Wolverine Peak is on the western edge of the mountains in Chugach State Park, and is visible from most of Anchorage. While not as technical as Ptarmigan or the Suicide Peaks, it is also not as crowded as Flattop (which has the most hiked trail in Alaska). Wolverine is most often climbed in the summer, but can be climbed year round. Highlights of an autumn day hike up Wolverine might include picking blueberries, watching for bears, looking at the remains of a 1956 plane crash on the center ridge, and (summit and weather permitting) a peek into the heart of the Chugach mountains.
Wolverine can be hiked in a day by a well-traveled, signposted trail (~10 miles round trip), or traversed by a more interesting route with a little inventive routefinding via Rusty Point (~11 miles round trip).
The Prospect Heights trailhead is the best place to start a climb of Wolverine, although starting at the Glen Alps trailhead would only add a few miles. The Prospect Heights trailhead is off Upper O'Malley road, and a web search will give adequate directions. From the Prospect Heights parking lot, head East a couple hundred feet to a junction. Turn left (North), and follow the trail, which bends East and decends to a bridge. Cross and continue up the switchback to a junction - depending on your route, you can go right (along the Middle Fork trail) to climb Rusty Point and traverse to Wolverine, or you can go left to the Near Point / Wolverine trail junctions, where you can follow the normal trail up Wolverine, or traverse from Near Point.
Traversing Wolverine from Rusty Point requires bushwacking through dense Alder thickets, and so it may be better in winter (although some of the slope is exposed to avalanche risk, so that traverse is conditions dependant).
Parking at trailheads in the Chugach State Park costs $5, which can be deposited at the trailhead. An annual parking pass can be purchased for $40 - REI sells them.
When To Climb
The mountain is climbed most often by the trail in the summer. The traverse over Rusty Point may be better in the winter, when bushwacking is a little easier, but the trail is often skiied and snowshoed as well. Wolverine has avalanche-prone slopes when conditions are bad, but is climbed in all seasons.
Campling is allowed in Chugach State Park, but please tread lightly.
Recorded information on Chugach conditions are available from the AK state Department of Natural Resources at (907) 269-8400.
The trail up Wolverine is described in lots of places, including two books published by the Mountaineers: "55 Ways to the Wilderness: Southcentral Alaska" by Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr. and "50 Hikes in Alaska's Chugach State Park" by Shane Shepherd & Owen Wozniak. It's also described online lots of places, including http://www.akhs.atfreeweb.com/Hikes/Wolverine.htm
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