If you pull into the McHugh Creek parking lot, you will be in prime hiking territory with absolutely incredible views. There is one particular trail that is rather short and easy, and at the end you are faced by some large rocks. With a little scrambling up these Boy Scout Rocks you can get some absolutely incredible views of the Turnagain Arm area.
YouTube Turnagain Arm Video
If you want to see the McHugh Creek area, as well as some other fun stops along the Turnagain Arm, be sure to check out our YouTube video! Make sure you subscribe while you watch!
Now on to our adventure at McHugh Creek and Boy Scout Rocks.
Where is McHugh Creek?
McHugh Creek is located about 20-30 minutes outside of Anchorage. Take the Seward Highway south to 111 Seward Highway (which happens to be milepost 111). When coming from Anchorage, the turn into McHugh Creek Recreation area is on your left. There are several levels of parking. The bottom level has great access to see the water fall coming down the mountain. We parked in the top level so that we could access the trail to Boy Scout Rocks. To park at McHugh Creek it is a $5 parking fee; the Alaska State Parks pass is also valid here.
Boy Scout Rocks Trail
The trail down to Boy Scout Rocks is a single track through the woods. Our children loved running along the path, finding pine cones, sticks, and piles of moose poop. (Yes, it’s everywhere.) It’s about 1/4 of a mile down the trail before you reach an area to play under some large evergreen trees. From there you can either turn around and go back down the trail, or you can scramble up some of the rocks to reach some large flat ledges (safe for our children) for some absolutely amazing views.
It is likely that you will see people with climbing gear on these rocks when you are hiking up. If you don’t have climbing gear you will likely not be in their way at all, because you are taking the trail portions of the rocks up and they are looking for more of the technical stuff which is on a slightly different portion of the rock. Just be aware that they will probably be there and be considerate and safety conscious!
The views once you scramble up the rocks a ways are absolutely incredible. You can see Beluga Point in the distance, the inlet, and the beautiful mountains surrounding the Turnagain Arm. To say it was breathtaking would be an understatement. We didn’t go all the way up because we mostly just wanted to relax and enjoy the views. We also had intel from people coming down the mountain that if we went too much farther up we would be encountering a moose (I told you they were everywhere!). Not exactly who we wanted to encounter on a hike.
Where we stopped was a very wide ledge that we felt 100% comfortable with our kids playing about. They quickly fashioned nature toys for themselves and were quite content sitting on the low-lying vegetation – a treat for Alaskan kids who just endured another long winter! They fashioned drums, sang songs, and just enjoyed the views. We also were treated by seeing a bald eagle fly right over us which made all the children squeal in delight. So amazing.
A Short Outing with Big Results
Boy Scout Rocks trail in the McHugh Creek Recreation Area is a very short outing. But it comes with big results. It’s also perfect for those of us with younger kids who don’t feel like doing a huge hike on that particular day. You could also combine this outing with many other outings along the Turnagain Arm. Other options in the near vicinity to include would be eating at Moose’s Tooth, or exploring Potter Marsh, Beluga Point, and Bird Point. The Turnagain Arm is a wonderful place to leisurely explore as a family whether you are locals or tourists.