Moose Pass is a scenic mountain village nestled on the southwest shore of upper Trail Lake on the Kenai Peninsula. Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, it’s an ideal place for hikers and backpackers to stage outdoor adventures, and lies along both the Seward Highway and the Alaska Railroad, making it easy to reach from Anchorage, 100 miles to the north, or Seward, 26 miles to the south.
About Moose Pass
The community of 186 residents was founded during the Hope-Sunrise gold rush when Oscar Christensen and his partner, Mickey Natt, arrived in 1909 and built a log roadhouse for the miners heading north. Moose Pass came into its own when the original Iditarod National Historic Trail was cut around the lake in 1910-11 and later when the Alaska Railroad Company built a small freight shed and receiving platform for heavy machinery in 1927. The first post office was established in 1928 and the town was named – so the story goes – because a mail carrier and his team of dogs had considerable trouble gaining the right-of-way from a moose.
Things to do
Moose Pass provides easy access to numerous Kenai Peninsula trails. The closest is Johnson Pass Trail, whose southern trailhead is at Mile 32.5 of the Seward Highway, just three miles northwest of town. This 23-mile trail winds over a 1,550-foot alpine pass, around two small alpine lakes and is part of the original Iditarod trail blazed by prospectors on their way from Seward to the golden beaches of Nome. Other trails only a short distance from Moose Pass are Carter Lake Trail, Victor Creek Trail, Ptarmigan Creek Trail and Lost Lake Trail.
The high point of the year in Moose Pass (not to mention the longest day) is the town’s lively Summer Solstice Festival. For more than 20 years, residents have staged this two-day event sandwiched around June 21, the longest day of the year, inviting visitors and locals alike to join them for food, games and music. It’s one of the best small town festivals in Alaska.