Our new house has an amazing location. Our property is against the Chugach State Park, we can easily walk to Eagle River, and there is amazing hiking within a 20 minute drive.
One of these close proximity hikes is Mt. Baldy. A moderately difficult hike, this climb off Skyline Dr. offers incredible sweeping views from the very beginning of the trail. After work, Moose & I headed to the trailhead – one of the amazing benefits of Alaska’s midnight sun summers.
This is the first time I’ve climbed Mt. Baldy in the summer (Bear, Betsy & I reached the peak back in February of 2017 when Bear was only 7 weeks old!) It was the hottest day of the year so far, so I made sure to bring plenty of water for Moose. We went up the backside and down the frontside, and to be honest I would do it in reverse next time. Both ways are steep, but the front side is way steeper.
The reason I recommend going up the steeper side is because it always seems easier to climb up than to go down – at least for me. When I’m going down a steep hill, my fear of heights/death is so clearly in front of me. When I’m climbing up a steep hill, my line of vision is only showing the height in front of me. It’s totally psychological, but it’s what works for me. Another pro for going up the front/steep side: shorter distance. The route down takes a lot of switchbacks that you don’t have to use to go up.
A beautiful part of the backside is the views as you’re hiking. There’s a small pond, some streams, and old homesteads that you pass by as well. Once you reach the ridgeline you can go two different directions: left will take you down the Blacktail Rocks Trail towards Round Top, right will take you to the peak of Mt. Baldy.
Every time I’ve hiked around Baldy, I’ve seen people going backpacking to camp at Round Top or somewhere along the trail. Imagine waking up to the views!
One of the coolest parts of our hike was seeing paragliders flying overhead. I felt high above the town (2952 ft to be exact), and they were so much higher in the air than me.
As usual, Moose loved running through the tall grass and chasing marmots. She is a dog made for the mountains, and has been so much happier since we moved back. She was such a good girl on the hike, sticking close to me when there were people around and roaming freely when she had the open mountainside. Hiking in Alaska has longer view lines, so she’s able to run farther and still be within eyesight, giving her a lot more freedom.
You can see my GPS map of this trail here and as always you can ask me any questions you may have!