There are few glaciers in Alaska that you can walk right up to, but with Exit Glacier, you can do just that. The walk to the glacier is fairly flat, taking you through a slightly forested area before you end up directly next to the glacier. If you’re a moderate hiker, you can take the Upper Trail to the Harding Icefield for a better view of Exit Glacier and the surrounding mountains. Bear in mind that this hike is for those who are very fit and capable, as the climb is both longer and steeper than the easy walk on the lower trail.
Distance: 1.8 miles (out and back) – Exit Glacier; 9 miles (out and back) – Harding Icefield Trail
Baldy is a moderate-level 4.6 mile loop, or can be hiked from either end as an out-and-back trail. The traditional route is taken to the left, which leads you up a less steep incline along the back of the mountain. The trail to the right is slightly more forested, and a little steeper, but will end up at the same place as the left trailhead. Either way, the peak offers a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. From the summit, you can also extend your hike to the Black Tail Rocks, Roundtop, and Vista peaks.
Distance: 4.6 miles (loop)
Kesugi Ridge Trail is another point-to-point trail that is 29.2 miles long. The highlight of this moderate-to-hard level trail is the beautiful views of Denali National Park on a clear day. Due to its length and some steep inclines, this is best done as a three- or four-day backpacking trip for more experienced hikers. The views are stunning and the tundra terrain is unlike any other in Alaska. Be sure to pack your tent!
Distance: 29.2 miles (one way)
Lost Lake is less trafficked than some of the other standard mountain trails, and provides some of the most rewarding views. The moderate-level trail leads through the rainforest, and you can catch sight of the majestic surrounding mountains, and ends with several lakes, a view of two glaciers, and a rushing stream. Camping at the end of this trail is highly recommended!
Distance: 15 miles (out and back)
Flattop is one of the most highly trafficked trails in Alaska, due to its location within Anchorage city-limits. The moderate-level hike isn’t overly steep, but about midway up is a set of wooden “steps” that are meant to offer solid footing. At the end of the stairs is a flat area with some wooden logs where you can take a break before the summit.
This overlook offers beautiful views of Anchorage and the surrounding area, but it’s the peak that provides the most stunning vista. However, to get to the top you must climb the “scramble” which does require some light handwork. From the top you can see the Chugach Mountains, the Turnagain Arm waterway, and the Cook Inlet. If you are up for it, it’s well worth the climb! Note: The parking lot for Flattop requires a $5 fee, so be sure to bring this with you!
Distance: 3 miles (out and back)