Hiking is one of the best ways to discover what makes the Alaskan wilderness unique: fragrant forests, amazing wildlife, the sounds of nature, sublime mountain light, and a real sense of peace. And while you shouldn’t be afraid to go hiking on your own, going in a group with a guide can add a lot to the experience. Because they’re experts in their local areas, they know the best trails and the most scenic spots. And they’ll share fascinating insights about the trees, tundra, wildlife, native history, and natural history of the places you visit. You’ll come away with a much deeper understanding of how plants and animals have adapted to survive in our hostile climate. The typical group size is 3-10.
Where To Go http://www.alaska.org/things-to-do/hiking
Here are good ones:
- Anchorage. Chugach Guides Alaska offers a variety of guided hikes in the Chugach State Park. North of Anchorage (40 minutes from downtown) The Eagle River Nature Center, offers guided hikes and nature programs for a small fee. Just need transportation? Flattop Mountain Shuttle offers shuttle service from downtown Anchorage to the Flattop trailhead where you can enjoy an unguided hike on one of Anchorage’s most popular trails.
- Girdwood. Ascending Path offers glacier hikes and relaxed nature walks.
- Talkeetna. Alaska Nature Guides offers guided hikes in Denali State Park. Enjoy nature walks, wilderness treks, and even a heli-hike!
- Denali Front Country. Hiking at Denali Park Village leads groups of 2-12 hikers on 3-4 hour hikes near the Denali National Park Entrance. Their hikes feature wildlife-spotting opportunities and walks along the Nenana River; you can also hike a frontier-era trail back to an old hunting cabin.
- Denali – Inside the Park. Kantishna wilderness lodges, like Camp Denali, North Face Lodge, and Kantishna Roadhouse are among the best places in Alaska for guided hiking. Their trained naturalists offer multiple hikes per day, from easy to challenging. You’ll get close-up views of Denali (Mt. McKinley) from secluded trails where you usually won’t see any other groups
- Juneau. Located in a lush temperate rainforest, there are plenty of opportunities to get on the trails. Adventure Flow offers a hike with an emphasis on photography and a more challenging hike with views of Mendenhall Glacier. Or, you can hike across a glacier with TEMSCO Air or Northstar Trekking.
- Small Group Land Tours. Go with a small-group escorted tour company like Alaska Wildland Adventures and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hike. AWA offers multi-day trips with seasoned naturalist guides, nice lodging, and great food. All-inclusive packages start at about $1000 per person and are an excellent value.
- Alaska Wilderness Lodges. Alaska’s full-service lodges aren’t inexpensive, but their guided hikes, personalized tours, and great access to otherwise untouched wilderness are well worth the cost. The best lodges for guided hiking: Kenai Backcountry Lodge, where you’ll hike through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge; Kenai Riverside Lodge, which offers hikes in Chugach National Forest; Camp Denali / North Face Lodge in the heart of Denali. And Kennicott Glacier Lodge is great for self-guided hikes.
- McCarthy – Kennicott. The Root Glacier near this famous ghost town is a good place to take a guided glacier hike. Kennicott Wilderness Guides offers great guided hiking excursions, from single to multi-day.