Hikes Around Anchorage

Region in Alaska, United States

Ever thought about going hiking in Anchorage? Anchorage may be Alaska’s biggest city, but it’s a paradise for adventure travelers, offering unparalleled opportunities for hiking in some of the region’s most glorious scenery. Despite being an urban center, Anchorage occupies a privileged position on the Cook Inlet, meaning that inhabitants share the space with whales, salmon, bears and plenty of other wildlife, just a stone’s throw from the city itself. As the gateway to some of the best hiking in Alaska, Anchorage deserves your attention.

The area around Anchorage is well known for its remarkable national parks, filled with epic hiking trails, creaking glaciers, calm mountain lakes and gurgling streams. Don’t miss the vast Chugach State Park, where you’ll find craggy passes and meadows strewn with wildflowers. Alternatively, head to the Kenai Fjords National Park, where you’ll see gargantuan glaciers and watch bears and whales fishing in the chilly waters. The possibilities for wildlife spotting are endless: seals, moose, brown and black bears, caribou and wolves all roam these regions, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of one of them while you’re out on the trail.

Hiking in Anchorage is an adventure lover’s dream, so why not put it on your bucket list and start planning your trip today? To give you a little inspiration, we’ve put together a list of our favorite hikes and regions around Anchorage. Happy hiking!

Types Of Hiking In Anchorage

Anchorage offers easy access to some of the finest national parks in the South Central region of Alaska, meaning that you’ll find a vast diversity of trails on offer. Looking for a challenge? There are lots of beautiful day hikes on offer that will test your fitness and allow you to really stretch your legs, climbing to high mountain passes well above the treeline. These hikes are perfect for experienced trekkers, and come with incredible rewards for your efforts.

However, if you’re a beginner hiker, or simply looking for an easy route to do with the family, Anchorage is an excellent option. Many of the incredible nearby glaciers are accessible on short, paved paths, meaning that even families with buggies can experience the natural treasures of this beautiful region. You’ll also find plenty of moderate-level hikes along accessible, well-marked routes – perfect for hikers of any fitness level or ability.

Easy Hikes Near Anchorage

Byron Glacier Hike: If you’re looking for a fun, easy hike in Anchorage, try this wonderful route along the Byron Creek. The trail runs all the way to the Byron Glacier, passing through beautiful forests with plenty to see along the way. For an added challenge, and a glimpse of the permanent snowfield, scramble up to the natural ice caves near the glacier. This is a wonderful, relaxed trek, and one of the best easy hikes in Anchorage!

Family Hikes In Anchorage

Exit Glacier Hike: The short route to the Exit Glacier is in the heart of the Kenai Fjords National Park and is an easy hike, perfect for families. The path leads straight to a viewing point for the glorious Exit Glacier, and all along the route you’ll find informative panels that explain fun facts about the region’s wildlife and unusual geology. Kids will love this short trail, which is suitable for families with children of all ages.

Day Hikes In Anchorage

Lost Lake Hike: Looking for a way to get away from it all? Try this wonderful trail to Lost Lake, one of the best day hikes in Anchorage. The route offers spectacular views over the nearby peaks and expansive wildflower meadows before emerging at the stunning Lost Lake. The region around Lost Lake is notable for its wildlife – expect to see all kinds of birds and even a glimpse of a brown bear! This wonderful hike presents an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and forget the stresses of everyday life.

Challenging Hikes In Anchorage

Harding Icefield Hike: One of the best challenging hikes in Anchorage, and indeed, the whole of Alaska, the Harding Icefield trail takes you up past Exit Glacier to the permanent snowfield. Expect a vast, glittering snowfield, and an epic view of the mountains and glaciers that surround the Harding Icefield. This breathtaking hike, characteristic of the region around Anchorage, is a must for all adventure hikers.

Best Hikes In Anchorage

Portage Pass and Lake Hike: The Portage Pass and Lake Hike passes along a lush, green trail before rising to a high craggy pass. You can expect a fabulous panorama over the nearby peaks, and views of glaciers, mountain lakes and snow-capped mountains. This moderate trail is a pleasure to hike along, and offers a wonderful day out from Anchorage.

Hope Point Hike: The route to the top of Hope Point is a challenging hike, but one that brings plenty of exciting rewards. The views along the way and from the top are simply incomparable, offering a fabulous vista over the nearby peaks and coastline. Don’t miss the impressive views of Turnagain Arm and the Cook Inlet, where you may even spot the odd Beluga whale. The route is quite exposed, so make sure you plan your trip carefully, both on a fine day, the views are second to none.

Crow Pass Hike: Looking for a fun hike close to Anchorage? The Crow Pass is known as one of the best hikes in the Chugach mountain range, requiring a satisfying trek up to the top of a craggy mountain pass. You’ll enjoy fabulous mountain views, and an impressive panorama over Crystal Lake and the Raven Glacier. This is an iconic Anchorage hike, and a must for lovers of the Great Outdoors!

Carter and Crescent Lake Hike: Looking for a family-friendly hike in spectacular scenery? The Carter and Crescent Lake hike is a great way to introduce kids to Alaska’s beautiful landscapes, taking in wildflower meadows, snow-capped peaks and tranquil mountain lakes. The route is easy enough to be fun for kids, but still offers a satisfying challenge, and the scenery is interesting and varied.

Flattop Mountain Hike: This Flattop Mountain hike may look short, but don’t be deceived – you’ll need plenty of energy! The route climbs steeply up to the peak, with some scrambling required as you near the top. However, once you’ve found the summit, the reward speaks for itself. You’ll have a magnificent vista over the Alaska Range and the Cook Inlet. This is one of our favorite hikes close to Anchorage and a popular route among the locals.

Ptarmigan Creek and Lake Hike: This lovely trail passes through lush forests close to the Ptarmigan Creek, and you’ll hear the water accompanying you as you walk along the route. The lake itself occupies a wonderful natural setting, surrounded by high, craggy peaks, and there are plenty of beautiful wildflowers lining the path. This is also an excellent spot for a picnic and some nature spotting – look out for the beavers!

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Anchorage?

The best time to hike in Anchorage is, without doubt, the summer, when you’ll find fairly warm temperatures and long days, perfect for getting out on the trails! However, even in summer the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to come prepared for every eventuality. It’s also possible to hike around Anchorage in spring and autumn, but you’ll find that most of the higher-altitude trails are only open from mid-June to mid-September.

Anchorage is Alaska’s winter sport capital, and if you come here between November and February you can expect some fabulous opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. However, bear in mind that the days are very short and the temperatures extremely cold (well below freezing). Nevertheless, this is an excellent time to visit if you’re hoping to catch the northern lights.

Best Regions For Hiking in Anchorage

Anchorage occupies the South Central region of Alaska, known for its stunning national parks and glaciers. The city makes for an excellent jumping off point to the national parks, where you can find some of the best hiking trails in the state. In particular, don’t miss the Kenai Peninsula, and the Kenai Fjords National Park, where you’ll find some epic trails that pass by serene mountain lakes and imposing glaciers. The Chugach National Forest is also known for beautiful trails, rising up to craggy mountain passes with views over gorgeous wildflower meadows. Finally, the Seward Highway, known as one of the most scenic roads in the world, offers the possibility of spotting whales and bears right by the roadside.

Other Outdoor Activities in Anchorage

Anchorage is Alaska’s adventure sport capital, and you’ll find plenty of tour operators offering all kinds of activities. In addition to hiking and backpacking, try mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing, or head out on a wild fishing trip. It’s also possible to organize paragliding, rafting and parasailing. In winter, in addition to the traditional skiing and snowboarding, you’ll find opportunities for snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing and ice climbing. Whatever your passion, Anchorage has an adventure for you!

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Best Hikes in Around Anchorage

Open details for Flattop Mountain

Flattop Mountain

Hard
6.1 km
403 m
2-3h

The Flattop Mountain trail is a great day-hike near Anchorage. Short, but steep this trail takes you to the top of Flattop Mountain with great views of surrounding Chugach State Park. This hike is very popular among locals and includes some fun, but challenging scrambling near the top.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Byron Glacier Trail

Byron Glacier Trail

Easy
4.3 km
83 m
1-1.5h

The Byron Glacier Trail is a great hike located near Anchorage. This hike is an easy, fun, fully accessible family-friendly trail that leads to an overlook of Byron Glacier through lush forest. Adventurous hikers can extend this trail a bit to approach this stunning glacier and get a closer look by scrambling higher to explore the natural ice caves and beautiful permanent snowfield.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Portage Pass and Lake

Portage Pass and Lake

Moderate
10.1 km
480 m
3-4.5h

The Portage Pass Trail near Whittier is a stunning moderate hike that goes over Portage Pass and leads to Portage Lake. There you will be blown away by the stunning Portage Glacier view and beautiful ice formations that exist on the lake.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Crow Pass Trail

Crow Pass Trail

Moderate
13.5 km
590 m
4-5.5h

The Crow Pass Trail near Alyeska Resort is a beautiful moderate route that leads to Crow Pass. You will pass by beautiful Crystal Lake along the trail and will be rewarded with a great overlook to Raven Glacier.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Hope Point

Hope Point

Very Hard
14.1 km
1,051 m
5.5-7.5h

The hike up Hope Point Trail is a fun and challenging hike to the peak of Hope Point. This route rewards with amazing views of Resurrection Creek Valley, Turnagain Arm, Fire Island and Cook Inlet.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Carter and Crescent Lake

Carter and Crescent Lake

Moderate
11.1 km
348 m
3-4h

The hike on the Carter and Crescent Lake Trail is a beautiful route in Alaska, Kenai Peninsula. This hike takes you to the beautiful Crescent Lake through the family-friendly trail along Carter Lake. The tranquility of this place is truly magical and the views of beautiful mountains, expansive meadows and sea of flowers are guaranteed!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier

Very Easy
2.9 km
81 m
0.5-1h

The Exit Glacier Hike is a beautiful trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. This trail is easy, mostly paved and very popular, and once you reach an amazing viewpoint overlooking the Exit Glacier, you will understand why. This place is truly magical and the massive glacier, that is pouring from Harding Icefield, looks magnificent.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Ptarmigan Lake Trail

Ptarmigan Lake Trail

Moderate
12.2 km
327 m
3-4.5h

The Ptarmigan Lake Hike is a beautiful trail near Lawing, Alaska. The path leads along energetic Ptarmigan Creek on a secluded path through lush forest. Once you reach Ptarmigan Lake, you will be embraced by the peaceful atmosphere. This location is truly beautiful and worth the effort.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Harding Icefield

Harding Icefield

Very Hard
17.0 km
1,162 m
6-8.5h

Harding Icefield Trail is one of the best hikes in Alaska without a doubt. Take this trail to visit the overlook to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Kenai Mountains – Harding Icefield. The expansive view of endless ice floor above the clouds will take your breath away!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Hard
22.5 km
808 m
6-8.5h

Lost Lake Trail is a wonderful day-hike in Alaska that leads to the secluded Lost Lake, surrounded by meadows full of wildflowers and Kenai Mountains. This hike is not very difficult, but quite long. You can make it into a nice backpacking trip as camping near the lake is permitted in the designated sites. Also, this trail is one of few that are accessible all year long and cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular in the surrounding areas.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.

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