Summer Multi-Day Hikes
Distance: 10.5 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 3200 feet
Trail type: Hiking
Considerations: Brief boggy sections on lower portion of trail. Some fallen trees over trail
Known primarily only to a small group of foot-access caribou hunters, the trail from Dry Creek up onto Macomb Plateau is one of the most spectacular hikes in the Eastern Alaska Range. With only a brief boggy area near the beginning to detract from its attractiveness, the narrow path climbs up a pretty little valley to what appears to be a pass, but is actually the rim of an unusually flat and rolling tundra landscape with the icy and jagged peaks of the Alaska Range rising up beyond. Though it can be done as a very long dayhike, this trip is more suitable as a short backpacking trip.
From Delta, drive about 43 miles south on the Alaska Highway. Just past the Johnson River bridge, look for a road on the right with some mailboxes. This road leads to the Dry Creek Religious Commune, but offers public access, at least initially. A little ways down the road, look for an air strip (which doubles as a local shooting range) on the right. Drive right down the airstrip (looking first for approaching aircraft, of course) and park out of the way, at the far end.
A 4-wheeler trail intersects the airstrip at its far end. Walk this trail south through open, rocky forest and take a right at a junction. Several boggy areas must be crossed. Since this trail has so far seen only light 4-wheeler use, these bogs aren’t too cut up, and you can generally pick your way through with only standard waterproof hiking boots. After the bogs, the trail climbs gently through dry forest, coming to a hunter’s camp along Dry Creek (which generally isn’t dry here). The wheeler trail ends here, still below treeline. There can be a bit of confusion amid fallen trees here to find the correct footpath, but it is reasonably apparent if you poke around a bit. The foot trail climbs more steeply through the subalpine and into open alpine tundra as it enters the small valley that it will ascend up to the plateau. The brush gets a bit dense and the tread can be hard to spot through here, but the general idea is obvious enough. After an excellent viewpoint, the path drops steeply to cross a creek, and then switchbacks back out of the creek gorge. At the head of the valley is a small cirque which provides the last reliable running water before the plateau and a bit of shelter in case of bad weather. On the other hand, the views from the edge of the plateau are far superior, there is solid ground for camping, and boggy alpine tundra puddles should be available for (filtered) water. Once on the plateau, options for exploration are endless. Of particular interest is the small summit to the north, which offers spectacular views over the plateau to the Alaska Range, as well as many interesting rock outcrops. On the map at least, it looks realistic to do an off trail hike from here which connects in with the Knob Ridge trail to Dot Lake.