Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I drive to the Trailhead myself and hike Flattop for free?
Yes. There is a $5 self-serve parking fee. The address to the trailhead is 13101 Glen Alps Road.
Click here for directions on how to drive to and from Flattop
Click here for a live webcam of the parking lot and the mountain.
2. What are some other ways to get to/from Flattop?
A) Like many problems, this one can be solved by throwing money at it. It costs about $40 one way for an Uber, Lyft from downtown to the trailhead but it can be as much as $60 if there is high demand and flex fares are in effect. A taxi will cost about $45 each way or $90 roundtrip.
Rent a bike and ride it 16 miles on a bike-friendly route to the trailhead, hike, then bike back. The first half of the bike ride is flat. Then there is a one-mile-long steep hill climb. After that first hill, it's slightly uphill for the next two miles. However, after that, the last three miles are very steep. After finishing your hike, choose between singletrack mountain bike descent, road, or a combination of the two.
C) Electric Bike
Rent an ebike from us for between $42 and $60 and ride it to and from the trailhead. Battery has enough juice to get you there and back.
D) Combination bus and cab. Take the People Mover City Bus to south Anchorage for $2 then Uber or Taxi the rest of the way. The number 35 bus is a straight shot from downtown to the Dimond Center. Unless flex fares from high demand are in effect, the fare should be about $30 one way with Rideshare or a cab.
3) If less than 7 people sign up for your shuttle and those that have signed up are unwilling to make up the difference in revenue ($175) you need to run, will you introduce me/us to the other hikers who also want to go so we can split the cost of a Rideshare or cab?
Yes! In fact, you might have already made new hiking friends after checking in while stretching in our spacious interior common area or while viewing the 1964 Earthquake while mustering.
During June, July and August we almost always have at least 7 people wanting our service. On rare days when we only have six hikers signed up, each is usually amenable to paying $4 more. ($29.) In late May and early September we sometimes only have five customers so in that case the fare would be $10 more or $35 per person. If there are four people then value of splitting a taxi or Ride Share with new friends wins out.
4. What footwear is best for this hike?
This year, from late May through early June, there is still a lot of snow and mud on the trail so hiking boots are needed. (You will also need gloves for the headwall just below the summit.) From mid June - September, trail running shoes or sneakers with good traction are the best choice for most people although some people still prefer higher ankle support.
4. What should I wear?
Light layers and a breaker that you can peel off as you heat up during the hike. It's better to over-pack than under-pack because you can assess the weather at the trailhead and leave behind in the van whatever you decide you don't actually need on the hike. Be prepared for cold, wind, and rain but also be prepared for hot and sunny in which case all you'll need is a t-shirt and shorts.
5. Do you loan out hiking poles?
Yes. We have three or four sets and pass them out after arriving at the trailhead.
6. Can I store luggage at your store or in the van while I hike?
7. Can you pick me up on your way out and/or drop me off on the route back?
Yes. On the outbound route we pick you up in midtown at the water fountain on the south side of the Z.J. Loussac Public Library. It is on 36th between A and Denali. A second outbound pickup spot is the Alaska Airlines Sports Arena at UAA. Driver will text you when he departs downtown. After leaving Flattop the driver can drop you off anywhere in midtown on the inbound route.
8. If all of the shuttle's seats are reserved is there a wait list?
Yes. If someone who has signed-up doesn't show-up we trigger our wait list between 12:10 and 12:15.
9. After I check in what can I do while waiting for the shuttle to launch?
To bide time before departure here are some fun, free things to do.
1) Take glass elevator across the street to the top floor of the parking garage where there are great views and you'll see Flattop. Be back at bike rental no later than 12:05
2) Stretch. We have four large stretching mats and lots of room in in the spacious mall where we're located..
3) Our mall is home to a 1964 Earthquake exhibit that is on many city tours. Read/walk through the exhibit.