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Best hiking trails in Alaska the everyone should try

No matter how you look at it, The Alaska Life has more to offer than just about anywhere else under the sun. Sure, we might be a little partial to our highly-treasured Last Frontier paradise, but you probably are too, so that’s all that really matters! Now that we’re all on the same page, we are bursting at the seams to share these superb Alaska hikes with you. Each of these 13 easy, breezy hikes are under three total miles, making them perfect for a fun day trip. With moderate terrain and easy accessibility, you’ll have a hard time trying to find a reason not to take each and every one of these enchanting outdoor adventures. Plus, they’re incredibly family friendly! So plan on unplugging and reward yourself with some quality time in Alaska’s beautiful backcountry.

1 – Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park – Alaska Hikes in Seward

The hike to Exit Glacier in Seward is constantly being rated as one of the top hikes in Alaska by visitors from all around the world. From the parking lot, a flat well-traveled path will lead you to phenomenal views of the only glacier area inside Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road. Hike the ‘Edge of the Glacier Trail’ or continue on longer to the ‘Harding Icefield Trail.’ No matter what you choose, you’ll be rewarded with delicious eye-candy for the entirety. Trail length: From 1 – 4.2 miles round trip, out and back.

2 – Lake Gertrude in Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park – Alaska Hikes in Kodiak

Adored by locals and travelers from all over the world, this 182-acre outdoor playground is oozing with scenic viewpoints overlooking rocky cliffs, breathtaking sandy beaches, and lush wilderness trails. Plus, it’s filled with historic WW2 relics. Hike around the lake, wet a line, and enjoy the great wildlife viewing opportunities along the way. Trail length: 2.5-mile loop around the lake.

3 – Nugget Falls Trail in the Tongass National Forest – Alaska Hikes in Juneau

The Nugget Falls Trail begins halfway down Photo Point Trail and ends at the robust falls, which skirts the edge of Mendenhall Lake. Beautiful waterfall and glacier views will capture your eyes, as will the lush beauty of the Tongass National Forest in the backdrop. Trail length: .9 miles out, .9 miles back (1.8 miles round-trip).

4 – Thunderbird Falls in the Chugach National Forest – Alaska Hikes in Chugiak

Simply put, this is a short and easy hike to an enchanting waterfall nestled in the wilderness. The hike is great for all ages and experience levels and is rated as ‘easy’ overall. Listen to the peaceful sounds of Eklutna River rushing swiftly beneath you as you wind through the woods. Trail length: 1 miles out, 1 miles back (2 miles round-trip).

5 – Byron Glacier in the Chugach National Forest – Alaska Hikes in Portage

Head towards Whittier and make your way into the prominent Portage Valley. This flat, easy hike gains zero elevation and is perfect for families with even the tiniest of tots! People of all ages and experience levels fall in love with this jewel of a hike leading up to the striking Byron Glacier. Hike up and explore the glacial caves (from a safe distance) and pose for the most epic Alaskan photos of your life. Trail length: 1.4 miles out, 1.4 miles back (2.8 miles round-trip).

6 – Albert Loop Trail in the Chugach State Park – Alaska Hikes at the Eagle River Nature Center

There is simply so much to love about the Eagle River Nature Center. It’s close enough to all the action of our busy lives, yet still far enough away to feel like we can totally unwind. The Albert Loop Trail traverses through rich habitats where wildlife roams freely. This trail is rated as ‘easy’ and is open year-round. In the wintertime, it is groomed for cross country skiing. This is a 3-mile loop hike.

7 – Flat Top Mountain in the Chugach State Park – Alaska Hikes in Anchorage

I mean, let’s get real – Anchorage gets more travel action than anywhere else in the state. So we’re telling you, if you find yourself in the largest city in the Last Frontier, don’t pass up the opportunity to soak in the magic that this magnificent trail has to offer. Reward yourself with a panoramic view overlooking Sleeping Lady, Cook Inlet and even Denali on a clear day. You won’t believe the vast wilderness and ample mountain peaks that will surround you at the summit. Head up a steep elevation for just 1.5 miles from the parking lot where you’ll stop and soak in the scene. This is a 3-mile hike round-trip.

8 – Beluga Slough Trail at Bishops Beach Park – Alaska Hikes in Homer

Head to the happy seaside town of Homer where you’ll need to drive to the Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center. From there, a short winding walk will lead you through a forest with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. You’ll continue onto salt-tolerant grasses where you’ll observe seeing the freshwater from Beluga Lake mix with the saltwater from Kachemak Bay. As if everything about Homer wasn’t already spectacular enough, this short hike is like the icing on top of a really good piece of cake. Trail length: .6 miles each way (1.2 miles round-trip).

9 – Angel Rocks Trail in the Chena River State Recreation Area – Alaska Hikes in Fairbanks

Angel Rocks Trail, running parallel to the North Fork of Chena River, is a bit longer than three miles, but the sights on the trail are worth hiking the extra distance. Get ready to experience a wide variety of interesting plant life and massive granite tor rock formations. The unique tors were formed millions of years ago when molten rock pushed upwards and then cooled before they reached the earth’s surface. Later the land began to erode, but the resilient tor formations stood the test of time and can still be observed today. Trail length: 3.7 mile loop.

10 – Matanuska Glacier in the State Recreation Site – Alaska Hikes in Sutton

This is truly a photographer’s paradise. While it isn’t a perfectly mapped out trail per se, it is a great place to hike around and explore the massive glacial playground just how you’d like. This trail area is rated as ‘easy’ which makes it the perfect place to bring anyone who wants to experience gorgeous glacial land on a truly up close and personal level. Keep in mind that this is private property so there is a per-person fee to access the glacier. For more information on entrance fees or area questions, click HERE. Trail length: varied distances ranging between .5 miles up to 3 miles.

11 – Virgin Creek Falls in the Chugach National Forest – Alaska Hikes in Girdwood

This lush rainforest trek will lead you to the most beautiful, thundering falls in just one short mile. It’s easily accessible and very well-traveled during the summer months, largely in part because it’s a very family-friendly trail that the kiddos will enjoy too. It’s rated as ‘somewhat difficult’ so keep in mind that you will gain some elevation. Trail length: 1 mile in, 1 mile back out (2 miles round-trip).

12 – Bear Mountain in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge – Alaska Hikes in Sterling

Sometimes referred to as the ‘poor man’s Skilak Overlook Trail’ is the magnificent Bear Mountain trail. While you will be heading up some pretty steep areas at times, the overall trail is rated as a ‘somewhat easy’ experience. When you reach the top of the climb you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views overlooking Skilak Lake and the majestic Kenai Mountains. Trail length: .8 miles up, .8 miles down (1.6 miles round-trip).

13 – Rainbird Trial in the Tongass National Forest – Alaska Hikes in Ketchikan

What is so alluring about this trail is that it provides a truly captivating rainforest experience, nearby to the downtown district. For cruise ship passengers or those coming through town on the ferry, this hike is a favorite due to its easy accessibility and ‘easy’ rating. Best of all? The short distance on this trail will lead you to spectacular views of the Tongass Narrows with neighboring islands in the distance. Trail length: 1.3 miles out, 1.3 miles back (2.6 miles round-trip).

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