Photo Credit: Bob Kaufman

Alaska Parks & Hiking Trails

The joys of hiking in Alaska are clear: amazing panoramic views, the chance to see wildlife (moose, eagles, maybe even bears), and it doesn’t cost anything. But national, state, and local parks all have great trails—how do you decide which ones to visit? A good start is with our list of more than 750 trails, highlighting the best in each area of Alaska. Whether you’re a casual walker or a veteran hiker, you can find a trail suited to your ability.

Many trails are easily accessible; some are short and located close to towns, while others require multiple days to complete and take you far away from everyone. (Some even have public use cabins along the way, so you won’t even need a tent.) If you’re hiking a mountain trail, you’ll often begin in the forest—surrounded by the scent of spruce, alder, and cottonwoods—then finish above tree line, with a spectacular view laid out in front of you. Just remember, stay away from Devils Club and Cow parsnip plants. Be prepared for mosquitoes. And be wary of bears, especially when hiking near spawning salmon.

What to Wear

Of course, plan to dress in layers (the weather can change very quickly) and bring plenty of water (some glacial water is suitable for drinking, but don’t take chances). See our complete hiking clothing guide here. If you need hiking gear, like trekking poles, a day pack, waterproof layers, and more, you can rent it from Alaska Outdoor Gear Outfitters & Rentals.

If you see a trail that you've hiked that could use a better description, please email Bob. Thanks!

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Hiking Trails

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The path to the Per­se­ver­ance trail­head, Basin Road, show­cas­es a dra­mat­ic change from urban to wilder­ness, lead­ing from down­town Juneau to a spec­tac­u­lar canyon. At the end of it is where Per­se­ver­ance Trail begins, and this for­mer rail line (named for the mine it once ser­viced) quick­ly climbs up above the Gold Creek val­ley. There’s plen­ty to see along the way, includ­ing old mine shafts that blow cool winds, and a stretch of trail where the  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Two trails trav­el over the Mat-Su Col­lege lands; one from the col­lege and one from Snod­grass Hall. The Mat-Su Col­lege trail­head leads to a hilly loop and opens to beau­ti­ful views of Lazy Moun­tain, Twin Peaks, Boden­burge Butte, and Knik Glac­i­er — the best moun­tain views in the entire green­belt system.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

Prob­a­bly the sec­ond most trav­eled trail in the park, this trail offers a great day hike for those spend­ing time in the lagoon. You can start hik­ing the trail from the ranger sta­tion or the trail­head in Hal­ibut Cove Lagoon. The trail tra­vers­es up numer­ous switch­backs to a place called First Lake. On a hot sum­mer day, a soak in this lake can’t be beat.

Want to feel dwarfed by Alaska’s moun­tains? Take a 2‑hour dri­ve north on the Parks High­way and then up Hatch­er Pass Road, where you’ll find this 2‑mile-long ATV trail — a wide but occa­sion­al­ly steep path that leads to the crest of Box Lake Ridge. From the big, round­ed top of this ridge, you can’t help but feel over­whelmed by the enor­mous Tal­keet­na Moun­tains that sur­round you.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles

Either dri­ve your own car or take the free shut­tle 15 miles out the park road to the Sav­age Riv­er check sta­tion. This is a pop­u­lar hik­ing trail, and you won’t be alone, but at least you’re away from the entrance area and enter­ing the true wilder­ness of Denali Nation­al Park. This is a tun­dra walk on a devel­oped trail that fol­lows the riv­er. Good hike for kids, with pos­si­bil­i­ty of see­ing Dall sheep, mar­mots, and cari­bou. You can do a loop walk,  ...more

Distance: 6 miles Elevation Gain: 300 feet

If you only have a lim­it­ed amount of time in Anchor­age but want go out for a great hike, con­sid­er Kin­caid Bluff Trail. Just a 20-minute dri­ve from down­town Anchor­age, this is a 6‑mile loop hike to Kin­caid Chalet. Along the way, you’ll find 3 miles of rugged trail that skirt the sum­mit of pre­cip­i­tous bluffs at the end of the Anchor­age Peninsula. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles

This trail quick­ly gains ele­va­tion on its way to an alpine mead­ow framed by the dra­mat­ic Twin Peaks and Goat Rock, but climbs to mag­nif­i­cent views over­look­ing the entire val­ley. Dall Sheep are often spot­ted above the tim­ber­line. From here there is a spec­tac­u­lar view of the lake below. This is also a good place for berry pick­ing in the fall. Because of the crushed rocks, the trail is hard­ly ever muddy.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 21 miles Elevation Gain: 3500 feet

Con­sid­ered to be one of the best hikes in all of the Chugach Moun­tains, Crow Pass fol­lows a por­tion of the orig­i­nal Idi­tar­od Trail, includ­ing its high­est point. End to end, it’s a 21-mile trail, which most peo­ple do in 2 days, but just the first 4 miles will lead you past some breath­tak­ing scenery. Along the way you’ll find glac­i­ers, water­falls, wild­flow­ers, wildlife, mine ruins, and berries (in late August and Sep­tem­ber). Hik­ing is not  ...more

This 4.5‑mile trail, some 2 hours north of Anchor­age on the west side of Hatch­er Pass, climbs 1,000 feet up a very typ­i­cal Tal­keet­na val­ley — long, broad, and lined with tow­er­ing peaks on both sides. It also pass­es by relics and ruins of old min­ing days, when these val­leys echoed with the sounds of picks and drills.

Explore the expan­sive grav­el beds or mean­der along the mighty Matanus­ka-Susit­na Riv­er and link up with the Mat­su Riv­er Park trails, locat­ed in the trees to the west.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles

This is a wheel­chair-acces­si­ble trail that fol­lows the Menden­hall Riv­er green­belt area, start­ing at Broth­er­hood Bridge off Glac­i­er Hwy. The name is Tlin­git for going back clear­wa­ter trail.” Expect a lot of traf­fic. The trail is 2‑miles long, paved, and pro­vides one of the great views of Menden­hall Glac­i­er, begin­ning at the Broth­er­hood Bridge trail­head. In mid-sum­mer, over a flat field of iris and fire­weed, the Menden­hall ris­es between…  ...more

You’ll find even more play­grounds that take advan­tage of the unique assets of their loca­tions. Here’s a list of our top picks!

Difficulty: Moderate

Run­ning just above and par­al­lel to Ketchikan’s Third Avenue Bypass, Rain­bird Trail is per­fect if you only have a cou­ple hours but still want to expe­ri­ence a small piece of South­east Alaska’s rain­for­est. The trail­head is only 20 min­utes from down­town (a short dri­ve rel­a­tive to most oth­er trails), and the trail’s south­ern end — just beyond the top of the met­al stairs — offers great views of down­town Ketchikan, the Ton­gass Nar­rows, and the neighboring  ...more

Some 50 miles north of Anchor­age, this 1.5‑mile trail makes for a fine fam­i­ly out­ing. From the pic­nic table at the upper­most end of the trail, you’ll find a sat­is­fy­ing panoram­ic view of the Matanus­ka Riv­er and Knik Riv­er val­leys. It’s a view as good, or bet­ter, than that from many summits.

This 0.4‑mile-long trail, which begins with­in earshot of down­town Homer, plays host to a vari­ety of birds and plants. Wheel­chairs may have some trou­ble in the first few feet of soft grav­el, but once they reach the plas­tic board­walk they should find the going much eas­i­er — and maybe worth the trou­ble it took to dri­ve 4 hours from Anchorage.

This leisure­ly, 0.75-mile trail begins just south of Whit­ti­er, a lit­tle sea­side town locat­ed some 2 hours south of Anchor­age. The trail doesn’t climb much, but it will take you high enough to get an unob­struct­ed view of numer­ous water­falls, includ­ing the long-drop­ping waters of Horse­tail Falls as it sheets over the sheer rock face of Black­stone Ridge. 

Distance: 4 miles

More a gat­ed road than a trail, this hike large­ly remains a local secret among the res­i­dents of Coop­er Land­ing, the fish­ing mec­ca locat­ed some 105 miles south of Anchor­age on Ster­ling High­way. Many in this town con­sid­er it their per­son­al get­away, which makes it quite a pop­u­lar secret. A fore­man for Chugach Elec­tric (the com­pa­ny that man­ages the dam on Coop­er Lake) said he often expe­ri­enced con­ges­tion while dri­ving to the dam, due to the heavy  ...more

Refuge Cove State Recre­ation Site is a sliv­er of land lin­ing part of an edge of a neigh­bor­hood and is a pop­u­lar beach pic­nick­ing des­ti­na­tion with the locals. The site comes com­plete with pit toi­lets, shel­tered and unshel­tered pic­nic tables with fire grates, and a quar­ter-mile trail accom­pa­nied by inter­pre­tive signs that address the local nat­ur­al history.

Difficulty: Easy

For an easy, scenic walk in Anchor­age, check out the Chester Creek Trail. The 4‑mile-long path, which runs from Westch­ester Lagoon to Goose Lake, is not only flat, but also paved, mak­ing for an easy stroll. And though it pass­es close to neigh­bor­hoods, the trail is part of the city’s green­belt” — a wood­ed area that makes you feel like you’ve left the city behind. 

Difficulty: Difficult

Not every­one should under­take this 13-mile tra­verse that begins at Glen Alps above Anchor­age. Con­sid­er­able off-trail hik­ing, plus a steep climb to a ridge top, might be out­side your com­fort zone. But this trail does offer a pro­found sense of soli­tude and some spec­tac­u­lar views. It also includes the nov­el­ty of hik­ing a mile-long sheep trail that tra­vers­es the back of The Wedge, some 500 feet above the seclud­ed waters of Ship Lake. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 6 miles

This is a beau­ti­ful hike in June and July, when the alpine wild­flow­ers are at their peak. But it’s a beau­ti­ful hike any­time, because the views from up top — fac­ing Mount Edge­cumbe and over­look­ing Sit­ka Sound — are awe­some. There are two ways up this moun­tain: a big climb or a big drive. 

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: 1 mile Elevation Gain: 1350 feet

Flat­top is Alaska’s most vis­it­ed peak. Ascend the 1.5 — mile, 1,350 ver­ti­cal foot trail to the rocky, foot­ball field-sized sum­mit in about an hour and take in panoram­ic views from Denali (Mt. McKin­ley) to the Aleut­ian Islands. If you want vis­tas with­out the hike, walk the short path from the park­ing lot to the overlook.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

The most­ly-flat Ward Lake trail fol­lows the cir­cum­fer­ence of the lake’s shore in a swath of grav­el that is wide enough for two peo­ple to walk abreast. Ward Lake is tucked into the edge of the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est bound­ary. Its prox­im­i­ty to town makes the recre­ation area pop­u­lar with the locals. 

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.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

Hike out to Ton­si­na Point on an old log­ging trail near Miller’s Land­ing. Spot dog salmon com­ing in and salmon berries sprout­ing along the hill­side. It’s a very pret­ty place where you can access the beach, make a fire or have a picnic.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 16 miles Elevation Gain: 2900 feet

A straight­for­ward trip with big scenery pay­offs, like the pic­turesque Mint Hut and a val­ley dot­ted with hang­ing glac­i­ers. This trip is a great first back­pack­ing trip in Alas­ka with sim­ple logis­tics. It’s 16 miles with options for addi­tion­al miles and side trips.

The Sal­vage Trail is an out-and-back trail that rolls up and down through the woods, par­al­lel­ing Revil­la Road. The trail is a wide grav­el path where two-to-three peo­ple can walk beside each other.

Difficulty: Moderate

The White Moun­tains Nation­al Recre­ation Area is home to 200+-miles of trail tra­vers­ing a mil­lion acres of wilder­ness and a moun­tain range named for the dom­i­nant col­or of its lime­stone foun­da­tion. To get there, dri­ve 28 miles on the Elliott High­way from Fox (where it splits with the Steese) and look for signs mark­ing the trail­head. The trail­head is the start­ing point for both the Sum­mit Trail, and the Ski Loop Trail, a 5‑mile loop and a nice  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

Black Tail Rocks is a very airy climb that stretch­es to 4,446 feet above Eagle Riv­er, a town locat­ed just north of Anchor­age. It’s a jour­ney that involves only a min­i­mal amount of hand-over-hand scram­bling; you’ll be fol­low­ing a trail for most of the 4‑mile, 2,750-foot hike. And you’ll have a fine view from the top, look­ing up the length of the seclud­ed Mead­ow Creek Val­ley and well into the deep inner reach­es of the Chugach Mountains. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 6 miles

This is one of Home­r’s top hikes. It starts on top of Bay­crest Hill, cross­es Dia­mond Ridge Road, then fol­lows Cross­man Ridge to the Bridge Creek Reser­voir. Through­out, it rolls through forests, mead­ows and over streams. The area is excel­lent for bird­ing and catch­ing a glimpse at the occa­sion­al moose.

On one of the run-off creeks from Achilles Moun­tain or Twin Peaks Moun­tain above pours a 100-foot or more water­fall right beside Ton­gass High­way towards the end of the road

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

This trail, hands down, is one of the most pop­u­lar hikes in the Kachemak Bay State Park. It is one of the eas­i­est hikes in the park as the trail is well main­tained, and you can’t beat the view of the glac­i­er at the lake. For the first 1.5 miles, the trail mean­ders through mixed cot­ton­wood and Sit­ka spruce. These cot­ton­woods are some of the largest in the park so take time to appre­ci­ate their enor­mous size. After 1.5 miles, the trail proceeds  ...more

Forty min­utes from down­town Anchor­age lies Eagle Riv­er Nature Cen­ter, a gate­way to Chugach State Park and a glacial riv­er val­ley as wild and dra­mat­ic as any in Alas­ka. Enjoy an easy, 3‑mile nature walk on the Albert Loop or trek up-val­ley 5 miles to see plung­ing water­falls and 3,000-foot cliffs. In win­ter, tra­verse the trails on cross-coun­try skis or snowshoes.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles Elevation Gain: 150 feet

If you are look­ing for a short­ish in-town” trail, this trail begins at the back of a neigh­bor­hood and walks up a ser­vice road to a dam that over­looks a moun­tain-lake scene. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

This pop­u­lar trail attracts lots of folks, so don’t expect to be the only hik­er. It’s still worth the trip. The trail begins at Mile 0.9 on the park road near the rail­road tracks. You’ll walk on a devel­oped trail down to the lake. After you reach the Over­look, the trail drops steeply. Along the way, espe­cial­ly at the over­look bench, you’ll have a panoram­ic view of the Nenana Riv­er, the devel­op­ment called Glit­ter Gulch” right out­side the park,  ...more

Vis­i­ble out­side the win­dows of the Mat-Su Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Bureau, this state wildlife refuge is the result of the 1964 earth­quake. Lit­er­al­ly overnight, the land dropped by 6 to 20 feet; hay fields and pas­ture­land became salt flats and marsh­land. Once home to cows and grains, the land is now prime habi­tat for moose, birds, and fish. Some 20,000 acres are pro­tect­ed in the refuge, which is a pop­u­lar recre­ation and wildlife-viewing…  ...more

Distance: 7 miles Elevation Gain: 3300 feet

Begin­ning almost 120 miles north­east of Anchor­age on the Glenn High­way, the trail to the sum­mit of Gun­sight Moun­tain takes a while to reach. After all, it involves a 3.5‑mile, 3,300-foot climb through some very big coun­try. But the view from the top makes for an all-day excur­sion that you won’t eas­i­ly forget.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 8 miles

While many peo­ple find sat­is­fac­tion in climb­ing to the top of Bear Point, oth­ers may won­der about reach­ing the sum­mit of Mount Eklut­na, the promi­nent peak ris­ing just to the east. It involves two more miles of hik­ing, up 1,100 feet, includ­ing a short, sharp scram­ble up a grav­el trail. You can return to the Peters Creek Trail trail­head via an alter­nate route, which makes for a fine loop hike. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 9 miles

Pri­mar­i­ly built to pro­vide pack-rafters and kayak­ers access to the head­wa­ters of Twen­tymile Riv­er, this 9‑mile-long trail has also proved a draw for hik­ers — and with good rea­son. Just 45 min­utes south of Anchor­age, it makes for a very scenic hike into some high, wild, glac­i­er-girt­ed country.

Rent a moun­tain bike (and all the body armor you need) for a thrilling, two-wheel ride down Mt. Alyeska. Lessons and tours of the route are offered. Or, go for a hike on one of the many area trails, either with a guide or on your own. You can even strap on some cram­pons and go trekking on a glacier. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 200 feet

This hike offers a nice wide-open space expe­ri­ence and is not very long. Much like hik­ing the access road to Low­er Sil­vis Lake, the Whit­man Trail is anoth­er ser­vice road to two dams that gen­er­ate elec­tric­i­ty for Ketchikan res­i­dents and was recent­ly made avail­able for hik­ing and recre­ation; how­ev­er, no motor­ized vehi­cles are per­mit­ted. Infor­ma­tive signs are post­ed on a fence gate up the road and on both dams.

Difficulty: Moderate

How to get ThereThe Plum­ley-Maud Trail can be accessed from the end of Maud Road, or from the cor­ner on Plum­ley Road near Caudill Road. 1) Access from Maud Road: From Palmer go south east 3 12 miles on the Old Glenn High­way, take a left on Maud Road, fol­low Maud Road for 1 12 miles. There is a small turn around and lim­it­ed park­ing before the creek direct­ly east of the road. Please be care­ful not to block the entrance to the trail or the…  ...more

If you’d like to explore a snow-bound trail sys­tem through a majes­tic rain for­est that gets lit­tle vis­i­ta­tion in win­ter, try out Bird Val­ley in Chugach State Park south of Anchor­age off the Seward High­way. You and the fam­i­ly can stroll, ski, snow­shoe or snow-bike for hours through a serene and almost sur­re­al set­ting of tow­er­ing trees with an occa­sion­al stu­pen­dous view of Pen­guin Peak and Bird Ridge. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 38 miles

This 38 mile long USFS trail climbs Res­ur­rec­tion Pass (elev. 2,600) and descends to the north to anoth­er trail­head­trail­head near Hope on Tur­na­gain Arm. There are 8 pub­lic use cab­ins along the trail, mak­ing this an advanced but com­fort­able day cab­in-to-cab­in hike. There are also 19 camp­sites avail­able along the trail.

Difficulty: Moderate

This 2‑mile-long, fam­i­ly-friend­ly trail, which begins 90 min­utes south of Anchor­age at the far end of the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel, remains the only easy way to see Portage Glac­i­er on foot. And it’s has a spec­tac­u­lar con­clu­sion: After crest­ing Portage Pass, the trail drops through glacial scrub before pop­ping out on the wide grav­el shores of Portage Lake, direct­ly across from the snout of gor­geous Portage Glacier.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 2600 feet

Deer Moun­tain is Ketchikan’s icon­ic back­drop. The path briefly threads between res­i­den­tial lots, then turns to a rocky trail that quick­ly ascends. On the way up there are mul­ti­ple scenic overlooks. 

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 5200 feet

Are you a moun­tain run­ner look­ing for a tough work­out? Con­sid­er Pio­neer Ridge Trail. This trail, locat­ed a 1‑hour dri­ve north of Anchor­age on scenic Knik Riv­er Road, climbs some 5,200 feet over its 6 miles. Oth­er trails, like Lazy Moun­tain Trail and Mount Marathon Race Route, may be steep­er or rock­i­er, but no trail in the Chugach Moun­tains climbs so steadi­ly for so long as Pio­neer Ridge.

Difficulty: Easy

For a chal­leng­ing and com­pact cross coun­try ski area where you’ll find just about every kind of ter­rain, you can’t go wrong at Beach Lake Nordic Ski Trails off South Birch­wood Loop in Chugiak. The 15-kilo­me­ter-plus sys­tem ranges from easy glid­ing to a sprawl­ing advanced loop with sud­den head­walls that morph into thrilling, high-speed descents. You can make it as chal­leng­ing or as sedate as you like.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 10 miles Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

If you want to get away and don’t have a boat or a plane, this is as far away north one can eas­i­ly get from Ketchikan. The trail ends at the head­wa­ters of Lunch Creek — the shores of Lake Emery Tobin, which is sur­round­ed by a rim of steep moun­tain­sides often capped with snow ridges and peaks. 

There are some nice long down­hills with banked turns, a few shal­low creek cross­ings, and some chunk sec­tions. Most of this trail lies on south-fac­ing hill­sides, with views of the Knik Riv­er Val­ley and Pio­neer Peak.

This recre­ation area is just a mile and a half from town, but it feels like wilder­ness — with deep woods and sev­er­al lakes, it’s a great place to hike, run, canoe, fish, or look for wildlife. Watch for otters, beavers, bears, fox­es, moose, and more than 100 species of birds, includ­ing rap­tors and loons. The park’s best fea­ture is a nice­ly groomed 3.5‑mile walk­ing trail around X Lake through lush old-growth for­est. Cus­tom log bench­es are a nice…  ...more

This clear­ing at the edge of town once func­tioned as a fire­break between Anchor­age and its neigh­bor­ing for­est. At oth­er times, it act­ed as an airstrip, a golf course and even a makeshift hous­ing devel­op­ment, when peo­ple lived here dur­ing the 1940s boom in apart­ments cre­at­ed out of old bar­racks. Today the Park Strip — just one block wide but 13 blocks long — is home to ball fields, a gym, ice rink and a giant steam…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 21 miles

Pop­u­lar with hik­ers and back­pack­ers, this easy-to-fol­low trail con­nects the state’s most intense sock­eye salmon sports fish­ery with stun­ning moun­tain back­coun­try. It offers many of the Kenai Peninsula’s high­lights in one trip. The 21-mile route access­es Russ­ian Riv­er Falls, Low­er and Upper Russ­ian Lakes, Coop­er Lake, 3 fed­er­al­ly man­aged recre­ation­al cab­ins, and numer­ous campsites

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. 

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.

Syn­cline Moun­tain fea­tures two sum­mits— whichev­er you choose, you’ll hike beneath a whole lot of sky and look out on a whole lot of country.

Difficulty: Moderate

Locat­ed one-third of the way from Palmer to Wasil­la, this 33-mile trail sys­tem mean­ders through bore­al for­est, farm­land, and the rolling moraines left by the glac­i­ers of the last Ice Age. The trails are some of the only non-moun­tain, non-motor­ized path­ways in the area, and they’re pop­u­lar with dog walk­ers, moun­tain bik­ers, geo-cachers, cross-coun­try skiers, run­ners, and equestrians.

Difficulty: Difficult

Dur­ing peri­ods of clear weath­er, this route through Denali State Park offers sim­i­lar ter­rain and scenery to Denali Nation­al Park — includ­ing unpar­al­leled views of Denali — with­out the cum­ber­some per­mit­ting process. This trail sys­tem offers many options for start­ing and end­ing points, as there are four trail­heads along its length. 

In the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains between the towns of Wil­low and Palmer, Hatch­er Pass is a local favorite for recre­ation or a scenic dri­ve. Hike in alpine tun­dra dot­ted with wild­flow­ers and ptarmi­gan, ski fresh, deep pow­der, or vis­it Inde­pen­dence Mine His­tor­i­cal State Park.

Difficulty: Moderate

For one of the loop­i­est and fun Nordic ski areas in the city, try out the trails behind Bartlett High School along the bound­ary of the mil­i­tary base. Hilly, with lots of curves that spring into quick and sud­den climbs, this five-kilo­me­ter-plus sys­tem through a mature for­est packs a lot of ski­ing into a small footprint.

Difficulty: Easy

Bridal Veil Falls and the Valdez Goat Trail: This two-mile-long hike is a restored sec­tion of the Trans-Alas­ka Mil­i­tary Pack-train Trail that was the first glac­i­er-free route from Valdez to the inte­ri­or of Alas­ka. There’s a fan­tas­tic over­look about a mile down the trail.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

The dri­ve out to the Dude Moun­tain trail­head is one of the most scenic dri­ves that Ketchikan has to offer. The trail begins wind­ing through lush rain­for­est. The last part is steep and can be mud­dy in wet weath­er or cov­ered in snow in spring and fall. 

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 2200 feet

About a half a mile past where the road turns sharply left (by the old Moth­er­lode Restau­rant) is a pull off on the left and archangel road to the right. The road is dirt, and in the sum­mer­time you can dri­ve the trail for a mile or two, but it is pit­ted with deep holes and rocks. After a mile or two, a park­ing area and trail turns off to the right. Here the trail con­tin­ues with lit­tle ele­va­tion gain ini­tial­ly, but after a mile or so you will  ...more

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: Moderate Distance: 38 miles

This 38 mile long USFS trail starts in Hope and climbs Res­ur­rec­tion Pass (elev. 2,600) towards the south before descend­ing to the oppo­site trail­head near Coop­er Land­ing. There are 8 pub­lic use cab­ins along the trail, mak­ing this an advanced but com­fort­able day cab­in-to-cab­in hike. There are also 19 camp­sites avail­able for tent camping.

Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Con­nell Lake is a good choice if you want a trail that is less pop­u­lar but just as close to town as the Per­se­ver­ance trail. The rocky, dirt path gen­tly climbs through the rain­for­est canopy and hugs the shore­line of the lake. On the oth­er side is a nice flat area that the creek bows around, cre­at­ing a small penin­su­la. A fire-pit indi­cates that this is a pre­ferred spot to spend some time or camp. 

The Camp­bell Creek Gorge over­look is one of Anchorage’s best kept secrets. It’s just a 25-minute uphill hike — even short­er on bike— from both the Hill­side Ski Chalet park­ing area and North Bivouc Trail­head, or a slight­ly longer 1‑hour hike from Camp­bell Airstrip. From the tree-cov­ered over­look, you can gaze hun­dreds of feet down a sheer cliff to Camp­bell Creek as it crash­es through a nar­row, brush-infest­ed canyon. 

Reach­ing the sum­mit of Avalanche Moun­tain takes a con­sid­er­able amount of effort: a 5.5‑mile hike up Pow­er­line Trail fol­lowed by a 1.5‑mile off-trail scram­ble. But this 3,200-foot climb — which begins at the Glen Alps park­ing area, just 10 miles from down­town Anchor­age — takes no moun­taineer­ing skills. If you feel at all com­fort­able hik­ing and climb­ing over some loose stones and boul­ders, you should find this to be a very grat­i­fy­ing adventure.   ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Once you reach the Moun­tain House at the 1,800-foot lev­el of Mount Roberts, step onto trails that begin in a sub-alpine ecosys­tem and climb anoth­er 300 feet into the true alpine. With six­ty stair steps, a length of one-half mile and an ele­va­tion gain of just 150ft, the main trail will take you to open vis­tas, moun­tain val­leys, snow gul­lies, rocky ridges and stun­ning views of moun­tains in Glac­i­er Bay, British Colum­bia, the South­east Alaskan…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 1056 feet

Begin­ning 103 miles south of Anchor­age on the Seward High­way, the 3.5‑mile-long Ptarmi­gan Lake Trail makes for a fine fam­i­ly out­ing. The lake itself is a long and nar­row body of water squeezed between ridges and moun­tains that tow­er as high as 6,000 feet. It even offers a small beach upon which to relax and enjoy the view while cool­ing your feet.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 10 miles Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

The 5‑mile-long Eska Falls Trail is locat­ed a 2‑hour dri­ve north of Anchor­age in the moun­tains above the town of Sut­ton. And it leads to one of nature’s sym­met­ri­cal­ly framed won­ders — a 100-foot water­fall locat­ed at the end of a mile-long val­ley that’s flanked by two mas­sive sum­mits. This set­ting makes Eska Falls not so much a hike to a des­ti­na­tion as much as a hike to a presentation.

This wildlife sweet spot is worth a vis­it. The Russ­ian Lakes Trail begins off the access road to the Russ­ian Riv­er Camp­ground in Coop­er Land­ing, at mile­post 52 of the Ster­ling High­way. Get off-the-beat­en path, hike two miles to the falls and enjoy the imme­di­ate reward of spec­tac­u­lar salmon viewing. 

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 5670 feet

No offi­cial trail in South­cen­tral Alas­ka climbs as high as Matanus­ka Peak Trail. Begin­ning in a sub­di­vi­sion across the Matanus­ka Riv­er from Palmer, this near­ly 6‑mile-long trail runs up some 5,700 ver­ti­cal feet. Your des­ti­na­tion is the 6,119-foot sum­mit of Matanus­ka Peak, the very promi­nent rock spire that fills the sky just east of Palmer. But despite the impos­ing appear­ance of this moun­tain, the trail to its sum­mit requires no extensive  ...more

Here is our list of Alas­ka moun­tains that are both spec­tac­u­lar to view while also offer­ing rea­son­ably fit peo­ple a route to the sum­mit. These include moun­tains that can be explored dur­ing a day trip with­out pro­fes­sion­al guides or spe­cial­ized moun­taineer­ing equipment.

Set­tlers Cove State Recre­ation Site offers two of the best sandy beach­es to be found in the Ketchikan area and pro­vides pit toi­lets and shel­tered and unshel­tered pic­nic tables with fire grates. A camp­ground with eight camp­sites is avail­able as well and one pub­lic-use cab­in on the water that can be rented.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Who can say no to a cool water­fall only a half-hour’s dri­ve from town? One of the most pop­u­lar first hikes” for fam­i­lies with small chil­dren, the one-mile trail to Thun­der­bird Falls tra­vers­es a hand­some birch for­est along the Eklut­na Riv­er canyon to reach a deck with views of a 200-foot water­fall. Dur­ing win­ter, the falls can freeze, form­ing fab­u­lous columns of blue ice. 

Difficulty: Easy

This short day hike — with an eas­i­ly acces­si­ble trail­head a few hun­dred meters from the Begich Bog­gs Vis­i­tor Cen­ter — offers you big views of the Byron Glacier.

Difficulty: Easy

Win­ner Creek Trail in Gird­wood (45 min­utes south of Anchor­age) is one of our favorite trails to take vis­it­ing friends and fam­i­ly. It’s an easy 3‑mile hike or bike ride on a wide, well-devel­oped trail with gen­tle ele­va­tion gain that winds through America’s north­ern­most rain­for­est, cross­es a wood­en bridge over a thun­der­ing blue-water gorge, con­nects to a hand tram high above thrash­ing Glac­i­er Creek, then ends on Crow Creek Mine Road just below  ...more

Our guide to the best bike trails around Gird­wood and Tur­na­gain Arm. You’ll find gor­geous moun­tain scenery, lakes, creeks, and a vari­ety wildlife — as well as plen­ty of bicy­cle trails that make it easy to absorb it all at your own pace. Need a bicy­cle? You can rent them at Pow­der Hound Ski and Bike Shop, locat­ed in the heart of Gird­wood at the base of Alyeska Resort.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 170 feet

The one-mile grav­el trail to Coast Guard Beach winds through Ketchikan Gate­way Bor­ough land and then cross­es into Alas­ka Men­tal Health Trust Land. Most­ly the trail descends to the beach; how­ev­er, a few hills do rise along the way. This beach is a good place for walk­ing, sun­bathing, beach­comb­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, writ­ing, read­ing, med­i­ta­tion, tai-chi, just sit­ting, marine-life view­ing, and dog swimming. 

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.

Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Sum­mit Lake, locat­ed some 60 miles north of Anchor­age at the crest of Hatch­er Pass, offers a short, mem­o­rable lake­side ram­ble. Here you can explore the sur­round­ing gul­lies and slopes or just sit and watch hang glid­ers drift out over the long Wil­low Creek Val­ley, which extends for miles from the west side of the pass.

No oth­er min­ing trail on the Kenai Penin­su­la climbs as high or takes in more exten­sive views as the 6‑mile-long Crown Mine Trail. Begin­ning some 2 hours south of Anchor­age on the appro­pri­ate­ly named Mine Road just south of Trail Lake, this trail climbs to 3,900 feet above sea lev­el to a unique spot — a glacial cirque lit­tered with min­ing paraphernalia.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 5 miles

Close to town on mod­er­ate ter­rain, this trail is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for locals and trav­el­ers and is used for every­thing from fam­i­ly walks to trail runs. The trail fol­lows the turquoise blue Indi­an Riv­er up through the val­ley to a water­fall. This river­side ter­rain makes it a good place to look for birds and oth­er wildlife like deer. In late sum­mer, the riv­er fills with salmon (though fish­ing is pro­hib­it­ed). The bears have their own trail on  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 8 miles

This mean­der­ing, sin­gle-track path leads to some of the Kenai Mountain’s most remote and frag­ile high coun­try. On a route once trekked by gold rush prospec­tors, this trail ascends from spruce for­est through the jun­gled zone of alders into a realm of sweep­ing tun­dra, with incred­i­ble views and pro­duc­tive berry pick­ing. Plus, the top of the nine-mile jour­ney ends in Res­ur­rec­tion Pass, about mid­way through the 39-mile Res­ur­rec­tion Pass Trail.

Eagle­crest is one of the few com­mu­ni­ty-owned ski areas in the US — and the only one that can boast of being on an island, which gives it the unique perk of hav­ing ski slopes with ocean views. Whether you are a begin­ner look­ing to play in the snow, or a long­time ski­er or board­er, Eagle­crest makes a great all-ages win­ter play­ground. In sum­mer, enjoy hik­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, and berry picking. 

Difficulty: Moderate

The 23-mile John­son Pass Trail offers hik­ers, back­pack­ers and bik­ers a well-marked route through a lush pass in the Kenai Moun­tains — fea­tur­ing grad­ual climbs, two lakes with fish, spec­tac­u­lar peaks and some way cool gorges.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles

This path was con­struct­ed to pro­vide a place for hik­ers to view the plantlife around inte­ri­or Alas­ka. This is a unique trail that allows hik­ers to view things that would be impos­si­ble to hike with­out a trail. There are all types of wildlife and small plants. Water­boots are rec­om­mend­ed in spring. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Locat­ed in the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est, Ward Creek is wide enough to dri­ve a truck down, though no vehi­cles are per­mit­ted, and is pop­u­lar with the locals for walk­ing dogs. Across the road from the Ward Lake Recre­ation Area park­ing lot, trail­head 1 takes you north and fol­lows Ward Creek, which flows out of Con­nell Lake, by the Last Chance camp­ground, and through Ward Lake to even­tu­al­ly meet the ocean in Ward Cove. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Locat­ed in Menden­hall Wet­lands State Game Refuge, this trail is wheel­chair-acces­si­ble and close to the air­port. It has many oppor­tu­ni­ties for water­fowl and bird watch­ing. It is excel­lent­ly main­tained. This makes the trail a very easy hike. Many times you will see strollers, run­ners and bik­ers on this trail because it is paved. 

The Fish­hook Trail­head park­ing lot is locat­ed at mile 16.5 of Hatch­er Pass Road. This area is active­ly used year round. In the sum­mer it’s a great area to hike and in late sum­mer the slopes are abun­dant with blue­ber­ries. This trail­head also leads to Mar­mot Moun­tain, were paraglid­ers launch from the top and land in the park­ing lot. In the win­ter, the area draws indi­vid­u­als to sled, ski and snow­ma­chine. This trail­head inter­sects with The Hatcher  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

As you approach the Inde­pen­dence Mine Park­ing Lot, the trail can be seen to the far right end. It cross­es over a small bridge, and winds up past an old aban­doned min­ing cab­in, and then up a debris field and final­ly to the lake. Round trip, the hike is almost 2 miles, and the ele­va­tion gain is approx­i­mate­ly 600 feet. The trail can be mud­dy and wet for the first .25 miles, but it’s worth the hike to see Gold Cord Lake, and a great view of the Mine  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 11 miles

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. In the win­ter, the trail is groomed for cross coun­try skiing.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

If peo­ple sug­gest climb­ing Flat­top, tell them you’d rather climb Ren­dezvous Peak. Flat­top is arguably Alaska’s most pop­u­lar (and there­fore, most crowd­ed) moun­tain; Ren­dezvous is far less crowd­ed and offers bet­ter views from the sum­mit. See them by hik­ing up 1,500 feet to the 4,050-foot summit. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 11 miles

If you have some out­door expe­ri­ence and an adven­tur­ous spir­it, con­sid­er this 11-mile tra­verse up the Col­orado Creek val­ley and down the Sum­mit Creek. Begin­ning 2 hours south of Anchor­age, this tra­verse doesn’t involve any rock scram­bling, riv­er cross­ings, or ardu­ous bush­whack­ing. But if you feel com­fort­able hik­ing in wide and track­less coun­try, you may reap the reward of hav­ing an entire val­ley to yourself.

Difficulty: Easy

From the base of the Homer Spit, take this 4‑mile paved trail to the Nick Dudi­ak Fish­ing Lagoon. The trail is in excel­lent con­di­tion and is flat as a pan­cake for most of its length. The first mile of trail is along a broad estu­ary that is great for bird­ing. Once you pass the one-mile mark you’ll be rid­ing past fish­ing boats that are out of the water being worked on as well as a few shops.

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 4200 feet

A short road called Konikson locat­ed just past Bird Ridge head­ing east will take you to the trail­head. Stay to the right until you see a trail about a quar­ter mile in going right and up. The trail fol­lows a small drainage, and quick­ly gets past the tree line. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 1 mile

If you only have a lit­tle expe­ri­ence doing off-trail hik­ing, then this scenic 5‑miler will help you get a bit more under your belt. Begin­ning on Rab­bit Creek Trail, in the Front Range just above Anchor­age, this hike vis­its a sur­pris­ing­ly expan­sive and scenic plateau that remains hid­den from sight until you actu­al­ly climb to it. 

Leav­ing from the end of Ton­gass High­way, enter the Lunch Creek Trail and very soon take the trail to the left as this steps you quick­ly down to a water­fall view­ing plat­form and then the rest of the way down to where, to the right, you can also cross the Lunch Creek bridge, which pro­vides water­fall views as well as the ocean where the creek flows into.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

If you want a great work­out — to stun­ning moun­tain views high above the val­ley floor below — but want to save your knees on the way down, this trail is for you. It leaves from the Alyeska Resort tram build­ing and climbs steep switch­backs 2.2 miles and 2000 feet to the mid-moun­tain restau­rant where you can catch a free aer­i­al tram ride back down to the hotel. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 10 miles

It’s not very often that peo­ple can see a glac­i­er in an untamed and remote loca­tion, far from any road or cruise-ship route. But if you feel capa­ble and con­fi­dent enough to climb a very rough trail up many ver­ti­cal feet of rocky ter­rain, then you might con­sid­er under­tak­ing the hike to Snow­bird Pass, locat­ed high in the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains just north of Hatch­er Pass. From this van­tage point you can look down the entire length of Snow­bird Glacier.  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 9 miles Elevation Gain: 850 feet

Rarely do two lakes lie with­in a few feet of each oth­er. For­tu­nate­ly, the trail to see this geo­log­i­cal rar­i­ty begins just a 30-minute dri­ve north of Anchor­age. From the trail­head for South Fork Eagle Riv­er Trail, it’s a grad­ual 4.8‑mile (one-way) climb up a wide val­ley, lead­ing to a nar­row isth­mus between the green waters of Eagle Lake and the blue waters of Sym­pho­ny Lake.

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 3000 feet

Why Take This Hike This trail, locat­ed 90 min­utes north of Anchor­age just across the Matanus­ka Riv­er from down­town Palmer, makes no pre­tense about its pur­pose. Almost imme­di­ate­ly after leav­ing the park­ing area, it begins to climb straight up the steep west face of Lazy Moun­tain. For some 2,000 feet, there’s nary a switch­back or respite as the trail winds up to the sum­mit ridge. It’s a tru­ly breath­less work­out. The Details Out of Palmer,…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 3700 feet

Begin­ning a 1‑hour dri­ve north of Anchor­age in Gov­ern­ment Hill Recre­ation Area, Gov­ern­ment Peak Race Trail offers a fine oppor­tu­ni­ty for a hard work­out; it climbs some 3,700 ver­ti­cal feet in just 3 miles. Plus, this climb doesn’t include any extra­or­di­nary dan­gers. (A friend refers to one short ledge on this trail as death rock,” but she tends to exag­ger­ate.) Some sec­tions require spe­cial care to nego­ti­ate, but you won’t have to tra­verse any  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The lake and glac­i­er are the pre­mier des­ti­na­tion for the thou­sands of cruise-ship tourists who vis­it Juneau, but they don’t ven­ture much beyond the vis­i­tor cen­ter and the short trails just out­side it, leav­ing the moun­tains above the cen­ter very qui­et in comparison. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 23 miles

The wild­flow­ers are abun­dant and ver­dant under­growth can be check high some­times. Most of the trail lies below tree­line, so there are estab­lished camp clear­ings along the way that are nes­tled into the trees. One of the best camp­sites is 10 miles in from the north­ern trail­head, set among trees on a spruce-cov­ered knoll look­ing over the trail and Bench Lake.

Sit­ka was Alaska’s first offi­cial Bike-Friend­ly Com­mu­ni­ty, and it shows. Bike lanes and racks abound. Besides 14 miles of paved roads, there are many moun­tain bik­ing trails, and even a new, sin­gle-track route of the inti­mate expe­ri­ence of rid­ing through old-growth forest.

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.

Set along the Coastal Trail at the very end of 5th Avenue in Anchor­age, Elder­ber­ry boasts 1.5 acres of scenic park­land with great views of Cook Inlet. Because it’s close to down­town, you can make this a rest stop while tour­ing and shop­ping down­town. Come with a pic­nic, or just a walk while enjoy­ing the view. 

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.

Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 4301 feet

You’ll have a hard time los­ing your way on this 2.5‑mile climb of 4,301-foot-high McHugh Peak. You’ll also have a hard time for­get­ting the view from the sum­mit, which extends up the length of Tur­na­gain Arm and across Knik Arm to the Alas­ka Range. It’s even more sat­is­fy­ing know­ing that you found your way to the sum­mit with only min­i­mal help from the trail. 

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

Trail head begins by tra­vers­ing pri­vate land, but an ease­ment has been pro­vid­ed for such. Easy to bike, ski, run or walk to mild slope with a wide sides, mak­ing is safe from avalanch­es in the win­ter. Should you choose to turn left at the start, you can go to Flat Top as an alter­na­tive route or Peak 2 or 3, depend­ing how far down you go down the trail before turn­ing left. Ptar­ma­gan Peak would be a more promi­nate peak just before the Rab­bit creek  ...more

This is a day use site that offers 13 pic­nic sites with tables, a fish view­ing plat­form, water, toi­lets, an infor­ma­tion board, and fire grates.

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

This 7‑mile hike, which begins in the moun­tains just above Anchor­age, takes you to the numer­ous Willi­waw Lakes, all of which are clus­tered below the sheer north face of Mount Willi­waw — the high­est peak in the Front Range.

Elevation Gain: 3293 feet

You don’t have to be a moun­taineer to reach the sum­mit of O’Malley Peak — the promi­nent spire ris­ing from the Front Range above Anchor­age — but don’t mis­take it for an easy climb. Some of the 5‑mile-long trail climbs quite steeply; oth­er parts add very loose grav­el to the incline. Still, these con­di­tions don’t make this hike exces­sive­ly dan­ger­ous, just sat­is­fy­ing­ly laborious. 

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: Easy

This trail is less than a mile, and very kid friend­ly. Two view­ing decks offer views look­ing down the impres­sive val­ley, and wildlife is often seen here. Beaver Pond is also part of the show, and salmon spawn­ing can be seen in late August through Sep­tem­ber. This pop­u­lar trail is usu­al­ly packed with walk­ers, strollers, and the fam­i­ly dog — all eas­i­ly accom­mo­dat­ed. The trail is wheel­chair acces­si­ble and begins on a wide, slight­ly down­hill path to  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 10 miles

Well-main­tained and suit­able for sum­mer hik­ing and bik­ing, the 10-mile Devil’s Pass Trail fea­tures a steep route up a spec­tac­u­lar V‑shaped val­ley that inter­sects with the Res­ur­rec­tion Pass Trail and a rental cab­in in the alpine realm. The coun­try is rugged, with great access to cross-coun­try tun­dra explo­ration and berry picking.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 3600 feet

This fam­i­ly-friend­ly, 2.5‑mile trail climbs 3,600 feet to a sum­mit halfway between the sea and the heavens

This very active glac­i­er forms a wall along the fabled Cop­per Riv­er near a his­toric rail­road route that once ser­viced the world’s largest cop­per mine. NOTE: A bridge at Mile 36 of the Cop­per Riv­er High­way is cur­rent­ly (2020) impass­able, with repairs not expect­ed for sev­er­al years. Child’s Glac­i­er is not cur­rent­ly acces­si­ble by road. Con­tact Cor­do­va Ranger Dis­trict for cur­rent venders pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion options to the far side.  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

This 15-mile loop is well worth the mod­er­ate to stren­u­ous hike. This trail pro­vides views of tors, unusu­al­ly shaped out­crop­pings that were formed 70 mil­lion to 90 mil­lion years ago when molten rock pushed upward and cooled before reach­ing the surface.

Difficulty: Moderate

If you have the abil­i­ty to trans­port bicy­cles, this trail makes for a great after­noon trip. The dirt path winds through the Portage Val­ley, pass­ing glacial lakes and end­ing at Portage Lake (this part of the trip is 5 miles each way). Make sure to bring your cam­era: you’ll see hang­ing glac­i­ers and, very like­ly, some wildlife.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 2100 feet

It’s not as dif­fi­cult as you might think to hike to stand atop the pre­cip­i­tous, gul­ly-scarred face of Bear Point. But it’s not easy, either. The 2‑mile hike ascends 2,100 feet and can be tricky. But your reward is an amaz­ing view in all direc­tions, from the Kenai Penin­su­la to Denali and the Chugach Moun­tains to Matanus­ka Peak. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 6 miles

This trail is a good day hike for the whole fam­i­ly. It alter­nates between open mead­ows and forests and offers the option of tent camp­ing or stay­ing in Cres­cent Lake Cab­in. There are options for longer hikes and there is a lot of wildlife to be seen such as moose, goats and bears.

Spencer Glac­i­er ris­es 3,500 feet in a stun­ning, nat­ur­al ramp from a lake of roy­al-blue ice­bergs in the Chugach Nation­al For­est just 60 miles south of Anchor­age. It’s a fam­i­ly-friend­ly recre­ation des­ti­na­tion fea­tur­ing camp­ing, hik­ing, glac­i­er explo­ration, nature walks, pad­dling and sight­see­ing. Maybe best of all: You have to take a train to get there!

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

One of the top trails on the Homer side of Kachemak Bay, Dia­mond Creek is a 2‑mile trail that takes you through for­est, alders, and tall grass mead­ows before descend­ing to the beach, where you’ll find small Alaskan sealife.

Difficulty: Easy

The Chena River­walk makes for a relax­ing self-paced stroll along the Chena Riv­er and through the most scenic parks and plazas of his­toric down­town. It’s best when flow­ers are in full bloom (July-August). The path stretch­es approx­i­mate­ly 3.5 miles between Pio­neer Park and Air­port Way, with longer options avail­able. Or — park at Immac­u­late Con­cep­tion Church or in the Down­town Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter for a short­er jaunt.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

Eas­i­ly one of the most scenic dri­ves in the Inte­ri­or, the trip out to Table Top Moun­tain from Fair­banks winds deep into the cen­ter of White Moun­tains Nation­al Recre­ation Area, ris­ing up hill­sides and dip­ping down into val­leys for a rolling pic­ture show of spruce for­est and snaking riverbeds. The hike to Table Top Moun­tain is just as spec­tac­u­lar, pro­vid­ing panoram­ic views of the White Moun­tains from the cen­ter of the range, and is a short must  ...more

Elevation Gain: 2600 feet

If you are a lover of alpine, stun­ning views, and longer, more chal­leng­ing hikes, then this all-day, one-way moun­tain tra­verse between Car­lan­na Lake and Per­se­ver­ance Lake is the per­fect choice.

Where else can you walk to the end of Main Street and find your­self at the con­flu­ence of three wild rivers, over­look­ing a 20,000-foot peak? Close to down­town, this large, riv­er-cen­tered park offers wide open, untouched spaces, along with great panoram­ic view of the Alas­ka Range.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

This short, paved trail is an hour’s dri­ve north of Anchor­age in south­ern Wasil­la. It leads out to a bluff on Palmer Hay Flats — a large stretch of wet­lands with all kinds of wildlife. There, a view­ing plat­form over­looks the flats and the Chugach Moun­tains beyond.

Locat­ed at the north­west cor­ner of Westch­ester Lagoon, and next to the Coastal Trail and Westch­ester Bike Path, the playground’s group­ings of equip­ment cre­ate a bril­liant play envi­ron­ment that is fun and challenging. 

Difficulty: Easy

With a length of just 1.5 miles and a sum­mit reach­ing only 874 feet, West Butte Trail on Boden­burg Butte — a 45-minute dri­ve north of Anchor­age — makes for a fine fam­i­ly out­ing. But even if you’re a more expe­ri­enced hik­er, don’t let the butte’s dwarf-like height dis­suade you. This small bump in the cen­ter of a grand allu­vial plain offers far-reach­ing views from its sum­mit; plus, the climb includes a pulse-quick­en­ing 0.25 miles of stairs up the steep  ...more

Locat­ed about 3 miles up a grav­el road from Snug Har­bor Road along Kenai Lake. A prim­i­tive camp­ing area is near­by over­look­ing the lake 

Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 450 feet

This is a pop­u­lar week­end hike if you want to spend two-to-four hours in the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est and is only about 15 – 20 min­utes north of town. Though you gain ele­va­tion on the hike up to the lake, it is not unfor­giv­ing­ly steep. Per­se­ver­ance Lake is one of Ketchikan’s pic­turesque moun­tain-lake scenes. 

Difficulty: Easy

This trail has its own sit­ting area and view­ing deck with views of Anchor­age, the Alas­ka Range, and Cook Inlet. It is real­ly good for see­ing sun­sets in the evening but it is also windy. The whole route is wheel­chair acces­si­ble. This is a good short hike for the fam­i­ly to see the view over Anchor­age, but not a good trail for the train­ing runner.