HIking · Weekend

Hitting Pay Dirt with the Gold Mint Trail

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It’s basically the end of summer, and in Alaska we had a pretty cold and rainy summer this year so I’m kinda not sad to see it go.  My long weekend started out with a full day of laziness, followed by a day at the Alaska State Fair where I was pretty sure that I should have brought a hat and gloves!  But on Monday the sun came out and the temps rose up to 60 degrees, which made it perfect hiking weather.  The leaves and tundra are changing colors right now and I thought that the perfect way to see fall in action was to head out on a long trail.  I’ve been dying to try the Gold Mint Trail in Hatcher Pass for a few years now and this seemed like the perfect time to do it!

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This hike is long (the full trail is 16 miles round trip), but super easy.  There was a small amount of elevation gain but you can barely tell.  In fact, the only con with this hike is that it’s too low in elevation to be above treeline, which can get obnoxious because the bushes and vegetation were growing all over this trail.  I could tell that someone had come along and maintained the trail a bit, but I could barely take a few steps without getting smacked in the arms or legs by something.

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So why even do this hike will all of that overgrowth?  Because it was GORGEOUS!  This was a seriously beautiful valley with views of the Little Susitna along the way.  Around mile 4 you start seeing the Mint Glacier hanging down from one of the mountaintops.

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Every time we thought about turning around we were hit with another gorgeous view and we knew we had to keep going.  We made it to mile 4.5 before turning around to grab some dinner.

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I definitely want to come back and do this entire hike someday.  I heard that once you get up to the glacier there’s good backpacking and even a hut built by the mountaineering club!  For now, those gorgeous 9 miles were exactly what I needed to do this weekend.

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How did you celebrate your Labor Day weekend?  Are the leaves starting to change where you live?

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