Ridges and tors over red and yellow valleys to the east of Nome Creek
I took a little 12 mile ridge hike at Nome Creek in the White Mountains in early September of 2015. I love the drive to this area. Turning north onto US Creek Road off of the Steese Highway affords some awesome, open views of the surrounding hills.
The first large-scale pipeline built in Alaska. This one didn’t carry oil, but water to the gold mines in central Alaska. The pipeline was capable of carrying 180,000 gallons of water per day 90 miles from the Chatanika River to the Goldstream Creek area.
South view from US Creek Road
A trail begins at the Mt. Prindle campground following Nome Creek. It’s one of the few non-motorized trails in the area. You need to cross the creek right at the parking lot. It’s not too much of an issue since it’s barely knee deep and not very fast. Spotting the trail through the alders is pretty easy once on the other side. The brush is fairly dense and there’s another stream crossing before coming out of the thicket.
Looking north from the crossing at Nome Creek
Tributary along Nome Creek. Gorgeous colors!
Then begins the soggy tundra walk, along Nome Creek for a few miles. The trail keeps following the creek for quite a while, but I wanted to explore the ridges and peaks on the east side of the creek. I chose a rocky ascent up to one of the lower summits so I could just work my way up via saddles to the higher peaks.
Out of the woods
Pretty barren, but pretty anyway
The views across ridges and into the Valleys was incredible. It’s hard to imagine landscapes so vast and empty.
The contrast of the windswept snow against the black rock was stunning.
I hit my time limit for my hike, needing to turn around to get back to the car before nightfall. I wish I had just taken a tent because I wanted to keep exploring these hills. Maybe I’ll just have to brave the mosquitos and come back in the summer season. I chose a different route down, through one of the valleys. The terrain was interesting at the saddle, incredibly wet and soggy headwaters coalescing into a small stream in the valley.
Soggy ground slowly trickling down into the valley.
Further down I came across some small waterfalls.
One last look back before ducking into the woods.