Welcome to adventure. Welcome to Alaska.
The largest state in the union is a hiking mecca—unlimited routes await, from an hour to a week, from near-urban parkland to remote wilderness. Within a couple hours' drive from Anchorage, you can experience a lifetime of quality treks.
Here are five to whet your appetite:
Considered one of the most beautiful hikes in Chugach State Park, Crow Pass is a 33-km linear route, with the trailhead just over an hour’s drive from downtown Anchorage. Typically done in two days, the route ascends more than 600 metres from Crow Creek Trailhead toward stunning Crow Pass. Enjoy the vista before the long, gentle descent through snowfields, lush forests and the pristine Eagle River to finish at the Eagle River Nature Centre and your awaiting car shuttle. The trek follows a historic Iditarod supply route; five backcountry campsites are found along the path.
Harding Icefield Trail
Get a good night’s rest before tackling this bucket-list day hike. In 13 km of trail (round trip), you’ll experience dense cottonwood forests, flowery meadows and infinite views over the Harding Icefield from above the treeline. The hike will take about seven hours, and boasts 1,000 metres of elevation gain. Expect slick conditions after a rainfall; pack for varying weather conditions throughout the season. If the glacial views truly captivate you—which they will—extend your stay by backcountry-camping en route.
Located a few hours’ drive from Anchorage (245 km), Kesugi Ridge is a challenging, multi-day hike that will test both legs and lungs as it climbs above the treeline. Enjoy North America's tallest mountain—Denali (Mount Mckinley)—as your backdrop throughout. This 60-km trail typically takes three to four days to complete, but you’re in no hurry. Fascinating geological features and boulder-hopping will keep your mind and your feet entertained.
An ideal Anchorage day-hike, the trailhead to Flattop Mountain is just a 15-minute drive from downtown. Pack water, snacks and sturdy footwear—the five-kilometre trail climbs 400 metres to a plateau atop this aptly named massif. From its 1,100-metre summit, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the area, including Denali and Anchorage, and be back in town for a late lunch. (Shuttle service to the Glen Alps Trailhead is available.)
This 30-km linear hike is a Chugach National Forest highlight reel. Wander in the shadow of the stunning Kenai Range as you climb 400 metres in the first 13 km of trail. Catch your breath at the top of Devil’s Pass and continue to the forest service cabin (reserve online at recreation.gov). The following day, hoof-it up to Resurrection Pass. Enjoy the solitude and views from alpine tundra. Camp out and extend your trek with side-trips, or continue on for the last half, finishing at Seward Highway. (Return shuttles can be arranged, or just hitchhike—the Alaska way.)