Hike to the top of Slaughter Gulch

Cooper Landing, Alaska



5 miles

Elevation Gain

2600 ft

Route Type



Added by Chelsea Robinson

A challenging but rewarding hike that offers river views, mountain vistas, and opportunities for wildlife watching.

Slaughter Gulch Trail is a leg-busting 2600' ascent up Slaughter Mountain in Cooper Landing, Alaska. Covering only a few miles, the trail is steep and quite rocky in some places, requiring the use of trekking poles, all fours, or impeccable balance.

Start off early at the small parking lot near the trailhead. This lot fills up quickly, and there's very little roadside parking. Unless absolutely necessary, keep your smell-ables in the car to decrease your chances of a grizzly encounter. Pack a good amount of water, because you'll be climbing up a steep forested trail for the first third of this hike. Once above the treeline, you'll still be moving quickly upwards, but at this point, the trail affords you majestic scenery of the surrounding Chugach Range and Kenai Lake.

The trail keeps driving upwards even on the ridge of Slaughter Mountain, but the ascent is less steep towards the last half of the trail. The gulch is mainly exposed, although there is one forested area in the gulch that would be best approached with noise and chatter. If you smell wet dog, proceed with caution.

After about two false summits, the ridge levels out and goes on for as long as your feet can carry you. Please keep in mind that the terrain is very fragile, so stick to the established trail and do not stray any further than necessary. 

Cooper Landing, Alaska is best known for its ample fishing on the Kenai River and Cooper Lake. For that reason, you may find yourself in bumper-to-bumper traffic starting mid-June through the summer season. If you're not visiting Cooper Landing for the fishing, come experience the Upper Kenai Peninsula slightly earlier in the year for a greater sense of seclusion.

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