FATMAP difficulty grade
Wolverine might be an intimidating hike for those unaccustomed to the Chugach, but for a lot of locals, it’s just another training hill.
The trail knocks out more than 3500 feet in less than 5 miles, with most of that in the final couple of miles.
Suffice to say, it’s a leg burner! The ascent is made at all times of year, but more often on skis in the winter. The official Wolverine Peak Trail begins from Prospect Heights trailhead, as mapped here.
You could start from a number of other places, however, including Basher Drive trailhead for a variation of similar distance.
The trails start out in the forest with some ups and downs, and likely some muddy spots.
Before long you’ll get to breaks in the trees and views over the city.
The gradient gradually steepens along the base of the mountains, then enters the bowl beneath Wolverine Peak and makes a determined march uphill. The trees are left behind as the trail cuts toward the crest of a slanting ridgeline.
It then follows this ridge steeply upward, on optional switchbacks worn into the slope.
This soon joins the main ridge of Wolverine, and the gradient lessens on the final stretch.
The trail easily bypasses some outcrops, then takes one last steep section to gain the summit.
From there you’ll enjoy a head-spinning view if the weather is clear.
On one side rises the Chugach interior, with snow-streaked peaks and shimmering lakes.
On the other side lies Anchorage lies with the ocean beyond, and icebound ranges on the horizon.