South Fork Rim Loop

A scenic hike in the hills close to town, good for getting a feel for hiking in the Chugach

Hiking Moderate

Distance
5.1 km
Ascent
222 m
Descent
221 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
327 m
High Point
519 m
Gradient
South Fork Rim Loop Map

This hike is just one of many moderate loops you can make from Prospect Heights, a popular trailhead in Chugach State Park. Shown here is a combination of South Fork Rim trail and Powerline Trail, both of which explore the forests and vistas at the foot of the mountains, but each with a different perspective.

Description

The winding ascent on South Fork Rim traces the edge of a steep-walled canyon, with the South Fork Campbell Creek tumbling below, and peaks towering overhead.

On the rolling hills along Powerline, you'll stroll through flower-filled clearings while surveying Anchorage and the sea beyond. If it's not too cloudy you'll see glaciated peaks across the water, and maybe even a glimpse of Denali on the northern horizon.

These trails make a good introduction to hiking in the Chugach, in terms of the views and with what you might encounter along the way. Strolling through spruce stands and aspen thickets, you'll enter the habitat of moose and bears. This area close to town is generally safe, but encounters are always possible, so you should learn and practice wildlife safety.

This hike could also give initiation to Alaska's notorious trail conditions: varying states of snowy, muddy, overgrown, perhaps rainy, and with plenty of mosquitoes. You can become accustomed to all that though, and of course the views make it all worthwhile.

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area