Inspiring Alaska Hiking Trails
Alaska hiking trails are awesome. Gigantic mountains, sprawling glaciers, and abundant wildlife are waiting to amaze you.
I have hiked many Alaska trails in my time, and each one has its charms. From short day hikes to long backpacking trips, there are trails to please every outdoor adventurer.
For each one, I’ve given a suggested duration based on an average pace of 10 miles per day.
This is by no means a complete list, but it will give you a good start.
My goal is to eventually list all the major hiking trails in Alaska here.
Chena River State Recreation Area
With 250,000 acres of wilderness only 26 miles from town, this area is a very popular destination for Fairbanks outdoor lovers.
Angel Rocks (1 day)
The trail that kick-started my love affair with hiking. Take a steep 1.2 mile hike with nice views and rock-climbing opportunities, or follow the 8.7 mile route and end your trip soaking in a hot springs.
Read my in-depth article on Angel Rocks to get a full run-down on the hike.
Granite Tors (2 days)
Numerous massive rock formations called “tors” inspire awe and invite exploration. This strenuous 15-mile loop can be done in a day, but you really need two days to see everything it has to offer.
Read my in-depth article on Granite Tors to get a full run-down on the hike.
Chena Dome (3 days)
My friend Phil calls it “the hike from hell”. Serious elevation gain makes this 30-mile loop one for the truly fit. An airplane wreck from the 50s adds historical interest.
This area has abundant lakes, rivers, and wildlife. Numerous trails access its beauty.
Harding Icefield (1 day)
A strenuous 8 mile round trip alongside Exit Glacier to the vast 300 square mile Harding Icefield. I hiked this trail during the summer a few years ago with my wife. Though it was by no means easy, it was surely worth it.
Read my in-depth article on Harding Icefield to get a full run-down on the hike.
50 miles north of Anchorage, a gravel road traverses a high pass through jagged mountains and glacier-carved valleys. Many Alaska hiking trails and some historic gold mines invite exploration.
Gold Mint Trail (2 days)
This moderate 8-mile (one way) out-and-back follows the Little Susitna River to its source in the remote, beautiful Mint Glacier Valley.
Read my in-depth article on Gold Mint Trail to get a full run-down on the hike.
Steese National Conservation Area
100 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska, this 1.2 million acre wilderness encompasses the White Mountains and many high alpine ridges.
Quartz Creek (3 days)
A wide ATV trail makes for smooth travel, although you might share it with motorized vehicles. 16 miles one way.
Summit Trail (4 days)
An easy day hike to Wickersham Dome or a moderate multi-day trip (20 miles one way). Stay in a shelter at the halfway point.
Pinnell Mountain Trail (3 days)
The area’s premier long trail, a moderate 27 miles along high ridges with expansive views.
Denali National Park
Alaska’s most popular park, and for good reason. 6 million acres of untamed wilderness with only one access road! If 20,320 foot Mt. McKinley decides to show its face, you’ll never forget it.
Mt. Healy (1 day)
A popular trail near the park entrance. You can hike 2.3 miles one way to the Overlook, or keep going to the top, another 1.5 miles or so. Stunning views of the Alaska Range.
Savage River (1 day)
An easy 2-mile loop along the Savage River. Dall sheep are commonly seen on the rocky surrounding hills.
Denali State Park
Less well known than its northern neighbor, this smaller park offers some of the best hiking and backpacking in Alaska.
Kesugi Ridge: Little Coal Creek to Ermine Hill (2 days)
The king of Alaska hiking trails. 17 miles with unbelievable views of Mt. McKinley and the immense Alaska Range.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
The largest U.S. National Park (13 million acres), and one of the wildest. The historic towns of McCarthy and Kennecott are the gateway to a spectacular wilderness.
Bonanza Ridge (1 day)
A strenuous 9-mile round trip to an abandoned copper mine and stunning mountain views. To my knowledge, it has the highest point of all the Alaska hiking trails (about 5,900 feet).
Chugach State Park
Half a million acres of wilderness within a stone’s throw of Anchorage, Alaska, this park has a multitude of outstanding trails.
Crow Pass (3 days)
One of my all-time favorites. 24 miles through a remote, stunning mountain pass. Hike next to a glacier and ford a freezing glacier-fed river.