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Celebrating the Summer Solstice: Hiking to Hidden Lake

June 27, 2015

For Solstice Eve, we really wanted the chance to experience and maximize the long daylight. We had a lot of friends choose to go to the downtown celebration, which had a live band and is a big block party. We did that last year, but weren’t feeling up to it.

So, while we were Trailgating the Mayor’s Marathon (Our friend Alex ran), we came up with a gameplay with our friends Ryan & KK to go hike to Hidden Lake.

It was the perfect celebration of the longest day of the year.

HiddenLakeBeginning

As you’ve read on my blog, Anchorage is so close to amazing hiking and we are fortunate to have the Chugach Mountain Range right in our backyard. The mountains are tall, with valleys in between that were formed by glaciers. It also left behind a lot of lakes that are fed every year from snow melt.

One such lake is Hidden Lake, aptly named because the whole time we were hiking KK & I kept asking “Wait, where is it? Are you sure we’re on the right path?”

We began our hike at 7:30pm from the Glen Alps trailhead, following along Powerline Pass for a little over 2 miles. There is a sign directing you to the left to follow a blazed trail towards Hidden Lake.

Start of the correct path

Start of the correct path

Then it gets fun.

The path quickly gets steep, with several (minor) stream crossings. While the path is well-worn, we had a few spots where we got off path and actually ended up climbing a snow-pack (thankfully we were able to follow the trail down so we didn’t have to climb down it!).

Climbing the snow pack through thick fog

Climbing the snow pack through thick fog

HiddenLakeHikeMiddleEarth

It’s really beautiful while you walk it – the whole time we kept repeating how it looks like Middle Earth from the Lord of The Rings Movies!

Moose, in Middle Earth

Moose, in Middle Earth

The hardest thing about this hike, in my opinion, is the waiting to get to this lake. You see a ridgeline and think “It must be just over this ridge!” but then there is another ridgeline after that. This joke gets pulled 4 or 5 times before you come over a ridge and realize you’re at the edge of the water.

FoggyHiddenLakeFamily

We hung out at the lake for an hour or so; Ryan brought beers (the perfect part of any hike), which we chilled in the lake while waiting for an ominous fog to lift.

Creepy Fog

Creepy Fog

Once the fog lifted, it was beautiful. The lake is at the base of O’Malley Peak, and it seems like the peaks just drop straight down into the lake. We also had some backpackers come and join us, who had decided to spend their solstice camping by the lake – which led me to think “what a great idea! I’m so jealous!”

LakePanorama

The hike down was much easier, although it took just as long as the hike up. We kept stopping to look at the mountains and greenery of the valley, and trying to capture photos of the “sunset”. For the Summer Solstice in Anchorage, the sun technically set at 11:41pm, but it never got dark. For a large part of June, we experience a twilight throughout every evening, meaning sleep masks or black-out shades are a vital part to getting a good nights sleep.

MattEmilyHiddenLake

We finally made it back to the vehicles around 12:30am, craving ice cream as a post-hike treat.

The total trip ended up being right around 9miles roundtrip, it was a perfect evening hike. We spent a lot of the hike lingering and appreciating the views, so it can be done much faster than our 5 hours.

TeamHiddenLake

Here is the path we took (via my garmin). You can click the photo to see more details about the route and the elevation changes.

Garmin Hidden Lake to Glen Alps Trail Hike

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