KING MOUNTAIN, about 7-1/2 miles NNE of Nome.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome C-1.

  • Difficulty: Easy, though you do gain about 900 feet of elevation. There are steep areas but no cliffs. We’ve hiked it with kids as young as 5, and they’ve done better than we did.

  • Distance, about 3 miles round trip.

From Nome, drive north on the Teller Road. Three miles from town as the road curves to the left, you’ll see a narrow cutoff to the right, labeled "Nome Dexter Bypass." Turn onto this road. About three miles later, you’ll crest in the saddle between Anvil Mountain and Newton Peak. King Mountain is directly north of you.

Proceed down the road for about a half-mile, descending the north side of Newton Peak. Watch below you, and along the bottom of King Mountain, for a region that’s not too thick with willows, and that’s not too far from Grouse Gulch, which is the deep cut on King that’s filled with dark willow bushes. Park your vehicle. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike down to Dexter Creek and then directly up King. The large graveled area at the head of the creek was mined in the mid-1990’s. At the top of Grouse Gulch, there’s an old cabin, and in that vicinity, you’ll cross the Wild Goose Railroad, which pushed through here in 1903, and was abandoned in 1955. Most of the track was taken up, to be sold to a short line on Catalina Island California (although the steel was too old and was eventually shipped to the Lower 48 as scrap), but near this cabin you’ll find one of the few stretches where the old track is intact. Hike directly up King Mountain.

Somewhere on the south shoulder of King, between the 700 ft. and 900 ft. level, there’s an old hard rock shaft that’s tall enough to stand up in, and only goes back about ten feet. Entering old mining structures is dangerous and should not be attempted. However, this one is tame. From the top of King Mountain, enjoy the super view of the Kigluaiks to the north, the ocean to the south, and the hills surrounding Nome. 

By:Tom Busch