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.
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.