Pinnell Mtn

Pinnell Mtn has been on my "to do" list.  I can't make Kyong's trip, so I'm scheduling my own over Labor Day weekend.

Fr. Drive to Fairbanks after work; camp out

Sat. Finish drive to the trailhead; start hiking

Sun. Complete hike

Mon. Drive home

Location: 100 miles northeast of Fairbanks in the Steese  National Conservation Area 

Distance: 27.3 Miles

Total Elevation gain: 6000 feet

The Pinnell Mountain Trail is easily reached via the Steese Highway, a maintained gravel highway leading northeast from Fairbanks to the Yukon River. Eagle Summit, the more distant of the two trailheads, is approximately a 2.5-hour drive from Fairbanks under good driving conditions.

Trail Conditions

The Pinnell Mountain Trail is a primitive trail marked with wooden mileposts and rock cairns. Switchbacks have been constructed to provide safer access across steep talus slopes, and approximately 1.6 miles (2.6 km) of wooden planking provide passage through boggy areas.

Hikers along the Pinnell Mountain Trail should expect a physical challenge. Most of the trail has at least an 8 percent grade. In many areas the grade exceeds 25 percent. At Eagle Summit, Pinnell Mountain, and Table Mountain, the trail features long switchbacks with 600-foot elevation changes over a distance of one-half mile.

There are two shelter cabins located on the Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail. The Ptarmigan Creek Shelter Cabin, is located near mile 10.1 (16.2 km) in a saddle just below Pinnell Mountain. The North Fork Shelter Cabin, is located at mile 17.8 (28.6 km) on the back side of a hill. These small cabins provide emergency shelter, away from strong wind, blowing rain or snow. They operate on a first-come basis. Hikers should always have tents and be prepared to use them in case the cabins are occupied.

Water is available at both shelter cabins from a catchment system constructed to collect melting snow and rain. All water should be treated before cooking or drinking.

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  • Jennifer D.

    I actually found the hike boring. The scenery never changes. Would have rather done the traverse as a day trip. We went 1/2 way on day 1, and finished mid-afternoon on day 2. Frosty temps. Trail is quite civilized with cairns every 100 ft, mile markers, boardwalks, stepping stones, and other improvements.

    September 2

    • Kyong W

      Thanks for the info

      September 2

  • John R

    Kyong/Jennifer, this is a wonderful above treeline hike. Two of us did this many years ago in July and started in 3-5 inches of fresh snow in July(!) which melted within a day. We took one car and hitched a ride back. We went east to west but I don't think there is any advantage either way.

    August 28

  • Jennifer D.

    Weather forecast looks fine for Fairbanks this weekend.

    August 25

  • Jennifer

    Are dogs allowed?

    August 25

    • Jennifer D.

      As long as the dog is up for the trip, and you bring your own tent.

      August 25

  • Jen G.

    Would live to go but out of town Friday. Have fun Jennifer!! Hope your ulta marathon went well. Hard core, girl.

    August 23

    • Jennifer D.

      Placed 1st in my division!

      August 23

    • Jen G.

      Total rockstar!!! Congrats!!!

      1 · August 24

2 went

  • Jennifer D. +1
    Jenergy, Assistant Organizer
    Event Host

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