Need to Know
Parking area is free but only fits 4-5 cars at the trailhead. Parking along the streets inside the gates is not allowed; parking outside the gates adds a quarter to a half mile. If running with a group, it is a good idea to meet at Storck Park and carpool from there.
At an elevation of 4308 ft, McHugh Peak is #103 of the 120 Chugach State Park Peaks as listed on peakbagger.com. There are several approaches to this peak and this description starts from the Bear Valley neighborhood and utilizes the northwest shoulder to gain access to the north slopes for the final ascent. Parking is very limited at the trailhead and extremely restricted outside the parking area, so please carpool if running as a group.
Starting from the trailhead, the trail meanders through the alders up to alpine tundra. The ridge is quickly gained after just three-quarters of a mile and 1,000 ft of gain, which makes for a nice quick run if you are short on time. The views along the ridge are fantastic as you get panoramic views of the inlet, Turnagain Arm and the Anchorage bowl. Once on the ridge, there are a few sections of rolling ascents and descents along an easy to follow trail.
At about mile 2, the ridge flattens out and there is a broad packed scree field below the final approach, where you'll see the finger-like boulder formations at the summit. Continue straight up the north face, where you'll see several trails all leading up to the boulders. To obtain the actual summit, there is a bit of minor scrambling to get on top of the boulders.
This trail has an intermediate/difficult rating due to its grade and minor scrambling at the summit.
Shared By: Abe H