Alaska’s best-kept secret is just 70 miles west of Anchorage: the Tordrillo Mountains. The relatively unknown and relentlessly rugged Alaska mountain range contains over one million acres of wilderness. With few visitors and access only by glacier plane or helicopter, you quickly get the sense that you’re experiencing the same Alaska that explorers discovered centuries ago.
At Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, we have the unique privilege of exploring this massive playground every day. From walking on glaciers to strolling through mountain valleys, hiking our small but mighty Alaska mountain range is one of our favorite ways to spend a summer day. Before booking your trip, here’s everything to know about hiking in the Tordrillo Mountains.
History of the Tordrillo Mountains
The Tordrillo Mountains we know today are the product of millions of years of rock formation, uplift, and erosion. Weather, water and glaciers carved the Tordrillos into the stunning peaks of the present day.
While they’re multi-millions of years in the making, it wasn’t until recent history that the Tordrillos were discovered. In 1898, a USGS surveyor named Josiah Spurr first explored the range during Alaska’s gold rush, a period from 1897 to 1904 when a mass migration from the United States and Canada led to the first true exploration of Alaska.
Since their discovery over 120 years ago, the range’s remote location and severe terrain have kept tourists at bay, leaving the land untouched and in the same pristine condition as when Josiah Spurr first made his discovery.
Major Peaks of the Tordrillos
The Tordrillo Mountains are primarily a volcanic range, with the last major eruption in 1992 from Mount Spurr. The range is heavily glaciated, making for dramatic vistas and opportunities to get up close with a glacier. The range is made up of five 11,000-foot summits, including:
- Mount Torbert (11,413 feet)
- Mount Gerdine (11,258 feet)
- Mount Talachulitna (11,100 feet)
- Mount Spurr (11,070 feet)
- Hayes Volcano (9,147 feet)
- Crater Peak (7,575 feet)
Wildlife in the Tordrillo Mountains
With few disturbances from humans, wildlife in the Tordrillo Mountains is abundant. Like most of Alaska, there are populations of grizzlies and black bears throughout the range, as well as other iconic large Alaska mammals like caribou, moose, and Dall sheep. The various rivers in the area are home to all five types of salmon, arctic grayling, northern pike, and rainbow trout. Of the smaller mammals, foxes, snowshoe hares and red squirrels are common. And, of course, birds are abundant, including the golden eagle.
Types of Hikes
The Tordrillo Mountains offer many different types of hikes for all skill levels. Whether you want to explore open meadows, hike miles of aggressive vertical gain, or even trek across some of the biggest glaciers in Alaska, you can do all of it here.
The major glaciers of the Tordrillo range include the Capps Glacier, Triumvirate Glacier, Hayes Glacier and Trimble Glacier. At Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, we can explore many of these ice masses with crampons and ropes and discover moulins (massive glacial sinkholes), ice caves and crevasses.
Private Excursions with a Personal Guide
The experienced guides at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge take mountain hiking in Alaska to the next level. Your guide and helicopter pilot will whisk you to the most spectacular hiking sites in Alaska that would otherwise be inaccessible. You’ll experience a variety of adventure hiking activities to keep you active and entertained during your stay in our luxury wilderness lodge. Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you may choose a full day hike or explore several areas for heli hiking opportunities offering varied landscapes and panoramic views of the world.
Check out our summer rates and availability to make hiking in Alaska a reality.