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Chugach National Forest, AK – Volunteer Vacations 2023

July 23, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - July 29, 2023 @ 10:00 am

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This remote backcountry project will take place on the beautiful Lost Lake Trail just north of Seward, Alaska! The project consists of rebuilding a step and run structure and additional trail maintenance as time allows. Most of the trail work will take place within half mile of our designated campsite on the Lost Lake trail. There is an 80-foot section of existing native spruce step and run that has rotted and needs to be replaced. After demolishing the existing structure, we will be using yellow cedar 4x10s that have been cached near the worksite to construct a new structure. Work will be strenuous at times and involve hiking with tools, heavy lifting of large pieces of lumber, dirt work with pulaskis, shovels and picks, and a lot of teamwork. There will be chainsaw use, however volunteers will not be permitted to use chainsaws. We will construct the new structure and the approaches. If time permits, we will work on some light brushing and drainage work. On Wednesday, our off day, the camp location well situates the crew to go on a world renown hike up to Lost Lake with ample time to enjoy the mind-expanding views.

The project lumber will be brought to the worksite by snowmachine the winter before the project. The tools, group camp gear, and most of the group’s food will be helicoptered to the campsite location a few days prior to the start of the project. The work tools will then need to be carried about half a mile from the campsite to the worksite at the start of the project. Volunteers will be responsible for packing in all their personal gear such as tent, sleeping bag and pad, clothes, comforts, etc. about 3.75 miles from the trailhead to the designated campsite on the Lost Lake trail. Everyone will get dirty and tired, and it will be a fun and productive week in an amazing location!

There is no experience needed to join a Volunteer Vacation! Your expert hosts will provide detailed instruction, tool demonstrations, and project oversight throughout the week. All you need is a willing attitude and to be in good physical condition to participate in moderate physical activity for approximately 6-8 hours a day with plenty of breaks, at your own pace. Find out more about what it’s like to join a Volunteer Vacation and other frequently asked questions here.

AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the Dena’ina Ełnena and Dënéndeh peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, their deep and sacred connection to these lands, and those who continue to steward these lands today. We offer this land acknowledgement as the first of many steps to stand as an ally and amplify Indigenous voices. We invite the American Hiking Society community to join us through continued efforts to support Indigenous communities and learn more about the history of the lands on which we live, work and recreate.


US Forest Service


Primitive Tent Sites


The hike into the backcountry campsite is 3.75 miles from the trailhead. The daily hike to the work site from where we will be camping is about ½ mile from camp. Volunteers will need to carry the tools from the campsite to the worksite on the first and last days of the project.

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

The Lost Lake Trail is a segment of the longer Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT). This 7.3 mile trail is located 5 miles from Seward, Alaska. Lost Lake Trail connects to the Primrose Trail and provides a 14.8-mile route linking two trailheads along the Seward Highway. Lost Lake trail climbs gradually through dense spruce forest to emerge after 2 miles on an open mountainside of meadows and brush offering spectacular views of nearby mountains. Leveling off after 4 miles the trail enters a subalpine area of wet meadows and hemlock groves then climbs up an alpine ridge cresting after 6 miles. From here are the first views of Lost Lake amid a panorama of near and distant mountains. The trail descends then follows the rolling alpine terrain around the east side of Lost Lake where it meets the Primrose Trail. Heavy winter snow can linger here until July. The lower and mid section of trail includes both a summer route and winter route and is used by hikers, berry pickers, hunters, and snow machines in the winter. Camping on Lost Lake is recommended at the designated campsites, some of which are equipped with bear boxes and pit toilets. Located close to Seward, the trail is easily accessed by locals and visitors. Seward is known for being the beginning of the historic Iditarod trail. The early Iditarod trail was a dog sled route from Seward to Nome carrying supplies and mail during the winter months in the early 20th century. Seward has a lot to offer, from national parks featuring wildlife and glaciers to local art and delicious food. One of the most popular trips in all of Alaska is to take a boat tour into Kenai Fjords National Park.

Accommodations Description

This project is a backcountry camping trip. The designated campsite will be located about 4 mile from the trailhead on the Lost Lake trail. The campsite has an existing bear box for food storage, an open-air pit toilet, and a landscape of hemlock ridges to locate tent spots. Each volunteer should come prepared with supplies needed to backcountry tent camp. There will be a group tarp for the kitchen area. Food will have to be kept in bear safe containers, as there are bears in the area. We will have a group water filter and be filtering all water. The project worksite is about ½ mile from camp and there is no bathroom at the site.


Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, AK is the closest major airport. Airport pick up and drop off is available for volunteers and will be arranged upon confirmation of the trip.


Chugach National Forest
AK United States + Google Map