If you're hiking through scenic Alaska, don't miss these incredible trails!
Alaska is a vast wonderland of beauty to hikers of all skill levels. If planning a trip to Alaska, you'll find it hard not to join in a few climbs! Trail maps, tourism information, directions and additional information can be obtained by calling the Alaska Visitors Services Center or writing the Alaska Division of Tourism.
Alaska Division of Tourism
PO Box 110801, TIA
Juneau, AK 99811-0801
Trail and topographical maps are available at the beginning of each trailhead.
If you're traveling through southeastern Alaska, make plans to hit this 4-mile picturesque trail. With a fantastic close up view of Herbert Glacier, you'll want your camera and some light duty boots. The first half of the path offers beginning hikers a nice view of the forest, wildlife and the glacier. More experienced climbers can shuffle to the river, climb the rocks to see the ice close-up and come within feet of a gigantic waterfall.
Tongass National Forest
Sawmill Creek Road
The Beaver Lake area is a nice place to walk through open forest areas and spot wildlife. Brown bear, deer and bald eagles are sighted daily. Except for a steep climb on the first leg of this 1-mile groomed trail, the trek is easy and should suit a variety of skilled and unskilled hikers.
Chugach National Forest
Power Creek Road
You'll find the trailhead for this 4.2 mile moderate hike on Power Creek Road in Cordova, Alaska. Large waterfalls and a skip through a deep gorge make this an exciting, but easy walk. Beaver dams and swans frequent the area and often share the path. All skill levels will enjoy this leisurely, scenic outing.
Several trails on Shuyak Island give all hikers and walkers a chance to experience the dazzling beauty of the Kodiak Island areas. Flat terrain and clearly marked paths make this a nice, easy going walk. Sight seers will catch excellent views of the rugged coastline, beach areas and wildlife. Bird watching and mammal viewing is big here, so don't forget the binoculars.
Chugach State Park
With the trailhead positioned in the Glen Alps area, this is a quiet, moderate hike with a 1,400 foot elevation gain. You'll have easy access to the Indian Creek Valley and a beautiful view of the mountains. Some wildlife sightseeing is also available along this 11-mile walk. Note: trail can be wet and muddy in early summer.
Wrangell St. Ellias National Park
Kotsina-Hugget Creek Road
Stream crossing, game trails, and incredible views of glaciers, volcanoes, mountains and wildlife make this a great medium skill level climb. Dixie Pass is an unforgettable Alaskan wilderness experience, with camping available along the trail. Note: watch for bear if carrying food.
INTERMEDIATE SKILL LEVEL HIKING
If you're up for a strenuous day run, the Mount Ripinsky area will offer a great challenge. Just north of Haines in the southeast corner of Alaska, you can choose one of two paths: a 4.5 mile moderate walk or a 10 mile ridge route. The latter gives an impressive view along the ridge. Watch for heavy snow accumulation here from October-July, and pack gear accordingly.
EXPERIENCED HIKERS AND CLIMBERS
There's a reason why this trail is called Mount Marathon! Beginners will want to sit this one out! Located in southcentral Alaska in the Eastern Kenai Peninsula area, Mount Marathon is a steep, thrilling climb. With a 3, 000 foot elevation gain, this one is for serious climbers. The middle part of this 1.5 mile path offers some good wildlife viewing of black bear, parka and mountain goats. Be prepared for steep climb to the finish!
Denali National Park
This short, but steep trek is geared toward the athletic. With a 4, 751 foot climb on unstable volcanic rock, Igloo Mountain rewards you with a panoramic view of the Alaskan Range. Gorgeous! Trailhead can be found at mile 34, south of Igloo Campground.
Located in the Matanuska and Susitna Valley area, Dutch Creek caters to all. Serious hikers will be challenged on a semi-groomed 15 mile trail which gains 1,400 feet in elevation and offers a great view of the mountains in Denali National Park. The handicapped and less enthusiastic can travel the trail as well by car, snowmobile or truck. Motorized vehicles share this trail with walkers.
Chena Hot Spring traverse
Chena State Recreation Park
Serious hikers take note: pack a compas, topographic map, warm clothes and rain gear before attempting this unbelievably challenging 8.3 mile trail. State Recreation Park Rangers offer more advice: If bad weather moves in, turn back. Yes, this is challenging! You'll be rewarded though, with an excellent view from the ridge crest of the Alaska Range. This trail winds in between the peaks of Far Mountain, Chena Dome and Tanana Hills. If you make it to the end, you'll be one of the fortunate few to view and experience the natural hot springs.