5 Favorite Hikes

Easy to difficult outings near Anchorage

By Susan Sommer


Hitting the trail is a great way to enjoy summer in Alaska—it’s good exercise, you can unplug from technology for a few hours, and you might encounter wild animals. Here are five scenic hikes within easy reach of Anchorage.

1. Turnagain Arm Trail (easy)

A typical view along the Turnagain Arm Trail

With four trailheads along this approximately 10-mile route, you can do a quick hike or bring a picnic and make a day of it. South-facing and snow-free early in the season, this trail is a great introduction to Alaskan hiking—you’ll see wildflowers, mountain views, and maybe even Dall sheep or brown or black bears.

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2. Dew Mound (easy)

Bear track on the Dew Mound trail

Trek through a forest of birch, cottonwood, and spruce on this 6.1-mile loop. Take a lunch break at the exposed rock of Dew Mound overlooking a quiet pond surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Watch for moose, bears, and many species of birds.

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3. Gold Cord Lake (easy to moderate)

At just 1.6 miles round trip and a mere 580 feet of elevation gain (short but steep at the end), this is a great place to find that wild feeling and still have time to clean up and change for a swanky dinner in town. Bonus: An emerald-green lake perches in the alpine bowl at the top.

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4. Bodenburg Butte (moderate)

Pioneer Peak as seen from the south side of Bodenburg Butte

Simply called “The Butte” by locals, you can scramble up the dusty south side or take the more civilized route—which includes about 500 stairs—on the north and west side. Take in views of the Matanuska and Knik rivers from the top of this 850-foot bump.

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5. Wolverine Peak (difficult)

Anchorage as seen from Wolverine Peak

At 10.6 miles round trip and sporting 3,625 feet of elevation gain, this trail will get your heart pumping and make your legs feel like wet noodles by the time you stagger back to the car. But the 360-degree views from the top can’t be beat.

Find details on these and many other hikes in the following guidebooks reviewed recently in Alaska magazine: Day Hiking Southcentral Alaska, by Lisa Maloney, and Hiking Alaska, by Mollie Foster.


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