One of Anchorage’s most magical features is that you can feel far, far away from it all without hardly leaving. Trails to some of Alaska’s most scenic outdoor destinations literally begin at Anchorage’s doorstep, while some trails run right through it. From epic adventures to mild wild, Anchorage is a hiking wonderland that offers accessibility and challenges to all fitness and adventure levels.
You don’t even have to leave urban Anchorage for an outdoor escapade. Kincaid Park and the Hillside trail system are tucked into the town’s corners, offering easy to difficult walking or running in quiet, wooded relaxation. Anchorage’s Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and the Chester Creek Trail are even more urban, with smooth, paved paths that curve in and out of the greenbelts in the heart of the city.
Want to breathe some alpine air? Chugach State Park looms over Anchorage and is beloved by locals as the outdoor scene’s grandest star. It offers dozens of hikes, from easy cruises that are conquered by thousands of people each summer (Flattop Mountain and Thunderbird Falls), to mega-mountains that burn legs and lungs (Bird Ridge), to backwoods marathons from Girdwood to Eagle River (Crow Pass) that are reserved for only the hardiest hikers.
The outdoor opportunities here are almost endless. If hiking is a big part of your visit, invest in one of the many trail books that tell the trail tales. And when you’re prepping for your trip at local gear shops, be sure to ask employees about their favorite Anchorage trails - most locals love talking trails as much as they love selling gear.
Hiking is accessible and fun is frequent on the trails, but you should always make safety a part of your outdoors plans. A few tips to keep you out of trouble: Always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan on returning; even though you’re trying to get away from it all, you should still bring your cell phone, just in case – be sure to turn it off or to vibrate when you’re hiking, though; some trail heads have parking fees, so bring a little cash with you; always be bear and moose aware in the wild, staying alert and making noise when you travel; bring an extra layer of clothing, as well as a cap and gloves - even in summer the weather can turn quickly; and if you aren’t in the midst of summer, a headlamp or small flashlight is nice to have for an easier walk in the dark.