10 Best Parks & Hiking Trails To Visit In Alaska (2023)
The happiness of hiking in Alaska is quite amazing. From amazing panoramic views to enticing wildlife full of moose, bears, and eagles, you will witness everything without even spending extra money on them. But Alaska also has plenty of beautiful state and local parks with all the good trails too. So it’s better to take out some time and explore all the best parks and hiking trails. Whether you are just a normal individual who walks only or a professional hiker, or someone who seeks adventure, you will find a suitable trail of your ability in Alaska for sure.
So many trails and hikes in Alaska are easily accessible. Some are short hikes with close prominence to towns, while some need multiple days to complete and will take you far away from the town noise. So whatever you plan to go for, just be prepared to experience the best moment of your lives and that too with close proximity to wilderness.
10 Best Parks & Hiking Trails To Visit In Alaska
Best Parks & Hiking Trails:
1. Cooper Lake Hiking Trail to Cooper Dam
Cooper lake trail in Alaska is more than a trail that still remains a secret among the localities, and this trail is very near to the fishing mecca some 105 miles south on Sterling highway. The total distance of hike from Cooper Lake to Cooper Dam is 4 miles.
After reaching your destination, you can wander across the dam by visiting the Stetson Creek Valley, or you can either just sit back and enjoy the panoramic scenic views of the dam side. Don’t forget to take your camera to click the floating clouds around the valley ridges or wait for a moose to walk around the dam to feed in the lake shallows.
2. Caines Head Hiking Trail
With a total hiking distance of 4 miles with a moderate difficulty level, the bet for one of the best hikes in Alaska should be here. Caines Head hike is quite rich with beach trails, bald eagles, glaciers, and lots of history related to World War II. You will start your hike from the end road in Seward, and you will head to zigzag way to mountains that enter an ancient forest full of moss and ferns.
After you reach the creek, if you continue the hike, you will soon reach the beach trail that has even more picturesque views. On your way, you will see a sign of Caine’s head that is a vertical cliff that extends to the ocean. You will also see a WWII fort where you can see the bunkers and turret mounts used at the time of world war. This hiking trail in Alaska is one of the best Kenai Peninsula trails, but be aware of tides and try to travel it during the low tide seasons.
3. Exit Glacier Hike
You may have heard of some glaciers where you can drive to, but there are very rare glaciers where you can walk to. Just 10-15 minutes drive from Seward, this hike that trails straight from Fjords National Park offers a great hike to Exit Glacier, which will bring you a dense experience of blue ice while listening to the sound of its crackling.
It is also one of the most visited glaciers, which offer stunning views for all the mountaineers. Don’t forget to walk down through the lower part of the trail that is the edge of the exit glacier to click some amazing pictures of you with big white glaciers in the background. You can also camp throughout your hiking with many halts in between.
4. Kincaid Park
If you are looking for some time to spend in the woods, then Kincaid Park in Alaska is the easiest option to enjoy yourself in the deep woods right inside the town. It is a hotspot for all kinds of outdoor sports in the wilderness with the former Cold War Missile base. The park spans over an area of 1,500 acres with ancient and rugged terrains at the tip of Anchorage Bowl at the west end of Raspberry road.
You will witness panoramic views of Denali with a world-class trail system that is easily accessible throughout the year. In the woods, you can also explore looking for black bears, eagles, moose, and many more animals. This park offers not only woods wilderness but also some amazing options to spot different wildlife creatures.
5. Earthquake Park
The Earthquake park sprawls over an area of 134 acres, which was named after when a huge earthquake slid the whole neighborhood into the ocean during the most powerful earthquake. It was measured to be around a 9.2 Richter scale, which lasted for 4 minutes. When you visit this park, you will find different signs that will explain the past situation of an earthquake and how it affected the specific area.
Here in the park, you will find plenty of relaxing spots that will offer you some splendid dramatic views of the north side with the Chugach Mountains and Knik Arm and some more good views of Anchorage. There is no playground area in the park, but you can enjoy a picnic time with good options to walk around, or you can enjoy skiing if you are visiting in the winter. So, the Earthquake Park is a ‘must visit’ when you visit Alaska.
6. O’Malley Peak Hiking Trail
With an elevation of 3293 feet, O Malley Peak trail in Alaska doesn’t need one to be a mountaineer or a hiker to complete this trail. But yes, don’t take it as an easy hike because the trail gets steep in between where you can lose gravel during the inclination. However, all these situations don’t make the trail excessively dangerous but a bit more laborious. The trail is full of loose stones and dirt, so if you are traveling in groups, climb side-by-side or out from each other hiking lane.
Once you reach the summit, you will see one of the twelve O Malley peaks. Most of the people end their hikes here, but some adventure-seeking souls also hike up to the hidden peak that is 0.75 miles more backside of the summit. And yes, don’t forget to capture the Anchorage Bowl spread all the way to the west, which looks utterly beautiful with water and mountains around it.
7. Blueberry Knoll Hike
About 50 miles away from the north of Anchorage, this short 1.5-mile long trail is the best outing option if you are traveling with your family. From enjoying a picnic time at the uppermost part of the hiking trail to some beautiful picturesque views of Matanuska River aligned with stunning Knik River Valleys, which offers the best of the views in comparison to the other short hikes.
After you reach the topmost part of the trail, you might be satisfied with your day out, but if you have still energy, then you can climb up to the open ridge above the summit, also called the Government Peak, which will offer you stunning views in all the directions you move your eyes around.
8. Beach Lake Park
If you are someone who loves skiing, then you can find every type of terrain to enjoy full of skiing at Beach Lake Nordic park. The 15 km long easy gliding loop with sudden head falls that add on the adventurous part of skiing is remarkable for every ski lover. The area doesn’t look quite big but feels much bigger than its actual area. But skiing lovers will surely have a blast enjoying it here.
It is also a very popular place among the Chugiak and Eagle skiers and in all the ski families. You can also enjoy night skiing here. From beginners to advanced levels, every type of adventure lover can enjoy it to its fullest here. So when you stop in Alaska, do enjoy the skiing part here.
9. Beluga Slough Trail
About 0.4 miles long trail, which starts from the earshot of downtown Homer that plays host to numerous plants and birds. When you arrive at the Beluga Avenue of the trail, you will see a picnic shade, which is also just the trail’s beginning point. When you start to taste salt in the air, that means you have entered the magical border between land and the sea.
You can enjoy mingled saltwater with a unique environment with birds and animals thriving around. Witness the geese gulls hanging around the seaside. This trail in Alaska offers different types of charms in different seasons with colorful arrays of scenic beauty all around the area. This trail will bring you out from the city bustle, and especially during the august month, you will find several wildflowers grown here.
10. Reed Lakes Hiking Trail
Reed Lakes trail is among the most famous hiking trails in Alaska near Anchorage. This trail will offer you beautiful interior samples of Alaskan hiking trails. The hike is fairly fine until you complete the first 1.5 miles. After that, the trail becomes steep and more rugged that it would be a challenge for the beginners and children if you are traveling with your family.
But it will be all worth it when you reach the reed lake top, which will be glowing beautifully in turquoise color like a jewel. The meadows around the lake is also a popular place to enjoy camping. If you still have the energy, then you can also hike up to the cascading waterfalls, which is also a visual treat to anyone’s eyes.
These were some of the hikes and parks that you should not miss out on when you are exploring Alaska. Many of them are suitable for beginners, and some have their own difficulty level, so it is better to be prepared for everything with all the safety options with you. Also, if you are traveling for the first time, make sure you check the weather conditions before beginning any of the hikes and also inform someone about where you are headed to. Alaska is a place that is a delightful place for all the adventure lovers with so many exploration options out there in the wild.