Named for former Alaska governor Tony Knowles, who served from 1994 to 2002, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is one of four greenbelt trails located in Anchorage. Even though the trail spans 11.0 miles each way (from Kincaid Park to just north of where 2nd Avenue ends in the Cook Inlet), it is easily picked up from several points in the city, so you can enjoy any segment and hike as little or much of the trail as you desire. There are bike rentals available with Downtown Bicycle Rental, or you can join a guided tour with Alaska Trail Guides.
The trail provides extraordinary views of downtown Anchorage, the Chugach Mountains, Denali (Mt. McKinley), Mount Susitna (Sleeping Lady), and Fire Island.
Also, because you're next to the coast, the tide can be watched coming and going and changing the mudflats constantly. The mud might look fun to walk in, but if you stand still while the water drains out, it may set up like concrete and not release it's hold until the tide has come in over your head. Please do NOT tempt fate!
In addition to a lot of other trail users, you are very likely to encounter moose on the trail past the airport so keep your eyes peeled.
Coastal Trail Highlights
Kincaid Park offers the easiest way to get deep in the woods right in town. It’s a mecca for outdoor sports of all kinds in a wilderness-like setting on the site of a former Cold War missile base. This 1,500-acre park sprawls over an ancient and rugged moraine at the southwest tip of the Anchorage Bowl at the west end of Raspberry Road. From its panoramic views of Denali and the vast Cook Inlet to its intimate deep woods enclaves, the park is ...more
This 191.7‑acre Anchorage park, which was created in 1994 as Municipal dedicated parkland, is highly valued for its wildlife habitat, coastal tidelands and recreational value. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs through it and the area has spectacular views of the inlet and surrounding mountain ranges. You can spot whales in the inlet and watch the jets land and take off from the Ted Stevens International Airport. Point Woronzof got its name… ...more
This 134-acre park is set in the woods where, in 1964, an entire neighborhood slid into the ocean during last century’s most powerful earthquake. The earthquake was measured at a 9.2 on the Richter scale and lasted 4 minutes. Today, this tragic event is commemorated in Anchorage’s Earthquake Park, where you’ll find signs explaining the circumstances of the quake and its effect on the area.
Parking lot with 44 spaces, 2 tennis courts, 2 little league baseball fields, picnic tables, large grill, toddler equipment suitable for 2 – 5 year olds, play equipment suitable for 5 – 12 year olds, trails and access to the Coastal Trail.
Jump off the trail and comb the beaches of Anchorage. At low tide you can touch the dense glacial silt of the mudflats (but do not walk on them). Unlike sandy beaches of the south, pebbles and gravel left by glaciers coat the shoreline. The luxurious spa quality of glacial mud is well known by Alaskans who grow up bathing in its buttery texture. This silt has been packaged and sold as a beauty product around the world.
This short wooden bridge crosses a popular salmon fishing creek. Downriver you’ll see deep channels that the creek has carved into the mud flats. In late summer, salmon migrate up to the estuary to spawn.
If you’re looking for a wild oasis that’s just a 15-minute walk from downtown Anchorage, look no further than Westchester Lagoon (also known as Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park). One of the city’s most popular places, this is where locals come to play, as it has something for everyone. You’ll find access to great trails and wildlife, as well as year-round activities and events for the entire family.