Connect with us!

TAKE A HIKE!


As an Otter Captain, one of my favorite pastimes is sauntering through the many trails near Seward. What is sauntering you ask? It is exploring the land, taking time to take in the beauty, and not simply racing to the destination.

Whether you come to Seward to saunter or even hike, the Otter family has some favorites! I have compiled a list ranked in order of difficulty (my novice opinion). The difficulty rankings assigned come from All Trails. Those familiar with hiking are sure to have a favorite app or trail guide provider but if not All Trails does a good job for the Seward area. It is important to download maps before starting down the trail. Many areas soon lose any reception or signal from a cell tower. 

Waterfront Trail

Waterfront Trail 1.9 miles EASY If you are looking for a relaxing stroll this paved trail is a great choice. I love looking at all of the RVs in the City park and observing the fishing activity at the culvert (outlet of the Seward Lagoon). This trail is a great choice for those with mobility challenges or even little children. It's common to see Harbor seals, otters, eagles, and the occasional whale.

Two Lakes Trail

Two Lakes Trail .9 miles EASY When I feel the need to explore in the woods but am feeling a little less than adventurous, I head to Two Lakes. This amazing setting starts in the middle of town with a trail wrapping around two crystal clear lakes and ending at an enchanting waterfall. You will feel you are on a true trail with ups, downs, and twists. Don't worry though, you can pace yourself and enjoy the berries along the way.

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier 2.2 miles EASY The Exit Glacier hike is the perfect way to spend quality time with family and friends. The experience actually starts miles away from the trailhead! Along the way, you will notice date signs on Exit Glacier Road. These dates indicate the location of the Glacier at specific times in history, showing the recession over the years. I love to stop by the Ranger station on my way to the trail to check on current conditions, animal sightings, and take a look at the topographic map of the area Ice Fields. The first part of the trail (river trail) is ADA accessible and great for all physical ability levels. To get to the glacier itself, a little more effort and activity is required. The winding trail has a little incline but has nice spots to rest along the way. Don't stop short because the view and experience of the Glacier is well worth the trek to the roped section at the end. Along with the great view, the cool wind flowing off the ice offers a refreshing relief on warm days!

Lowell Canyon

Lowell Canyon 1.6 miles EASY This is a great hike for an easy afternoon. The trail winds alongside the flowing water between Bear Mountain and Mount Marathon. The hike is mostly on rocks and winds around a few areas of brush. The sound of the water is amazing and there are plenty of spots where we like to dangle our toes in the water.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake 4.3 miles EASY The Bear Lake trailhead is just a few miles from the Nauti Otter. Parking is on the street so be sure not to block anyone's drive and don’t leave valuables behind. If the street is full there is a little space we sometimes park near the kayak launch area. (entrance on the left just before the 90 degree turn in the road) This trail is pretty easy and only has a few areas with inclines. We always wear our water resistant shoes or take our shoes off when crossing the creek. Sometimes boards are in place to cross but most days our feet get wet. Other than this spot, the trail is well maintained. In the right season the creek area is a great destination to watch salmon. There are also many berries along the path that ripen in the fall. Watch your step! The lake is called Bear Lake for a reason and the evidence (scat) is all along the path. Though we have been on the trail many times we have never encountered a bear but many people have! This is definitely a high alert area. I recommend bear bells (yes multiple loud bells), talking, singing, and generally making plenty of noise. I also carry bear spray and a flare. If you are unsure about wildlife stay on the first mile of the trail. You can still get a great view of the lake then turn back and head back to the car. (if you want to check out more of the lake without hiking, take a kayak tour with our friends at Adventure 60 North!)

Vagt Lake Trail

Vagt Lake Trail 3.4 miles EASY This is a great hike for the whole family! The trail is nicely maintained and the views are great! Once you reach the lake the trail continues on a bit but we stopped short of the end. The mosquitoes are intense! Be sure to apply repellent and take it with you to apply again and again.

Victor Creek Trail

Victor Creek Trail 3.2 mikes MODERATE The parking for this one is tricky. You pull in beside the bridge and park. There is a sign at the trail head so if you don't see it, you're at the wrong place. When we visited there was a wash out area along the creek and the trail was re-routed. The trail is pretty well marked and maintained. The views of the creek are beautiful.

Ptarmigan Creek Trail

Ptarmigan Creek Trail 6.8 MODERATE Ample parking and the trail head are located near the campground. The first mile of the hike is very well maintained and well trafficked by hikers and campers alike. Continue on for great berry picking and refreshing swim in the lake! Don't be fooled there are plenty of challenges from the summer growth and tricky footings along the elevated paths. This is a great hike but leave the fainter of heart at home. Do bring swimming gear and a towel, don't miss the crystal clear water.

Lost Lake Trail

Lost Lake 13.8 MODERATE There is so much to this trail! So many options! I strongly encourage you to research this one before hitting the ground. I can only speak about what I have seen because there is much I have not. Parking is great at the Seward Trail head. The path is well identified and maintained. Vegetation can get very thick in the summer! Also, bring that bug spray and protective clothing. Once the flies hatch, they are numerous and they bite!! Early in the season you may encounter snow at some elevations. It is easy to lose the trail in the snow so be careful and download in All Trails our your favorite app. You will lose cell service. Don't be shocked to see campers and bikers on this trail. It is very popular and well used. It is about 7.5 miles to the lake . At that point you can turn around and come back. Also, you may continue and take on the Primrose trail. The distance there is about the same (the lake being mid-point). Be sure you have a ride back to town if you hike all the way through. Again, research and plan for this amazing hike!

Greyling Lake

Greyling Lake Trail 3.4 miles MODERATE This is my summertime favorite and also favorite for fishermen! The trail has ample parking and is well manicured. There are several swampy areas that have boardwalks and bridges. Though rated moderate this is a great trail for those with less experience. I feel the length and a few inclines probably earned the moderate status. There is an area where the trail crosses a train track. It is a beautiful view of the rail. There are wooded areas, marshy areas, meadows, and of course the lake. A quick swim in the lake is worth all the effort to get there! If you are looking for a little more adventure, download a trails app to check out several of the connecting trails to other lakes.

Tonsina (first leg of Caine's Head)

Tonsina 4.4 miles MODERATE Tonsina is my most frequented trail and the one I take family and friends to explore. This trail provides many perfect spots for an afternoon picnic. The moderate rating is appropriate but be ready for some areas of incline and switchbacks. Bridges crossing the creeks provide amazing views of salmon during the season. Once across the first bridge a beautiful beach awaits to the left. After strolling the beach all the way around, you will meet up with the second bridge. A turn to the left and across the bridge leads to a covered pavilion with tables, food locker, camping area, and toilet. (be sure and pack in tissues or what other supplies you need) Camping is available but be sure and check with the Parks system for details. http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/kenai/cainesheadsra.htm Turning right at the bridge leads through a fairytail forest and eventually back to the first bridge. I just can't say enough about this trail. It is one of my favorites! Look for the Caines Head below, this is the first part of the longer Caines Head trail.

Mount Marathon (Skyline/Jeep/Hikers Trail)

Mount Marathon (Skyline/Jeep/Hikers Trail) 4.0 miles MODERATE This trail may have many names but the paths get you to the top! Park along the street and start the trek up the “jeep” portion of the trail. Where the Jeep (gravel road) ends, the Skyline portion begins. There will be some signage to give you hints you've reached that point. Enjoy the slight elevation change through a valley area as the true path up soon begins. The trail can be a bit slick in and after a rain. For a relaxing trip, take a picnic and enjoy a rest in the “bowl” before heading to the summit. There are many ways down so choose wisely. Make your way back via the skyline or choose the more challenging racers trail for a quicker (and challenging) exit.

Caines Head

Caines Head 14 Hard The Caines Head adventure starts out like Tonsina. You simply comtinue the journey when you reach the beach past the camping area of Tonsina. You continue the shoreline until you reach the Derby Cove. from there follow the marked trails that will lead you to North Beach, Fort McGilvray, and South Beach. PLEASE note you must time this hike with the tides (yes tides- two a day) Failure to plan will leave you stranded I have a few suggestions that include rental of the cabin at Derby Cove, camping on the nicely maintained pads , or hiring a water taxi to pick you up. There are primitive outhouses at the camp area. Surprisingly you will have phone service most of the hike. Don't miss the fort and the amazing views from 650 feet above the sea as well as creepy vibes it offers. This is one amazing hike!

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain 3.5 HARD There is no parking area at the trail head. We elect to park at St. Peters church just down the road. The trail entry is well hidden in the bushes and grass and is not marked. It may take a moment but poke around and it will appear. The hike starts with a steep climb and keeps you climbing much of the way. Be sure to wear good clothing and gloves. I took a spill and slashed my hand on the shale learning a valuable lesson! A pole or stick may be helpful to prevent sliding in some areas, especially on wet days. I'm sure its named Bear Mountain for a reason as it is the perfect setting for bear. There is plenty of cover and plenty of berries. Be sure to take appropriate bear gear and make plenty of noise. The views at the top are worth all the trouble to get there. You will experience a beautiful panorama of the bay , amazing views of neighboring mountains, and ideal foliage along the way. As with the entry to the trail, finding the same exit may be challenging. Don't be ashamed to mark your path as it all starts looking the same. Be sure to collect your markers on the way back.
There are no attractions to show.