At Mile 36.2, find the trailhead for a steep 2.5-mile hike through a volcanic system with fascinating geologic features – light tan and pinkish-tan rocks produced by lava and ash. No worries about eruptions on your adventure, though. The Skookum volcano was last active between 2-4 million years ago. After an easy mile asending through a cool white spruce and alder forest, you’ll follow the boulder-strewn creek bed, which zigzags up in a more challenging course. Watch for ptarmigan and marmots, especially above tree line. Overall, you’ll climb about 1,800 feet – for a nearly 5,000- foot view of the valley below and multi-colored mountains of the Wrangell-St. Elias in the distance. The saddle can be windy, but you’ll enjoy the breather. Be sure and take binoculars to spot for Dall sheep, which gather on the mountainsides and are a draw for hunters in the fall.
Distance: 5.5 miles