One of the most popular day-hike destinations in the Chugach Mountains, Raven Glacier descends about 2,500 feet from a ridge to almost touch the Crow Pass Trail on its 23-mile mile traverse through the mountains between Girdwood and Eagle River Valley. Though only about four miles from the trailhead on the Girdwood side, Raven has the atmosphere of a more remote locale, like a mountain glacier you might find in the Brooks Range. Viewed from Crow Pass itself, the white, blue-etched glacier presents a stunning contrast with fingers and edging grasping the darker terrain, all of it attended by several smaller glaciers perched in hanging valleys.
Raven’s upper reaches offer a mountaineering route (via a steep face called the ‘Raven Headwall’) to a famous glacial traverse to Eklutna, on the other side of the mountains. But day hikers and through backpackers regularly take a break by exploring Raven’s low-angle faces, once snow has melted. Often the summer surface is gritty and feels secure underfoot, allowing careful adventurers to explore its undulations and listen to its meltwater music. Be aware of melt holes and crevasses, and stay off unmelted snow because it might bridge a hole.
Best Viewing Spot
You can find a great overlook that shows off most of the glacier near the 3,880-foot Crow Pass, about three miles from the trailhead. Another mile past the pass, and you can approach the edges or toe of the glacier itself, for a more intimate experience of its texture, colors and gnarled shape.
From Anchorage, take the Seward Highway south along Turnagain Arm about 35 miles to the Alyeska Highway in Girdwood. Go about 2 miles and turn left (up valley) on Crow Creek Road. Take it all the way to the upper valley, taking the obvious high road where an access road drops to mining claims and cabins. The road ends at the trailhead parking, about 7 miles in.