Anchorage: Best Day Hikes
There are hundreds of other trails near Anchorage these two, we think, are your best bets (though one reason to keep this annonymous is the avoid the ire of our friends who would be really pissed about the trails we didn't include. But if you're on this page you probably just want to be told where to go.
Eagle River Nature Center Trail:
This hike starts at the Eagle River Nature center (about 20 minutes from Anchorage) and heads up a valley in Chugach National Park. To us, it looks like a miniature Yosemite with its big trees, lovely river, and steep cliffs rising on both sides. But unlike Yosemite there is no road going up the middle of it, just a trail (and bears – bring bear spray.) For an easy overnight there’s also two simple yurts you can rent (the better, we think, being the rapids campground yurt) that are just a few miles in but lovely.
Eagle River Nature Center
The Bluff Trail at Kincaid: We just made that name up but in a park with, I don’t know, a hundred miles of trails and paths, this is our favorite. It isn’t an official trail so you might ask in the chalet/visitor center how to get there. Expect views of Fire Island, the mountains of the Kenai Pennisula and beyond. Pretty level terrain too.
The Coastal Trail: The Coastal Trail is 17 a mile, paved path along, well, the coast. It starts in downtown, cruises past the airport, and ends in Kincaid, one of the largest urban parks in America. Expect to see lakes, trees, and probably moose. In short, it’s a great place for a stroll, jog, or bike ride.
Note: There is talk about extending it but cranky landowners refuse. If you come one of these cranky landowners, identifiable by the smug scowl across their brow, remind them that the first stretch of coastal trail increased property values – that might help.
Pablo’s Bicycle Rental, near the downtown entrance to the trail, will rent bikes and such. This is run by some really nice guys, who sadly, had all their bikes stolen a few years back just as they were getting started.
They can provide maps but here is a trail map in case you're curious: 3 mb in PDF.