Sweeping mountain vistas and brilliant wildflower displays under the unceasing light of the midnight sun.... the Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail offers an unforgettable experience whether your visit lasts a few hours or a few days.
Located 100 miles (161 km) northeast of Fairbanks, this 27-mile (44 km) hiking trail traverses a series of alpine ridge tops entirely above timberline. The Pinnell Mountain Trail is marked with rock cairns as it crosses open tundra with views north to the Yukon River and south to the Alaska Range. Wooden posts along the trail show the mileage from the start at Eagle Summit to the trail’s end at Twelvemile Summit. Two shelters provide refuge from storms, but hikers should come prepared for unpredictable, dramatic alpine weather. Finding drinking water along the trail can become difficult later in the summer, when snowfields and small ponds dry up. Water is generally available at both shelter cabins, where catchment systems collect melting snow and rain. Check with the Fairbanks District Office to see if the water catchment system at the emergency shelters is functional.
The Pinnell Mountain Trail is easily reached via the Steese Highway, a maintained gravel highway leading northeast from Fairbanks to the Yukon River. Eagle Summit (milepost 107 on the Steese Highway), the more distant of the two trailheads, is approximately a 2.5-hour drive from Fairbanks under good driving conditions. The trail ends at Twelvemile Summit at milepost 85.5 on the Steese highway.