Many people know of the grueling Mount Marathon racecourse in Seward, some 130 miles south of Anchorage. However, most people don’t know that there’s also a hiking path to the top at Race Point—and it’s far less demanding. This 2.25-mile route, which entails hiking three different trails, takes you up the mountain and lets you to explore a glacial valley along the way.
Well-maintained and suitable for summer hiking and biking, the 10-mile Devil’s Pass Trail features a steep route up a spectacular V-shaped valley that intersects with the Resurrection Pass Trail and a rental cabin in the alpine realm. The country is rugged, with great access to cross-country tundra exploration and berry picking.
Popular with hikers and backpackers, this easy-to-follow trail connects the state’s most intense sockeye salmon sports fishery with stunning mountain backcountry. It offers many of the Kenai Peninsula’s highlights in one trip. The 21-mile route accesses Russian River Falls, Lower and Upper Russian Lakes, Cooper Lake, 3 federally managed recreational cabins, and numerous campsites
You can hike right up to Seward's Exit Glacier and feel the dense blue ice while listening to it crackle. Walk the lower trail to get a good photo in front of the glacier face. Or, choose the more challenging 7-mile round-trip Harding Icefield Trail. There is a short ranger-led walk daily at 11am and 3pm, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
This is one of Homer's top hikes. It starts on top of Baycrest Hill, crosses Diamond Ridge Road, then follows Crossman Ridge to the Bridge Creek Reservoir. Throughout, it rolls through forests, meadows and over streams. The area is excellent for birding and catching a glimpse at the occasional moose.
The wildflowers are abundant and verdant undergrowth can be check high sometimes. Most of the trail lies below treeline, so there are established camp clearings along the way that are nestled into the trees. One of the best campsites is 10 miles in from the northern trailhead, set among trees on a spruce-covered knoll looking over the trail and Bench Lake.
This trail is a good day hike for the whole family. It alternates between open meadows and forests and offers the option of tent camping or staying in Crescent Lake Cabin. There are options for longer hikes and there is a lot of wildlife to be seen such as moose, goats and bears.
From the base of the Homer Spit, take this 4-mile paved trail to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. The trail is in excellent condition and is flat as a pancake for most of its length. The first mile of trail is along a broad estuary that is great for birding. Once you pass the one-mile mark you’ll be riding past fishing boats that are out of the water being worked on as well as a few shops.
Portage Valley may be one of the most popular visitor destinations in Alaska, but don't let that scare you away. The truth is that most people stop at the visitor’s center for a quick walkthrough, take a photo on the deck and then get back on the road, to Whittier or elsewhere. And while it’s true that the valley's blue ice and glacial scenery is outstanding from More...
No other mining trail on the Kenai Peninsula climbs as high or takes in more extensive views as the 6-mile-long Crown Mine Trail. Beginning some 2 hours south of Anchorage on the appropriately named Mine Road just south of Trail Lake, this trail climbs to 3,900 feet above sea level to a unique spot—a glacial cirque littered with mining paraphernalia.
This 38 mile long USFS trail climbs Resurrection Pass (elev. 2,600) and descends to the north to another trailhead trailhead near Hope on Turnagain Arm. There are 8 public use cabins along the trail, making this an advanced but comfortable day cabin-to-cabin hike. There are also 19 campsites available along More...
Probably the second most traveled trail in the park, this trail offers a great day hike for those spending time in the lagoon. You can start hiking the trail from the ranger station or the trailhead in Halibut Cove Lagoon. The trail traverses up numerous switchbacks to a place called First Lake. On a hot summer day, a soak in this lake can't be beat.
If you have some outdoor experience and an adventurous spirit, consider this 11-mile traverse up the Colorado Creek valley and down the Summit Creek. Beginning 2 hours south of Anchorage, this traverse doesn’t involve any rock scrambling, river crossings, or arduous bushwhacking. But if you feel comfortable hiking in wide and trackless country, you may reap the reward of having an entire valley to yourself.
Beginning 103 miles south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, the 3.5-mile-long Ptarmigan Lake Trail makes for a fine family outing. The lake itself is a long and narrow body of water squeezed between ridges and mountains that tower as high as 6,000 feet. It even offers a small beach upon which to relax and enjoy the view while cooling your feet.
This trail, hands down, is one of the most popular hikes in the Kachemak Bay State Park. It is one of the easiest hikes in the park as the trail is well maintained, and you can't beat the view of the glacier at the lake. For the first 1.5 miles, the trail meanders through mixed cottonwood and Sitka spruce. These cottonwoods are some of the largest in the park so take time to appreciate their enormous size. After 1.5 miles, the trail proceeds straight towards the lake on alluvial flats. Keep an eye out for small hawks and bald eagles hunting from treetops in this area.
If you have the ability to transport bicycles, this trail makes for a great afternoon trip. The dirt path winds through the Portage Valley, passing glacial lakes and ending at Portage Lake (this part of the trip is 5 miles each way). Make sure to bring your camera: you’ll see hanging glaciers and, very likely, some wildlife.
The 23-mile Johnson Pass Trail offers hikers, backpackers and bikers a well-marked route through a lush pass in the Kenai Mountains—featuring gradual climbs, two lakes with fish, spectacular peaks and some way cool gorges.
The 23-mile Johnson Pass Trail offers hikers, backpackers and bikers a well-marked route through a lush pass in the Kenai…
Don’t expect to run very much of this world-famous race route, which begins 2.5 hours south of Anchorage and climbs nearly 3,000 feet from downtown Seward. Though the first part of the route is very runnable, the next 1.5 miles climb Mount Marathon and are too steep and rocky for most to run. Just the hike itself makes for a very intensive workout.
If you want a taste of dim spruce forest along a wild river bottom, try the first few miles of this mostly level route into the Resurrection River Valley. From the trailhead Mile 7 of Exit Glacier Road, the trail runs 4.5 miles to Martin Creek and is suitable for mountain biking or skiing after snowfall. It features two primitive campsites and occasional access or views of to the river.
Spencer Glacier rises 3,500 feet in a stunning, natural ramp from a lake of royal-blue icebergs in the Chugach National Forest just 60 miles south of Anchorage. It’s a family-friendly recreation destination featuring camping, hiking, glacier exploration, nature walks, paddling and sightseeing. Maybe best of all: You have to take a train to get there!
This trail is on an old roadbed and the first 1.5 miles is steep, but it's a good trail for families. The trail is covered in wildflowers and has excellent views. Expect to get wet, as the trail can be muddy. There is trout fishing available in Carter Lake at mile 2.3 and excellent grayling fishing in Crescent Lake at mile 3.4. Be sure to follow regulations as grayling fishing More...
The Keen-Eye Nature Trail is .75 miles long through a wooded area with a side trail leading down to Headquarters Lake. The Centennial Trail provide an additional 1.9 mile loop through a wooded area with further opportunity to view wildlife in the area. There are three basic options on these refuge trails. First and easiest is the 0.3 mile (one way), "accessible with assistance," More...
Although this can be a busy spot, it is a lot less congested than the Homer Spit. Things to do here include: taking small day hikes, paddling in the lagoon, camping, staying at one of the three nearby public use cabins, and the most popular, fishing for Kings during the month of June.
The Ray Clapp Trail is a nice short hike in Homer. It is located approximately 1 mile out East End Road in the Stream Hill Park Subdivision. You can park your car or bicycle at the trail head which is marked with a little footbridge. It winds through the edge of an estate and is filled with lovely meadows of wildflowers along with beautiful birch and cottonwood trees.
The 40-acre Karen Hornaday Park is the new favorite spot for families in Homer. BBQ grills and picnic facilities are available for summer gatherings, as well as public restrooms. For those looking to relax, benches offer views of Kachemak Bay and surrounding mountains and glaciers.
This trail was once used as access to gold mining territory. In 1925 a diptheria epidemic threatened Nome and the route was covered in 127 hours to deliver serum to those who were ill. It is now raced every year on dog sled to commemorate that and is the longest sled dog race in the world. The trail is easy in pieces and difficult in its entirety.
This is an easy two-mile trail through meadows and forests that’s great for hiking in the summer and skiing during the winter. In summer, the highlight is fields of wildflowers, especially from June through August: Lupine, Wild Geranium, False Hellebore, Monk’s Hood, Chocolate Lily, Fireweed, and much more.
This easy trail winds along the banks of three lakes. There is a camping area on the side of the trail. The trail climbs a saddle and drops down into the valley. It can be dangerous to cross the rivers, as they are glacier-fed and you cannot see the bottom. The rivers are lower during the beginning of the year, but they are also colder.
This popular trail begins at Kayak Beach Campsite, accessible by water taxi, between Tutka Bay and Sadie Cove. Head up through spruce and alders, and stop at the alpine knob at 1,745 feet for great photo opportunities of Eldred Passage, Sadie Peak, and Cook Inlet volcanoes. Watch for mountain goats, black bears, and golden and bald eagles.
Palmer Creek and the road that follows it were named after George Palmer, who in 1894 first discovered gold on its banks. The creek was the site of early placer mining and later lode mining. Evidence of the historic Lucky Strike and Hirshey mines, as well as the Swetmann camp, can be found along trails that lead to Palmer Lakes. Several hiking trails are accessible from the Palmer More...
Access: Get to the trail from Humpy Creek or the Grewingk Glacier Trail. Description of this trail is from access via Humpy Creek North Trail. Trail begins at 650 via the Humpy Creek North Trail. The trail gains elevation quickly for close to 2 miles and will eventually leave the dead and down forest into alder fields. At this point you start to get great views north and south of More...