Summer Day Hikes
Distance: 2 miles round trip to the alpine
Elevation gain: 1000 feet
Trail type: Hiking
Considerations: Somewhat overgrown and indistinct path
Though it’s impossible to tell from the highway, there’s actually quite a little network of trails on both sides of Michael Creek. The main trail here climbs steeply up through the forest and brush to access beautiful alpine country and great views of the surrounding Alaska Range.
From Delta, drive about 47 miles south to the signed bridge over Michael Creek. Park on the far (south) side of the bridge and look for the footpath cutting into the brush. The trail is surprisingly clear as it winds around through some nice woods, not immediately worrying too much about gaining elevation. There are a bit of a maze of trails back here. At the time of this writing, the correct route that leads to the alpine was marked with red duct tape flagging. After a while, the trail leads to a grassy meadow, which is a small pond in early summer. Though it’s not obvious, take a sharp left here and look for the path sidehilling upwards. The trail is steep and rough, but fairly obvious up through the brush, and leads to a patch of open tundra. The trail seems to disappear, but you’ll want to locate it again to the east, on the far side of the open area. This section is again cut through the brush, so it’s worth finding. At the top of this brushy area is a good viewpoint, looking out over the familiar Delta River country, as well as immediately across Michael Creek to a rock tower called the Devil’s Thumb. It’s easy enough to continue higher up the tundra, with ever improving views, but eventually a vertical rock tower halts progress up the ridge. It’s likely possible to skirt the tower to the right and regain the ridge, but it looks like unpleasant boulder hopping, at least at first.