If you live in Alaska, you already know the health benefits of spending time in the great outdoors. And hiking, too, has many benefits. The sunshine on your face (don’t forget your sunscreen!) can help improve your overall health and well-being. Sunshine provides a nice boost of vitamin D that can reduce your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, regulate your immune system, and improve your quality of sleep, not to mention your overall mood.
Hearing nature around you and getting a daily boost of exercise can also add extra hours and days to your life. Does this sound good to you? We thought so, and for that reason, we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hiking locations in the Wasilla area. So read on for some great recommendations and tips for your family hiking adventures, courtesy of your family dentist in Wasilla, Alaska.
Our 5 best hiking spots in Wasilla, AK.
Whether you want to get out for a hike, a trail run, or a bike ride in Wasilla, Alaska, you can rest assured that there are ample great locations to do just that. We’ve put together a list of 5 of the best hikes in Wasilla, Alaska, so whether you are hiking with your family or a buddy, it’s time to grab those hiking boots and hit the trail.
1. Scout Ridge Loop Trail
If you are looking for a short hike that is not only good for the family but dog-friendly too, then check out Scout Ridge Loop Trail. This trail is just shy of a mile-and-a-half and takes about 35 minutes to complete, leading out to a bluff overlooking the Palmer Hay Flats. Stop for some photos at the viewing platform where you can see the flats and the Chugach Mountains in the distance.
2. Lake Lucille Loop
This trail is just over a mile-and-a-half and tends to be more secluded than Scout Ridge Trail. The Lake Lucille Loop is built around the perimeter of the park and connects various athletic fields. It’s also prone to winter snow, which makes it perfect for a snowshoe hike.
3. Settlers Bay Coastal Trail
The Settlers Bay Coastal Trail is approximately 7 miles long with gravel and a packed dirt trail. This trail is perfect for those looking for a longer hike without the challenges of hills, peaks, and rugged terrain. More routes will be added to the area in the coming years, making this a great trail to visit more than once.
4. Box Mountain Ridge
While this Box Mountain Ridge hike is just 7 miles and an excellent length for a hiking enthusiast, it is a challenging course that takes between four and five hours to complete. Further, this is an out-and-back trail and not a loop, so be prepared that what you experience on the way in will need to be repeated in reverse on the way back. This hike is not recommended for children or pets.
5. Bullion Ridge
The Bullion Ridge trail scales a portion of Bullion Mountain and is intended for experienced hikers who are well-versed in navigation. Be prepared for a more treacherous terrain, including boulder walking and scree (loose stones). This trail is 10 miles, in and out, and takes about seven hours to complete.
Tips for Hiking Adventures with a Buddy or Your Family
Now that you know some of the best hikes near Wasilla, AK, it’s time to read up on some tips for safe family hiking. With the right gear and preparation, your family hikes (or hikes with a buddy) can create some amazing and long-lasting family memories.
1. Never hike alone.
And our first recommendation always comes with the golden rule—never go hiking alone. Safety is of the utmost importance for any hike. Even on the easiest of trails, emergencies do happen. When you hike solo, you are without anyone that can help you, and you can’t always rely on cell service when you’re in a more remote area.
2. Plan family hikes around the distance that your youngest child can muster.
Hiking is also a great way to strengthen a family bond and build a love for physical fitness and the outdoors. Further, children of just about any age can enjoy a hike, as long as it is right-sized for their capabilities.
As a rule of thumb, most kids can hike about half a mile to 1 mile per year of age. This means that even your preschoolers can enjoy some of those shorter hikes that we have recommended. The key here is to be prepared and plan ahead based on the terrain. If the hike is slippery or the weather is questionable, your child might not be able to travel the same distance.
3. Be prepared with healthy snacks and water.
Never go hiking without some healthy snacks and bottles of water. Of course, we recommend tooth-friendly hiking snacks, such as crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery sticks, that don’t need to be refrigerated. Other good choices to keep those tummies full are dried fruit and nut packs (trail mix), beef jerky, and bananas. And, a good rule of thumb when hiking is to have two cups of water on hand per person for every hour of hiking.
4. Take steps to avoid injury on your hikes.
Hikes should always be planned in advance, even short-distance ones, so that you can prevent injuries. Be sure to check the weather in advance, dress appropriately for the weather, study the terrain, eat a healthy meal before you hit the trail, and be alert. We also recommend some light stretching exercises in advance and to pay attention to the way your body feels. If you are feeling sluggish or slightly off before your hike, give yourself a raincheck and reschedule your hike for a good-weather day when you are feeling your best.
5. Plan your hike when there is adequate daylight and temperatures are in your favor.
Though Wasilla and the surrounding hiking trails are beautiful year-round, planning family hikes a bit further in advance is best. Mid-June through mid-July is the best time for hikes, with comfortable climatic conditions and ample daylight. Capitalize on the daylight and when wildlife-viewing opportunities are at their peak.
6. Be prepared when hiking with little ones.
When it comes to family hiking, you need to be flexible. As we all know, kids’ moods can change on a dime, and their interest level in what they are doing can waver without notice.
Our advice to make your family hike as enjoyable as possible is to dress in layers, have snacks on hand, and let your child have some control. If they want to stop and take in a sight, by all means, take some time to do that and let yourself enjoy the world through their eyes for a few moments.
Stick to shorter distances and come up with some hiking songs that can keep you occupied along your journey. The more fun you can make the adventure, the higher your chances are that your child will want to go on a hike again.
Share your hiking experiences with your family dentist in Wasilla, Alaska.
Share your family hiking experiences and best hikes near Wasilla, Alaska, with your family dentist at your next appointment. We love hearing about family adventures and learning about new hiking locations in the area.
And if you are overdue for a dental cleaning and oral examination, now is the time to contact us to request an appointment. We look forward to seeing you, helping you care for your oral health, and talking all about the best hikes near Wasilla, AK.