Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: Pyramid Peak Traverse (Canyon Creek to May Creek)
Distance: 25 miles
Approx. hiking time: 6-8 days
Total elevation gain: +6812, -9114
Best season: July - early September
Access: Bush flight - McCarthy to Canyon Creek
Maps: USGS McCarthy B-4, B-5
Challenges: Boulder fields, route finding, stream crossings
The Pyramid Peak route is a 6 to 8 day classic Alaska backpacking trip through dramatic terrain that features a traverse around the base of Pyramid Peak. The slopes in this region are especialy lush and green, contrasting with areas of exposed black scree and snow at higher elevations. There are some outstanding views from high ridges on the route. One of the best is the shoulder of Andrus Peak which offers stunning vistas all around.
Pyramid Peak is at times a challenging backpacking trip but if you allow 7-8 days you can alternate longer with shorter days. Or take a break from backpacking and do a few layover days to explore areas near Pyramid Peak.
There are three ridges to hike up and over on the route and you will really enjoy the time spent in the high country. But there are fantasitic opportunities for camping along gravel bars by streams that offer comfortable and protected shelter.
Along with the great hiking you get a bonus - a bit of history as you pass through an old gold mining district including Chititu camp - a former gold mining settlement.
Even detailed route descriptions such as those found in the book are not a substitute for skills and experience. If you would like to do this route but don't feel that you are ready to tackle the Alaskan wilderness on your own, consider a guided trek.
If you are interested in doing this route or one like it as a guided trek, click here for more information on the Pyramid Peak Traverse in Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias National Park.