Alaska is an absolute wonderland all year long. There are thousands of hikes all throughout the state, ranging from beginner to difficult. We put together a list of our favorite seasonal hikes in Alaska for you to enjoy all 12 months out of the year! So grab your kit, and your hiking buddy, and head on out to any of these unforgettable hikes in the Last Frontier.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. January: W Butte Trail, Palmer, Alaska
What better way to ring in the new year than with a panoramic view of Matanuska Valley and the surrounding mountains covered in alpenglow? This beautiful hike is only 2.3 miles out and back and very peaceful in the cold winter weather. You’ll climb 721 feet in elevation, and the views are absolutely worth it. Make sure you strap on your spikes or ice grippers for the slippery parts, as you may run into a little ice on the trail. But it’s a welcome way to enjoy a brisk January day.
2. February: Rodak Naturę Loop, Eagle River, Alaska
Is there anywhere prettier than Eagle River Nature Center in the cold winter months? We think not! And the Road Nature Loop is an easy trail that’s fantastic for all skill levels, especially beginners. The views are loved by all! This wonderful loop trail is only .8 miles long and an easy 200 feet elevation gain throughout the whole trail. But the sights are comparable to some of the best on the planet, and with so little effort needed to soak them in. Pack up the whole family and make sure to spend a day exploring the easy trails around Eagle River Nature Center during the cold, crisp, and beautiful days of February.
3. March: Thunderbird Falls Trail, Eklutna, Alaska
This easy hike is a fabulous one all year long, but we love the solitude that late winter brings. The trail brings you to the epic Thunderbird Falls waterfall, and by March the falls have melted, but there’s still snow all around you. The easy 1.8-mile out-and-back trail is rolling and offers plenty of views all along the way. The trail will be wet and snowy in March, so bring your boots and your sense of wonder.
4. April: Mount Roberts Tramway to Gastineau Peak, Juneau, Alaska
Best hiked April through September, this stunning hike will give you panoramic views of Juneau and the surrounding mountains. This 3.9-mile out-and-back trail does climb 1,889 ft in elevation, but every step is worth it. Take in the sights, try to spot the wildflowers starting to pop out, and borrow some hiking poles if you need them from the Nature Center at the top of the tram. This is an epic hike with unforgettable views!
5. May: Laughton Glacier Trail, Skagway, Alaska
This epic hike takes you up close to Laughton Glacier. This 4.2-mile hike is moderate and easy to complete, especially if you grab a guide to help you on your way. You’ll only climb 856 feet in elevation gain, but the rocky field before the glacier can be a little tricky, especially in early May when there might be some snow on the ground. The best part? You’ll be taking the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad to this beautiful hike, so you’ll get the chance to really soak in the views on the way to the trailhead. Excursions start in early May, and leave at 7:40 a.m. Tickets are $75.00 per adult and $37.50 per child.
6. June: Winner Creek Trail, Girdwood, Alaska
June's one of the warmest months of the year in Alaska, and there’s no better place to beat the heat than on the Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood. Meandering through the northern most temperate rainforest, this stunning 4.9-mile hike will take you all the way to the creek and through the gorgeous mountain landscape right outside Alyeska Resort. If you want to do the longer hike, make sure to start outside the Alyeska Tram because the hand tram is currently not operational. This trail covers 866 feet of elevation gain and gives you stunning views, like the waterfall at the creek!
7. July: Grace Ridge Trail, Homer, Alaska
This unbelievable hike is located in Kachemak Bay State Park right outside of Homer. The trailhead is only accessible by water ferry, and you’ll have to cross the bay to reach the start of the hike. But this hike will blow you out of the water! You’ll follow the ridge trail for approximately 8.4 miles, out and back, and you’ll be stunned the whole way. The elevation gain is steep at 3,431 feet, and this is definitely a harder hike, but it belongs on your bucket list. Choose a sunny day if possible and be prepared to be wowed. Keep your eyes peeled for bears, as you’re in the heart of Alaska’s backcountry.
8. August: Crescent Creek Trail, Cooper Landing, Alaska
This show-stopper is gorgeous all summer long, and some brave souls even trek it in the winter time, but August is our favorite month to hike out to Crescent Lake. Located on the Kenai Peninsula, this beautiful out and back trail takes you 13.3 miles into the Chugach National Forest. The first mile is pretty steep switchbacks, and where almost all that 1,581 ft elevation gain is realized, but after that it’s mostly flat. You can take the trail to the public use cabin and spend the night, (make sure to book it ahead of time!) or head on out after resting at the lake. It’s a beautiful hike and the weather in August makes it just about perfect.
9. September: Mount Marathon Hike, Seward, Alaska
This epic trail in Seward, Alaska is a favorite all summer long, but there’s something very special about hiking it in the fall. Hit it in September before the snow falls, and watch the colors change all over the mountain side. Pack your gear because you might get wet on this 4.1-mile loop that covers over 2,923 feet of elevation gain. But the views are worth it.
10. October: Carlanna Lake Trail, Ketchikan, Alaska
Hiking the Carlanna Lake Trail is like traipsing through a fairy tale. Cross beautiful boardwalks as you explore the Tongass National Forest and pass by lakes and waterfalls. The trail is a 5.1 out and back hike, and you’ll gain 2,316 ft throughout the whole thing. This is a beautiful hike to do in the fall when you’re visiting Ketchikan!
11. November: South Fork Falls, Eagle River, Alaska
Before the falls start freezing, make sure to head on out to Eagle River and soak in these powerful waterfalls. There are no leaves on the tree to block your view, and the hike is easy and mostly empty in November. Dress warmly, and enjoy this short and sweet 1.3-mile loop trail that only climbs about 180 feet total. It’s a great way to get the blood pumping on a cold day!
12. Tanana Lakes, Fairbanks, Alaska
Is there anywhere more glorious than Fairbanks in the wintertime? We think not! And the Tanana Lakes Trail is an easy trail to hike, cross country ski, or snowshoe in the winter time that will be showing off Alaska’s winter beauty. A popular 2.9-mile loop, this trail is well-loved all year, but especially beautiful during the winter season.
Have you done any of these seasonal hikes in Alaska? Which one is your favorite? Any we left off the list? Let us know in the comments below!