Hiking in Kodiak
Kodiak is a hiker’s dream, with mountainous land, limited tree growth, and a road system that gives you easy access to beaches and trails. Whether you’re a peak bagger or beachcomber, birdwatcher or botanist, you’ll find numerous hikes to enjoy. Discover the joys of plant identification in the alpine meadows of Pyramid Mountain. Then take your family to the tide pools of Fort Abercrombie State Park, where you can watch sea stars devour mussels while anemones open and close their vibrant tentacles.
If you want company, check out the group hikes led by the local Audubon Society, or join the annual race up Pillar Mountain, held each May during the Crab Festival.
There’s a waterproof hiking map for sale at the Kodiak Visitor’s Center, and remember to bring a camera, water bottle, rain gear, sturdy boots, and a snack.
Bears along the road system aren’t common, but they aren’t unheard of, either. So hike in groups, make noise when walking, and consider carrying bear spray.
These are great destinations for wildlife enthusiasts, families, and photographers. Hiking distances vary, since many of these spots are beaches or rivers. Remember to pay attention to the tides, and consider bringing binoculars and a bird or plant field guide.
- Mill Bay Beach Park
- Fort Abercrombie
- Buskin River State Recreation Site
- North End Park
- Fossil Beach & Narrow Cape
- Pasagshak State Recreation Site
Mountains and Big Hikes
These trails are tough: they either gain elevation quickly or require some route finding and experience in the woods. Be prepared for rapid weather changes in the alpine environment and encounters with wildlife. Always carry layers, rain gear, food, and water on these hikes. And don’t forget your camera. The views of ocean and alpine valleys from many of these hikes are spectacular.
Parks & Trails
Old Womens Mountain hike provides great views of Chiniak Bay, the Coast Guard base and Kodiak city and harbor. The surrounding mountain scenery is breathtaking. About 1⁄2 mile south of the airport road, take a right turn on the paved road up to “Aviation Hill.” Turn left at the entrance to the subdivision and park at the end of the road behind the Coast Guard Loran building. You will find the trailhead at the far end of the parking lot. An… ...more
Follow the trail that winds upward through tall grass crossing some wet places. After about 1.5 miles, you come to the lake, which is a beautiful place for a picnic or swim on a sunny day. Keep an eye out for upland birds, bear, deer, and goats.
This trail can be hard to follow as it meanders through wet areas, thick vegetaion and up salmonberry slopes before it reaches the rich subalpine meadows and eventually leads into a bowl-shaped glacial cirque at the base of the mountain. There is plenty of great bird habitat along the trail so watch for pipits and ptarmigan up high and songbird and snipe in the lower elevations.
Mayflower Beach is a black sand and stone beach with views across the bay to forested hills and mountains. Listen to the waves crash against the shore and smell the fresh ocean smell. Beachcombing, picnicking, & hiking are all great things to do in this area.
During summer the meadows are full of wildflowers and the views of Chiniak Bay are spectacular. The south cape is a good place to look for Horned and Tufted Puffins, Balck-legged Kittiwakes, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers and various ducks including Harlequins, scoters and Long-tailed Ducks.
Just over the bridge, this park offers easy beach walking and great photo opportunities of Kodiak. Snap shots of the waterfront, have a picnic, or enjoy quiet beaches. The park is forested, with excellent spruce groves that are silent havens for birds and squirrels. There’s excellent bird watching at the end of the trail. Walk the mossy earth and head over to the pebble beaches — it’s a great midday retreat close to town.
Loved by locals and travelers alike, this 182-acre state park has numerous trails, beaches, and rocky viewpoints. For history buffs, the trails take you past bunkers and relics from WWII outposts in the area. You’ll also find summer naturalist programs where you can learn about ecology as well as ocean and forest creatures.
This is Kodiak’s most popular mountain, and for good reason: It’s a challenge, the views are stunning, and it feels like a true mountain climb — there’s a 2,073-foot elevation gain in just a few miles. A well-trod trail leads up the ridge, which you can access from the end of the airport runway. Follow an old gravel road to the northeast ridge, where a trail breaks on your left. The first part runs through the brush, but you’ll break into open… ...more
For a gentle stroll on a surfaced path, Kodiak’s Biking & Walking Path begins at the corner of Benny Benson and Rezenof Road, and parallels Rezanof northward 2 miles to the entrance to Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park. This is a relatively flat path used by joggers dog walkers, bikers and walkers, that travels past Mill Bay Beach, a French pastry and coffee shop and the trail had to the Island Lake Trail. For a longer walk, add… ...more
Only limited access is allowed to this military reservation. Access the trails through the pedestrian gates in the fence at the end of Woodland Drive. Walk along an old road to the cape. There are nice short hikes along the sea cliffs and a northeasterly beach. This area is especially recommended on stormy nd rainy days when easterly gales will unveil the ocean’s fury. The wildflower meadows are beautiful resting spots on calm sunny days in… ...more
One of the easiest beaches to access from town, this park has a nice overlook and excellent waterfront with picnic sites. In late July through September, you can fish from the beach for silver and pink salmon. Birding is good year round, but it’s especially great during the winter.
One of the area’s more popular hikes (or drives, as there’s a road to the top), Pillar Mountain offers a moderate, 2.5‑mile climb to an alpine summit overlooking town. Your heart, lungs, and legs may burn, but you’ll have great views and see excellent wildflowers, as most of the trail is above treeline. You’ll recognize the peak, since it dominates the sky over Kodiak. And if you get winded on this hike, consider the runners who race up here… ...more
This is the highest mountain close to town. If you tackle this hike, you’re in for a climb, but a large portion of the trail is in the alpine, with beautiful flowers and tundra. You’ll be climbing 2,400 feet in elevation in just two miles. Watch for upland birds including Willow and Rock Ptarmigan, and American Pipits.