Old Valdez Trail, Flag Hill Bluff
Summer Short Walks
Distance: As far as you want to go
Elevation gain: As high as you want to climb
Trail type: Hiking
Considerations: Access road is muddy in spring and after rain
Before the Richardson Highway was built, the original trail between Fairbanks and Valdez took a more precipitous route around Flag Hill than the current highway alignment. The narrow road, cut into the very steep hill with the river gushing below is a pretty spectacular spot, but not very well known it seems. Though the Valdez Trail itself can be driven through here, it also makes a nice walk or bike ride, and the open, rocky slopes of the bluff above the road can also be explored on foot.
From Delta, drive about 52 miles on the Richardson, towards Fairbanks, and look for a road on the left marked Old Valdez Trail. Take this narrow dirt road and pass through a rural neighborhood. Soon the road leaves the residences behind and enters the steeply cut area with good views out across the river to the mountains. There are a few pullouts where you can park and explore on foot. The rock formations on the hill above the road are pretty interesting. Once the road leaves the steep, open area, it quickly gets wet and there’s no further interest.