If you have ever visited Anchorage’s local running store, Skinny Raven, you would know that many of their employees are outdoor enthusiasts, craving for adventure just like you. I found out where a few of them like to hang-out and it turns out that those trails are just out your backdoor. Check it out!
One of my favorite trails to hike is O’Malley Peak. It’s perfect for an afternoon hike on a sunny day, offering plenty of rewarding views along the way. My favorite part of the hike is running down to the ball field and base of Little O’Malley Peak. Both are the perfect downhill grade to keep you running at a comfortable pace without tiring you out. The Salomon Speedcross 5 is a great shoe for this trail because it offers an aggressive enough tread and snug enough fit to get you through all of the steepest sections of the hike.
My go-to trail is quick and easy: the backside of Flattop! This year I started going up the sunnyside when I needed a quick mental health break. This hike is easy and fun to hit up once a month with a new friend or family member each time. This is an easy trail, non-technical and usually, there are enough people that I am not too concerned about bears, but I do bring my ScatBelt just in case! I live on the east side and so it is easy to shoot across town to the trailhead in about 20 minutes. My summer goal is to hike to the peak: car-to-car in less than an hour. It’s doable, I just need to set my watch. The shoe of choice? Well, that depends on my mood. I would say I probably choose the Hoka One-One Speedgoat 4 as my go-to for most of my hikes and trail runs.
Lost Lake Trail in Seward, Alaska is one of my most favorite hikes in Alaska. The trail is a long 14 miles and is moderately difficult, so it is best to be prepared for a long day with stunning views. This is one of my favorite trails because it was the first trail I ran after moving to Alaska! I try to go and hike the trail at least once a year because it brings back memories of when I first saw the beauty of Alaska. My go-to shoes is the Salomon Sense 4 Pro and I wear it whenever I am out trail running or hiking. It is the perfect shoe for long days in the mountains or on local trails.
It’s tough to choose a favorite trail to hike in Alaska because we are so fortunate to have so many options. Lately, my favorite has been Kesugi Ridge. We’ve been fortunate in both spring and fall to have great weather, so hiking along with “The Great One” following you is always memorable. The trail is easy to moderate, so kiddos can enjoy the views and the abundance of blueberries in the fall. I have yet to replace my trusty old Hoka Speedgoat’s, but sometimes I enjoy subbing in an ON trail shoe.
One of my favorite trails, and new to me this year is Symphony Lake. This trail does have a few bumps and rocks but is mostly packed and level. You do most of the elevation gain on the drive up to the trailhead which makes the trail pretty mellow. You’ll find yourself on some small rolling hills throughout your run, but nothing major. This trail is so green in the summer with a few creeks running through, so be ready to get your shoes muddy! I went with the Saucony Peregrine on my run, but you don’t necessarily need anything with an aggressive tread. There is a nice boulder field at the end which will lead to amazing views of the lake, but turning around and the boulders will yield a ten-mile round-trip journey. Bring bear spray, a bell, and a good friend to keep you company while you enjoy the trail back to the beautiful, crystal blue lakes.
A favorite hike of mine is Bear Mountain in Chugiak. It’s just outside my back door and is a great trail to hike year-round. In the early fall, this trail is littered with luscious blueberries to snack on as you hike. In the winter the trail becomes the most epic sledding hill; the hike up is well worth the slide down. The trail is named appropriately and it is extremely important to always carry your bear spray and have it easily accessible. Bears are not the only wildlife you will see on this hike. It is common to see moose, spruce grouse, and other Alaskan creatures enjoying the great outdoors. My go-to-shoe for trail running, hiking, and traveling is the New Balance Summit Unknown because it is light and easy to throw into my pack when I am seeking adventures in new places. It has a tread that keeps me standing upright when embarking on some of the steepest of terrains.