Hike or Run the Matanuska Peak/Lazy Mountain loop

Details

Distance

12 miles

Elevation Gain

7200 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Jake Ward

Challenge yourself on the Matanuska Peak/Lazy Mountain loop of alpine meadows, peak climbs, steep terrain, and beautiful views of the Mat-Su valley.  This is an epic one-day adventure that could easily be turned into an over-nighter. 

Although this is quite a long loop it is well worth the views from the summits of both Matanuska Peak and Lazy Mountain.  Start this hike at the end of Smith Rd at the Matanuska Peak Trailhead.  You can park your car for free here or lock your bike up to the guardrail.  The trail begins on a double track ATV road for the first 1 1/4 mile until you reach the a creek where there is a small building and dam in the creek.  The ATV trail stops but the hiking trail continues on by passing the building and heading into the brush.  For the next mile you will snake through the willows and alder trees  which cross over small drainages parallel the creek to your right.  The trail eventually climbs up a steep section and you will appear out in the alpine basin of Matanuska Peak above the brush.  The trail takes a right hand (East Southeast) turn at the junction.  You've now hiked about 2 1/2 miles and up 2,000 ft.  

The next section of trail is nice mellow meadow walking and takes you to the bottom of Matanauska Peak.  Enjoy this next mile of relatively flat walking/running and take time to check out all the wildflowers.  After you pass a large creek (also a great place to get water on this route) that runs down the western drainage of Matanuska Peak you will turn East and climb a little over 2,000ft to the summit.  This last mile of trail is steep and there is rock fall hazard so be sure to climb safely (i.e. never below your partner) and watch for loose rocks.  

After you summit Matanuska Peak retrace your steps until you get back to the trail junction where you will then continue West instead of following the trail back down into the creek/ATV trail.  About a quarter mile later you will see a trail marked "Last Mountain" that heads North to a ridge.  The trail traverses through tall grass, across a steep drainage, and nearly straight up until you reach a ridge that runs from Matanuska Peak to Lazy Mountain. Once on the ridge you can see the flag flying on top of Lazy Mountain and the last 500ft of steep climbing up loose rock.  

Leave the summit of Lazy by heading to the Southwest and following the Lazy Mountain Trail.  You will pass several picnic tables while above tree line and then quickly encounter a steep section of trail that continues all the way back to the Lazy Mountain parking lot. Be weary of this section if it's wet it's nearly impossible to make it down this trail in the mud.  The Lazy Moose Trail is a great option if the trail is at all muddy.  It is a couple miles longer to get back to the Lazy Mountain parking lot but a much mellower grade.  Once you arrive in the Lazy Mountain parking lot you take a left and head Southeast on the Morgan Horse Trail. This trail is about a mile and takes you back to the Matanuska Peak Trail which will take you back to the Smith Rd. Parking.  

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Know for

Running
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Wildflowers

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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