Seward and Kenai Fjords Parks & Trails

Bright blue glaciers, shimmering mountain lakes, braided streams, and lush forests yielding to alpine terrain are just a few of the sights you can expect to see on the hiking trails in Seward & Kenai Fjords.

In Seward, you will find trails for every activity level. Enjoy a casual stroll along the Seward waterfront to search for shells and enjoy the views. Or, if you're up for a challenge, hike the steep slopes Mt. Marathon, home to a famous footrace every 4th of July.

One of the most popular hikes in Seward leads to the face of Exit Glacier. Exit Glacier is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road, conveniently located just 10-15 minutes north of Seward. The trails are well-maintained and you can hike on your own, or opt to join a ranger for a guided walk.

Below is a list of some of the other great hikes in the Seward area.

If you're looking for a guided hike see our list of recommended hiking guides in Seward.

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Seward Hiking Trails

Distance: 6 miles Elevation Gain: 3000 feet

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.

Difficulty: Difficult

This trail is also called the Prim­rose trail at the north end. It begins in a beau­ti­ful rain­for­est and even­tu­al­ly takes you up to a mul­ti­ple of beau­ti­ful lakes in high mead­ows. Anglers can fish for rain­bow trout in the lake.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The hike to Ton­si­na Creek, a scenic 3 mile trail that takes about 1 hour in each direc­tion, is a local favorite. Locals and vis­i­tors alike walk out to the creek itself, and some con­tin­ue on to Caines Head State Park.

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. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

Your best bet for this trail is to go out on one low tide, spend the night — in either a for­est ser­vice cab­in or camp­site — and then return the fol­low­ing day or sev­er­al days lat­er on anoth­er low tide. Great for­est-to-beach hik­ing trail.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

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.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles

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! 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 16 miles

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 steep hike is a bit of a chal­lenge, but it pays off. The trail winds through a spruce and hem­lock for­est into the sub-alpine and alpine zones, with breath­tak­ing panoram­ic views of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Seward. Be sure to bring a cam­era and plen­ty of water!

Seward Water­front Park extends from the small boat har­bor to the SeaL­ife Cen­ter and con­tains paid tent and RV camp­ing, play­grounds, a skate park, pic­nic­ing areas, beach access, and a trail lined with his­tor­i­cal landmarks.

Known to locals as the Divide Ski Area, this trail was built by ded­i­cat­ed com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teers from the Seward Nordic Ski Club.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

This trail extends from the Caine’s Head North Beach through rain­forests and alpine mead­ows to sev­er­al linked beach­es that are great for pic­nic­ing and beach combing.

Difficulty: Easy

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.

Eas­i­ly acces­si­ble and not very difficult

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.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

These pop­u­lar trails lead to two beau­ti­ful, pris­tine lakes. Even bet­ter, they’re both easy hikes, which makes them per­fect for peo­ple of all ages. Bring a fish­ing pole and angle for stocked trout in Merid­i­an Lake or grayling in Grayling Lake.

Access the park from behind the State of Alas­ka Seward Job Cen­ter com­plex. Walk­ing trails link two small lakes through the old growth trees. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles
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