Anchorage is like the “all in one” package deal of Alaska. Especially if you’re a first time Alaska traveler, this picture perfect district offers no lack of excitement, phenomenal scenery, and inspiring culture. While Anchorage is packed with entertainment and city attractions, you don’t have to travel too far outside to find some of the most well-known hiking trails this state has to offer. Trekking in Alaska is an experience like no other, and it’s guaranteed that wherever you go you’ll end up seeing big glaciers, snowy mountains (even in the summertime), and some of the most Instagram worthy terrains you could possibly imagine. If AK is in your future realm of travel possibilities, take a look at the most scenic backpacking routes and hiking trails near Anchorage, Alaska:
Glen Alps Trailhead
Only a short drive from downtown areas, Glen Alps Trailhead is easy to get to, and offers some of the most glistening views. Glen Alps Trailhead is one of those places you probably won’t stop repeating stories about. There are a crazy amount of landmarks to view here, including Denali, and Mount Susitna. You can even hike at night on a clear day to potentially see the northern lights, or casually pass deer and moose. Glen Alps Trailhead is perfect for every occasion, whether it’s a sunset stroll or a strenuous hike.
Hidden Lake and Powerline Pass Loop is a 16 mile loop trail located near Anchorage. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until September. Hidden Lake is great if you’re looking for a physical challenge, due to its extensive distance and terrain. However, Powerline Pass Loop is only recommended for experienced hikers due to the difficulty of the trail. Powerline Pass eventually leads to Hidden Lake, which consists of a dreamy opening of water outlined by a panoramic view of desolate hills.
O’Malley Peak is one of the most famous hiking spots in Alaska, and for good reason. O’Malley Peak itself is over 5,000 feet in elevation, and each trail that cascades down this point provides awe-inspiring scenic views. This difficult route reaches roughly 8 miles, and jumps between level ground to steep slopes. Despite its intimidating appearance, O’Malley Peak is suitable for most hikers, so long that you are somewhat prepared and ready to spend several hours outdoors. This trail features endless miles of rocky mountains that would make any visitor need a catch a breath. In addition, O’Malley Peak is an exceptional training tool for the beastly mountain of Denali, also known as the tallest mountain in America. No matter what types of challenges O’Malley Peak throws your way, it’s guaranteed to be a rewarding experience.
Flattop Mountain, Anchorage
Flattop Mountain is only a 30 minute commute from downtown Anchorage, and is one of the most frequently climbed peaks in this region. This series of trails is where you begin to get a taste of the rural life outside the city of Anchorage. Flattop Mountain features routes that are achievable for every type of hiker and each skill level, which makes it distinct and desirable. It only reaches about 3 miles, so it’s a perfect choice for mid-day hiking and moderate exercise. Another bonus of Flattop Mountain is that even without traveling to the summit, you’ll still get to experience jaw-dropping views of both the city, and the baron stretch of mountains. A great place to take a moment for yourself and enjoy the peaceful geographic vista, Flattop Mountain is an outstanding spot.
Bird Ridge Trail
Bird Ridge Trail is one of the quickest ascending terrains on the list, excelling up to nearly 3400 feet in an approximate 4 mile radius. In addition to its phenomenal mountainous views, Bird Ridge is also known for its abundance of blooming wildflowers during the right season. This trail connects to, but is much different from Bird Peak, which stands at an elevation over 5000 feet. Bird Peak hosts much less climbers, since it is more suitable for those with experience. Along the way, you’re likely to find soft meadows to rest, bodies of water, and unique rock formations. Bird Ridge is far from a relaxing walk, however, so if you’re looking to tone up the lower body, give this one a try!
Williwaw Lakes Trail
It’s no wonder Williwaw Lakes are one of the most popular hiking routes in Anchorage. This region consists of nine incredibly large lakes that are surrounded by classic Alaska peaks, creeks, and cascading waterfalls. Although these trails produce a lot of volume when it comes to the number of hikers and tourists, they’re spread out enough that there is still a certain level of privacy. The total distance of the Williwaw Lakes are around 10 miles, and there are even two routes inside a mountain pass. The only downside to Williwaw Lakes is that the weather can be a little unpredictable, and potential winds, thick mud, and wetlands may appear while trekking – part of what you sign up for when visiting Alaska!