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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Trip Finder: Alaska

Your favorite Alaska hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

by: Kristy Holland

Harding Icefield (Alaska Photographics and Imaging)
Harding Icefield (Alaska Photographics and Imaging)
Kodiak Brown Bear (Jason Wood)
Kodiak Brown Bear (Jason Wood)
Reader Expert Andre Kaeppele (Photo Courtesy)
Reader Expert Andre Kaeppele (Photo Courtesy)

Kachemak Kayak Route
See a zoo of mountain-meets-coast megafauna on this four-day, 45-mile epic. Paddle Tutka Bay to Black-legged Kittiwake rookeries on Cohen Island and 60-Foot Rock. On land: Climb 4.1 miles to Grace Ridge and 3.2 miles to Sadie Knob to spot bears and eagles.

FISHING King Salmon River Rafting Route
The fishing is wild and the river smooth on this seven-day raft trip. Fly outfitted ( to the unnamed lake 90 miles north of Dillingham, and float 60 miles to the Nushagak River. Cast with bead bait (resembles salmon eggs) for Dolly Varden and rainbow trout.

GLACIERS Bomber Loop
“You trek glacier-clad steeps by day and sleep in huts at night” on this 22-miler, says Andre Kaeppele (right). Start with an 8.5-mile day along the Susitna River to the Mint Hut. Day two: A 1,500-foot descent to Bomber Hut. End at Reed Lakes trailhead on day three.

Andre Kaeppele, the assistant trails coordinator for Alaska State Parks, says that hikers don’t have to stay on land to spot resident moose, wolves, and bears. Paddling trips are also a great way to view wildlife, he says. “You can see a lot of animals without disturbing them. Plus, you can get creative with your routes.”

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