Paige Brady motivated me for the multi-sport Lakina Loop starting and ending at McCarthy, Wrangell Mountains, Alaska. A lot of people confuse McGrath (where I grew up) with McCarthy (where I wish I had grown up). Check out the photos from the end of the Revelations Traverse to see the difference!
Some key route details are described below.
The Route (beta from Jeff Conaway, Najeeby Quinn, Becky King, Tony Perelli)
We hid bikes in the woods at Lakina Bridge, 15 miles from McCarthy (mile marker 45). From McCarthy we paid 5$ to take the shuttle to Kennicott. After taking the Root Glacier trail across the Root, we crossed the moraine to take the lake trail beneath Donoho peak. We had trouble finding the lake trail; if in doubt, go right. It might be just as fast to stay on the glaciers. We then crossed the Kennicott with no problem. The glacier is impassable (at least in tennis shoes) heading toward Hidden Creek Lake. There are prominent cliffs on the NE edge of the valley, scramble around these (upglacier on the Kennicott), up the debris fan, to a great trail that climbs up and over the cliffs. The route is pretty straightforward after that. Hidden Creek gets cliffs out soon after Glacier Creek (?) comes in from the south. We climbed the grass south, crossed the Glacier Creek (?) drainage, and continued up Hidden Creek to the Pass.
The camping at the terraced lakes is superb.
One of the top three camp sites in Alaska-Tony Perelli
Exit to the left out of the terrace lakes, a game trail is obvious. After losing a lot of elevation on the game trail we traversed left to clear the cliffs above the Lakina. Eventually there is a small shrubby ridge that will drop you safely to the valley floor. At low water we hiked another 5 miles or so before putting in a few miles below the confluence of Mill Creek. The rafting was fun class III, boulder gardens but not enough push to be uncomfortable. Even after the canyon section the current remained swift enough to be enjoyable. The bike back to McCarthy felt mostly down hill and took about an hour; a very pleasant way to finish the trip!
Ice cave WTF?!
Oh… did we forget to show you the ice caves when you were here? Well, there will plenty of time once you’ve moved up.
Looks a great trip! How was the float that time of year? Fairly mellow or was it pretty rowdy in sections?
It was mellow for us, low water. I’ve heard that it catches people off-guard mid-summer.