Summit Bonanza Peak, Wrangell-St. Elias NP

Rate this Adventure 9 miles 4000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Mike Quine

Historic ruins, geologic masterpiece, and rugged wilderness all contained in a 7,000ft mountain. Trek through unique Alaskan tundra, historic mining structures, and gaze upon a unbridled wilderness on this mountain tucked into the backcountry wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

This journey begins at the northern terminus of the historic Kennecott Mines, following the Root Glacier trail to the north. Follow this trail between 1-2 miles until you reach a split in the trail. Follow the split to the southeast and continue along this trail until you reach another split. If you continue to follow the trail south from the split it will take you to the top precipice of the Kennecott Mines below. However, for this adventure, follow the split to the left, and ascend the mountain using a series of switchbacks. From this trail split until reaching the forest line, the trail is sided by homes of Kennecott residents. Though the houses are shrouded by the trees, they should not be disturbed. 

Once through the forest line, the vegetation changes from tall tundra forest to short tundra shrubs. As the terrain then changes to alpine scree, you come across the first remnants of a courageous mining past - a dilapidated mining trolley structure. *Great place for a photo opportunity of the structure but also the spectacular glacial valley below. 

Once passed the structure, the social trail becomes increasingly steep as it switchback up along a massive mountain drainage. The views looking up the mountain are transfixed on the old Bonanza Mining structure. As you hike closer to the structure, it becomes increasingly apparent how unstable the mine has become - truly the last remaining ruins of a courageous and bold endeavor. 

Once at the mine itself, it is fine to explore around the old structure but at your own risk. Time has only further hindered its stability and walking along or through it is inherently risky. The same goes for the final push up the summit. To reach the true peak, it is required to scramble up an impressively steep and wildly unstable scree field. No trail leads to the true summit and extreme caution must be exercised to reach it. That being said, the false summit just above the mine itself provides an unmatchable view of the glacial masterpiece below, the neighboring ranges, and the distant snow-capped behemoths.

As this is an in-and-out trail, continue back down the peak the same way you went up. As a bonus, once back on the Root Glacier trail, fantastic backpacking spots can be found north of the trail split.

*Caution: Bears are common in this area.

Read More

Tags

Fitness
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

Nellie Martin River Cabin

Overview Nellie Martin River Cabin offers guests access to a variety of recreational activities, relaxation and a remote lodging experience on Montague Island in southcentral Alaska. Fishing, hunti...

Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

Shrode Lake Cabin

Overview Shrode Lake Cabin is open year-round, offering the opportunity to enjoy both summer and winter recreation in beautiful Prince William Sound. The cabin is in a secluded location that provid...

Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

Softuk Bar Cabin

Overview Softuk Bar Cabin offers recreation, relaxation and a unique lodging experience in the Chugach National Forest. Located 45 miles southeast of Cordova on the Gulf of Alaska, the remote site ...

Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

Green Island Cabin

Overview Green Island Cabin offers guests a remote lodging experience in the Chugach National Forest. Situated on the northwest side of Green Island, the cabin offers guests year-round recreation...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Kennecott's Ice Caves

    Disclaimer: We do not recommend entering the caves as the ice can become unstable, especially in the warmer months.If you are in Kennicott and have the physical ability to get to these caves, make this the top of your priority list.You'll walk dow...

    4 miles 500 ft gain

  • Mountaineering on the Root Glacier

    Starting in the town of Kennicott you'll hike on the trail leading north outside of the town for a mile and a half.The trail will end at the edge of the glacier and this is where you put on your crampons. I would also suggest putting on your cramp...

    6 miles 500 ft gain

  • Hike to the Bonanza Mine in the Wrangell St-Elias National Park

    This 9 mile strenuous hike will reward the intrepid hiker with a serene setting and in-tact mining ruins for any and all to explore at will. Literally at will as there will be no park personnel telling you where you can and cannot go - it is reall...

    9 miles 3800 ft gain

  • Hike the Root Glacier to the Donoho Lakes

    Traversing the glacier can be a whole day experience in and of itself. Make sure to set aside enough time to explore. I'd plan on at least 3-4 hours total travel time round trip on the glacier alone. The Donoho Lakes are a series of lakes that exi...

    5 miles 500 ft gain