Best Scenic Trails To Hike In Alaska

Posted January 9, 2023 in Travel Guide - Last updated May 5, 2024


Alaska is a beautiful state in the United States famous for its unique heritage, fresh air, seafood, sourdough, self-sufficient living, and outdoor adventures. It is also one of the best places to go hiking worldwide. Numerous stunning trails will let you enjoy the region’s ice caves and alpine meadows. Alaska has several trails suitable for all kinds of hikers, including beginners, intermediates, and experts. Let’s explore the best scenic trails to hike in Alaska.

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Reed Lakes Trail

Alaska’s most scenic trail has soaring granite walls, stunning waterfalls, glaciers, and two lakes. The entire hike is around 9 miles. The hike also passes the Bomber Glacier, the 1957 B-29 bomber crash site. You will also see some abandoned mining sites along the way. You can access the scenic Talkeetna Mountains from the Dogsled Pass, lying on the trail. The trail is of moderate difficulty, so remember that you need some practice to hike with considerable ease.

Exit Glacier

Hiking in the winter is an otherworldly experience, especially when accompanied by the breathtaking scenery of Alaskan glaciers. The Exit Glacier is a popular trail in Alaska that offers a relatively easy climb. The hike is around 2 miles. It is also easily accessible. Those who find the Exit Glacier hike too easy can try the Upper Kenai River Trail or the Harding Icefield Trail, which are slightly more complicated. Helicopter tours are also available on Exit Glacier, which you can enjoy after your hike. These tours give a picturesque bird’s-eye view of the region. You can also explore the history of downtown while you are here.

Chilkoot Trail

Infamous for the 1897–1898 gold-rush stampede, the Chilkoot Trail has acquired a legendary status among the trails in Alaska. The hike is around 33 miles and is a bit difficult. However, since this is a famous trail, you might get the chance to meet hiking enthusiasts worldwide. The terrain is diverse, which will inspire and challenge you. You will also be able to hike through several historically important places. The weather can be unpredictable, so you should be prepared for adverse conditions. You will also need a permit before you start your hike. But the hike is extremely rewarding and will be a life-changing experience for you. It is also perfect for overnight camping.

Flattop Mountain

This trail is for you if you are looking for a short hike. The 3.3-mile-long hike takes around 1 hour to complete. It is also very close to Anchorage, making it an easily accessible spot. You can enjoy spectacular views from the top, and on clear days, if you are lucky, you might even be able to see Denali. You can also do some camping here.

Bonanza Mine Trail

One of the most demanding trails to hike in Alaska, the Bonanza Mine trail offers hikers spectacular views of the Root and Kennicott glaciers. The 9-mile hike is grueling, but the beautiful views will make up for it. Your hike will begin at Kennecott Mill Town and take around 5 or 6 hours. Visiting the Bonanza Copper Mine is a bonus on this hike. You can also sit and enjoy the views on the wooden platform at the mine. The hike to Bonanza Peak is exceptionally challenging as the trail is not adequately maintained. In addition, the loose rocks and slippery descent increase the risk of accidents. So, attempt the hike to the top only if you are experienced.

Eielson Alpine Trail

This steep, 1.75-mile-long trail will give you epic views of Denali. It is an extremely popular trail in Alaska, and you will also be able to see some wildlife along the way. In addition, the trail offers picturesque views of the surrounding valley. Even though you can take the same way back as the climb, some hikers hike to Thoro Peak. Remember to spend some time at the visitor center here. The center has a gallery displaying art inspired by wildlife and wilderness that you can explore after your hike.

Alyeska trails

Located in Girdwood, a resort town near Anchorage, you can easily access the Alyesks trails from the Alyeska Resort. You can climb the mountain or take an aerial tram to the top and then explore the numerous trails. Though the 4.2-mile-long climb to the mountaintop is quite challenging, you can find trails of varying difficulty ranges at the top. If you are a beginner, take the tram to the top and choose a trail that matches your expertise level. The views from the top of Mount Alyeska are breathtaking and worth the strenuous climb. More daring hikers can try out the north face of Mount Alyeska.

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