Top 10 places to hike in Alaska

Facebook groups to Join- 

  • Hiking in Alaska- They post amazing pictures and recent tips about the trails that are helpful!
  • Fairbanks Area Hiking Club Fan Page
  • Fairbanks Summer Trails Challenge- has a list of 20 locations to hike and find the signs there, I did this a couple years ago and found some great, beginner trails that would be great for family. Some trails are more walkabouts but all are definitely worth looking into!

Tips for hiking in Alaska in General 

  • Always carry Mosquito Spray! Don’t leave it in your vehicle thinking you sprayed enough- you probably didn’t. Also probably wear long sleeves and pants to shield yourself depending on the hike you go on. Mosquitoes in Alaska are RUTHLESS. They will try to carry you away. 
  • Lots of snacks and water! 
  • Always hike with somebody else, and carry either a large caliber pistol or bear spray. 
  • Do your research before you go so you know if there are recent bear sightings, if the trail is open and the recent happenings!
  • Plan to not have service for most hikes, so tell somebody where you are going beforehand. 
  • ENJOY AND HAVE FUN! Blueberry and raspberry picking are best late July/August so carry a container to pick a few along the way. 

MY TOP 10 HIKING LOCATIONS IN ALASKA

10. Angel Rocks

Hiking Angel Rocks while 25 weeks pregnant.

Location: Fairbanks. 50 miles down Chena Hot Springs Rd. 

Distance: 3.5 Miles

Duration: Plan on 2-4 hours depending on if you are bringing your kids!

Important Notes: https://www.alaska.org/detail/angel-rocks-trailhead 

This is a commonly used trail with a well beaten path up the small mountain, meant for families. Bring lots of mosquito spray, snacks and water. There is a small stream you can drink from that is marked about halfway up the hill I recommend checking out! It’s also fun to explore the rocks at the top. 

9. Granite Tours

Location: 15 mile loop

Distance: 15 mile loop (I only went the first couple miles myself and enjoyed the boardwalk)

Duration: Depends, some people will camp overnight. 

Important Notes: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7018923/granite-tors-trail 

The first couple miles that I went, there is an awesome boardwalk to follow. You will see others with their dogs and backpacking their kids. It’s a beautiful walk to explore! It does get a lot more difficult the farther you go, so do your research before trying the whole trail!

8. Murphy Dome

Location: 20 miles outside of Fairbanks

Distance: As far as you can explore

Duration: As long as you would like to go

Important Notes: https://www.alaska.org/detail/murphy-dome 

This Dome is a popular place to watch sunsets in the summer and fall, or to observe the northern lights in winter. Mosquitos come in droves here during the summer, so bring your bug spray. I personally love going four wheeling and dirt biking here! It’s also a place to camp and have a small campfire and have some smores!  *Ester Dome is great for all of the same things, and has a ton of hiking trails* Both Ester Dome and Murphy Dome are less commonly used than my other recommendations, so I would be smart about safety and wildlife!

7. Creamer’s Field Nature Trail

Location: 1300 College Rd. Fairbanks

Distance: About 3 miles on flat ground, a nice walk about

Duration: 1-2 hours if you stop and see all the sights! 

Important Notes: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60826-d543780-Reviews-Creamer_s_Field_Migratory_Waterfowl_Refuge-Fairbanks_Alaska.html 

This is more of a family friendly walk about, one of the most popular in the areas. If you haven’t done it, I recommend taking your family here for fun. Creamer’s Field is known for having a ton of birds. There are great boardwalks built into this well built trail. The only heads up I would give is that if you are going during spring break up or rainy season, make sure to bring mud boots!

6. Donnelly Dome

Seth picking blueberries and putting them into the container we had cherries in out in Delta.

Location: Delta

Distance: 2.7 miles up a dome! Moderate- Difficult Hike

Duration: Plan for half the day

Important Notes: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alaska/donnelly-dome–2 

This is a trail on my bucket list. I have friends and family who have done this hike who each had brought their multiple children with them. I would make sure they have experience with easy to moderate hikes before doing this one. I would also prep for mosquitoes, brush and wilderness! I put it on my list since I LOVE four wheeling near Donnelly Dome in Delta, it’s a beautiful place and a great place to pick blueberries as well. (I love four wheeling Coal Mine Rd. in Delta). I would also advice looking up the correct trailhead since I have heard taking the wrong one makes for a very steep climb. 

5. Savage River Loop Trail

Savage River Loop Trail in Denali.

Location: Denali State Park Rd. 15 miles drive in, when you get to the stop sign, turn right

Distance: 1.7 mile loop on flat ground

Duration: 1-2 hours if taking your time

Important Notes: https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/savagecanyon.htm 

 This trail is common enough that you don’t have to worry much about wildlife. You will be walking along a small river in a valley and you might be able to see some Dhall Sheep on the hills. Definitely Family friendly!

4. Castner Glacier

What Castner Glacier looks like in May.

Location: 140 miles from Fairbanks, Past Delta, mile marker 217.3 along the Richardson Hwy

Distance: 2.2 miles round trip along Castner Creek to the glacier, family friendly

Duration: Plan for the majority of the day if you are including the drive, but an 1-2 for the hike

Important Notes: https://thetrekplanner.com/castner-glacier-caves-richardson-highway-alaska/ 

This is a flat trail that is well marked, as it has become popular in the last couple years. I would definitely check out the safest and easiest times to go. I know a lot of people go from March to May, but do your research to see the recent updates on the trail. When I went, it was in May and we had a great time. The snow had melted a ton so in the glacier there was a small spot to walk in and stand but mostly it was water.

3. Bodenburg Butte Trail

My sister Erin with her youngest who she carried in her baby carrier up the trail.

Location: 45 minutes north of Anchorage

Distance: 1.5 miles, including part of it being built in .25 mile stairs up the small mountain!

Duration: Plan for a couple hours if you are going with kids!

Important Notes: https://www.alaska.org/detail/bodenburg-butte-trail 

 This is a great family friendly trail to go on! It’s got a great view of Wasilla/ Palmer and Matanuska Glacier at the top. There is also a bubblegum tree that’s tradition to put your gum on at the beginning bit of the trail you can look out for. There are stairs as you go up the mountain, so if you are like me, you can watch all the kids that came with you beat you up the mountain while you are huffing and puffing behind them! It’s a well built trail with a few other people on often hiking as well, so you don’t have to worry too much about the wildlife! I went during the day and the mosquitoes weren’t bad at all.

2. Eklutna Lake Trail

Location: An hour outside of Anchorage

Distance: 12 mile trail

Duration: As far as you would like to go! The whole trail is usually done by ATV’s or bikers. It’s an easy trail to walk a mile or two in with the family and then to have a picnic and play around by the lake on the rocky beaches. You can also get a view of Eklutna Glacier. 

Important Notes: https://www.alaska.org/detail/eklutna-lakeside-trail 

 Such a beautiful location! The well built trail goes around Eklutna Lake which has clear blue glacier fed water. It’s an excellent spot for kayaking the lake, biking, walking or four wheeling the trail. There are also places to camp and rent Kayaks. If you are going to go, parking is limited and costs a small fee,  so go earlier in the morning to ensure a parking spot. At certain spots along the trail, you will be able to catch a glimpse of Eklutna Glacier.

  1. Hatcher Peak and April Bowl Trail
Hatcher Pass is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. You can’t go wrong whether you are hiking, four wheeling, snowboarding, sledding, snowmaking, paragliding, or just driving up to see the views.
The view from hiking in Hatcher Pass. This was close to an old mining cave.

Location: Hatcher Pass, about 40 min from Wasilla.

Distance: 2 mile round trip up a 1,000 foot elevation gain to a set of glacier lakes. 

Duration: Plan for a couple hours, more including the drive!

Important Notes: https://www.alaska.org/detail/hatch-peak-april-bowl-trail 

 While I have been to Hatcher Pass to snow machine, drive around, watch the sunset/ sunrise, four wheel and hike around a bit, this hike isn’t one I have done before! I have heard great things about it though. You can’t go wrong just by visiting this beautiful place! There are often people paragliding here as well. I HIGHLY recommend stopping here to explore if you are in the area! It’s a beautiful drive and location. It’s also a place that has plenty of places to hike!

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