Hiking in Alaska can be a very rewarding experience. The state is located in the far northwest region of the continent, with British Columbia in Canada to the east and Yukon and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in the Russian Federation to the west. As a result, the state boasts some amazing landscapes. From secluded lakes and ice fields to the tallest mountains in the country, you will never be at a loss for things to see and do.
Chilkoot Trail is a popular hiking trail that runs through the scenic Coast Mountains of Alaska. The hike follows the first 33 miles of the famous Klondike Goldrush route.
During the gold rush, prospectors used Chilkoot Trail to reach the gold fields. The route was also used by explorers and travelers. Today, it is one of the most popular recreational trails in Southeast Alaska.
A hike on the Chilkoot is not for the faint of heart. This is because the route is mostly trail walking, with a few steep climbs. It is also possible to encounter bears along the way. Bears can be very dangerous, so it is important to be cautious.
If you plan on hiking this trail, it is a good idea to contact the National Park Service and make reservations. They will give you information about overnight camping, including permits, and other details. There are several campgrounds along the trail. Some offer bear lockers for your food and other items.
Hikers should be aware of the dangers of grizzly and black bears. These predators are common along the trail, so it is best to be prepared. Keep pets on leashes, and never feed the bears. You may be able to divert the attention of the bears by talking loudly or making noise.
There are also a number of historical artifacts to be seen along the way. Hikers must respect the historic resources of the trail.
Ward Lake Trail
A short but scenic hiking trail, the Ward Lake Trail is an ideal destination for a day trip. You’ll have the opportunity to see bald eagles, black bears, and swans while enjoying the pristine scenery and wildlife of Southeast Alaska. The trail is also a great spot for berry picking.
The trail can be accessed from several different points, depending on your desired location. The lower section of the trail is located along the north side of the lake. This is the easiest portion to access. If you’re looking for a longer and more strenuous hike, you may choose to take the Perseverance Lake trail.
The upper section of the trail is located on the south side of the lake. It crosses two bridges at the inlet of the lake and then follows the shoreline of the lake. There are several picnic areas, shelters, and viewing platforms available for the public.
You can also enjoy freshwater fishing in the area. There are several ponds at the Ward Lake Recreation Area. Also, you can see swans and kingfishers while you’re out on the lake.
For a day hike in Ketchikan, the Ward Lake Trail is a popular choice. The trail is a gravel swath that runs 1.3 miles around the lake. As you walk along the lake, you’ll see plenty of animals, including beavers. Some birds you may encounter on the trail include swans, mallards, and bald eagles.
Harding Ice Field Trail
Harding Ice Field Trail is a must do in Kenai Fjords National Park. It offers breathtaking views, alpine wilderness and the chance to experience glaciers up close. The trail is 8.2 miles long and ends at Exit Glacier.
The trail starts on the valley floor and climbs upward through a variety of ecosystems. A few switchbacks help to minimize the steepness of the hike.
The trail can be accessed by way of the paved Exit Glacier Path. After taking the shuttle to the Exit Glacier Nature Center, you can begin your hike.
The route takes you past several notable stops, such as the Harding Icefield and Marmot Meadows. Camping is allowed along the way, and you are permitted to bring your own tent. In order to keep the fragile ecosystems in tact, it is best to follow leave no trace principles.
This may be the most important part of your Harding Icefield hike. To make the most of this hike, start early. As a general rule, you should allow yourself at least six to eight hours. For an outing of this duration, expect to stop for breaks at least every three to four miles.
The most important thing to know about the Harding Icefield is that it is only accessible on a clear day. If you aren’t keen on hiking through snow, you might want to wait until summer to make the journey.
Saddlebag Glacier Trail
Saddlebag Glacier Trail is a short 3-mile hike that leads to a small glacial lake. The trail boasts many impressive features, including a plethora of high-elevation dwelling vegetation and a lake named for it’s own merit.
The trail itself is relatively simple to navigate. It begins at Saddlebag Lake Road, a paved road that follows the shoreline of the aptly named Saddlebag Lake. From here, you can take in the sights of the lake and awe at the scenery as you pass by.
The Saddlebag Lake Loop is a short, albeit easy, loop that will take you around the lake and back to your vehicle. If you choose to veer off the trail and explore the area on foot, it’s recommended that you wear plenty of layers. This is particularly true if you’re planning on hiking to the top of Saddlebag Mountain.
The best part is that you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. You can even spot a few mountain goats on the cliffs of Saddlebag Lake. Aside from the hiking experience, you’ll also find plenty of wildlife to keep you busy, including a plethora of birds, bears, and moose.
One of the many things to do at Saddlebag Lake is to see the view from the outlet of the glacier. On a clear day, the vista is breathtaking.
Exit Glacier is the name given to a glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. The name is apt, as it is one of the largest, most accessible glaciers in the park.
The Exit Glacier area has many hiking trails. It’s also home to black bears, mountain goats and other wildlife. One of the most popular trails in the area is the Edge of the Glacier Trail.
This is a paved trail that follows the route of the glacier as it retreats. At the end, you’ll get a close-up view of the glacier.
This is a relatively easy hike that’s great for the whole family. There are several stops along the way, including a small stone pavilion that has been repurposed to help teach people about ecological changes when glaciers disappear.
The shortest trip to the Glacier Overlook takes about 20 minutes. You’ll also find a picnic table and a water bottle filling station. While you’re here, you might also want to visit the Nature Center. They have a variety of exhibits, a bookstore, and ranger-led programs.
If you’re looking for the best glacier view, you might prefer to drive to the park. The road, known as Herman Leirer Road, is a 7.1 mile drive from Seward.
If you’re in the mood to go for a longer hike, the Harding Icefield Trail is a moderate 8-mile loop. Throughout the trail, you’ll see some of the park’s smallest glaciers.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park and Preserve offers unforgettable landscapes and stunning wildlife. The park features 9266 square miles of wilderness, with glaciers, mountains, and forests. It is home to many species of mammals, birds, and fish.
Although much of the park is closed to private vehicles, visitors can still hike to see its beauty. Most hiking trails are located in the area around the visitor’s center. There are several campgrounds in the park. Many of them are reservable in advance.
Visitors can explore the park via shuttle or tour bus. These tours are convenient, offering simple transportation for visitors to explore the area. They also provide narrated tours by onboard naturalists. Tours are available on half-day or full-day trips.
One of the easiest hikes in Denali is the Meadowview Connector Trail. It connects to the Rock Creek Trail, offering spectacular fall colors. Hikers will enjoy this easy trail with a sweeping view of a colorful meadow.
Another trail is Savage River Trail. This secluded route climbs a hill to a beaver dam. Along the way, there are squirrel middens and beaver-felted trees. You can even see moose and beaver along the trail.
The longest trail in Denali is the Denali Lakes Trail. This is 18.5 miles of hiking. If you want to enjoy the best views of Denali, you’ll need clear skies. Another trail in Denali is the Roadside Trail. This trail is an easy, out-and-back loop. Though it doesn’t offer views of the Alaska Range like other hikes in the park, it is still enjoyable.