5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
Pepper Peak is on the high crest north of Eklutna Lake, standing nearly as tall as the adjacent Twin Peaks, though its form is not as imposing.
Thus, Pepper is a brilliant summit and a rather stiff hike, but it falls short of a mountaineering objective.
It’s a 5000-footer that’s quite attainable for fit hikers with limited scrambling experience. The route on Pepper Peak is essentially an extension of the Twin Peaks Trail, which is a popular hike from Eklutna Lake.
This steep but smooth trail provides a fast approach to the more rugged terrain on Pepper.
From the top of Twin Peaks Trail (at the second of two wooden benches passed along the way), a worn path to the ridgeline of Pepper continues upward, across the alpine tundra. It’s easy to follow, though it braids into slight variations here and there.
Try to stay on the best-worn trail in order to limit further erosion.
While ascending the ridge you’ll enjoy better and better views over Eklutna Lake, and to the massive glaciers which feed it. Eventually the trail steepens among broken rock bands, and a bit of light scrambling may be necessary.
After this short section the gradient lessens, and it’s a casual ridge walk to pass a false summit and continue onto the top of Pepper Peak.
Once there, an incredible view immediately unfolds over the Mat-Su Valley and a horizon of boundless peaks.