Harp Mountain is commonly considered to be the easiest 5,000 foot hike in the Chugach. There is nothing particularly technical on the hike, route-finding is minimal and the views are amazing. If you can hike Flattop Mountain, this would be the equivalent of two Flattops but slightly steeper. The hike took about 2.5 hours round trip travelling at a moderate pace with a few stops for photo opportunities and a snack break at the summit. It would be good to plan about 4 hours total to be safe. Make sure that you consider wind and weather when packing gear since almost the whole hike is on an exposed ridge.
Harp Mountain is located on the hillside of Eagle River, AK. If you’re headed to the mountain from Anchorage, you will take the Eagle River Loop Road exit off the Glenn Highway and turn right onto Hiland Road. Hiland twists and dips along the hillside for a few miles until you arrive at a cul-de-sac at the very end of the road. There is no parking in the cul-de-sac itself, but you can park along the side of the road about a hundred feet prior. The trail leaves directly from the end of the cul-de-sac, where you’ll see a few weathered signs that point the way. Make sure to respect the owner’s property out there, as there are homes right next to the trail-head.
The trail weaves through the trees for only a short while and you’re out of tree line in just a few minutes. From here, you’ll be hiking the west ridge of the mountain, which is a consistent rise of about 2,600 feet over a distance of about 2 miles. The trail is easy to follow and the ridge is prominent so there’s little chance of getting lost along the way. There are a few shoulders on the ridge that make for epic spots to take a break and take in the amazing views of Eagle River Valley. Eagle Lake, Symphony Lake and the iconic Eagle Peak are visible in the distance virtually the whole climb. Once you reach the summit there are 360 degree views of the beautiful Chugach Mountains.
The only problem is that once you’re up there, you see all the other peaks, rivers and alpine lakes, which makes you want to adventure in the whole valley! Unfortunately, Eagle River Valley is not a great place to stay in a Campervan since there are narrow streets and mostly private driveways. However, there is a campground on Hiland road that is very convenient after a long day of adventuring.