Moose Pass Alaska Lake
Photo Credit: Justin McAfee

Moose Pass

Moose Pass

Moose Pass is a scenic mountain town nestled on the shore of Upper Trail Lake on the Kenai Peninsula.


Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, Moose Pass is an ideal place for hikers and backpackers to stage outdoor adventures and a scenic pit stop for travelers road tripping through the Kenai Peninsula. The town of about 300 residents lies along the Seward Highway, making it easy to reach from Anchorage, 100 miles to the north, and Seward, 26 miles to the south.


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 and around two small alpine lakes, and is part of the original Iditarod Trail blazed by prospectors on their way from Seward to Nome. Other trails only a short distance from Moose Pass are Carter Lake TrailVictor Creek TrailPtarmigan Creek Trail, and Lost Lake Trail.

Scattered in the Chugach National Forest that surrounds Moose Pass are a number U.S. Forest Service cabins that can be reserved in advance. One of the most popular is Crescent Lake Cabin that can be reached on foot via the Carter Lake Trail at Mile 33 of the Seward Highway.

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 around June 21, the longest day of the year, inviting visitors and locals alike to join for food, games, and music. It’s one of the best small-town festivals in Alaska.

A few lakeside lodges can be found on the area, offering comfortable accommodations and meals in scenic locations. A number of B&Bs, guesthouses, and a campground are also available. The town of Moose Pass has a lodge with a restaurant, a gift shop, and a small grocery store. Additional services, accommodations, and activities can be found in the nearby town of Seward, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park.


The community 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 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.

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