Rabbit Lake Hiking

We recently had a visitor from California come up to Anchorage, Alaska for a vacation. They were only in town for four short days so they wanted to stick around South Central Alaska, close to their home base of Anchorage. One of their most important goals was to get in an awesome hike. We recommended they try out Rabbit Lake, on the Anchorage hillside, since many of the mountains still had quite a bit of snow on them. The trailhead is about 20 minutes up the Anchorage hillside, in between two mountain ridges and the campervan is an excellent vehicle to take you up there since RVs and other large vehicles wouldn’t be able to fit on the narrow roads. The panoramic photo is what you can expect to see at the end of the hike.

Rabbit Lake Panorama
Rabbit Lake Panorama

Rabbit Lake is about a 10 mile round-trip hike that runs parallel to two mountain ridges in Rabbit Creek Valley. You can access it two ways, from McHugh Creek trailhead along Turnagain Arm, or from the Rabbit Lake trailhead. We’ve done both but generally recommend the Rabbit Lake side. It only has about 1,200 feet of gradual elevation gain and more stable footing, which makes it very enjoyable for all ability levels in your party.

As you move down the trail, you’ll pass Flat Top, Peak 2, Peak 3, Ptarmigan Peak and eventually McHugh Peak. Along the way, it’s likely that you’ll see moose or bear so be sure to keep an eye out and keep a safe distance if you have a wildlife encounter! Don’t worry, Northern Access will educate you on safe wildlife practices before you hit the road.

After about Mile 4, you’ll start to gain elevation onto a plateau and will begin to see the vibrant lake nestled at the base of North and South Suicide Peaks. Once you walk down the hill and to the lake’s shore, you’ll see there are grassy knolls and wind barriers. These can be used to enjoy a nice picnic or if you feel like staying out of the camper van for a night, you can pitch a tent and spend the night out there. This can be an attractive option if you’d like to get up in the morning and climb any of the surrounding peaks.

Before you head back to the comfort of the warm campervan, see if anyone in your party is brave enough to take a dunk in the frigid alpine lake. If you stick around long enough, you’ll probably see a local Alaskan take the plunge!

Rabbit Lake, Alaska
Here is Dana taking a conservative dunk.

If you’d like a map or any additional information, we recommend checking out Alaska Department of Natural Resources. If you’re interested in doing this hike, please make sure to include that when you fill out your Reservation Request. Happy Hiking!

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