The April Bowl Trail

A nice little hike in Hatcher Pass

Originally I’d planned a trip to Eureka to look for caribou on Wednesday morning, but the weather looked a little bleak when rolled out of bed so I decided to save that trip for another time. Instead I drove into Hatcher Pass to have a look around. I’m glad I did.

At the top of the pass, very near Summit Lake, is a trail leading up a steep hill to a little hideaway named April Bowl. Luckily the trail has muntiple switchbacks in it, easing the climb considerably. The hike into April Bowl is short, less than a half mile I’d say, but the trail is narrow and you will need to yield other hikers if they won’t yield to you.

April Bowl is a pretty place, with a small cirque lake in it along with two other smaller ponds. When I was there the early morning fog was dancing around on the distant mountain sides making for interesting photographs, but I think you could find some good photographic opportunities no matter the weather. There are also a few marmots hanging about and you’ll see them if you keep a sharp eye opened.

Since it was fairly early in the morning I had the place all to myself during  the hour or so that I explored it. I took a few dozen pictures but I wasn’t too happy with any of them, not happy enough to put them up for sale, anyway. I used a wide angle lens on most of them and just couldn’t get it to take sharp enough pictures for me. I was pretty frustrated with it and was wishing I’d stuck another lens on the camera instead of that one.

On the way back to my truck I met a group of hikers coming in and since they didn’t look like the wanted to step off of the trail I climbed up the hillside a little bit and let them pass.

I’m telling you…that trail is narrow.

Here are a few of the pictures I took in April Bowl. I guess they look good enough to post here.

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Two of the little lakes in April Bowl. There is another smaller lake behind these two, just over the small ridge with the strip of green leading to the right of it.

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There are many wildflowers in bloom at this time of the year at the top of Hatcher Pass. You’ll even find them growing out of boulders. I found these near a small stream in April Bowl.

This is Summit Lake, a popular tourist destination, at the top of Hatcher Pass, taken from the April Bowl trail. In the distance is scenery on the Willow, Alaska side of Hatcher Pass.

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Another view of the larger lake in April Bowl. There is still some snow up there, but not much. 

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This is another view of the Willow side of Hatcher pass, taken from the April Bowl trail. I used a telephoto lens to take this shot.

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More pretty wildflowers line a dry stream bed leading from the smallest lake, nestled at the base of a rocky hillside.

My favorite photo of the hike, Summit Lake with fog shrouded mountains and the road leading to Willow in the distance.

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A wide spot in the April Bowl trail. It was just beyond this point where I met a group of hikers and had to walk up the hillside to let them pass by.

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My old white pick-up waits for me at the parking area. This shot was taken a little more than halfway up the mountain. That’s the trail head leading through the tundra across the road from my pickup.

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