Sunday, July 21, 2019

Shawn Lyons three volume "A Walk-About Guide to Alaska" may be the most popular and heavily-used trail guide for South Central Alaska. This volume covers the spectacular Chugach Mountains immediately east of Anchorage, Alaska.

Few urban areas in the United States have such immediate access to such a huge outdoor resource as Chugach State Park. Many trailheads are located in neighborhoods along the east side of Anchorage, providing access to a variety of trails. On offer are opportunities for short afternoon strolls, extended rugged journeys, and other hikes inbetween. Much of the Chugach is above treeline in whole or part; hikers will be rewarded on clear days with superb vistas into the Anchorage area or deep into the valleys of the Chugach.

Lyons includes basic data on selected trails, with length, grading of the trail, elevation gain, and a sketch map of the route. Most trails are less well marked in Alaska than in commonly found in the lower 48; hikers are advised to read the guide closely to find their way. Similarly, some trails cross steep and rocky ridges or traverse snowfields early in the year; hikers should prepare accordingly. Lyons is an unusually fit hiker; those less dedicated may wish to take the trail grading scheme with a grain of salt.

This volume is highly recommended to visitors planning a stay in the Anchorage area, and to long-time residents looking for variety in their hikes.