Suzy Q Creek
Summer Day Hikes
Distance: 3.8 miles round trip to alpine view point
Elevation gain: 1800 feet
Trail type: Hiking (4-wheeler ends too soon to be useful)
Considerations: Recreational users are required to check in with Black Rapids Army Training Area
Although also on military land, this trail is in a portion of the Black Rapids Training Area which isn’t used as much as the slopes leading up to Gunnysack Peak. Still, the army wants you to check in before entering their land. See the Gunnysack Peak trail description where the official hoops are explained.
Driving along the Richardson Highway just south of Black Rapids, through forest and brush, you’d never guess that the landscape switches to vast expanses of alpine tundra, just up the mountainside to the east. Frequent high winds in this area keep all but the lowest, hardiest plants from growing, so these slopes have one of the lowest tree and brush lines in the region. After passing through the flowery alpine meadows and a scenic rock outcrop, the trail ascends steeply along the edge of a rocky gorge up to a high viewpoint over the Delta River Valley and the surrounding mountains and tundra.
From Delta, drive about 41.5 miles south along the Richardson Highway. Just before the bridge over Suzy Q Creek, there is a gravel road on the left. Drive up this somewhat steep and narrow road for about a mile and look for a 4-wheeler trail and a small place to park on the left. The road should be driveable in a low clearance vehicle if you’re careful, but you’ll want to park at the end, near the communication tower.
As described before, the wheeler trail climbs gently through beautiful, open alpine tundra with nice views of the surrounding craggy mountains. There is a rock outcrop at about 2/3 mile where the trail is briefly less distinct. Take a right paralleling the creek to the south. Quickly the trail becomes more apparent again and climbs more steeply, weaving through alder patches. There is a portion here where the trail becomes wet as well as steep, and should not be driven on a 4-wheeler. It ends very soon anyway. Past the brush, where the tread is no longer visible, head over to the edge of Suzy Q Creek Canyon and climb steeply up the ridge. There are a couple of minor scrambling areas here. Eventually top out onto flatter terrain carpeted with spongy bright green dryas, which puts on an intense flower display in June. Either enjoy the ample views from here or continue up into rockier country along the ridge line. Though you’ll have to avoid some rock towers, the terrain is mostly hikeable and it should be possible for experienced (and very fit) hikers to get up onto the Delta-Jarvis Divide. Most will be content with the lower viewpoint however.