Whether you’re new to hiking with toddlers and young children or you’re looking for a different trail to explore, the Hike it Baby community is a valuable resource for finding family hiking trails around the country. In this article, we share three kid-friendly hikes in Alaska to explore with babies and young children.
Alaska is known for its diverse terrain of open spaces, scenic mountains, and abundant wildlife, which makes it an ideal location for hiking adventures with young children. Whether it’s winter activities like snowshoeing or summer adventures like hiking, Alaska offers plenty of open spaces for families to get out and enjoy the trails.
Remember that Alaska in the spring and summer means long days. In June, night time comes well after midnight, and the sun only sets for maybe two to three hours. It’s not uncommon to see families on trail with babies at nine o’clock in the summer; so if you find yourself in Alaska, adopt the local way and soak up every second of daylight that you can to get the most out of your time there.
The following three hikes offer families of young children easy-to-follow and accessible trails with amazing glacier and wildlife views.
Brotherhood Bridge Trail (Juneau, AK)
Brotherhood Bridge Trail is roughly 2 miles. The trail starts at Brotherhood Bridge off Glacier Hwy and provides a great view of Mendenhall Glacier. The main trail is paved, which makes it ideal for wheelchairs, strollers, and bikes. There are several access points as well as trodden side trails that lead back to the road system. This accessibility makes it convenient if you need to make a run back to the car for a forgotten item. Or, if your kids are worn out and ready to head home, you won’t have to gather your exhausted kids and make a long walk back to the car.
A wildflower hot-spot with glacier views, this trail rates as one of the most picturesque spots in Juneau – perfect for family photos! Brotherhood Bridge Trail makes a memorable hike because of its breath-taking views of nature and glaciers. Your kids will love exploring the wildlife and admiring the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Tip: If your kids are into exploring the woods, you can take one of the side trails which all lead back to the road system or main trail.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Disney.
Poolside Trails, North Peninsula Recreation Service Area (Nikiski, AK)
Poolside Trails is roughly 3 miles and consists of four trail loops. It’s open all season during daylight hours and features an 18-hole disc golf course along with fitness stations for your little ones to explore other activities on the trail. After your hike, you can take a break and enjoy a family picnic at the picnic shelter located on the banks of the beautiful lake. These wooded trails offer scenic views for jogging, walking or hiking in the summer.
Tip: Pets, bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on these trails, making it ideal for little ones to have the freedom to be independent and run and play.
Spencer Lake, Spencer Glacier, Chugach National Forest (Girdwood, AK)
You’ll start your hike by taking the Glacier Discovery Train that passes through fields where moose and bear can occasionally be spotted in the tall grass. Once you reach the Spencer Whistle Stop, a U.S. Forest Service park ranger will greet you at the start of the trail head. You can hike the 1.3 miles around Spencer Lake, which is flat and well-marked with picture-perfect Alaskan views with cold blue icebergs spilling into the bay from Spencer Glacier. Or hike beyond the lake up Spencer Glacier and make the whole out-and-back adventure, totaling 6.2 miles.
Tip: Trains run every few hours so make sure you check to see if you can catch another train in a few hours before deciding to extend your hike. But if you want to make it an overnight trip, grab one of the primitive campsites in the area and take the train back the next day.
Photo courtesy of Georgia Kubik.
MORE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Alaska offers an abundance of trails for families with young children. For more family hike ideas, see:
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with the local branch)
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers – New Book by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
- Alaska National Parks
- 3 Beautiful Hikes in Washington State for Young Children
- 3 Amazing Hikes for Young Children in Oregon
- 3 Stunning Trails in Hawaii for Families with Young Children
What are your favorite hikes in Alaska for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!
Trail reviews contributed by Rachel Disney, Lacey Lyn Stock, Georgia Kubik and Shanti Hodges. Feature photo courtesy of Jill Still.