Hiking the Resurrection Pass Trail

By Tom Reale
  |  Gorp.com
Cross-country skier near Swan Lake cabin
Tour the trail on skis

If you have standard hiking and backpacking gear suitable for overnight trips, you won't have to invest in additional equipment. Carry good rain gear from spring through fall, and you can expect temperatures into the 40s at night even in midsummer.

Polypro underwear is advisable, cotton clothing is not — no matter what the season. Rain, high winds, and very cool nights — excellent hypothermia weather — are a distinct possibility, so make like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared.

Dress in layers, and be prepared to spend the night out even if you have cabins reserved. Any number of factors can prevent you from spending the night in your cabin, and what might be an inconvenience in summer conditions can turn very serious in the winter.

Don't leave home without at least one pair of discount-store 7 X 35 binoculars. Alaska isn't the Serengeti, and it takes a lot of subarctic geography to support large mammals. Scan your surroundings constantly as you hike, and whip out the field glasses whenever you stop for a break. Animals get to live long and prosper by being inconspicuous, and it takes time and practice to consistently see big game animals in their natural habitat. But one thing's for sure — you definitely won't see them if you don't actively look around at every opportunity.

The lakes and streams along the trail are open to fishing, but you'll need an Alaska fishing license. Be sure to pick up a copy of the sport fishing regulations booklet, the Cook Inlet Regulations Summary.

Treat all of your drinking water on the trail, either by boiling, filtering, or chemical means. Although Alaska is less affected by water pollution than most places, this trail is very popular, and people aren't always careful to avoid contaminating water.

Ski trips in the Alaska backcountry demand gear that's fit for the occasion. Climbing skins, metal-edge skis, heavy, insulated boots, gaiters, backcountry poles that double as avalanche probes, and a pulk or sled for carrying gear make ski camping safer and more comfortable.

Count on a pretty good crop of mosquitoes just about any time when there isn't snow on the ground, with May to July being the worst. Carry repellent that has DEET as the active ingredient.

The USGS topographic maps for the area are Seward B-8, C-8, and D-8 maps, with the Devil's Pass and Summit Creek side trails on Seward C-7.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »