Hiking & Trails
Dock Point Trail:
The Dock Point Trail, although rather short, numbers among one of the prettiest for its size. Close up views of a grass and wildflower meadow from the boardwalks, along with spruce trees and ground dogwood, offer good photographic opportunities. The West and East overlooks offer good overviews across Valdez Bay. An eagle’s nest located on one of the islands can be seen from the north side of the trail. A variety of plant life makes this trail a nature lover’s delight.
Goat & Wagon Road Trail:
Because of the increased use of the 1899 Pack Trail, it was upgraded in order to accommodate sleds, wagons, and eventually automobiles. By 1905, the Valdez Transportation Company was offering a nine day stagecoach trip to Fairbanks for $150. In 1913, the first automobile traveled from Valdez to Fairbanks over the improved trail, even though the Goat Trail section was difficult to maintain due to snow and rock slides.
The Snowslide Gulch area posed a particular problem as massive snowslides would periodically destroy or severely damage its bridge. Bear Creek Bridge, the last of the four main trail bridges, was built in 1943. This 300 foot steel arch bridge is a good example of World War II construction. The Goat Trail/Wagon Road was in use as late as 1952 when a major flood destroyed the 317 foot long Lowe River Bridge, located just upstream from the mouth of Keystone Canyon. What remains of the concrete piers can still be seen in the river. Once a through trail, the Goat Trail and Wagon Road are now considered two separate trails because of the destruction of the bridge at Snowslide Gulch during the floods of 2006.
Mineral Creek Trail:
Mineral Creek Valley is one of the most scenic drives in this area. The rough gravel road begins at the upper end of Mineral Creek Drive and runs for a distance of approximately 5.5 miles before reaching a gate and parking area. With mountains rising to over 5,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls on each side, the scenic vistas can be overwhelming.
About halfway up the road, a fork will be reached. The right-hand fork leads to the water where a small tram was used years ago to service the McIntosh Roadhouse (1912 era), which was located on the other side of Mineral Creek. The left-hand side continues up the valley.
The W.L. Smith Stamp Mill is located at the end of the Mineral Creek Trail. This mill was built in 1913 and used in conjunction with the Mountain King Mine, which was located about 3,000 feet above sea level on the east side of Mineral Creek.
John Hunter Memorial Trail:
(Formerly Solomon Gulch Trail) The trail climbs through a beautiful coastal spruce forest where it intersects with the Trans Pipeline Service (TAPS) road and continues to Solomon Gulch. During 1915 an aerial tramway, 5.25 miles long, was put into operation and ran from the beach, up Solomon Gulch, to the Midas Mine (Jumbo claim). More than 1,000,000 pounds of copper were produced before closing down in 1919. The tram was run by current that was furnished by the then local electric plant on Solomon Gulch. The present dam and power station were finished in 1982 and supply power to the Valdez and Glennallen areas during the summer months.
The trail begins from the west end of the first parking area at Allison Point at Dayville Road (Alyeska Terminal Road). The trail starts up a steep hill where it then joins the TAPS access corridor. There is a sign-in sheet at the gate which is passed on the left.
The track continues up another steep hill before dropping down into Solomon Gulch. The 2 penstocks passing overhead carry water to the power station and are made from surplus Alyeska pipe. The pipeline access road continues straight ahead but the trail veers to the right, up Solomon Gulch.
After passing through a pipe storage yard and another bridge, the dam is reached. By looking up the lake, the access road to the mines can be faintly seen on the left side. Very good informational signs are along the way.
TIME & DISTANCE:
TIME: 2-2.5 hours round trip. DISTANCE: 3.8 miles round trip.
Shoup Bay Trail Section A:
Section A of the Shoup Bay Trail runs from the trail head to Gold Creek bridge. This scenic tract transverses the West Mineral Creek flats, running through an alder forest. It then opens out onto the grasslands after 8/10 a mile. Many wildflowers and interesting prospects can be seen for the next 2/10 of a mile until the trail starts to climb.
After crossing 2 small streams (caution: water levels change with weather conditions) the trail begins a steep ascent offering views of Valdez to the east and Valdez Bay to the south and west. A steep descent brings one onto Gold Creek and then to the camping area and bridge. The trail to the left before the bridge leads to a camping area with a firepit, restroom and food lockers.
During 1914, the Budd Mining Company was making preparations to start hydraulic operations in the basin above the falls as it was believed that gold placers existed in paying quantities. However, during the summer of that year, work was stopped owing to a proposed change of ownership.
The trail starts from the parking area located on the left at the west end of Egan Street. The track is wide and easy going with a few bridges and boardwalks in place. After about 1.2 miles, a short side trail leads down to the beach. The main trail, now being back in alder growth, starts a steep ascent to break out after a while and offer good views. Then a steep descent to the Gold Creek Bridge and camping area.
TIME & DISTANCE:
TIME: 4 hours round trip. DISTANCE: 6.5 miles round trip.
Shoup Bay Trail Section B:
Section B of the Shoup Bay Trail runs from the Gold Creek Bridge to the north end of Shoup Bay. Starting from the bridge, the trail runs through a grove of spruce trees. It will then start a gradual, and at times steep, climb to the divide overlooking Shoup Bay. This section may be very muddy and difficult to follow at times due the overgrowth. Spectacular views of Shoup Bay can be obtained from the divide. The trail continues along the east side of the bay until the inner bay is reached. From this point there are good views of the kittiwake rookery.
There are various cabins for rent within the State Park within Shoup Bay. To reserve one of the State Park cabins in Shoup Bay call (907) 269-8400 or (907) 269-8400
This section of the trail begins at the Gold Creek Bridge. From the bridge take the right hand fork for 3.2 miles until the divide is reached. The track is quite steep in places and, depending upon the weather, very muddy.
The trail may be difficult to follow due to the extensive growth of vegetation. Descending from the divide via a series of switchbacks, the trail runs along the east side of Shoup Bay. A section of stairs is reached at 1.6 miles from the divide. The trail continues to descend, and, with the help of a series of cairns, crosses Uno Creek. The trail continues to the inner bay.
The distance from the stairs to the inner bay is 1.4 miles.
TIME AND DISTANCE:
TIME: 5 hours O.W. DISTANCE: 6.3 miles O.W.
- All Maps and Compilation by Jim Shephard, Valdez Parks and Recreation