View of the hikers posing with the Shelly Lake in the background in Sharatin Mountain, one of the best Kodiak hikes

16 Best Kodiak Hikes for 2023 (By a Local)

I grew up in Kodiak, Alaska and after years of exploring, I’ll point you to the absolute best Kodiak hikes! 

Hiking is one of the best things to do in Kodiak and this guide has trails for every skill level. Some feature coastal scenery and dense forests, while others lead to wildflower-covered summits and sparkling lake views. I overview the popular trails, as well as a few locals’ favorites you won’t find anywhere else.  

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16 Best Kodiak Hikes

Pillar Mountain

Kodiak’s best combination of panoramic views and easy accessibility.

A hiker going to the wind turbines at the peak of Pillar Mountain
See wind turbines near the Pillar Mountain peak

🥾 Moderate | 3.1 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 12-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

The trail on Pillar Mountain is relatively easy to hike and one of the most accessible of all Kodiak’s trails. You can drive straight to the top! Take in the views of Kodiak City, Chiniak Bay, and the Coast Guard Base. To your right, scope out the Three Sisters Mountains, Spruce Island, and the interior of the island.

Try leaning into the wind on a blustery day atop Pillar Mountain—it may hold you up a little! You can also hear sea lions bellowing down in St. Herman’s Bay Harbor from up here. The trail leading further along Pillar Mountain begins at the end of the gravel road.

Near Island – North End Park

Take in the views from the northern end of Near Island.

View of the winter ocean from the snow covered North End Park trail
The Kodiak Channel seen from this trail

🥾 Easy | 2.11 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 1-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

Near Island lies across the large bridge from Kodiak Island proper, one of the best places to stay in Kodiak. Though small, the island has some of the best walking trails inside the Kodiak city limits. Cross the bridge and find the parking lot for the North End Park on your left.

Sitka spruce trees overshadow most of this trail, but in some parts, it is flanked by alders. The point at the end of the trail has great views looking down the Kodiak Channel to the northeast.

Near Island – South End Trail

More panoramas await at the end of this in-town trail.

Scenic mountain views from South End Trail
Summer scenes of Chiniak Bay

🥾 Easy | 1.55 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 4-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

The South End Trail lies a little further down the road towards Trident Basin. The grassy area at the end of the South End Trail makes for a great picnicking spot. Here, some of the best views of Chiniak Bay spread out before you.

In summer, you can watch fishing boats entering and exiting the harbor. You may even spy otters or horned and tufted puffins playing in the surf!

Spruce Cape Trail

Northern Kodiak’s easiest hike ends with great views of other islands in the archipelago.

Two men standing in the middle of the trail surrounded by tall trees at sunset
Dense forest lines the coastal trail
Scenic views from the Spruce Cape Trail
Admire these views year-round!

🥾 Easy | 1.4 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 8-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

The easiest hike on this list lies next to Mill Bay Beach Park. From Rezanof Drive, turn onto Woodland Drive and follow it to the end. The end of the trail gives you some of the best views of Spruce Island.

A small beach lies to the right of the cliffs at the end of the trail. You’ll notice fences here, as well as along the trail. They mark the boundary with the Navy Seal base, so it’s best to leave that boundary well enough alone!

Island Lake Creek Trail

Another easy, yet enchanting trail in northern Kodiak.

View of the moss in the branches of the tree in Island Lake Creek Trail
Vibrant moss clings to branches in the summer months
View of the river and the mossy trees in Island Lake Creek Trail
See Coho salmon leap here in early fall

🥾 Easy | 0.5 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 8-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

Another short hike starts just beyond Mill Bay Beach Park. The Island Lake Creek Trail traces its way through the lush forests for half a mile, making it a short and sweet experience. In summer, keep an eye out for salmonberries, a tarter cousin of raspberries that grow throughout Kodiak.

Fort Abercrombie – Lake Gertrude Loop

One of the most popular trails in Kodiak’s favorite park.

Scenic view of the frozen Lake Gertrude
Frozen Lake Gertrude

🥾 Easy | 1.3 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | Website | 10-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: $5

Kodiak has two state parks, with Fort Abercrombie being the more popular with locals and tourists alike. It has an extensive trail system, but the hike around Lake Gertrude is one of the highlights of the park.

Lake Gertrude lies at the center of the park, with a hiking trail tracing its way along the edge of the lake. A narrow strip of land separates the northern shore of the lake from the shore of the ocean. The beach here is a great place to unwind. 

👉 Pro Tip: Remember that Kodiak’s non-human residents also enjoy these hiking trails! Kodiak bears tend to avoid human settlements, making encounters (while always rare) more likely the further you are from town. 

At the same time, they have been known to stray into forested areas in city limits on occasion. The Department of Fish & Game has good advice for best practices regarding bear safety.

The North Sister

Head towards Monashka Bay to hike this short, but steep mountain trail.

Scenic view of the mountain valleys of The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters, with North Sister to the right

🥾 Moderate | 1.9 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 17-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

The Three Sisters in Kodiak, Alaska are all hikeable, but most people choose to summit the North Sister. The trail starts at Monashka Bay Lookout Point, which has plenty of space for parking cars.

The climb is steep, but the views of Monashka Bay and White Sands Beach are worth the effort! In summer, wildflowers of all kinds surround the trail. 

Monashka Mountain

Another steep, but rewarding trail on the north end of the island.

Panoramic views from Monashka Mountain
Enjoy panoramic views from Monashka Mountain

🥾 Moderate | 4.4 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 21-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

Monashka Mountain looms above White Sands Beach from which the trail starts. Signs will show which trail leads to the peak and which goes out towards Termination Point (more on that below). 

The flat top of the mountain makes for a great picnicking spot after hiking the steep ridgeline trail. The mountains of the mainland tower in the distance to the west. You can also see Spruce Island and the village of Ouzinkie from here.

Termination Point Trail

Wander in the wooded wonderland near White Sands Beach.

A group of hikers at the Termination Point Trail surrounded by trees with moss
A group of friends and I hiking this spruce-lined path

🥾 Moderate | 5.37 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 21-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

One of the longer hikes in Kodiak leads you through the rich spruce forests on the north end of the island. The trailhead begins at White Sands Beach and winds its way through several miles of emerald-green vegetation.

It’s best to start this hike earlier in the day as there is a lot to explore here! A few places along the trail open up onto small, but peaceful beaches, and one even features a makeshift cabin made of driftwood! 

Barometer Mountain

The tallest and most popular trail in the vicinity of town looms over the airport.

Hikers overlooking the views on a foggy day in Barometer Mountain
Views from Barometer Mountain on a foggy day

🥾 Difficult | 3.2 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 9-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

This one is a climb! Take in the best panoramic views in Kodiak ​​once you’ve reached the peak. The majestic mountains of the mainland (Katmai National Park) loom in the far distance to the west. Closer at hand you will see Buskin Lake and the road to several hikes covered further down this list.

Look north to see Kodiak City in the distance. To the south, the vast interior of Kodiak Island stretches. 

🎒 Get Packing: Take an air taxi flight to Katmai, one of the best US national parks—and bookmark our national parks packing list to get the most out of your experience! 

Old Womens

An easier alternative to Barometer, and right next to it, too.

View of the group of people hiking along Old Womens
Though longer, this hike is family-friendly

🥾 Moderate | 7.2 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 10-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

The trail here starts steep, but plateaus after the first half mile. From there, it’s a gradual incline. Wildflowers abound along the top of the mountain in summer. A small alpine lake at the back of the mountain makes for a refreshing dip on a hot summer day.

Locals frequent the trail and it’s one of the better hikes for travelers with children. The broad, flat area at the top is a great place to let the kids run around a little or play ball games.

Boy Scout Lake

Forest trails, sandy beaches, and bunker spelunking. Who could ask for more?

View of the sandy beach and flat trail of Boy Scout Lake
This flat, easy trail ends at a sandy beach

🥾 Easy | 1.1 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 5-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

Boy Scout Lake is also known as Genevieve Lake and marks the start of an easily-accessible hiking trail. The woods here have several old bunkers from World War II strewn along the paths. You can even delve into these bunkers if you have a headlamp!

The trail opens up onto a broad, sandy beach (at low tide). Bring some binoculars and look out towards Puffin Island to see horned and tufted puffins. Kodiak’s puffins prefer to keep their distance from humans, so you’re more likely to see them off of the Kodiak “mainland.”

📚 Related Reading: 27 Best Places to Visit in Alaska (in 2023) 

Heitman Lake Trail

Spot wildflowers on this boggy trail that leads to a stunning lake.

Closeup view of the Iris flower
Irises grow in Kodiak’s marshier areas, such as the start of this trail

🥾 Moderate | 4.1 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 17-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

The trail to this lake is a long, gradual ascent. Find the trailhead at a small turn-off from the Chiniak Highway. The hike begins in marshy lowlands, so having waterproof hiking boots is always a good idea. Look for irises, bog candles, and other wildflowers in this swampier terrain!

Kashevaroff Mountain

This hike near the Bells Flats offers stunning views and a glimpse towards the island’s interior.

A group of hikers relaxing near the peak of Kashevaroff Mountain
Pro tip: pack a picnic lunch!

🥾 Difficult | 6.12 miles roundtrip | Google Maps |15-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

Kashaveroff towers over the Bells Flats area. The trailhead begins right off the road and winds its way through alders. The ascent flattens out a little towards the top, making for a great picnicking spot. Expect to see wildflowers everywhere in the summer!

You can see the Coast Guard Base from the slopes of the mountain and town from the top. You may also encounter winged wildlife, such as ptarmigan that prefer places less frequented by humans.  

Pyramid Mountain

This mountain trail lies just five minutes from the airport and will transport you to another world.

Overlooking scenic view from Pyramid Mountain
Expect to gain more than 1,800 feet of elevation on this short trail

🥾 Difficult | 2.6 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 22-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

To get here, take Anton Larsen Bay Road and keep going past Buskin Lake and the golf course. This is one of the steeper hikes on the list, but the views from the top are worth the effort! The trail levels out towards the top before rising the rest of the way in a razorback.

The last stretch is narrow, but if you’re careful and watch your step, it shouldn’t be dangerous. The soil is rocky and thin at the summit, yet pink, blue, and yellow wildflowers grow here in the summer.

Sharatin Mountain – Shelly Lake

The crown jewel of Kodiak’s hikes lies at the end of Anton Larsen Bay Road.

View of the hikers posing with the Shelly Lake in the background in Sharatin Mountain, Best Kodiak Hikes
Me and a group posed on this trail in the summer

🥾 Difficult | 7 miles roundtrip | Google Maps | 26-minute drive from Kodiak | Cost: Free

Alaska’s Emerald Isle hides a sapphire, too! One of Kodiak’s longest hiking trails ascends this mountain with pristine lakes hidden on its slopes. It lies well out of town (by Kodiak standards), so it requires a full day or more to do it justice. Camping by the lakeside makes for an unforgettable experience!

Shelly Lake is crystal clear, ice cold, and deep, fed by a tiny “glacier” and a small creek. The shores of the lake and the slopes leading down to it are covered in thousands of wildflowers in summer! It’s one of the more remote hikes on the list, so there’s more of a chance for bear encounters here—make sure to follow best practices for bear safety.

Love Camping? Bookmark our camping essentials packing list so you don’t forget any important gear! 

FAQs About Hikes in Kodiak

Can you hike on Kodiak Island?

You can hike on Kodiak Island. There are trails for every level here. Beginners will enjoy hikes like Spruce Cape Trail and Boy Scout Lake, while advanced hikers will love trails like Sharatin Mountain-Shelly Lake.  

What are the 7 Summits in Kodiak?


Now you’ve gotten to know some of the best Kodiak hikes. The only thing left to do is go out and explore! 

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One Comment

  1. Great job Matthew! Our island has a lot to offer…on a clear day😉. Keep spreading the word. Terrie J

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