Warmer weather and longer days must mean the Alaska cruise ship season is in full swing. The popularity of cruising to Alaska lies in the beautiful scenery, seeing animals in their natural habitat and awaiting adventures. Many of the excursions offered by cruise ships are on my bucket list; however, in one of the ports you may want to do a little exploring on your own. If so, I’d definitely recommend going on a hike. Hiking is a great way to explore while being active and not stuck in the fitness room while in port. Don’t forget, hiking is a free activity!
Burn calories & enjoy the fresh Alaskan air
You can’t beat the feeling of accomplishment when you’re on a hike and reach your destination whether it is a waterfall or top of a mountain, you’ll feel great.
The amount of calories you burn while hiking depends on a few factors: your body weight, terrain, and pack weight (if you are carrying a pack). The more weight, the more you’ll burn and obviously, you’ll burn more calories when hiking more difficult terrain. In addition, a fast pace will increase calorie burn, however in this situation, I won’t focus as much on this aspect as you’re in Alaska, take your time and enjoy your surroundings.
All levels welcome
If you haven’t hiked before or it’s been years, look for a more mild to moderate hike. Hikes are supposed to be fun and a great way to see a place, so no sense going on a strenuous one if you’re not ready for it.
In Juneau, Alaska, we took the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts and went on a hike from there. As we climbed and climbed, I kept saying that I wanted to get to the top of the mountain, not realizing that around the corner, was a higher peak and then a higher peak! The hike turned out to be strenuous but I was caught up in the moment as the views were amazing!
Below are websites that will guide you in finding a hike for your activity level and are close to where you’ll be dropped off by the cruise ship.
Hop on the Mount Roberts Tramway which will take you to 1,800 feet in elevation. Trails are well-marked and begin outside the Mountain House. Click here for information about hiking on the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Visit the Juneau Alaska Adventure & Lodging Guide for additional trail information.
There are a lot of trailheads close to town. I did the Lower Dewey Hike, an easy to moderate hike that circles a beautiful alpine lake. Check out the National Parks Service website for more information.
Deer Mountain Trail is one of the most popular hikes. The USA Today article by Nancy Wagner, gives a great overview of hikes in Ketchikan as does REI, an outdoor gear retailer.
There are three trails that are accessible from downtown and vary from one to five miles. The website, Sitka through 4 Seasons, gives information on where to get started. Or take a walk through the Sitka National Historical Park see totem poles as you progress along the coastal trail. The Visitor Center is located about one-fourth mile from downtown Sitka. Click here for a map.
As many cruises start or finish in Anchorage, if you’re spending an extra day or two, take advantage of the extra daylight hours and go on a hike such the Flattop Mountain trail. You can go on your own or go to the Visit Anchorage Information Centers to book a guide. Check out Anchorage's hiking trails.
Do you have a favorite hike that you completed while on an Alaskan cruise?
FreshCruiser Tip: Start with a healthy breakfast before you leave the cruise ship in the morning as you’ll need the energy for the hike. I recommend an egg white veggie omelet with whole wheat toast and fruit.