Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: Doubtful Creek
Distance: 10-13 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Approx. hiking time: 2-4 days
Total elevation gain: +2724, -5647
Best season: July - early September
Access: Bush flight from McCarthy to Wolverine Mt.
Maps: USGS McCarthy C-4
Challenges: Routefinding, bushwhacking, boulder fields, stream crossings
A shorter but demanding backpacking route that includes some rugged boulder fields, requiring stamina as well as good route finding skills. This is a good route if you don't have the time for a longer trek but don't want to short yourself on adventure. There are two route variations for this trip - one will require only three days and the other at least four.
In some ways this is the ideal Alaska backpacking trip - it's almost all downhill. You start at the airstrip for Wolverine and hike down to the sand bars at the edge of the Nizina Glacier. But there is some serious backpacking terrain to be covered and you shouldn't be fooled by the downhill trend and shorter distance. There are some major rock glaciers to be crossed on the way down Doubtful Creek that may bring to mind the reason for naming this creek.
That said there is also some fantastic scenery especially at the beginning of the backpacking trek in the area of Wolverine Mountain. See if you can find the Dragon's Back on the back side of the mesa. For a shorter trip this one has plenty of challenges.
Even detailed route descriptions such as those found in the book are not a substitute for skills and experience. If you would like to do this route but don't feel that you are ready to tackle the Alaskan wilderness on your own, consider a guided trek.
If you are interested in doing this route as part of a guided trek, click here for more information on guided backpacking treks in Wrangell St. Elias National Park.