PHOTOS: Hiking Mount Baldy provides spectacular scenery in Eagle River’s backyard

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 14:21
  • An Arctic ground squirrel on the slops of Mount Baldy on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A hiker travels along the ridge line behind Mt. Baldy on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • An Arctic ground squirrel on the slops of Mount Baldy on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • An Arctic ground squirrel on the slops of Mount Baldy on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A paraglider soars over Mount Baldy on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A paraglider soars over the top of Mount Baldy in Eagle River on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Wildflowers can be found on the rocky slopes of Mt. Baldy, which can be accessed at the top of Skyline Drive in Eagle River. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A paraglider soars over downtown Eagle River on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A paraglider soars over downtown Eagle River on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugak High School as seen from atop Mount Baldy. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A paraglider soars over downtown Eagle River on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A bald eagle soars over downtown Eagle River on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A paraglider soars over downtown Eagle River on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Rising to a height of 3,218 feet, Mount Baldy is Chugiak-Eagle River’s backyard playground. On any given summer day, dozens of cars line the sides of Skyline Drive, where the trail begins near the site of the Old Wallace Homestead. The hike provides a gateway into Chugach State Park, and offers both a quick day hike or longer excursions toward the peaks beyond, including Blacktail Rocks, Roundtop and Vista Peak.

To reach the trailhead, take Skyline Road off of Eagle River Loop Road. The narrow, winding mountain road ends at a small parking area, after which hikers have two options for climbing Baldy. The first, up the established trail (look for a large sign marking the trailhead), takes a more direct route up the front side of the mountain. The second — which crosses the old homestead land — passes a gate and follows an old road up the backside of the mountain.

Climbers ascend about 1,300 feet over between one and two miles (depending on the route).

The mountain is popular with both hikers and paragliders, who use the slopes as a taking-off point to soar over Eagle River and Chugiak.

There is currently no parking fee at the top of the road, which is maintained by the Municipality of Anchorage. The owners of the Wallace property currently allow hikers to cross the land to access the trails, although that arrangement could change at any time and without notice.

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