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Yoas Mountain - Coronado National Forest
Yoas Mountain - Coronado National F...
History, yurts & roots galore
Overview: Scenic loop in Chugach State Park starting from the Eagle River Nature Center. Hiking in the summer, snowshoeing in the winter.
Hike: The trail starts immediately behind the Nature Center and heads south on the Historic Iditarod/Crow Pass Trail. The start of the trail is well signed, and all major junctions are clearly signed. The trail starts as a wide, smooth trail and gradually drops downhill.
At about a third of a mile, you will reach the turn for Dew Mound Trail. Decide at this point if you want to do the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise. It makes no difference which direction you choose in terms of views or difficulty, but turning left onto the Dew Mound trail and doing the loop clockwise does get most of the elevation gain out of the way in the first half of the hike, which is how this guide is written.
Dew Mound trail heads south, slightly southeast through the forest. Views are initially somewhat limited, but the hiking is easy. The trail does have a lot of tree roots, which is a nearly constant theme on the entire loop. After a while, the trail begins to wind through some large boulders and becomes more interesting. You can see where the boulders originated from high on the rock face on the east side of the trail. Try not to wonder how many of the remaining rocks above you may be loose.
Continuing south, there is a signed junction with the option to stay left to go to Dew Lake. It's worth the very short side trip to view the lake and surrounding mountains. Once back on the main trail, it's a quick climb up to a couple of viewpoints on both sides of the trail. Again, very short side trips, with some of the best views of the hike. Starting from Dew Lake, the trail becomes a series of short, steep ups and downs as you head south towards Eagle River.
Once at the river, turn right and head west on the Historic Iditarod/Crow Pass trail. In a short distance, there will be a sign for Echo Bend, and easy access to stand at the edge of the river for some great views in all directions. From Echo Bend, Crow Pass Trail curves west, then north for the return half of the loop back to the Nature Center. The portion of the trail follows the historic Iditarod route from Seward to Nome and was in use from the late 1800s until 1923. The trail was restored decades later and this portion of it is maintained as part of the 25-mile Crow Pass Trail between Eagle River and Girdwood.
Continuing north, the trail parallels above the river for a while, passing a couple of yurts. There is easy river access at Rapids Camp and is a good place for final pics of the river before the trail veers away and crosses through the forest for the final couple of miles back to the trailhead. The last couple miles of the loop are pretty easy as the trail is again wide and flat, with fewer rocks and tree roots.
Warning: Wildlife, including brown bears and moose, is abundant in the area. Take proper precautions.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.