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Granite Mountain – Hatcher Pass Alaska
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Overview
Location

Hatcher Pass, Alaska

Sights

Granite Mountain, multiple mines, Independence Mine State Historical Park, tundra, wildlife, mining artifacts

Distance

About 2 miles round trip

Parking Lot Elevation

3457 ft

Summit Elevation

5016 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

1559 ft

Time Required

3-4 hours

Pets

Allowed but this hike is very steep.

Fees

$5 entrance fee to Independence State Historical Park.

Water Info

Bring 2 liters of water

Best Season

Summer, fall

Hours

The gate closes at 6 pm so if you aren't out by then, your car will be stuck inside. You can always park outside the guard station and then hike the extra mile to the trailhead.

Sun Exposure

No shade on this hike

Trail Condition

dirt trail that disappears. Tundra hiking for a good chunk of the hike.

Restrooms

Yes. At the Independence Mine State Historical Park

Camping

Sure, if you want!

Equipment

Good hiking shoes
Backpack
Hiking poles would have been nice on this one

Family Friendly?

No. It is too steep for kids.
But bring your kids to the Independence Mine state park and they would have a blast!

GPS Coordinates:

Parking Lot: 61.79153, -149.2817
Granite Mountain: 61.7 9297, -149.30272

Trail Map

I wasn’t planning on hiking to the top but when I discovered I was halfway there I decided to turn on my GPS and track my movement then.  This is why the map is missing parts.


Driving Directions


The Trail:

This hike is steep and the narrow trail disappears often but the views are incredible!

You will begin this hike at the Independence Mine State Historical Park.  While you are here, enjoy this beautiful place!  The park is pretty busy but you will leave the crowds behind as you summit Granite Mountain to the west.

To begin this hike you will need to get on the Mill Trail at the Independence Mine State Historical Park.  Follow this trail until you come up to the top of the mill and then look west to where there is giant pile of orange-ish mine tailings.  You will see another small trail that goes up to these tailings so follow that up!

You can see the tailings in this picture

You will find tons of interesting mining artifacts from the state park.  You aren’t allowed to remove or even disturb these artifacts but they make for great pictures!

Old mining structure

Rail tracks leading out from the Independence Mine

Lots of cool mining artifacts

The entrance to the Independence Mine is right here too. It has been caved but it would have been amazing to explore if it was still open.

This was the entrance to the Independence Mine

To begin your ascent, look to the right of where the rail tracks are.  There is a narrow trail that zigzags up the mountain – follow this one.  Keep a watchful eye because the trail will disappear and then reappear.

There is a small cut out trail here somewhere

Looking at the peak to the south

Looking over at Gold Cord Lake

It seems like the miners created this path because it appears to be cut out from the mountain.  It has long since been overgrown but you can see that it was used years ago.

After about a quarter mile of hiking, you will find a random cable hanging from one side of the mountain to the other.  You will also see a prospect and some other mine artifacts.

Looking towards the Independence Mine State Historical Park

Hatcher Pass Zip-Line

Shallow prospect

The trail continues to the north from here.

The trail from here will continue to be steep and it will mostly disappear again.  That is part of the adventure!  I had no idea where I was going but I knew somehow there was a way to the top and if there wasn’t, I would just come down.

After you follow the trail in the picture above you will come to the ridge.  Follow the trail north until you come to a spot where you can easily scramble to the top.  I kept going until I could see the actual summit and see a wooden cross at the top.

Looking at the Gold Cord mine. This is all on private land and even the land/mine owner lives on property. I can imagine him sitting on his porch every single day of the year, shotgun in hand, waiting for the clueless hiker to accidentally step foot on his property.

Looking south

Looking up at the summit

You will know you are at the summit when you see this wooden cross with the word Drew carved in it.  I don’t have any idea who Drew is but the cross looks old.

You will get incredible 360 views from here!

Looking north

Looking northwest

Looking some direction. I don’t remember where…

Look at this crazy road which was made to access the Gold Bullion mine at the top of this mountain!

Be careful if you hike to the north side.  I found some blasting caps still stuck in the granite.

You may also notice several places where someone piled rocks together.  Not sure what is going on here but it may have to do with marking the boundary of a mining claim?

Pile of rocks possibly marking the boundary of a mining claim

As for wildlife, I didn’t see much on this hike. Not a whole lot of animals prefer the steep cliffs but I did see some hoary marmot and pika.

Pika! Choo!

The Return:

I followed the same route.  Be careful of the steep cliffs and edges going down!

Here is a picture of the route I took hiking up.

Granite Mountain Hatcher Pass

Personal Thoughts:

This was a great hike that I just didn’t plan on doing in the beginning. Luckily, I had enough water and snacks to make it to the top.  The views alone are worth the steep journey.Trek Planner Logo

Ratings (out of 10)
Trek Planner Rating
User Rating
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Difficulty
5.5
Technicality
3.5
Enjoyment
6.0
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

6.5
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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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