Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Michael DeYoung shares his experiences amid the stunning landscapes and wildlife opportunities that this part of Alaska has to offer
DeYoung: We're talking about a huge range here, about 250 miles wide and heavily glaciated. The tallest peaks, including Mount Marcus Baker at 13,176 feet, are remote and steep. There are places in Prince William Sound where mountains rise from sea level to eight and nine thousand feet, which is pretty spectacular.
The easiest and most popular access is right out the back door of Anchorage. The range rises east of town and is the city's iconic backdrop. The Seward Highway travels south along the base of the Chugach and along a fjord called Turnagain Arm. Near Portage Glacier, the Chugach continue as the Kenai Mountains. You can drive through a tunnel from Portage to Whittier, which gives access to western Prince William Sound and the marine side of the Chugach. To the north, Glenn Highway goes up the Matanuska River, with stunning views of the Chugach's north face to the south. Thompson Pass along the Richardson Highway from Glenallen to Valdez has the highest road access in the Chugach.
OP: What about for those who want to buckle up their bootstraps and explore on foot?
DeYoung: For hiking around Anchorage, Glenn Alps trailhead and Flattop Mountain are the most popular in the Chugach—lots of people, but fantastic sunsets. Further north, hiking up the South Fork of Eagle River can get you fantastic views of Eagle Lake and Symphony Lake, especially in the early evening. It's 12 miles round-trip. Hikes up Bold Valley and Twin Peaks Pass are great for views of Eklutna Lake at sunset. A short, but steep hike from Whittier is Portage Pass with sweeping views of Portage Glacier and Passage Canal. It's best to be there for the morning light. Serious mountaineering glacier traverses can be done in the Chugach. Crow Creek Pass with views of Raven Glacier is a very scenic hike from Girdwood. It's 26 miles to Eagle River. Bird Ridge is a very steep hike from sea level to 4,000 feet in less than three miles, but the reward is stunning views of the Chugach and Turnagain Arm with great wildflowers in June and July.
OP: Of course, this being Alaska, there are some extraordinary opportunities for photographing wildlife, as well as dramatic landscapes. What would you suggest for photographers wanting to explore wildlife photography in the Chugach?
Page 2 of 3
Get 11 Issues of Outdoor Photographer for only $14.97!
That's 77% off the cover price!