10 Short And Sweet Hikes To Take On The Kenai This Spring

The days are continuing to get longer and the weather has been practically the picture of perfection. With warmer air and electric sunshine rays, the snow is quickly melting and we just can’t seem to get enough! With over two months of the spring season remaining, it’s the perfect time of year to break out of hibernation and hop on these 10 awesome trails. Remember to be aware of wildlife that surrounds area trails all throughout The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Flickr – Dan Logan

1: Exit Glacier – Seward, Alaska (2.5 miles)

As one of the most popular hikes on the Kenai Peninsula, this well-maintained trail makes it easy to get into to the serene surroundings of nature without having to go too far. The remarkable views of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park will take your breath away. Take the 2-mile loop from the Nature Center or keep on going and make it a 3 or 4 mile trek. If you’re after a longer journey, continue on up to the Harding Icefield. For more trail information, click HERE.

Yelp – Katie R.

2: Beluga Slough Trail – Homer, Alaska (1.2 miles)

This 1.2-mile loop trail offers scenic views overlooking Kachemak Bay, with tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities to boot. Walk the shores of Bishop’s Beach while beach combing along the way. For more trail information, click HERE.

Yelp – Jeannette G.

3: Captain Cook Beach Trail – Nikiski, Alaska (2.5 miles)

Nothing beats a long walk on the beach, especially when you have the whole place all to yourself. That’s the feeling you get out here. Enjoy the picnic area (with a million dollar view) and then take a nice flat walk on the beach with the whole family. For more trail information, click HERE.

David Mendosa

4: Tonsina Creek Trail – Seward, Alaska (3 miles)

This scenic 3 mile trail will lead you from the beautiful Lowell Point beach area through lush hemlock and spruce trees on to Tonsina Creek. Stop and take time to soak in the views overlooking Resurrection Bay as you enjoy gradual elevation gain. For more trail information, click HERE.

The Trek Planner

5: Bear Mountain Trail – Sterling, Alaska (1.6 miles)

Access this short, sweet hike by taking Skilak Lake Loop to mile marker 6.9 (accessible from the Sterling or Cooper Landing) in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll climb a fairly steep .8 miles up hill, but the view you’ll be rewarded with is way worth any pain from the elevation gain. Soak in sights overlooking Skilak Lake and the robust Kenai Mountains. For more trail information, click HERE.

Loomis Sage Marketing

6: Keen Eye & Centennial Trails – Soldotna, Alaska (.3-3 miles)

Hike along the Keen-Eye Nature Trail with interpretive information along a well-maintained path. Visitors can take a side path down to Headquarters Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Continue on to the 2-mile Centennial Trail Loop to enjoy a beautiful nature escape with plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities. For more trail information, click HERE.

Alaska.org

7: Hidden Creek Trail – Cooper Landing, Alaska (3 miles)

This 3-mile out and back hike is located off of Skilak Lake Loop and it is a fairly flat, winding hike. You’ll go through a variety of diverse terrain, with excellent berry picking opportunities during July and August. You’ll also wind through an old burn area from the 1996 wildfire, giving you widespread views overlooking the surrounding Kenai Mountains. For more trail information, click HERE.

Alaska Hike Search

8: Calvin & Coyle Trail – Homer, Alaska (1.5 miles)

Located near to town in Homer just down East End Road, this lovely little nature trail winds through thick spruce forest with enchanting widespread meadows. The observation platform overlooking the Beluga wetlands provides tremendous birding and wildlife viewing opportunities. For more trail information, click HERE.

Life in Alaska Blog

9: Russian River Falls – Cooper Landing, Alaska (4 miles)

Head to the Russian River Campground to access the trailhead for this awesome hike. The whole family will love the wide gravel path with gentle elevation gain. During the summer months, this is a great place to view salmon running in the streams beneath the falls. This area is also known for its frequent bear encounters, so remember to be cautious. For more trail information, click HERE.

Flickr – USDA Forest Service Alaska Region

10: Anchor Point Beach – Anchor River State Recreation Area, Alaska (2-5 miles)

Bring a fly rod and walk the Anchor River while fishing, or head down to the soft sandy beach to walk for a few flat miles. Soak in breathtaking scenery overlooking Kachemak Bay leading to spectacular views of mountains and volcanoes in the distance. For more trail information, click HERE. Other nearby hiking areas include Stariski Creek and Whiskey Gulch.

Flickr – Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner

If you love beach walks, check out a full list of some of the Kenai Peninsula’s most beautiful sandy shores by clicking HERE. Also, we highly recommend the book 50 Hikes In Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, which is available for purchase by clicking HERE.

If you have any questions about any of these beautiful hikes, feel free to let us know in the comments below or by visiting our Facebook page. Have fun out there, adventure hounds!

Glorious Glaciers on Alaska’s Playground

Photo of Exit Glacier near Seward, Alaska from www.alaska.org.

Photo of Exit Glacier near Seward, Alaska from http://www.alaska.org.

When we ask visitors what are the top attractions that bring them to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, the most common answers are 1. Mountains, 2. Glaciers, and 3. Wildlife.

And the most beautiful thing about that answer is that it is often a possibility to enjoy mountains, glaciers and wildlife all in the same trip. Amazing, right? Only on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, Alaska.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, Alaska.

Below we have a list of some of the most amazing glaciers on the Kenai Peninsula that you absolutely MUST visit at least once in your lifetime. Trust us, you will not regret one single moment of your journey.

Photo from www.alaska.org of Spencer Glacier.

Photo from http://www.alaska.org of Spencer Glacier.

The Kenai Peninsula extends approximately 150 miles southwest from the Chugach Mountains, south of Anchorage. It is separated from the mainland on the west by Cook Inlet and on the east by Prince William Sound. Throughout this vast land you will find many glaciers.

Glaciers are made up of fallen snow that, over many years, compresses into large, thickened ice masses. Glaciers form when snow remains in one location long enough to transform into ice. What makes glaciers unique is their ability to move. Due to sheer mass, glaciers flow like very slow rivers. Some glaciers are as small as football fields, while others grow to be dozens or even hundreds of kilometers long. Presently, glaciers occupy about 10 percent of the world’s total land area. In Alaska, glaciers cover about 5% of the state.

Portage Glacier is a glacier on the Kenai Peninsula and is included within the Chugach National Forest. It is located south of Portage Lake and west of the small town of Whittier. This beautiful glacier is definitely worth a visit!

Byron Glacier is located in the Portage Valley, about 20 minutes South of Girdwood and an hour from Anchorage. As you drive down the Turnagain Arm, you will find the turnoff for Byron Glacier on the left. Once you hit the trailhead, the hike up to the glacier is about 1.5 miles. This 1.4 mile trail offers an easy walk for all ages.  It allows a close-up view of a glacier with rugged, mountains in all directions.

Photo from radstravelogue.wordpress.com.

Photo from radstravelogue.wordpress.com.

Grewingk Glacier is quite the magnificent find in the Kenai Mountains! This is a 13 mile-long glacier located near Kachemak Bay near the town of Homer, Alaska. The best way to access the glacier is via a water taxi from Homer. From there you can be dropped off near the glacier and can enjoy a day of hiking and exploring deep into the wilderness.

Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska and one of the Kenai Fjords National Park’s major attractions. The best part about this amazing glacier is that it is easily accessible to view. With just a short drive from downtown Seward, visitors can hike a short well-traveled trail to a viewing area of Exit Glacier.

Spencer Glacier is located in the Chugach National Forest and is only accessible by train. Hop off the Glacier Discovery train at the Spencer Whistle Stop, and take a 1.3 guided hike to Spencer Lake, and from there you can take the 2.1 mile trail to Spencer Glacier. There are even spots to camp along the trail! If you aren’t interested in hiking, there is a cool rafting trip that you can take to get a beautiful view of Spencer Glacier. This is absolutely a must-do if you are visiting Alaska and don’t have time to get to all of the amazing glaciers that we’ve listed here.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with http://www.WildNatureImages.com.

Aialik Glacier is about 15 miles from the town of Seward, Alaska and is the largest glacier in Aialik Bay, located in Kenai Fjords National Park. Glacier calving activity is most active in May and June. Take a cruise from Seward to experience Aialik, or you can go out on your own and experience via the glacier via kayak.

Holgate Glacier is a glacier located outside the town of Seward, Alaska in the Kenai Fjords National Park. It flows outward from the Harding Icefield toward Holgate Arm of Aialik Bay. While it is one of the smaller glaciers in Aialik Bay, Holgate Glacier is still a popular destination to see calving glaciers. And it is actually advancing! Holgate Arm is often filled with ice, but on a good day you can get to a close and safe distance from the glacier.

Photo from National Geographic.

Photo from National Geographic.

Pedersen Glacier is an outlet glacier of the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park near the town of Seward, Alaska. In the 1980s, the lagoon was designated as the Pedersen Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary, a 1,700-acre sanctuary meant to preserve and protect the area’s wildlife and land.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Godwin Glacier is located outside of the town of Seward, Alaska near the waters of Resurrection Bay. For a once in a lifetime experience, Godwin Glacier is a must-see. And if you’re up for a thrilling experience, you can visit Godwin Glacier via a Glacier Landing excursion with Seward Helicopter Tours.

Photo from Seward Helicopter Tours.

Photo from Seward Helicopter Tours.

Bear Glacier, found in Kenai Fjords National Park outside of the town of Seward, Alaska is a tidewater glacier and a popular spot for kayakers. You can also easily see it on a cruise from Seward. With massive icebergs and blue waters, seeing the glacier up close is a thrilling experience. Many people camp on the outer beach near Bear Glacier, and enjoy the glacier views in the background. This is also a great area to check for whales, sea otters, puffins, and other wildlife.

Bear Glacier flowes down from the Harding IcefieldAre you as blown away by these stunning photographs as we are? It’s hard not to fall in love. And just wait until you experience these incredible glaciers in person. The feeling of the crisp air and the sound of the robust calving is quite enchanting. If you haven’t already, be sure to add a visit to some of these amazing glaciers to your 2016 Kenai Peninsula bucket list!

Harbor Seal on Columbia Glacier. Photo from www.ervinskalameraphotos.com.

Harbor Seal on Columbia Glacier. Photo from http://www.ervinskalameraphotos.com.

(Note: Although the above pictures are absolutely breathtaking, it is never a good idea to hike on a glacier by oneself, without proper gear, or without training and experience. Glaciers are very slick and can be very dangerous for travel. It is always a better and safer idea to view these gorgeous glaciers from a safe distance. Outdoor guide services are available on the Kenai Peninsula for those wanting to get up close and personal with these beautiful glaciers.)