** Updated : January 20223**
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While we lived in Alaska, one of our favorite things to do was chase the incredible waterfalls there. And trust us, there are so many that'll make you want to jump on the next plane to Alaska! (Most of them don't require too long of a hike either!) Before you begin your waterfall adventures, it's important for us to recommend that you should always be prepared to encounter a bear (or other predator) on your hike. We ALWAYS carry bear spray with us when hiking in Alaska, and recommend that you do the same, or you can check our entire packing list below. Read on for our favorite waterfall hikes in Alaska!
**Pro Tip : If you take a wildlife cruise during your time in Alaska, chances are you will most likely see some waterfalls tucked away in the mountains. Keep your eyes peeled on the Stan Stephens Glacier Cruise and chances are you might see the one pictured below!
Top 10 Waterfall Hikes in Alaska
Nugget Falls, Juneau
One of our favorite hikes, this will also be the busiest falls by far due to all the cruise ships that visit the area. Starting at the Mendenhall Visitor Center, you'll have to hike 1 mile each way to the falls. The majority of the path is paved and very flat, making the hike easy. We recommend wearing waterproof shoes as the area near the falls can easily flood, especially since the Juneau area receives over 62 inches of rainfall every year! This way you'll be able to cross the rock path easily and get closer to the falls! Plus, you might want to bring a poncho to really keep dry from the spray of this strong waterfall!
Barbara Falls a.k.a. South Falls, Anchorage
One of our favorites on this list, Barbara Falls is surely worth the short hike, although a little harder to find. We recommend parking on Ken Logan Circle and hiking down the road that continues down the hill. Once you get to the bridge, head right onto the dirt path that follows the river, and in about half a mile you'll be at the base of the waterfall! This is a pretty powerful waterfall, so be careful if you decide to climb on the rocks, they will be VERY slippery! It's also a great hike in the winter, and sometimes you'll be able to watch newbies learning to ice climb!
Love these photos at Barbara Falls? Check out Jessie Lee Co. to book your own couples photo session! Or check her out on Instagram here!
Virgin Creek Falls, Girdwood
This is undoubtedly my favorite hike in Alaska. Not only is it short, but it is also one of the most beautiful. Begin by parking at the end of Timberline Drive and following the trail up towards the falls. There are multiple areas you can hike to - the bottom of the falls, the hidden upper section of the falls, the river that turns into the falls, etc. We recommend you check out all areas the trail leads you to as they are each uniquely beautiful! It's also important to know that bears are often spotted in the Girdwood area, so make sure to stay aware as you're hiking.
2nd Salmon Run Falls, Whittier
Another one of my favorites, this waterfall doesn't technically have a name and can be a little trickier to find. When in Whittier, drive towards the end of Shotgun Cove Trail. On the right hand side about a mile or so from the end of the road you'll cross a bridge that goes over 2nd Salmon Run. There should be a pull off area where you can park, and then just follow the dirt path up the hill, in about half a mile it'll lead you to this beauty!
Emerald Cove Trail, Whittier
A popular hiking trail in Whittier, we encourage you to visit in the Spring or Summer. This way you'll have the most chances to see the multiple waterfalls throughout the area as you hike along the coast. It's also important to keep your eyes out for marine life like seals, otters, and whales in the distance!
Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park
Ok so we had to end this epic waterfall list with a bucketlist destination. Not because these falls are so spectacular, but because of the Brown Bears that flock here every year! You've probably seen these Brown Bears all over YouTube, but did you know you can visit them in person in Alaska?! Visit during late June to September to have a chance to see them catching salmon at Brooks Falls to bulk up before winter!
We hope to continue to add to our list, so if you know of any others we should check out, make sure to leave them in the comments!
Watch our waterfall adventures here!
Check out our other Alaska Blog Posts here!
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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