"20130724_YUCH_RockOutcrops_KenHill" by National Park Service, Alaska Region , public domain
Granite Tors Trail
Guide to Granite Tors Trail at Chena River State Recreation Area (SRA) in Alaska. Published by Alaska State Parks.
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Guide to Granite Tors Trail in Chena River State Recreation Area Trail Access: The trail begins at the Granite Tors Campground Day-Use Area at milepost 39.5 Chena Hot Springs Road. Allowable Uses: Hiking Distance: 15 mile loop or optional 2 mile loop Elevation Gain: 2900 feet Difficulty: Moderate/strenuous Trail Guide: Special Features: This 15 mile loop trail provides access to unusual rock outcroppings called tors, alpine tundra, and views of both the Alaska Range and the Chena River Valley. The tors formed millions of years ago when molten rock pushed upward and cooled before it reached the earth’s surface. The surrounding earth slowly eroded, exposing the less erodible rock pinnacles. Camping: Minimize your impact on the area by camping away from the trail, packing out what you pack in, and burying human waste away from the trail. The shelter cabin is located approximately 7 miles in when taking the East trail. This cabin cannot be reserved and is on a first come first serve basis. Safety and Considerations: Portions of the trail are steep and rocky, and can be treacherous. Wear suitable footwear. Weather can hamper visibility and make it difficult to find trail markers. This guide describes the clockwise loop beginning with the East Trail and ending on the West Trail. This route provides a more gradual ascent than the counterclockwise route. At the first trail junction (at the bulletin board) go left; you will travel along the river on boardwalks through black spruce and bog, eventually crossing Rock Creek. In less than a mile, you’ll encounter a boardwalk heading to your right. This connects with the West Trail, giving the option of a two mile loop hike. As you continue on the East Trail on the 15 mile loop, you will ascend through black spruce forest and drop through 2 saddles before reaching timberline. This forested area burned in 2004. Follow rock cairns as the trail traverses the face of Munson Ridge; it then emerges in an alpine meadow near the trail shelter. From here, the East Trail ends and a less developed route begins that follows wooden tripods through wet areas to the tors on the ‘Plain of Monuments.’ The route then follows rock cairns through more tors. The West trail begins near mile 9; it winds through a spruce and alder saddle and emerges on a barren ridge top. It then drops down to the last group of tors. You will then travel through a sparsely wooded saddle and begin a steep descent through black spruce to a boardwalk on the upper part of Rock Creek. The trail then returns to the junction of the East and West trails. Park Rules: Disturbing or gathering natural materials is prohibited in the Recreation Area, except for berries, mushrooms, and similar edibles for personal use. Vehicles including mountain bikes are prohibited. For a complete set of park rules visit: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chena/chenareg.htm Alaska State Parks, Northern Area Office 3700 Airport Way Fairbanks, AK 99709 (907) 451 - 2695