Reed Lakes Trail. Huts Three huts, the Snowbird, Bomber, and Mint, are managed by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska. They are available on a first come, first served basis. A fourth, the Lane hut, is not actively managed. See map inside for locations. Little Susitna River Photo courtesy of Nicole Acevedo Miners may have grabbed most of the gold, but they left the best parts behind. So, lace up your boots, and top off the rig, because the memories will be priceless. Touring Visitors less inclined to blisters and trail mix can still take in the history and scenery along Hatcher Pass Road. Typically open between July and September, depending on snow depth, the road peaks at 3,886 feet and is one of the highest scenic drives in Alaska. The PalmerFishhook Road is paved until mile 17.5, but the next 15 miles is a rough, narrow, and steep gravel road and is not recommended for RVs, trailers and large vehicles. The drive can be slow, but the views are worth it. The road ends at mile 71.2 on the Parks Highway near Willow. Independence Mine Photo courtesy of Dan Kehlenbach Back country ridge walk in Hatcher Pass EMA Photo courtesy of Matthew Johnson Highlights Independence Mine State Historical Park At Independence Mine State Historical Park (SHP), you can learn what it was like to live and work in one of Alaska’s largest gold mining camps. Interpretive displays lead visitors through the historic mine buildings and equipment. Guided tours may be offered during summer. Although the mine shut its doors in 1951, there’s still a bit of gold left. Prospectors are allowed to recreationally pan for gold within the park— provided it’s with shovels only. Alaska State Parks Wildlife Hatcher Pass’s alpine landscapes may seem devoid of wildlife because most alpine inhabitants are camouflage experts. However, if you stand still, listen, and watch carefully, you may detect movement. Moose, caribou, sheep, black and brown bears, wolf, wolverine, coyote, beaver, fox, marten, mink, hare, Arctic ground squirrels, collared pikas, hoary marmots, and lynx can all be found in the area. Bald Eagle Photo courtesy of Bill Evans Look up and you may see a bird of prey soaring above you, scanning the area for its next meal. Ptarmigan, spruce grouse, songbirds, and small mammals all live here and are on their menu. Some birds, such as Lapland longspurs, whimbrels, and long-tailed jaegers, occasionally shortcut their normal migration and nest in th
Welcome to Area History In 1906, Robert Lee Hatcher discovered gold near the summit of Skyscraper Mountain. One year later, the Alaska Gold Quartz Mining Company discovered the Independence vein on Granite Mountain and they installed the first stamp mill in the district in 1908. Business boomed for the following three decades until the United States entered World War II and gold mining was declared nonessential to the war effort. Skiing was always a popular activity at Independence Mine and, after the mine closed, some of the buildings were converted to support a ski area. Rope tows and a T-bar were installed near the mine in the 1960s and the U.S. Army Biathlon team used the site as a training area. A three-hour bus ride took skiers from Anchorage to the mine on the weekends. In 1980, much of Independence Mine was donated to the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation by Starkey A. Wilson. Although the ski area closed, the area near Independence Mine is still a popular place for winter recreation. Today, Independence Mine State Historical Park (SHP) provides visitors a glimpse of Alaska’s mining heritage and a place to recreate all year long. Skiing For More Information Mat-Su/Copper Basin Area Office: 7278 E. Bogard Road Wasilla, AK 99654 (907) 745-3975 www.alaskastateparks.org www.alaskastatetrails.org To report an emergency, call 911. Hatcher Pass East Management Area Winter Use Welcome The Hatcher Pass East Management Area truly is a winter wonderland. Here, snow can arrive as early as September and may stay as late as June or July. This long winter season means that winter sport enthusiasts are able to enjoy their favorite types of winter recreation in early autumn and long after spring mud has replaced the snow in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. Winter is a fabulous time in Hatcher Pass with some of the best snow conditions in the state. The skiing season often starts in October with the cross-country ski trails in the Independence Bowl being the first in Southcentral Alaska to be set, groomed, and marked. These trails provide early training opportunities for local ski clubs and school teams. Popular cross-country ski trails include Gold Mint Trail, Archangel Road, Reed Lakes Trail, and the road to Independence Mine State Historical Park. Ski tracks are also set in the open alpine meadows directly east of Independence Mine. Archangel and Independence Mine trails are usually groomed and marked. Recreational Winter-Use Boundaries New regulations for the Hatcher Pass Management Area took effect in January 2013. These regulations changed the designated areas for motorized and non-motorized winter recreation. It’s always a good idea to check the boundaries for motorized and non-motorized winter recreation before heading out. Go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/ parks/units/hatcherpass/hatcherpassboundaries. htm for current recreational use boundaries and help make your day in the snow more pleasant for everyone. Whether you’re into skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, snowmachining, dog mushing, or post-holing, Hatcher Pass is the place to be when the snow starts falling. So gather your winter gear and come out to enjoy an exhilarating adventure in one of the most scenic road-accessible destinations in the state. For weekly updates on snow conditions go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/curevnts.htm Independence Mine Season Ski Pass, 1970 Enjoy the view from your snowmachine Hatcher Pass Corps sign, ca. 1966 Photos courtesy of Alaska Lost Ski Areas Project, www.alsap.org Old Engineering Office and Warehouse at Independence Mine Photo courtesy of Emily Angel Hiking up out of Gold Cord Lake to snowboard back to Independence Mine Photo courtesy of Justin Wholey Alaska State Parks Highlights Snowmachining Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding Avalanche Safety Hatcher Pass offers numerous opportunities for backcountry skiing and snowboarding with many traverses that only experienced winter recreationists should attempt. If playing in the backcountry is your thing, be sure to check avalanche conditions before you go. If you choose to play in this winter wonderland, know that there are inherent risks—avalanches can occur in most of Hatcher Pass. It pays to be prepared. Variables such as slope angle and aspect, the quality of the snow pack, and wind all affect the level of avalanche hazard. Be familiar with assessing the snow pack stability and evaluating the avalanche hazard before venturing into avalanche terrain. Each member of your party should carry an avalanche beacon, a probe, and a shovel, and know how to use them. Hatcher Pass is one of the best snowmachining areas in Southcentral Alaska and one of the most scenic, too. Groomed trails and backcountry areas allow for a wide range of thrilling snowmachining adventures for riders of all skill levels. New riders can gain experience on the 22 miles of groomed and marked trails, while more experienced riders can enjoy the pleasures and surprise
For More Information: Visit us online at Alaska is big, wild, and scenic, www.alaskastateparks.org with a state park system to match. Encompassing Area Offices over 3.3 million acres of rugged, unspoiled terrain, the Alaska State Park System provides endless recreational opportunities year-round, and is a priceless resource for residents and visitors alike. Chugach State Park Potter Section House 18620 Seward Hwy. Anchorage, AK 99516 (907) 345-5014 Northern 3700 Airport Way Fairbanks, AK 99709 (907) 451-2695 Kenai/PWS P.O. Box 1247 Soldotna, AK 99669 (907) 262-5581 Southeast 400 Willoughby Ave. P.O. Box 111070 Juneau, AK 99811 (907) 465-2481 Kodiak District 1400 Abercrombie Dr. Kodiak, AK 99615 (907) 486-6339 Wood-Tikchik State Park P.O. Box 1822 Dillingham, AK 99576 (907) 842-2641 Mat-Su/Copper Basin 7278 E. Bogard Road Wasilla, AK 99654 (907) 745-3975 DNR Public Information Centers Anchorage: (907) 269-8400 Fairbanks: (907) 451-2705 Welcome to Alaska State Parks Recreation From high alpine tundra to temperate rainforests, the state’s diverse landscapes are reflected in the parks, historic sites, recreation areas, trails, preserves, and special management areas that comprise the Alaska State Park System—a collection of 123 units Wood-Tikchik State Park Photo courtesy of Bill Berkhahn ranging in size from the half-acre Potter Section House State Historic Site to the 1.6-million-acre Wood-Tikchik State Park. Morgan’s Landing State Recreation Area Denali State Park Photo courtesy of Erik Schlimmer Recreational opportunities are equally varied: hike through fields of lupine; pick blueberries under the midnight sun; snowmachine in Denali country; observe a pod of orcas from your sea kayak; or fish the world-famous Kenai River. Alaska State Park units are an essential component of the Alaskan lifestyle, with locals participating in wilderness recreation at a rate twice that of the national average. Alaskans make up over two-thirds of the 5.4 million annual visitors to our parks. Outdoors is “where it’s at” in the last frontier, and with a square mile of land for every resident, we have plenty of room for you to find your Alaska! The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation provides outdoor recreation opportunities and conserves and interprets natural, cultural, and historic resources for the use, enjoyment, and welfare of the people. Harding Lake State Recreation Area Photo courtesy of Nicole Phillips 3rd Edition—2016 Rock ptarmigan, Chugach State Park Photo courtesy of Leanne Quirk Background, Hatcher Pass Management Area Photo courtesy of Matthew Johnson Chena River State Recreation Area Shrimping in Prince William Sound Eagle River Nature Center, Chugach State Park Photo courtesy of Ricketts Rafting Photo courtesy of Mary Wasche Photo courtesy of Jim Wood A Division of the Department of Natural Resources Camping History & Culture Historic preservation is embedded in the Alaska State Parks’ mission statement. Our uniquely Alaskan State Historical Parks (SHP) and State Historic Sites (SHS) represent several eras of Alaska’s history and are as diverse as the places in which they reside: tour a hard-rock gold mining camp at Independence Mine SHP in Palmer; explore a WW II Army artillery base at Fort Abercrombie SHP in Kodiak; or view Tlingit and Haida designs on the totem poles and the clan house at Totem Bight SHP in Ketchikan. Pitch a tent in the backcountry or slide your RV into a drive-in slip. With over 2,500 campsites and limitless backcountry settings, there is no shortage of camping options in Alaska State Parks. Explore the map inside for a list of developed campgrounds. Birch Lake State Recreation Site Big Delta State Historical Park Eklutna Lakeside Trail, Chugach State Park Public-Use Cabins Rupe Andrews Cabin, Alaska State Parks offers Shelter Island State Marine Park more than 60 public-use cabins for rent year-round. These coveted cabins are booked months in advance, so make your reservation today! For more information visit http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins/index.htm. Kachemak Bay State Park Photo courtesy of Andre Kaeppele Wickersham State Historic Site Johnson Lake State Recreation Area Wood-Tikchik State Park Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site Photo courtesy of Kyle Joly Photo courtesy of Wayde Carroll Willow Creek State Recreation Area Photo courtesy of Donna Quante Chena River State Recreation Area Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park Photo courtesy of Kyle Joly Photo courtesy of Wanda Scholze Independence Mine State Historical Park Photo courtesy of Dan Kehlenbach Crow Pass Trail, Chugach State Park Photo courtesy of Justin Wholey Trails Totem Bight State Historical Park Photo courtesy of Mary Kowalczyk Background photo courtesy of Donna Olson Fort Rousseau State Historical Park Photo courtesy of Nicole Acevedo Independence Mine State Historical Park Photo courtesy of Wayne Biessel Alaska State Parks boasts an unrivaled multiuse

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