Craigie Creek Road

Willow, Alaska (Matanuska-Susitna County)

Last Updated: 06/20/2020
5 / 5 ( 4 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 4.3 miles
Highest Elevation: 3800 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Willow
Nearest Town w/ Services: Wasilla
Official Road Name: Craigie Creek
Management Agency: Alaska Department of Natural Resources
District: Southcentral Regional Office
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Craigie Creek Road
Gold mines, mining cabins, grizzly bears, eagles, and a moderately challenging trail don't interest you? Of course they do! This trail has a little bit of everything on it and is a favorite of more than a few. Mining relics, mine shafts, mining buildings, tools, and machinery litter the valley in a homage to the rich gold mining of the area that continues on today. People still actively mine this area so please be respectful of their equipment and claims. This trail sits just a couple valleys over from the popular Independence Mine State Historical Park. Do not remove any mining artifacts, leave them for everyone to enjoy.

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Weather

7 day forecast for Craigie Creek Road

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Limited parking is available here; more parking is available along the road at a small turnout. Keep the private property access open and do not block the gate.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 61.777270, -149.398150

Starting Point: Wasilla

From Palmer or Wasilla: Take Fishhook-Willow Road/Hatcher Pass Road and head towards Hatcher Pass following the road signs to Hatcher Pass. Drive the steep paved ascent into Hatcher Pass for several miles and a few hairpin turns until the road makes an abrupt left to a gated gravel road that goes over the pass (generally open around July 4 - snowfall, call DNR to be sure) staying straight will take you past the Hatcher Pass Lodge Hatcher Pass Lodge via Gold Cord Road and will end at Independence Mine State Historical Park. Drive carefully over the pass, it might be best to engage 4WD now to help get over the pass if you don't have much weight under your drive axle as the road is steep, loose gravel, and normally potholed​. Motorhomes and long trailers are not recommended. Follow the road by taking a left at the next gate to remain on Fishhook-Willow Road/Hatcher Pass Road and not go straight onto Upper Willow Road. Continue along Fishhook-Willow Road/Hatcher Pass Road until you reach Craigie Creek Road.

Camping

Not allowed

Trail Reviews (8)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail is open and calling! A new mine is operating just to the west of the trailhead now too.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Hatcher Pass Road is now closed from the Palmer/Wasilla side at the main gate. Access to this trail that will soon be impassible due to snow must be from the Willow entrance to the pass road. Pictures are from the Hatcher Pass Road entrance on the Palmer/Wasilla entrance.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Hatcher Pass (the road starting at the Independence Mine area) is now closed for the winter. Access to this area must be from the Willow entrance.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Excellent trail conditions leading to the cabin, the parking area at the cabin is a mud pit so don't pull too far in, if in a group just stay in line on the main trail. Leading further back to the waterfall was excellent conditions as well until the parking area at the falls which again was a mud pit with a good slope to it, if in a group stay in line on the main trail. Turning around is tight and beyond the waterfall is getting into the extreme of the rock crawling and still snow covered so a large group may end up doing part of the trail in reverse to get out or doing a snow covered rock climb to allow the rear vehicle to do a turn about then the group would follow backing down the rocks to turn about. took 3 of us 2 hours to go up to the falls and back at a slow pace.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail was in good shape and we even saw a brown bear on the way down. The rain made the trail a little too slick for a couple vehicles with highway tires but rigs with a rear locker or front and rear lockers had to issues going all the way to the end and hiking to the lake at Dogsled Pass.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Very slow paced trip, 4 low and being as gentle as possible dropping down off of the rocks. It can be done without being a bobblehead but it makes the trip about a 5 hour round trip. Was rather cold to be out of the vehicle for lengths of time.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I was able to make it all the way to Waypoint 6 with my stock Tacoma on 31" BFG KO tires. Was a lot of fun and the trail was in good shape for how late in the year it was.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This was only my second time on the trail, had a great time and the trail was in good condition. Really cool to check out the mines in the valley, I was surprised to see open mine shafts! Close to Anchorage, Alaska but even closer to Wasilla and Palmer I will have to go back and check this one out more often.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Kyle Todd

Mapping Crew - Alaska

Kyle has been into off-roading since getting his license at 16 and wheeling the family SUV (possibly without informing his parents of these wheeling trips in their vehicles). He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an Electrical Engineering degree. He lives in south-central Alaska and is raising his two young kids. Kyle stays busy year-round by working full-time as an Electrical Engineer who spends his weekends wheeling, hunting, fishing the local lakes, and raising his family. He is eager to share his love of the outdoors with others, especially when it involves a 4WD. His goal is to create an amazing resource for locals and travelers alike to enjoy the endless beauty Alaska has to offer while respecting the trails and keeping them open for years and generations to come.
For individual use only, not to be shared.