South Pioneer Peak Hike
ElevationAscent: 7,207' 2,197 m
Descent: -7,207' -2,197 m
High: 6,299' 1,920 m
Low: 97' 30 m
GradeAvg Grade: 19% (11°)
Max Grade: 74% (37°)
Popular runs nearby
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“A challenging run through varying terrain for this classic 6,000' peak in the Chugach.”— Abe H
The Pioneer Ridge Trail is a challenging trail that starts near sea level and gains roughly a vertical mile, bringing you to the top of Pioneer Ridge. The beginning of the Pioneer Ridge Trail switchbacks through the forest to treeline at about 2,000 feet, crossing several small streams along the way that can get quite muddy. Continuing above treeline, the trail straightens out, and you pass through a hillside prairie. Two trailside picnic tables provide good resting spots, where you can take in views of Matanuska Peak and Knik Glacier while you refuel.
The top of the ridge reveals a beautiful valley between Eklutna and Pioneer, and it provides options for those wanting to proceed further—head north on the ridge to Pioneer Peak or head south toward Yudikench Peak. Both are ambitious goals.
The route along the ridge from the end of the Pioneer Ridge Trail is easy to follow with an increasingly worn human trail sitting atop the ridgeline. The final approach offers a bit of a challenge as the rock formations almost push you to the left (west) as you climb upwards. However, the best route is to continue straight up, which often requires you to feel like you are staying right. Eventually, you'll see a human trail leading up on the east face that will take you to the summit.
This trail has a black diamond rating due to route finding, minor scrambling, length, and grade.
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