Powerline Trail, Anchorage

Powerline Trail, Anchorage, AlaskaPowerline Trail runs from the Glen Alps parking lot to Indian on Turnagain arm. The Glen Alps parking area, a twenty minute drive from midtown, is a very popular spot for locals and tourists. On a sunny day the parking lot will be jammed with over two hundred cars.

One of the most popular trails goes straight up the valley. It parallels the electrical transmission towers that run over the pass and is more like a busy gravel road than a trail. Mountain bikers, hikers, joggers, and skiers stream by in yellow and purple running shorts with dogs and kids, but only a glance up the unassailable mountain slopes or down the unimpeded length of the valley slips you through the veil of civilization and you stand on the threshold of a wilderness. Your mind sweeps aside the mists of time and sees a land that knew only stone, wood and water before metal towers and cable could be strung across it. To a time when the ice lay thick on the northern slopes and small bands of hunters, four-footed or two, searched out their prey in the twilight hours. Or, from one of the nearby peaks, look down into a valley that two hundred centuries ago knew no man or animal at all but was buried under 1000 meters of ice.

The great breadth of this glacial valley easily conceals the trail that traverses it, the transmission towers, and even the tumbling rocky creek that races across its floor. Look to the lower left foreground of the photo and you will see the trail itself behind the Mountain Hemlock. The more ambitious hikers will turn to the left a little before this point and will cross the foot bridge that spans the South Fork of Campbell Creek and climb the steep slope to Little O'Malley Peak. From there the trail heads across expanses of arctic-alpine tundra cushioned with heather, and lichens, and continues toward the Williwaw Lakes.