Photo Credit: Sam Frerichs

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

Distance

11 miles

Difficulty

Easy

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Coastal Trail with Jim Stratton  (1:01)

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.

Getting There

2nd Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
Driving Directions

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Coastal Trail Highlights

Difficulty: Moderate

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

Difficulty: Easy

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.

Difficulty: Easy

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. 

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

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