I am starting to get questions about running in Anchorage as people are starting to plan trips here during the summer, so I thought I’d write up a little blog post to highlight some awesome places to run in the Anchorage area.
If I have to pick just one spot to recommend to tourists, my first pick is always going to be Westchester Lagoon. Views of the mountains, ocean, wildlife, and the trail system takes you in three different directions.
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail –> heading towards Lyn Ary Park, Earthquake Park, Point Woronzof, and Kincaid Park
This is the most-talked about trail in Anchorage! Fittingly because you can’t beat the views as the trail takes you along the ocean with mountains off in a distance that seem to go on forever.
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail –> heading towards downtown and the train depot
From Westchester, the Coastal Trail goes one of two ways, so take your pick; you won’t be disappointed either way.
- Chester Creek Trail
The third direction you can travel from Westchester Lagoon is along the Chester Creek trail, which takes you through the woods and along the creek. Not quite as much pedestrian traffic at the Coastal Trail, this is still a very popular trail and a great path to run under the tree cover if the suns too hot for you or you want to escape the rain.
View from Westchester Lagoon
Lake Hood is the largest seaplane base in the world. The loop around the lake is about 4 miles, so it is perfect for a quick run while watching planes take off and land on the water. The road around the lake has a nice shoulder for running on, and the auto traffic is minimal as cars are driving more slowly anyway. There is also a great view of the Chugach mountains during part of the run if you get tired of looking at airplanes.
Sorry for the winter picture. This is also a good place to run in the winter because the roads are often cleared sooner.
Campbell Creek Trail
This is another paved trail system that starts in West Anchorage and eventually connects to the Chester Creek Trail System. A wooded running experience takes you by Taku Lake and along the Campbell Creek. I’ve seen everything from moose to beavers to swans on this trail.
Chugach State Park – overlooking Anchorage
Best Trail Runs
I personally don’t do much trail running, but these are by far the most popular trail runs in the area. They offer a little bit for everyone: rolling hills, wide open spaces, beautiful scenery, and even I–a road runner–have ventured onto these common trails.
Kincaid Park is comprised of 1500 acres and many, many miles of trails. Some of the trails are single-track for biking, while others are multi-use. These mostly-grassy, non-paved trails wind through the woods, up steep hills, and across highly-populated moose areas and with sightings of an occasional bear.
I’d say this is the most popular mountainous trail run there is: a wide gravel path that’s not too technical and wide open spaces (no trees) with incredible views, in the Chugach Mountains. You access it from the Flattop parking lot, which is also the most popular mountain to climb. (Too popular for some.) The trail goes back for many miles, so bring your water and some fuel.
Turnagain Arm Trail
This is a very easy drive just a few minutes outside of Anchorage. This trail is more technical with roots, rocks, and wildlife. Not for the faint at heart with some decent climbs but views worth every step.
**I won’t go into a lot of detail about each of the different trails to run because a quick Google search will pull up more information than you need.**
One of the many parks in Anchorage with trails through the woods.