OverviewThis is probably the easiest route up Mount Ripinski. It’s a good trail that first climbs through a nice hemlock before eventually breaking timberline where the views really open up. The route is 7.6 miles round trip with about 3600 feet elevation gain.
Getting ThereFrom Main Street in Haines, follow Second Avenue uphill to the north. After 0.3 miles, continue straight on Youngs Road. Follow Youngs Road to its end (the last part is on a fairly rough dirt road). The trailhead is about 1.7 miles from Main Street in Haines and can be walked to rather easily if you don’t have a car. Taking a taxi is another alternative.
Route DescriptionFrom the Skyline Trailhead, the trail climbs through a nice lush hemlock forest. It’s a well constructed and easy trail to follow, but there are a few steep places with wooden stairs. After 0.9 miles there is a junction. Both trails actually lead to the summit, but the one to the right (Main Ripinski Trail) is slightly shorter. The left trail (Ridge Trail) passes the radio towers on the ridge.
To climb the Main Ripinski Trail, bear right at each junction (of which there are five!). The last two junctions are with the Piedad Trail and the final junction is 1.9 miles after leaving the trailhead 2.0 if taking the Ridge Trail). About 2.5 miles up, the trail will pass Johnson Creek. Once the trail reaches timberline, the views really open up and become really spectacular. Chances are you will be constantly looking behind your back at the spectacular views behind you!
There are a few moderately steep sections of trail and after 3.8 miles from the trailhead you will reach the summit of Mount Ripinski. Just before the summit you will pass over a little bump (where the bench mark is) labeled 3573 feet elevation on the map.
The views from the summit are really spectacular. To the southwest are the spectacular Cathedral Spires, to the southeast is the impressive Mount Sinclair, and all views to the north produce incredible views of a kaleidoscope of rugged un-named peaks rising straight out of the ocean.