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.
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.
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.
This trail is a spur off of the main trail that connects the North and South Beach trails in Caines Head State Recreation area. This is a really good hike for the whole family with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Also, because it is part of a trail system, this makes for an excellent day trip. There are many trails to hike and opportunities to get some great pictures!
Much like the Mount Marathon trail, this hike is a little strenuous. Luckily, the Jeep Trail gives you more benches and opportunities to rest. The trail goes from rain forest to alpine, passes by beautiful waterfalls, and small mountain lakes, and ends with the beautiful Marathon Bowl.
The trail begins at mile 12.1 of the Seward Highway. Watch closely for the sign and pull into the off-highway parking area. The trail begins as the Iditarod Trail, and many improvements have been made to this section. The Troop Lake Trail branches off of this famous trail approximately 1 mile from the start, reaching the lake about a half mile later.