Kincaid Beach: Anchorage's Big Secret Sandy Beach

A short drive from downtown Anchorage will land you in the middle of Kincaid Park, the jump-off point for this moderate two-mile out and back hike to Anchorage’s only big, sandy beach. If not for the cool Alaska temps, it'd be easy to think you were in Southern California. The sand is fine and very little mars its surface other than the occasional piece of driftwood. Flanked on one side by tall bluffs and on the other by gorgeous views of the Cook Inlet, Kenai Peninsula and nearby Fire Island, Kincaid Beach offers fun and tranquility. You won’t find surfable waves here and the water is too cold for all but the bravest of souls, but other activities abound. Picnics, bonfires, mud fights, and all manner of games go equally well. Keep your eyes peeled for Japanese glass fishing floats, one of the most cherished finds for new and seasoned beachcombers alike. The mud flats can be dangerous and the waters of the Cook Inlet are prone to extreme tidal shifts so don’t venture too far out.

If you're in the mood for a long beach stroll, you can walk for a mile or two on the sandy shoreline to the south, even at high tide. It's a spectacular walk, with the vast ocean to your right and steep dunes and bluffs to your left. Driftwood gets easier to find as you get farther away from Kincaid Park.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 61.154811
Longitude: -150.072641

Follow the bike path west of the Kincaid Chalet towards the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. The trail winds down a hillside through old-growth forests thick with wildflowers, moose, and even an occasional bear. You can follow the trail all the way down to the ocean, then head left, where you'll see dirt trails leading down to the beach.

Shortcut: A couple hundred meters after the trail abruptly reaches flat terrain, look for a dirt path on the left that meanders off through groves of dense alders. For a short while you'll feel more like Lewis and Clark as you wind your way through the maze of undergrowth and then quite suddenly you'll break out onto the dunes. Be sure to stay on the trail until it reaches the beach to keep from disrupting the delicate grasses that form a protective barrier for the nearby wetlands.

This is a great place to spot shorebirds that nest in the area throughout the summer months so keep your eyes peeled.