Wolverine Trail conditions on Saturday, November 9:
The trail was nice and dry until the final north west ridge, where we found hard packed snow, with a few sections of very slick ice. We did not have microspikes or shoes with studs, but it would have been a benefit to carry Katoolas for the final portion.
Wolverine Peak is another favorite hike in the Chugach Front Range. The peak sits at 4491 feet, about a 3500 ft climb from the Prospect Heights Parking lot. Prospect is the most common way (~10 miles round trip) to get to Wolverine. There are numerous other ways to get to the peak, including the Basher Trailhead, or running down the Middle Fork loop from Glen Alps.
The various blog reports out there recommend budgeting 4-6 hours if you take your time and look around. If you really push it, you can get up and down in under 2 hours. Trail conditions range from dirt and mud to snow and sometimes glare ice. And even though it’s warm and calm down low, the bowl before the climb to the ridge usually welcomes you with a brisk strong wind.
If you’re looking for a longer day, or ways to mix up the hike, it’s fun to hike up Near Point first. There’s a trail extending from Near Point up the valley along the ridge. When the ridge connects with the side of Wolverine, the trail disappears, but it’s a pretty straight forward hike up to the Wolverine Ridge.
A different way down is to run the south west ridge to Rusty Point. From there you can drop down the north side back down to the Wolverine trail, or descend the south gully onto the Middle Fork trail. In the spring, the gully stays filled with snow, and allows for a fun, quick glissade.
For a longer day, the east ridge from the peak eventually connects with Mount Elliot. Mount Elliot is at the base of Williwaw Peak, and is surrounded by Long Lake, Walrus Lake and Williwaw Lakes. Quite a few sections of the ridge are runnable, and if you get tired, you can bail down to Williwaw Lakes along most of the ridge, then run out the Middle Fork trail.
Wolverine is another front range peak that’s hikeable all year round, especially since it’s about a 10-15 minute drive from most of Anchorage.