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.
Table of Contents
- 16 Best Kodiak Hikes
- Pillar Mountain
- Near Island – North End Park
- Near Island – South End Trail
- Spruce Cape Trail
- Island Lake Creek Trail
- Fort Abercrombie – Lake Gertrude Loop
- The North Sister
- Monashka Mountain
- Termination Point Trail
- Barometer Mountain
- Old Womens
- Boy Scout Lake
- Heitman Lake Trail
- Kashevaroff Mountain
- Pyramid Mountain
- Sharatin Mountain – Shelly Lake
- FAQs About Hikes in Kodiak
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16 Best Kodiak Hikes
Kodiak’s best combination of panoramic views and easy accessibility.
🥾 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.
🥾 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.
🥾 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.
🥾 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.
🥾 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.
🥾 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.
🥾 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.
Another steep, but rewarding trail on the north end of the island.
🥾 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.
🥾 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!
The tallest and most popular trail in the vicinity of town looms over the airport.
🥾 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!
An easier alternative to Barometer, and right next to it, too.
🥾 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?
🥾 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.
🥾 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!
This hike near the Bells Flats offers stunning views and a glimpse towards the island’s interior.
🥾 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.
This mountain trail lies just five minutes from the airport and will transport you to another world.
🥾 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.
🥾 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?
The 7 summits in Kodiak are Heitman Mountain, Kashevaroff Mountain, Barometer Mountain, Pyramid Mountain, Sharatin Mountain, Monashka Mountain, and the North Sister Mountain.
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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Great job Matthew! Our island has a lot to offer…on a clear day😉. Keep spreading the word. Terrie J