Between the breathtaking vistas and abundant native wildlife, it’s no surprise that hiking is a popular activity in Alaska. National, state and local parks all have great trails that showcase Alaska’s unique wilderness. Just be sure to sure to dress in layers (the weather can change very quickly) and bring plenty of water! Here are some of our favorite Alaska hiking trails in order from easy to difficult.
Top 5 Alaska Hiking Trails near Palmer, AK
1. Gold Mint Trail at Hatcher Pass
Starting at mile 13.7 on Hatcher Pass Road, the Gold Mint Trail shows off the amazing landscape of the Mat-Su Valley. This 16-mile route is great for beginners and follows the Little Susitna River, a blue, glacial river with big boulders in it. You’ll be surrounded by towering mountains on all sides, fields of bright purple fireweed flowers, and lots of beavers. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
2. Eklutna Lake in Anchorage
Eklutna Lake is the largest lake in Chugach State Park. It’s an incredibly majestic body of water, and the surrounding landscape is just as impressive. The Eklutna Lake Trail System offers three different routes for hikers: the Twin Peaks Trail, Eklutna Lakeside Trail, and the Bold Ridge Trail. Not sure which one to explore? We highly recommend the 13-mile Lakeside Trail which follows the shore of Eklutna Lake and continues along the river to moraines of Eklutna Glacier.
3. Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood
About 40 minutes from Anchorage is Winner Creek, a densely wooded trail that is fairly level and easy to conquer. The lower part of the trail offers a 3-mile hike from the Alyeska Tram building to Crow Creek Road. Visitors can also trek the Upper Winner Creek Trail which leads 9 miles through the high country into spectacular mountains. You can even go over Berry Pass, hike down to the Twentymile River, and pack raft out.
4. Lazy Mountain near Palmer
If you’re looking for an excellent day hike, head to Lazy Mountain. This trail is short but very steep, leading straight up the mountain with occasional steps built right into the path. About a third of the way up it becomes slightly less steep, and the landscape changes from forest to rocky tundra. From the top, you’ll have great views of nearby Matanuska Peak as well as Pioneer Peak and Twin Peaks to the west.
5. Kesugi Ridge Hike in Denali State Park
All of our guests who hike Kesugi Ridge say the same thing: it’s life-changing! This trail runs along the side of Kesugi Mountain and offers spectacular views Denali, North America’s largest peak. Even if Denali was not the main attraction, this would still be a great hike; the trail winds through interesting terrains like canyons, lush greenery, and tundra. There are some heavy-duty elevation gains to get to the ridge, but it’s nothing a seasoned backpacker can’t handle.
Pro Tip: Start at the Little Coal Creek Trailhead to avoid about half the elevation gain of the Byers Lake Trailhead. The first 2.5 miles are pretty steep as you work your way up to the ridge, but the trail is switch-backed so you’ll have a few places to rest. We promise the views are worth the climb!
Come Home to Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages
When it comes to lodging near the best Alaska hiking trails, look no further than our Palmer bed and breakfast. Our centrally-located property offers comfortable accommodations and great amenities that will help you unwind post-hike. Reserve an economical inn room with a private bath, or be one of the first to stay in our brand new two-bedroom cottages. Each comes with a delicious complimentary breakfast in the morning. Feel free to check our availability online or call us at (907) 746-2333 to book your stay today! We can’t wait to hear about your adventures.
Looking for great ways to save on your trip to Alaska? Check out our vacation specials.
Photo Credit: JodyO.Photos | Barberstock