Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"A paved trail follows the edge of Cook Inlet from Downtown Anchorage to    
Kincaid Park. The trail has scenic views of Cook Inlet and is perfect for 
walking, biking, jogging, or just sightseeing the great outdoors."
~ Anchorage: Bearfoot Guide to the City, Summer 2012 edition
This quote describes the popular Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which connects to several of Anchorage's city parks and other paved multi-use trails.

The city has more than 135 miles of paved trails, making it both a summer (walking, running, cycling, skateboarding) and winter (x-country skiing and fat-tire cycling) paradise for active people like us. There are an additional 300+ miles of unpaved and wilderness trails in the area for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and even dog mushing.

View of Point Woronzof from the Coastal Trail; the tide is fairly high in this photo.

When we were here in 2012 we rode our bikes on the 11-mile long Coastal Trail several times. We loved the seacoast and lake views, the marshes, the lush rainforest full of leaves and flowers, and all the wildlife, from birds to moose and bears.

I swear we saw more moose and bears up close that summer along the Coastal Trail and at JBER than we did in three weeks at Denali National Park!  As you can imagine, our hopes for spotting Big.Wild.Life. (Anchorage's motto) were high when we got here this time.

During this eighteen-day stay we rode on the Coastal Trail only two times and saw just one moose -- and all I could get was this butt-shot when she slowly walked off the bike path and into the woods:

How disappointing, compared to our previous time up here. Oh, well. Maybe we'll see more moose and some bears along the trail when we come back in a few weeks. The only other wildlife we saw along the trail were birds (including a plump ptarmigan right next to the path), squirrels, and rabbits.

The photos in this entry are from two different rides.

The first time we parked near scenic Westchester Lagoon and rode south to Kincaid Park and back, for a total of 16.2 miles. We knew there was a small bridge over a creek that was out, just north of the lagoon. A detour on city streets is required to get around the construction area:

We just avoided the detour and the five miles of Coastal Trail north of it that day.

The first part of the bike path below Westchester Lagoon is rather flat. The tide in Cook Inlet was mostly out that day so we saw a lot of mud flats:


A couple takes a break on a little side trail.

Signs warn people to stay off the mud flats. Some people and pets have lost their lives when they got mired in the mud and couldn't be rescued before the next tide came in.

The trail soon climbs to Earthquake Park and Woronzof Point, then is mostly flat until the long climb to Kincaid Park.

Earthquake Park

People walking on the beach look like specks high up on Woronzof Point.

Little pulloffs afford views of the mountains across Cook Inlet.

Good place to see moose and bears

Jim rides ahead of me as we near the long hill up to Kincaid Park.

View of Anchorage skyline and Chugach Mountains as we head back to the truck.

There were a fair number of other people cycling, walking, and running on the path that weekday.

The Coastal Trail passes along the edge of Anchorage's busy airport. We were surprised by the number of large airplanes coming and going from the airport during the middle of the day, more than we've noticed on previous rides:

Incoming!!!  This is a Nippon cargo plane.

Aircraft fly pretty low over the Coastal Trail as they take off and land. We could also see them well when we stopped for a few minutes in Kincaid Park to munch on our Clif bars.

The second time we used the trail, on a Sunday, we rode 19.5 miles out and back from a parking lot on the Chester Creek Trail about a mile east of Westchester Lagoon. This is one of several trails in Anchorage that connects to the Coastal Trail.


I took several photos of Westchester Lagoon and the nearby wetlands. There is a pretty city park at this location, too:






Wetland near the lagoon; bike path goes over the long wooden bridging in the distance.

As expected, there were a lot of people using the Coastal Trail that morning but most trail users were polite and aware of their surroundings.

I was disappointed not to see any moose or bears. However, the cow parsnips, lupines, and wild roses are at or near their peak and fireweed is just beginning to bloom.

Cow parsnips

Pretty roses

Despite the lack of rain in the Anchorage Bowl, everything is very green.

Next entryphotos from Rendezvous-Little Teton Mountain ridge hike

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil