Moderate to Strenuous: The Goat Trail
This classic Alaskan hike follows the geographic division between the Wrangell and St. Elias ranges and along an historic route leading from McCarthy to the Chisana gold fields.
A scenic flight among high mountains and glacial rivers takes you to the Skolai landing strip (4500’). Spending a day or two in Skolai allows you to explore ‘Hole in the Wall’ Glacier or hike the alpine bench overlooking Russell Glacier which provides spectacular vistas of the University Range (16,421’). From Skolai, the route climbs over 6000’ Chitistone Pass, through Chitistone Gorge and and descends to follow the Chitistone River down to the landing strip at Glacier Creek.
Steep cliffs interrupted by waterfalls border this canyon, which is home for black and grizzly bears, wolves, wolverine, red fox and mountain goats. Hikers may opt to travel in the reverse direction, beginning at Glacier Creek and ending at Skolai.
Streams: There are a couple of potentialy challenging stream crossings, especially Toby Creek. Be prepared and knowledgable about safe crossing techniques.
Terrain: There is a section in the Chitistone valley of steep traverses through exposed scree slopes.
USGS maps: McCarthy C3, C4, B4
Duration: 5-8 days
Length: 25 miles
$380 per person, unguided.