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. Also, if the parking lot is full, do not park on the side of the road. The "No Parking Fire Lane" signs are for real. There is a $200 fine and it's enforced. If the lot is full some people park about 1/2 mile down the road below the curve where there is a wide shoulder and there are no "No Parking Fire Lane" signs.
Click here for complimentary directions on how to drive to and from Flattop
2. If less than seven people sign up for your shuttle and those that have signed up are unwilling to make up the difference in gross revenue ($161) necessary for you to take us to Flattop, what are my/our options?
Option A) We will introduce you to other people who signed up and together you can split the cost of an Uber ($35/$70 round-trip) or taxi ($45/$90). Since it would cost four people $40 roundtrip to make up the difference to go in our van, it would be a lot cheaper $17.50/$22.50 to split the Uber or taxi fare with some new friends you'll make at our store. On the drive to the trailhead, everyone exchanges cell numbers and agrees to meet back at the trailhead at your agreed-upon time.
Option B) 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. To bypass the last section of the steep road, at the intersection of Hillside and Upper Huffman, hold up a sign that says "FLATTOP" and make a happy face out of the O. You will immediately get a ride from a pick-up truck or a car with a bike rack on its back (every other vehicle in Anchorage) the rest of the way to the trailhead from a healthy, active, positive, outgoing, helpful person...
Option C) Rent an ebike from us for between $40 and $60 and ride it to the trailhead. Rent the Ambient E Plus Mountain bike if you want to descend on an awesome singletrack trail.
3. What footwear is best for this hike?
In April and May when there is still snow, hiking boots are needed. From 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. If you're hiking in May and want to get to the top, some sort of glove is advised because you might need to claw into melting snow on the headwall just below the summit.
5. Can i store luggage at your store or in the van while i hike?
6. Can you pick me up or drop me off anywhere other than downtown?
Because no one likes a milk run, after leaving downtown, there are only two places where we will stop to pick up additional hikers. The first is at the water fountain on the south side of the library in mid-town. It is located on 36th between A and Denali. The second is at the university in front of the Alaska Airlines Sports Arena. Advance arrangements and a non-refundable full payment are required to be picked up in midtown or the University.
That said, it is usually a better idea to take a People Mover city bus downtown in the morning because everyone visiting Anchorage goes downtown at some point. If you’re staying in midtown you will probably want to shower and re-group at your hotel after the hike but if you get picked up and dropped off in midtown, you might not ever see/experience downtown.
7. 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 12:15 and 12:30.
If everyone who signed up shows up we introduce people on the wait list to one another and explain the other ways to get to and from the mountain. There is strength in numbers. If there are four people on the wait list, they can split the cost of an Uber or taxi which is slightly less than if they took our shuttle. Everyone exchanges cell numbers and agrees to meet back at the trailhead at their agreed-upon time.