The best thing about Alaska is that you don’t have to go very far to experience some of the most breathtaking sights in the entire world. These 14 easy hikes spread all throughout the last frontier are sure to deliver an incredible punch of paradise in just a short and easy jaunt. With officially just a couple of weeks left in the summer season, be sure to add these to your outdoor bucket list and check as many off as possible before the snow starts flying.
1. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail - Anchorage
Alaska's largest city of Anchorage is great for many reasons, but we just so happen to have a love affair with this one particular trail. 11 miles stretching from downtown to Kincaid Park are perfectly groomed for a leisurely stroll, a long run or a short hike. Views overlooking Sleeping Lady Mountain and the inlet are also perfect for catching a breathtaking sunset.
2. Lake Gertrude – Kodiak
Head into the 182 acre Fort Abercrombie State Park and embark on this 2.5 mile round trip loop around the beautiful Lake Gertrude. The views of the meadows will sparkle with wildflowers in the summertime and the fall colors will positively amaze you.
3. Angel Rocks Trail – Fairbanks
This 3.5 mile round trip loop has a bit of a steep climb going in, but boy are the views worth it once you’ve reached the top overlooking the valley. Walk along the gorgeous Chena River and get away from the crowds once you start gaining elevation.
4. Exit Glacier – Seward
Turn down Herman Leirer Road (othervise known as “Exit Glacier Road”) as you’re heading towards the town of Seward. Make your way to the large parking lot at the end which is the starting point for several different trails that lead you up to the excellent viewpoint of Exit Glacier. This is the only part of the Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road, and believe us when we say that it is incredibly amazing! With trails as short as one mile, paved and even wheelchair accessible – there is something for everyone here. The gleaming glacier views at the end are sure to blow you away.
5. Byron Glacier – Portage Valley
Head south from Anchorage toward the Kenai Peninsula and just by the Whittier turnoff you’ll come to the trailhead off Portage Valley Road. This 1.6 mile round trip hike will give you phenomenal views of the glacier up close with views of rugged mountains surrounding you.
6. Deer Mountain Trail – Ketchikan
One mile to the lookout, but be warned; the second half of the mile is straight uphill. For a two mile hike, only about ½ is considered a bit more “extreme” whereas the rest is relatively easy. But when all is said and done, the views at the top will utterly blow you away.
7. Russian River Falls – Cooper Landing
Two miles in and two miles out (four total) of evenly laid gravel make this trail easy to complete with a thundering reward at the end. Beware of very active bear activity in this area as the falls are filled with salmon.
8. Herring Cove Trail – Sitka
Go deep into the Tongass National Forest on this 1.4 mile trail that joins with Beaver Lake Trail at Beaver Lake. To access this little gem, head down Sawmill Creek Road and look for the trailhead at the very end and to the left.
9. Horseshoe Lake Trail – McKinley Park
Cross some railroad tracks and make your way along this easy three mile hike with incredible views overlooking the Alaska Range, Nenana River and the “glitter gulch” canyon. During the fall months you’ll love all of the striking colors surrounding you the entirety of this great hike.
10. Nugget Falls – Juneau
Start at the Visitor Center and walk just a short ½ mile in to view stunning views of the falls and the massive Mendenhall Glacier. For only an easy mile of hiking, this is the biggest bang you’ll receive in the shortest amount of time and distance traveled.
11. Lower Winner Creek Trail – Girdwood
This easy three mile hike is a favorite among visitors to this groovy little town. Start behind the Alyeska Tram and finish on Crow Creek Road. For an extra treat at the end, be sure to check out Crow Creek Mine!
12. Thunderbird Falls – Chugiak
Walk one mile in to the falls and find yourself surrounded by vast birch forest and stunning views of the Eklutna Canyon. Trek a total of two miles roundtrip along a very well-traveled and well-maintained trail for the perfect way to decompress after a day in the city.
13. Tutka/Jakolof Trail – Kachemak Bay State Park
Take a boat or water taxi over to this lush, beautiful area and enjoy a two mile roundtrip hike joining Tutka Bay Lagoon and the Rocky River Road. You’ll love all the beautiful streams along the way as well as the spectacular views overlooking the ocean.
14. Hidden Creek Trail – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Just 1.5 miles in makes this easy winding trail a short 3 miles round-trip trek. Wind through aspen trees, cross a grassy marsh and enjoy breathtaking views of the Kenai Mountains in the distance.