Do you ever feel like it’s hard to find other girls to hike with? Alaska seems to be filled with awesome women hikers, but none of us seem to know how to find each other. So earlier this year I joined a group called Girls Who Hike, which has local chapters in all 50 states. A few months ago, I applied to become a Girls Who Hike Ambassador and I was accepted! Part of my role as an ambassador is to plan monthly group hikes here in Alaska, and on Saturday I led my second group hike up the Twin Peaks Trail in Eklutna, AK.
I had never done this trail before but it has been on my list for a long time. You may remember previous posts of mine talking about how gorgeous Eklutna Lake is from the lakeside trail (like my biking birthday party and my first bikepacking trip), but I wanted to climb higher. If you google “Eklutna Lake” you’ll see arial photos of the lake taken from some high mountain point, and after learning that it was from the Twin Peaks Trail I started begging people to hike this with me. The trail is completely uphill so none of my friends were really dying to try it, but when I showed up for the hike on Saturday I had two brave women show up to do it with me. They both said they’d be looking forward to doing this hike for a while too, so I was in good company.
This trail starts with a slow and long ascent through the woods. I’m not usually a fan of hikes that start like this because they remind me of hikes back in Pennsylvania, but I didn’t mind this one because the fall colors along the trail were gorgeous!
After a while, we came out at an overlook by the first bench on the trail. We could see most of Eklutna Lake and the surrounding area. We were literally jumping up and down over how gorgeous the view was!
After passing the first bench, we continued uphill. The trail turned away from the lake and went up through a mountain pass towards Twin Peaks. The Twin Peaks were hidden in the clouds, but there were lots of other gorgeous mountains to stare at.
We also got great views of the tundra turning various shades of red, orange, and yellow as we went higher into the mountains.
Once we reached the second bench, we sat down for a quick snack break. We saw a trail continuing up towards a high point in the direction of the lake, so we continued to climb up. After a few steep sections we reached the top and got a seriously breathtaking view of the entire 9 mile lake below us!
From up here we could see a trail continuing up the ridge line towards a mountaintop, but with clouds rolling in and tired legs we decided to stop climbing up and start heading home. As soon as we got back down into the trees it started to rain, so we booked it back down to the parking lot.
When we finished the hike we decided to see how long we’d been out there, and my phone said 9 miles! We had read online that it was 5 miles round trip so we were confused by the extra 4 miles. After a bit of googling and talking to other members of GWH Alaska, we realized that the official Twin Peaks Trail had ended at the second bench and when we started going uphill towards the final overlook we’d actually gone halfway up the trail towards Pepper Peak! Our final destination had been 3200 feet and almost 5 miles up the trail. Now that I know how close we were to the summit of Pepper Peak, I definitely want to come back and summit the mountain someday. For now, I’m just glad that I finally crossed the Twin Peaks Trail off my list and got to see gorgeous fall views of the lake!
Have you ever accidentally extended one of your adventures? Is it looking like fall yet where you live?