Skip to main content

Williwaw Lakes & Long Lake Loop (July Featured Hike)

Walrus Lake (Uppermost Williwaw Lake)
The hike to Williwaw Lakes is one of the most beautiful in Alaska's Chugach State Park. This trek which is a short drive from downtown Anchorage, offers a variety of options including day hikes, overnight or multiday adventures so you can make it as easy or difficult as you want. (In the winter, it is also a popular ski trail and can usually be hiked to the lower Williwaw Lake depending on snow conditions.) The trek takes the hiker through alpine tundra amid a variety of alpine flowers, grassy meadows and scrub hemlock. The pristine alpine lakes are situated in a mountainous valley above Anchorage at the base of craggy Mount Williwaw (elev. 5,445 ft.). If you make it to the upper lakes, you will be rewarded with stunning views of surrounding mountains and possible wildlife viewing of dall sheep, moose, coyotes, fox, and various waterfowl. There are plenty of camping opportunities around the Williwaw Lakes (as well as Long Lake if you hike the loop.)

Walrus Lake


There are several ways to access the lakes. For the more gentle but longer route, take the Middle Fork Trail from the Prospect Heights Parking lot. For a shorter but more rugged trail, start from the Glen Alps parking lot to connect with the Williwaw Lake Trail via the Ball Park. For more info on access points and driving directions, see the hiking guide books such as "50 Hikes in Chugach State Park" or "55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska" and/or the online apps.

The Loop/Traverse to Long Lake
From the pass above Walrus Lake (upper most Williwaw Lake) you can opt for a longer (possibly two day trip) to Long Lake and the valley of the North Fork of Campbell Creek. (This option is not described in the older guide books I have.) What I like about the Williwaw-Long Lake traverse is that it is a very accessible "wilderness" trip in Southcentral Alaska right at Anchorage's back door. By the way "Williwaw" means “very windy” so be prepared for high winds, and secure your tent well (if camping.) The weather can change quickly and drastically at these elevations. I have also encountered very windy, wet and wintery conditions while camping around Long Lake in late summer. It is best to do this traverse June through early August if you want to avoid adverse weather. (I would not recommend in the the winter months.)


Lower Williwaw Lakes and Valley
To continue with the traverse/loop once over the pass (above Walrus Lake) to the Prospect Heights trailhead, hike around either side of Long Lake and follow the North Fork of Campbell Creek downstream about 2.5 miles beyond the last lake. At this point look for a distinct trail on your left which climbs about 800 ft. (up the northwest ridge of Wolverine peak) to a notch/saddle on the ridge southeast of Near Point. From here you can connect to a trail that goes back to Prospect Heights by (1) continuing on the trail up and over Near Point or (2) hiking cross-country from the saddle to the trail (that goes back to Prospect Heights.) The second (2) is my preferred option so as to avoid climbing over Near Point. (However, there is some bushwacking as there is no trail on this section.)

Long Lake
*Note: When I do the traverse, I prefer to hike the direction/trail to the Near Point saddle and Long Lake because the hike out from Williwaw Lakes in this direction is mostly downhill to the Prospect Heights parking lot. There is good camping at Long Lake. The next day, we climb the pass between Long Lake and Walrus Lake and then hike to the Prospect Heights parking lot.

Click here to download a map of Chugach State Park, Chugach State Park Map - Alaska DNR

Comments