Where you go
There are a number of guided hiking options
available to visitors to Alaska. Commercial vendors provide hiking
tours that include an interpretive guide and snacks or a meal. In
addition, Some of the national parks, such as
Denali National Park,
offer guided hikes with rangers on a daily basis. Guided glacier hikes
are available in a number of locations, where your guide outfits you
with the necessary equipment and you set off on a trek across a
glacier. Lastly, a number of
companies provide fly-in hiking, where guests are dropped off in remote
country, and picked up some hours later at an arranged location.
Hiking in Alaska is as varied as the countryside. In many parts
of the state, you’re likely to encounter wildlife, such as moose
and bears. In some areas, especially in those areas that are
higher in elevation, hikers may see Dall sheep, and in tundra
Hikers should make sure that they’re familiar with proper
wildlife etiquette and safety rules. While dangerous animal
encounters are rare, they are not unheard of, and Alaska’s
animals are often dangerous when not treated with the proper
respect. In addition, if hikers are considering bringing
deterrents such as pepper spray or firearms along on your hike,
make sure you are familiar with the use of them, and that you
are not in an area that is restricted to the use of such items.
Unlike many areas in other parts of the United States, much of
the hiking is on unimproved trails, or above the tree line.
River and stream crossings rarely have bridges, and so hikers
will have to wade across them.
Some of the professionally guided hiking
companies provide lunches as a part of their tours. Others do
not provide food, since the hikes themselves are so short, or
the company is providing only the transportation to and from the
hike, as in heli-hiking. You should consult with your guides or
your travel consultant about the specifics of your hike.
What You Bring –
Unless the hike requires specific equipment, such
as a guided glacier hike, hikers are expected to bring all of their
own hiking equipment. Shoes, packs, and other hiking equipment basics
are a matter of personal choice, and because the hiking options are so
varied in Alaska, there is no single answer to what works best.
There are a number of important considerations when
hiking in Alaska that are universal. First, weather changes rapidly,
and winter-like conditions are possible on every day of the year. Even
less severe weather can be uncomfortable at least, and dangerous or
life threatening, if a hiker is injured or delayed in reaching the end
of their hike.
Proper clothing and preparation is a must. Plan for
rain, and bring or wear proper clothing for a wide range of
temperatures. Extra food and water is a good idea in every case. Every
year, hikers in Alaska get lost or injured, and spend days in the
wilderness when just a few hours was planned.
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