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Pinnell Mountain Recreation Trail
The rugged 27-mile Pinnell Mountain Trail offers a rich tundra ecosystem a short distance from Fairbanks. The trail traverses a series of alpine ridge tops entirely above timberline and is marked with rock cairns as it crosses open tundra with views north to the Yukon River and south to the Alaska Range.
The trail is directly accessible from the Steese Highway, 100 miles northeast of Fairbanks. Allow at least three days to hike its length.
Wildlife Viewing and Safety Tips
Hikers can hear the whistles and squeaks of hoary marmots and pikas alongside the calls of surfbirds. These creatures share the mountainside with caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, and an occasional wolverine. Each spring the alpine tundra hosts migratory birds such as American golden plovers, gyrfalcons, northern wheatears, ptarmigan, and Lapland longspurs. Rockslide butterflies Erebia makinlenis and Boloria distincta make their home on the mountain’s talus slopes, which sparkle each summer with wildflowers: alpine azaleas, arctic forget-me-nots, mountain avens, and frigid shooting stars, among others.
The Pinnell Mountain Trail is a primitive trail that is rugged, steep, and challenging for persons of all abilities.
Access to the trail is via the Steese Highway, a maintained gravel road leading northeast out of Fairbanks. Trailheads are at Twelvemile Summit (milepost 85.6) and at Eagle Summit (milepost 107.3).
BLM (907) 474-2200 or 800-437-7021