Hiking Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias

National Park and Preserve

by Greg Fensterman

A companion site to the book published by Falcon Guides®

Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Hiking Trip:
Tolsona Mud Volcanos

Distance: 2.5 miles out and back

Difficulty: Easier/moderate

Approx. hiking time: 1 - 1.5 hours

Total elevation gain: +349, -80

Best season: June - early September

Access: Mile 24.8 of the Edgerton Highway

Maps: USGS Valdez C-2

Challenges: A few rocky spots requiring attention to footing


A fairly easy hike to an interesting geological phenomena - the Tolsona Mud Volcanoes. Kids will love this one.

The mud "volcanoes" are created by methane gas, which comes from coal beds, bubbling up to the surface. On their journey upwards, the bubbles pass through fine silt, some of which is carried up with the bubble all the way to the surface. When the bubbles pop at the top, the tiny load of silt particles is deposited. The mud flats have been created by the deposition of specks of silt carried up by millions of bubbles over time - an oozing monument to the power of persistence.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge.
Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Mt. Wrangell Skyscraper Traverse Nugget Creek Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Mt. Wrangell Skyscraper Traverse Nugget Creek Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Mt. Wrangell Skyscraper Traverse Nugget Creek Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Mt. Wrangell Skyscraper Traverse Nugget Creek Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Mt. Wrangell Skyscraper Traverse Nugget Creek