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Alaskan Hikes

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby JoeyJ » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:09 pm

Super suggestions and input everyone! Thank You!
And thanks Otina, very nice of you.

As suspected, there are far more options than I'll be able to swing! So I really appreciate input from folks like you all- who have actually been there. Now for the hair pulling effort of trying to decide which ones :) I'll certainly be looking a little deeper into all the links and ideas provided. Muchos gracias...

Last summer I did Africa (safari/vic falls), and all the choices were so overwhelming I finally just gave up and let a travel agent do it all! Well worth it too (She'd been there 18 straight years), as that trip was one of the best adventures I"ve ever had! A couple hilites being bungee off the bridge at the falls, (yep, I was terrified) and up close viewing of a wild leopard! Still buzzes me!

@ O-Man: You know this goofball would not miss a chance at HOMER!... Doh!!
Haha - Already have Homer plugged in as top priority, and will relax around there with some halibut fishing. The kayak idea you mentioned sounds great!
"Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters."
John Wooden

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby Gahugafuga » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:56 pm

If you're going halibut fishing and aren't already aware, you should be packing all your clothes and gear into a cooler, not a suitcase. Pack an extra duffel bag and fly home with a duffel bag full of clothes and a cooler full of fish. That's the official method of travel to Alaska.

I'd also consider looking at two other areas - the Denali Highway (between Paxson and Cantwell) and Wrangell-St Elias National Park. The highway has a few quick hit summits on the south side of the highway not far from Paxson. On the north side is a mini-range called the Amphitheater Mtns, which looked amazing. I'm sure they'd be a bushwacking adventure, but you'd have an unobstructed view of just about the entire Alaska Range from the top.

In WSENP, we hiked the Caribou Creek Trail. It's an easy climb to a public use cabin situated at treeline. Above the cabin, there are very reasonable ridgeline hikes on open tundra to the spine of the Mentasta mountains. On a clear day you'd have unobstructed views of the Wrangells to the south - not too many places on the globe where you can see 13,000' of pure vertical relief.

P.S. I'll second the Kenai Fjords boat tour recommendation. We got out on a bluebird day and saw humpbacks, killer whales, sea otters, two kinds of puffins, bald eagles, sea lions, and harbor seals. Best eight hours I've ever spent on a boat. It was the most expensive part of our Alaska trip but it's still the thing we talk about the most.

Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby bergsteigen » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:17 pm

Gahugafuga wrote:I'd also consider looking at two other areas - the Denali Highway (between Paxson and Cantwell) and Wrangell-St Elias National Park. The highway has a few quick hit summits on the south side of the highway not far from Paxson. On the north side is a mini-range called the Amphitheater Mtns, which looked amazing. I'm sure they'd be a bushwacking adventure, but you'd have an unobstructed view of just about the entire Alaska Range from the top.


Yes! These were two of my favorite areas of the state. But both the Denali Hwy and especially the road on the southern side of Wrangell St Elias (To Kennecott) are pretty rough. I carried 2 spares when I went to Kennecott/McCarthy. Denali is a dirt road, so I wouldn't have an economy rental. :wink: Plus some rental co's don't "allow" you to drive certain roads...

Denali Hwy - Landmark Gap, McClarin Summit, Wrangel...
Gokana Glacier, Denali Highway, Liberty Falls, Tonsina River overlook hike - Road(s): Denali Highway, Edgerton Highway
Kennecot & Ruth Glacier

Road tripping AK was one of the things I did as much as I could, as it's a great way to see a lot of the state. My truck has been on all the major highways and a few of the lesser traveled 4WD roads.
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games."
- Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby JoeyJ » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:07 pm

Gahugafuga wrote:

P.S. I'll second the Kenai Fjords boat tour recommendation. We got out on a bluebird day and saw humpbacks, killer whales, sea otters, two kinds of puffins, bald eagles, sea lions, and harbor seals. Best eight hours I've ever spent on a boat. It was the most expensive part of our Alaska trip but it's still the thing we talk about the most.


Wow! That sounds like another can't miss tour! Does seeing all that depend on the season? I'd really love to see the killer whales - I will be there in Aug, would they be around then? What timeframe did you go Gah?

Sounds like I"ll have to rent an SUV. The drive and hike ideas are primo as well- I'm gonna close this thread NOW so I don't overload with too many choices and call the travel agent! Haha. After seeing all these superb ventures I've already traded out a day away from Denali - to Homer!

BTW O-Man, forgot to mention: I didn't get to see 'The Big Year' when it opened like I wanted, but I did get to see it by surprise! At around midnight one summer night- at 33,000 ft over the Atlantic headed for JBurg!! Really enjoyed the flick and thought of you up there! First movie I tuned in :)
"Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters."
John Wooden

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby cougar » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:44 pm

Mt Healy is a nice one, and the hike around the oxbow lake near that trail. If you get out to Eileson visitor center, climb the hill across from it for a great view. It's about a 4 hour bus ride each way but plenty of daylight in June. Most of Denali is open trailless backcountry tundra, you can pick a random gravelbar/streambed to explore - hopping on and off the bus. It can take time to catch the next bus, to catch the next one, and there are plenty of bears around. Whitewater and helicopter hiking are other activities just outside Denali.

I'd recommend the sea kayaking along the coast too. They can take you to some cool areas not accessible by road. On my trip we landed on a remote little beach with black sand, and bushwhacked up through the forest a bit, into a meadow surrounded by high waterfalls emptying into the sea. Looked a bit like Hawaii. And some very close encounters with sea lions and whales. You can also kayak by tidewater glaciers. Usually it's an either/or thing with the kayak destination.

Be prepared for seasickness if you go halibut fishing (the boats can be pretty small) and even Kenai Fjords tour. My tour never left the bay due to high seas but they did a back-up tour around Resurrection Bay. Nice toll house cookies on the tour. Mt Marathon is a convenient hike from Seward. There are also lots of accessible glaciers and snowfields in various places near towns and roads.

The train runs from Seward -> Anchorage -> Denali -> Fairbanks and is a convenient option for those legs if you plan on staying in those places for a few days (especially Denali, where only park buses are allowed on most of the park road).

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby siop » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:52 am

Some of my favorites in the Anchorage area (I work quite a bit in Anchorage, actually in Anchorage right now):
+1 for Pioneer Peak
Eklutna Lake (near Pioneer on the north side of Anchorage)
Wolverine Peak (some of my best runs have been up Wolverine)
Bird Ride (south of Anchorage)
Crow Pass (south of Anchorage)

I haven't hiked any formal trails in Denali, just hopped off the bus and explored. I would say if you're going to take the bus into Denali give yourself time. I feel like I always lose a day since the day I get to the park I don't usually have time to get the bus, backcountry permits, and hike out somewhere to camp.

I also absolutely love Homer! A couple years ago I ran a trail just outside Homer, but can't for the life of me remember the name of the trail. Someone at the winery told me about it, which by the way the winery is pretty fun to stop by. Have a great trip!
"because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. climb that goddamn mountain" -jack kerouac

"here is your chance to find your own way. go on your own. be adventuresome. don't forever seek the easiest way. go the way you find. don't demand trail signs and sturdy bridges. don't demand we show you the mountains. see them and find them yourself. here's your chance to get lost, fall in the creek, find a beautiful place." -randy morgenson

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby killstorm » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:55 am

+1 on Bird Ridge wonderful views of Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Mountains.

Image Image

Also another vote for Harding Icefield.

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby lpyle » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:06 am

You can't go wrong with anything on the Kenai peninsula. One of the most beautiful places I've seen. I agree about the kayaking option - it's a great way to see some places that are difficult to get to any other way. We did a trip with Liquid Adventures last summer (http://www.liquid-adventures.com/) in Seward, and I'd highly recommend them. We took a day trip to the Aialik Glacier. It starts with a water taxi ride...sounds boring, but we saw tons of wildlife along the way. Then you kayak for a few hours to the (very active) glacier, with seals popping their heads up along side you the whole way. It was an amazing day.
"I believe that if you set out on an adventure and you're absolutely convinced you are going to be successful, why bother starting?"
- Sir Edmund Hillary

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Re: Alaskan Hikes

Postby JoeyJ » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:12 pm

Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU! to everyone for all the helpful input and suggestions given here! Alaska is the ultimate outdoor destination- loved it! It was so beautiful flying in to Anchorage I wanted to come back before the plane ever hit the ground on my first visit ;) I did quite a few of things mentioned, but I didn't get hike as much from rainy weather.

The main thing I was hoping for really was a good sighting and pics of a Grizzly. That happened- several times. One near the Kenai river shown below, and a dozen or so in Denali park. Got to watch the bear below do some salmon fishing! Wherever he went all us fishermen decided to clear out and let him fish wherever he wanted for some reason?... :)

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In this pic Grizz is actually checking out a fly rod that a guy ditched so he could make a high tailed exit!!
Quite the rush watching this guy = Thanks All :!:
"Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters."
John Wooden

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