3. Reed Lakes, Anchorage/Wasilla

The Reed Lakes Trail  is one of the most popular trails in the Hatcher Pass Management Area, and possibly one of the most popular hiking trails in Anchorage. The trail gives you a sample of interior Alaska hiking terrain only 1.5 hours from Anchorage (and even closer to Palmer and Wasilla). I tried to visit as many different trails as I could when I lived in the state, but this is one of the few I made a point to visit again. 

Hiking in Alaska
Campers set up right next to Lower Reed Lake — one of Alaska’s many amazing remote locations. Photo by Karl Sander

Reed Lakes trail starts relatively flat and clearly defined for the first 1.5 miles or so. As the climb begins to get steeper, the trail gets more rugged. You’ll encounter a couple of stretches of boulder travel that would be a challenge for smaller children and some dogs. If you’re like me, though, you’ll think it’s all worth it when you catch sight of the lower lake glowing like a turquoise jewel. The meadows around the lower lake are also popular for camping. 

Hike to Upper Reed Lake to see an abandoned plane wreckage

The trail continues, passing cascading waterfalls that feed the lower lake from the upper one. If it’s early enough in the day, and you can manage the steep ascent through rock and scree, you can continue up past the upper lake. Here you’ll find the wreckage of an Air Force bomber that crashed in the 1950s on aptly-named Bomber Glacier. Some people make this Anchorage hiking trail part of a multi-day traverse that includes the Gold Mint Trail the next valley over. This involves stretches of ice travel that should only be attempted by people with the proper training and equipment. 

About the author

Karl Sander

Karl Sander

Skier, hiker, and cyclist in the PNW

Karl is an adventurer and outdoor enthusiast living in the Pacific Northwest, where he enjoys alpine skiing, hiking, road biking, and camping. He’s been skiing for more than 35 years, mainly in the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Alaska. He’s camped under Alaska’s midnight sun, toured Washington’s San Juan Islands on bicycle, and his hiking adventures have taken him from the foothills of Denali and the glaciers of Alaska to Mount Adams in the Cascades and the high deserts of the Great Basin.

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