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“Challenging but definitely worth it”

Flattop Mountain Shuttle
Ranked #6 of 12 Transportation in Anchorage
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: For Anchorage visitors without rental cars who want to hike Flattop Mountain. Operates April 15 - October 15. 15-person passenger van between downtown (sea level) and Glen Alps trailhead (2,200'). Van remains parked at trailhead while you hike by yourself - unguided. 3-mile round-trip hike. Elevation gain: 1,350.' In sum this is a 30-mile (low key) circuit tour of Anchorage and an unguided mountain hike above it for only $23. 12:15 to 4:30 pm. Check-in between noon and 12:15. No deposit to reserve a seat. See more, pay less with us!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Lockers / storage, Activities for young children
Reviewed July 29, 2017

The tour was organised smoothly and delivered exactly what it claimed. The driver gave a complimentary narration on the way to Flattop, but we were at the back of the van and missed most of it as there was no speaker system - can't really complain as it was not part of the deal. The hike is unguided, as was clearly stated in their web site. They gave you clear written instructions to follow. In reality, it was quite hard to get lost as there were so many hikers on the trail. If you want, you can download a trail map from Alaska Department of Natural Resources. For the last part of the hike, we were literally on our fours and it did take an effort to get over the edge. You do not have to summit if you are not up to it - it is the same way back to the parking lot. The scenery up there was rewarding. Make sure you get to the other side of the top for the breathtaking views. Wear shoes/boots that have good grip - the trail was quite slippery even though it was a sunny day. A walking pole could be very helpful - they had a few to borrow.

Thank Lap Kuen Damon L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"owner driver"
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"trail head"
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"coastal trail"
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"westchester lagoon"
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in 6 reviews
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in 22 reviews
"unguided"
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3 - 7 of 27 reviews

Reviewed July 19, 2017

We reserved a couple of spots on their website well in advance. Got a confirmation within few hours. We showed up at the Downtown Bicycle store for our check in. Since we had 5 members for the hike instead of 7, we had pay $26 each instead of $23. We hopped into our van and Pete, our driver, did not miss any chance to show us the important places en route. We reached the base of the Flattop peak and it was extremely foggy. We were given a paper with instructions on how to reach the peak. On the way up, we stopped multiple times to take some photos and lost some time. The trail was wet due to constant mist. We reached the 1/3rd mark pretty easily. Reaching 2/3rd mark took a toll on us. As the trail was wet, we had to extremely careful as one misstep will send us tumbling down. By the time, we reached the 2/3rd mark, we were exhausted. The final 1/3rd was even more difficult as the trail was steep and wet. We went up around 75% of the final 1/3rd and it was 3 PM – our time to return. Per the instructions, we had to turn back at 3 PM so that we could reach the base by 4 PM for our departure. Hiking down took more time as one misstep will send us sliding down. By the time we reached the final 1/3rd mark, we had slipped and fell twice. My mistake was wearing sneakers. Pete was amazed that I was able to go up so far in this weather with sneakers. There are restrooms w/o sanitizer at the base. Pete had napkins and wipes. That helped take the dirt off of hands, fleece, jeans, and backpack due to fall. We asked Pete to drop us off at the Alaska Zoo and he gladly obliged.

Thank Gautam05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2017

Peter convinced my wife and I to do a split service - renting bikes one day and taking the shuttle the next. Excellent advice as being 60 years old this year, these activities spread across two days was the best advise my slow to recover body appreciated.
Pleasant tour given on the short 40 min ride to the Flattop Mt trail head.
Return trip, Peter offered to drop patrons of at the zoo (no takers) and then the local museum which we took up this offer.
I will note that the hike is not an ultra easy hike -involves perhaps 200 railroad ties in a steep ascent area as well as about 200 yards of scrambling over a step rock strewn incline. The strenuous effort was well worth it though when we got to the top and took in the views. The Glen Alps area is BEAUTIFUL!

Thank Johnboy4343
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2017

What a great way to start our Alaska experience. I was not feeling 100% on the day so we only made it about a third of the way up. Still enjoyed the snow, the hike and the whole experience. Pete the driver was excellent even lending his jacket to somebody on the shuttle that came in a tee shirt on a really cold day. Highly recommend!

Thank gidge54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 9, 2016

We had been watching the weather and called Saturday for a Monday reservation. The folks at Downtown Bicycle Rental, who operate the Flat Top Mountain Shuttle, are friendly and very helpful. Read the website to familiarize yourself with their procedures. It’s not that difficult, and you don’t want to be disappointed. I even brought paper copies from their website as I can never find what I’m looking for quickly on my smart phone.

We showed up a little before noon to check in and pay. They made a note on the board by our name. We went over to the parking garage for the view of Flat Top even though it was obstructed by clouds. Then we visited the 1964 Earthquake Exhibit inside the blue mall where Downtown Bicycle is located. Keep alert and in the area. We might not have heard him call “All aboard for Flat Top” while we were at the Earthquake Exhibit had we not been alert. It was about 12:30 p.m.

Make sure you read the important, accurate information you receive on how to hike Flat Top and have water. I would suggest hiking boots over tennis shoes and walking poles if you have them for balance. I wish I had brought mine. Be careful on the railroad steps as many have loose gravel on the top, and erosion has slanted them downward or taken all the ground away. It’s like a ladder in parts. Take your time and be focused. I saw young girls wearing tennis shoes. But coming down, it would be easier to slip if you take the trail too fast.

I work out at least 4 times a week, but should have used the stairclimber more. Just when you think you’re done with the railroad ties, there’s more. It’s worth it to stop and rest when needed. I was surprised my heart was beating so much. I made it to the 2/3 mark and rested before I decided to tackle the last 1/3 to the top. Now I know what a rock wall is. There are no trees, grass, plants, etc. It’s a rock pile stacked straight up, and you climb any way you can. Hence, poles would have helped as I saw a man using them easily on his way down the rock pile. I made it about 1/3 up the rock pile before retreating as I didn’t think I’d have enough time to get to the top, rest and hike down for the 4:00 p.m. departure. After talking to Pete, our driver, I would have made it. Next time. But that gave us time to take the easy “Overlook Trail” from the parking lot for more pictures and great views. If you’re going to Alaska, you need to get outside and experience. Why we even saw a moose!

Thank Chgotourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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