Friday, January 22, 2021

Shawn Lyons' three volume "A Walk-About Guide to Alaska" may be the most popular and heavily-used hiking guide to South Central Alaska. This volume covers selected trails in the Talkeetna Mountains located roughly one hour's driving time North of Anchorage.

Lyons format is the same as his earlier volumes. Entries for each trail include basic data such as the location of the trailhead, the length, elevation gain, and grade of the trail, and a sketch map of the route.

Especially in the Talkeetnas, where snow pack is common into the month of June and many of the access roads are dirt or gravel, attention to directions is important. The spectacular Hatcher Pass is worth a journery by itself, and gives to a variety of trails deep into valleys and over ridges in the mountains. Some of the trails provide access to current or former gold-mining sites in the Talkeetnas. Independence Mine State Park, near the head of Hatcher Pass, provides an excellent base of of operations to reach many of the trails.

The trail selection ranges from easy strolls to multi-day backpacking trips. Lyons interpretive essays and a selection of photographs provide a sense of what to expect. This volume is highly recommended to the visitor or long-time resident looking for some excellent hiking opportunities.