It seems that everyone who lives in Anchorage has climbed Flat Top Mountain at least once in their time of residency. The location is perfect; it’s visible from town, and only a 15 minute drive to the trail head. Once at the trailhead, it offers sweeping views of the city, the water, and other surrounding mountains.
In a word, it’s beautiful.
On any given day in the summer, you can find hundreds (no lie) of people scaling their way up the 3500 ft tall peak. I like to use the term peak lightly, because the mountain is so easily identifyable by it’s lack of a peak. With Anchorage days getting so long, it’s not uncommon to see residents hiking or running early before work, or late into the night. (I personally prefer to bring a bottle of wine along, for sunsets at The Best Damn Bench.)
On a recent Friday, we took advantage of the 65* weather to climb Flat Top with the pups. Armed with plenty of water and stable shoes, we joined the masses. We saw everything from casual hikers in flip flops (which is a crazy bad idea!) to trail runners, running up the mountain faster than I run on paved trails.
For those looking to tackle the Most Often Climbed Peak in Alaska, I’ve got some stuff that will help.
1. Go on a weekday. Avoid the weekend crush, and have the trail to yourself a little bit more.
2. Wear steady hiking shoes. Plenty of people go up in tennis shoes. Plenty of people get hurt. Avoid as much risk as possible.
3. Look at a map first. It amazes me how many people get lost on the mountain every year – despite being able to see town. This girl got lost for a whole night, and was found without her shoes. How??? I don’t know. But don’t risk it. Here’s a handy map!
4. Bring a basket! or wine! In the late summer, you can pick blueberries on the North side of the first saddle. In the fall, it’s wonderful to bring some wine or beer to drink while you celebrate your accomplishment.
5. Enjoy yourself. It’s a tougher hike, with some really steep parts – but the whole time you’re walking, you’re rewarded with the best views. I always like to look for my house, my office, Matt’s office, and other notable landmarks.
If you decide to tackle Flat Top, here’s a link from the DNR with information on how to get there, and what to expect.