Alaska is a dog lover’s dream, with endless miles of trail systems for walking, hiking, and biking, but if anyone has explored this state with their canine friends, they have mostly realized that not all of these paths are made for dogs. From boulder fields with underground rivers, to steep cliff sides with narrows trails, there are many reasons a trail might not be your dog’s best friend. Fear not, I have done the research, hiked with my two fur babies, and found ten beautiful, dog friendly Alaska hiking trails near Anchorage.
1) Flattop Mountain
Ask any local Anchorage hiker and chances are they will recommend Flattop Mountain. With the trail-head sitting on the edge of town, it is as local as mountain trails get. This spot is a steep, but safe, climb that usually takes less than an hour, but offers a beautiful city view for you and a great workout for you pup.
2) Kincaid Park
Although this place holds the title of a park, I prefer to call it a trail-network. If you are looking for an escape from city sites, without venturing out of Anchorage, this is your place. As long as you carry out what your dog brings in, this densely wooded 35-mile trail system is the perfect place for after-work walks.
3) Coastal Trail
If you prefer trainers to hiking boots, and paved walkways to dirt trails, the downtown Coastal Trail might just be the spot for you and your companion. It holds true to its name with a mostly flat 12-mile long path along the Anchorage coast. In the summer this trail is filled with dog-lovers biking, running, walking, or even roller blading alongside their dogs.
4) Lower Winner Circle
This trail is mostly dog friendly but makes the list because of its beauty. Starting from the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, about 45 minutes from Anchorage, Lower Winner Circle quickly transports its visitors into a deep lush forest with giant trees and sea-green waterfalls. This trail is well groomed and perfect for dogs, until about 2 miles in when the trail crosses a gorge by hand-cart. So unless your dog is used to heights, I would recommend turning around and enjoying the 4 mile hike, instead of the full 6 miles.
5) South Fork Valley Trail
I don’t normally recommend trails that have boulder fields to dog owners, but South Fork Valley Trail is my exception. This trail is located in Eagle River, only a 25 minute drive from Anchorage and is a perfect overnight adventure for you and your pup. The trail is just short of 5 miles one-way winding back between two mountain bases. The trek is fairly flat and easy but does require a short boulder field cross in order to reach the two lakes at the end. The field is comprised of large and sturdy rocks that many four-legged friends have crossed safely, so it makes the list.
6) Crow Pass Trail (Eagle River Side)
While this trail is mostly known as a backpacking trail, connecting Eagle River to Girdwood by a 21-mile mountain pass, I am putting it on this list purely as a day hike from the Eagle River side. The entirety of the trail contains a wide river crossing, several steep slopes, and two single log bridges, all of which make the trail difficult and somewhat dangerous for canines. However, the Eagle River side offers up miles and miles of beautiful trail before any of the above mentioned elements come into play and should not be missed.
7) Johnson Pass Trail
Although this trail is a good distance from Anchorage, about a 1 and a half hour drive, it is the perfect dog-friendly long-distance trail. The trail is 23 miles long and can either be backpacked by camping at any of the several campsites over 2 days, or biked in 1 day by having a vehicle at either end of the trailheads. So, whether you want to take it slow and steady with a pack on your back and a dog by your side, or on two wheels with your pup running behind, this trail is worth the drive.
8) Middle Fork
This trail is the step sister of Flattop. It begins out of the same parking lot Flattop, but if you want to avoid the crowd, hang left instead of right and take the trail marked Prospect Heights. This path will lead you back between two mountains, offering up breathtaking lakes and waterfalls to camp next to before heading back, or can be followed up over a ridge line that circles back to Anchorage. The full trail is about 10 miles long and can be done in one long day or split into an overnight trip.
9) Eklutna Lake Trail
This 13-mile lakeside trail is located just 30-minutes outside of Anchorage. It is an old road that follows length-wise along a vast blue lake with large mountains on either side. This trail can be walked, ran, or biked on, and is a perfect place to spend a Sunday with your dog.
10) Twin Peaks Trail
If you are looking for a higher view of the blue mountain lake, and are willing to break a sweat for it, head a hundred yards to the left of Eklutna Lake Trail, and you’ll find a sign that says “Twin Peaks”. This trail is one of the best places to hike upwards, because it’s made up of wide switchbacks that offer a safe yet challenging climb to a magnificent overlook of the lake below.
Which one of these Alaska hiking trails are you dying to try?! Let us know in the comments down below!
Hi, I am Nancy Strahan. I recently graduated with my BA in English Literature and am working to gain experience in the writing/content creation business. I was born and raised in Alaska and I love it here. I am pretty much an outdoor and adrenaline junkie, so if it is crazy or in nature, I'm there. So, naturally all things camping, backpacking, and adventure related are my favorite topics to write about.