Overall, there are few developed trails in Alaska. Coming from a state where each little piece of land is owned by someone or something, I was so used to finding a marked trail and taking it. Alaska isn't like that but sometimes I still feel like I'm trespassing if I just hike wherever. Near Anchorage, in Chugach State Park and in Chugach National Forest, you will find developed trails that vary in length and ability but these are so popular, you're likely to see plenty of people sharing your hike with you (in the summer). In areas the Bureau of Land Management controls, there are few trails but you're able to hike pretty much anywhere (unless otherwise specified). Denali National Park has some trails as well but the backcountry--almost all of the park-- is undeveloped (like in many national parks)
Having this freedom not as easy as it seems, though...a lot of this land is muskeg (boggy) or permafrost, some is thick brush and devils club, there's the moss covered rocks that hide huge gaps you can fall into. The bugs are unbearable at times and the weather is certainly unpredictable. At high elevation or in high latitudes, it may snow. So, a lot of planning needs to go into these hikes.
Equipment: You need to study a topo map and figure out the best route. Obviously following valleys works but even better, walking along the gravel bars of rivers can provide a little stability. You may have to cross these rivers and the water is cold. One more note about these topo maps...the ones from the USGS are now available online to print for no cost but they are so old. There is usually no cell phone service, so you need to understand there probably won't be help if you need it. Bring waterproof gear, layers, good boots, a bug net and/or repellant, a compass and camping gear-- for starters. In the far north, there are few trees and you cannot use them to start a fire...the tiny ones are probably over a hundred years old. In other places, the wood you find on the ground may be wet and again, even though there are few trail restrictions, there are rules about collecting anything from the area...you need to read the guidelines if you're in a BLM area or whatever. You need to protect yourself from bears and any organization or experienced backcountry hiker will tell you that even though many Alaskans carry a firearm, it's not the best solution. Make noise, don't surprise the bear.
There's so much more to tell you...lots and lots of planning and telling someone what you're doing/ where you're going is a good start. Reading the book, Alaska on Foot by Erik Molvar is an excellent guide to help you prepare and take with you. There are also numerous books about specific hikes and pamphlets of most highways with areas you may want to explore and information regarding who owns what
If you want to have fun...take a fishing trip on Millers Landing. If you hit it right, the salmon fishing can be great. Todd took the morning trip for 4 hours and caught a bunch!
Equipment: You can bring your own pole or rent one of theirs.
One of the most popular activities in Alaska and you will love it I'm sure! Hooking a huge salmon must be a great memory for everyone who is visiting the Kenai peninsula an interested in fresh-water fishing from early May to August. Favourite pastime for many fisherman from beginners and professional sport fisherman equally.
During the annual migration that the sport fishing for the king salmon in both the saltwater and freshwater is excellent.
Well liked destinations for fresh-water fisherman: Anchor River, Deep Creek, Kenai River, Kasilof River, Russian River and Ninilchick river. I would recommend to buy a fishing guide in one of the equipment shops or visiter centres to make the best decision.
Equipment: Fishing Equipment, Fishing Licence, Bug spray, etc.
The most popular watersport in Alaska. One of the best rivers for rafting is definitely the swift Nenana River which offers thrilling raft adventures to visitors of Denali National Park. It runs along the park actually where you'll find many rafting outfitters in the region that will suit you up and take you down the river.
The Cantwell outfitter semmed to be a good one, the more so since you can take a longer rafting tour starting from Cantwell. In the summer season there are at least eight small rafting companies operating just near Denali National Park.
If you are the adventurous type, try the whitewater rafting trip. You'll leave behind the Denali entrance and go towards Cantwell through a beautiful canyon which can be seen from car as well. Beautiful.
There are lots of different guided tours at Matanuska Glacier for all. Can be great fun for families and for people who have no experience and prefer a guided trip. There are easy hikes doable for everybody and do not cost more than about 20 dollars, of course longer hikes are more expensive. Visit the website to find out more. Well, I'm not interested in visiting the Matanuska Glacier anymore.
One of the not too many places that I didn't like while in Alaska. It was too busy. If you're an experienced climber/hiker you'll probably know where to go for the best experience.
Equipment: You don't have to bring anything beside money:))
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is made up of a lot of lakes and a great system of canoe trails. You're able to either arrange a tour of this area which will supply you with the canoes/kayaks or you can bring your own. The Swan Lake canoe system, for example, takes you through like 20 lakes (and this is realitively small area when compared with the rest of Peninsula.) Another one nearby is the Swanson River Canoe System over a larger area which includes the river and 30 or so lakes. A great thing about this area is that it's prime brown bear habitat (maybe not great if you're scared of them, but great if you want to see them) and you don't have to hurry to do this. Roads that go up to these places have campsites on the way, trails to hike if you don't want to paddle anymore, fishing and towns not that far away. We'll be exploring these trails in depth next spring, but this Wildlife Refuge is absolutely beautiful and if you have the time, do it!
Equipment: These river trails are long (both cover over 100 miles) and can take quite a bit of time, so bring everything you need to stay overnight, to protect yourself from bears, food (and a place to store it), and your own canoe, if you'd like. Of course, emergency gear, lifejackets and so on.
I have had many people ask me what time of year they should come ffishing for certain species so I have decided to post a fish run timing chart. This chart covers an area roughly from Talkeetna to Homer or about 2 hours North of Anchorage to 4 Hours South. It should give you a pretty good idea of what fish you should plan to target when you get to this region.
For more information on run timing in Alaska see the website listed below.
Unlimited routes, easy access and miles of untracked snow - can't imagine a better way to spend a winter's day!
Hatcher Pass has many opportunities to explore for every ability and experience level. From 15 km of groomed ski tracks at Independence Mine to over a dozen peaks - snowboarders, skiiers sledders and snowmachiners all find plenty of snow to play on. This is truly one of the biggest meccas in southcentral Alaska for winter sports enthusiasts! Don't like to work for turns? There is even a 'run' called 16-mile that you can ski/snowboard then hitch back up to your car as well as a local snowcat skiing operation. Ask at the lodge for trails and activities advice.
As always if you are venturing on to steeper slopes be aware of avalanche potential, have safety gear and know how to use it. There are plenty of options that keep you off of these steep slopes so if you are new to the backcountry use easier lower angle areas for less stress and more fun.
Hatcher Pass is located about 60 road miles from downtown Anchorage and takes about an hour and a half to drive in the winter. There are two lodges at the pass and a few bed and breakfast places at the bottom of the road.
Even if you just take a drive up for the scenery - don't miss it.
Equipment: If you need to rent gear in Anchorage try REI or to buy a cheap used setup try Play It Again Sports or just buy a sled at Walmart or Fred Meyer. There is a $5 day use parking fee or $40 year-long pass at the State Park. The annual pass is available at REI and most weekends near the lodge at Hatcher Pass.
"Some of the best telemark skiing to be had on the Kenai Peninsula"
Manitoba Mountain is a backcountry ski area located an hour and a half south of Anchorage. It gets very little traffic and makes for a fantastic day out. One of the best features about Manitoba is it's relatively benine slopes. It is a safe place to ski and ride in ALMOST all conditions. (You should still practice safe mountain travel and carry avalanche safety gear and know how to use it.)
From the turnout ski downhill in a northerly direction where you will pick up the trail. Cross the bridge over Canyon Creek and continue along the trail onto the base of the mountain. It is about 2500 ft vertical from the parking area to the top. Don't feel the need to go all the way up? - the lower slopes are a lot of fun too. The whole mountain left to right is great terrain just be careful not to get down too low when you want your day to be over or you will find yourself climbing to get back to the trail home.
Great views of the surrounding peaks and some great turns on the way back to the car! Check it out—
Equipment: Telemark or touring gear with skins, split snowboard with skins or snowshoes needed for the trek up. Carry extra clothes, food and water as well as shovel and avalanche tranceivers and know how to use them. Gear can be rented at REI or inexpensive used gear can be purchased at Play It Again Sports in Anchorage.
This is one of my favorite day ski trips because Turnagain Pass often gets piles of new snow every week of the winter. Another feature that makes this area so idyllic is that motorized use is restricted to the other side of the highway so there is no competition for skiiers.
(NOTE: Please don't get the wrong idea - I love snowmachines - they are a blast to ride - but when you work all day to get somewhere on skis and have someone on a machine running circles around you with no effort it kinda takes the fun out of earning your tracks.)
Center Ridge divides Tincan Creek and Lyons Creek with large peaks and ridges on all sides. The route is a fairly gentle climb up to the ridge then a rolling ski out to it's terminus at the base of an unamed mountain on a connecting spine of Tincan Peak. The trip up is about 1200 feet of elevation gain with a round trip distance (depending on where you turn around) of 6-9 miles. No matter where you turn back or even if you just decide to ski the glades at the base of the ridge you will not forget this area.
From the parking area ski out to a bridge on your right to cross Tincan Creek. If there has been recent snow and no one has skiied it look for orange diamonds on the trees beyond here. These markers will lead you up through the pine trees to the base of the ridge. Get onto the ridge - do not traverse below it as there are several steep spots on both sides that could slide. Above treeline there are no markers so just follow the ridgetop as far as you want to go.
Again, I can't say enough about this spot. Check it out if you get the chance!
Equipment: Make sure you have a pack with food, plenty of water and enough extra clothes. Plan for the worst weather not the best! Classic or backcountry X-C gear is the norm here although I have seen some people using telemark setups which will give you a few turns on the way down. If you need to rent gear in Anchorage try REI or to buy a cheap used setup try Play It Again Sports.
A great ski in to a fairly remote slice of the Chugach National Forest—
The trip to Juneau lake is only one leg of the 40 mile traverse from Cooper Landing to Hope, Alaska. This trail system is very popular with hikers and mountain bikers in the summer and makes a great ski/snowshoe (or snowmachine) trip in the winter. To avoid snowmachines and have plenty of light go after February 16th.
Highlights include great mountain scenery, wildlife viewing, good fishing and the 11 Forest Service Public Use Cabins spread along the trail. The cabins are in high demand year-round and require advance reservations but there are also plenty of great sites to pitch a tent. Cabin rentals are easiest during midweek when most people are working.
The Juneau Lake segment starts just outside Cooper Landing at the Ressurection Trailhead. It is roughly 11 miles to the cabin climbing through forest then emerging in a large valley. Watch for moose in the first section of trail as they are plentiful. Also, be careful at bridge crossings and narrow turns as footing can be a bit sloppy. And, be prepared for the possibility of high winds because once you are above the trees it is a wide open valley floor.
Equipment: Bring plenty of warm clothes so you can get out of sweaty gear. Plenty of food to feed your internal fire. Bring a stove for cooking and melting drinking water. Remember you should still boil your water even though the snow LOOKS clean. Pull a sled loaded with some of your gear to get weight off of your back. Just remember not to over do it with gear- pack enough to be safe but not so much that it will be a burden on the 11 mile ski in.
Well...Alaska is full of surprises. The weather can be cold or warm when you least expect it to be. Some of the visitors are amazed how hot it can be there during the summer and for some it comes a s a surprise the the summer nights can still drop the temperature close the zero (celcíus). So this state of surprises is sometimes difficult to estimate, especially when packing. But please, keep in mind, whenever and wherenever in Alaska you'll go, take water with you. There are many mountain creeks with pure water, there might be plenty of snow, but never trust it. Clean water might be your insurance if you'll get lost, if you are your travelling buddy gets hurt, your pet might need it...you never know.
Equipment: I do prefer hydration pack. It is light to carry and easy to move with, even running and skiing goes. It has a storage for water and necessary stuff and that is sometimes very usuful. Don't please under estimate your water need even in Alaska.
I don't wanna sound negative, but even the most professional people tend to sometimes forgot this. I have seen people doing hikes in very humidity days without any water. I have saved one dog, when it got a stroke and the owner had no water for herself nor the dog.
Well, I didn't had a chance to made it down here, but oh, you lucky who ever gets a chance. I am jealous. Tell me all about this wonderland...! :)
The marine wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve provides opportunities for adventure, a living laboratory for observing the ebb and flow of glaciers, and a chance to study life as it returns in the wake of retreating ice. Amidst majestic scenery, Glacier Bay offers us now, and for all time, a connection to a powerful and wild landscape.
The park has snow-capped mountain ranges rising to over 15,000 feet, coastal beaches with protected coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater lakes. These diverse land and seascapes host a mosaic of plant communities ranging from pioneer species in areas recently exposed by receding glaciers, to climax communities in older coastal and alpine ecosystems. Diverse habitats support a variety of marine and terrestrial wildlife, with opportunities for viewing and research that allow us to learn more about the natural world.
Equipment: There are not any fees in (not even entrance) in this park!!
The Glacier Bay Lodge operates a daily tour boat trip into the bay during the summer months. The Lodge also offers a camper/kayaker drop-off service at designated locations in the bay. Various large cruise ship and tour boat companies bring visitors into the park. Guided kayak adventures and kayak rentals are available. There are guided kayak, backpacking, and raft trips down the Alsek River. In Glacier Bay National Preserve hunting and fishing guides are available. For more information and a list of companies providing visitor services to Glacier Bay see Planning Your Visit.
Mountain running. If you do not get enough out from your daily flat runs, this might be a thing for you, my friend. It makes you cry and sweat and your muscles to ache, but on the top, you feel alive.
You might get hooked, even when you wonder during the run why you decide to do it.
Surfing down is the fun part. Just remember to move from side to side, instead of concentrating to going down.
Equipment: Good shoes, strong shoes. Trail runnign shoes are better than others.
It is a lot of fun! I mean FUN! And what would be better place to do it than Alaska with its 3000 rivers...Yes, you name it.
There is lots of good maps and guide of rivers that are useable for rafting. Renting a raft is pricy in place like Anchorage, so check out pricelists before you purchase anything. Remember life vests and if you are kayaking, the helmet is must, do not take any stupid risks.
I did rafting in Kenai. There's lots of beautiful spots there in Kenai peninsula. Another gorgeous spot is Copper River
Excellent amenities, with an excellent outlook. The higher the room the better the view, always ask...more
We stayed twice in the past month for a couple of days each trip and found the front desk staff...more
We stayed at Sophie Station as part of our package tour and one night before the tour. It was clean...more