Whether you’re looking for a relaxed walk through nature or a long run while training for a marathon, Homer has a trail. I’ve walked, hiked, or run every trail on this list, and I’ll give you my first-hand knowledge of where my feet met the trail and some fun excursions to distract you from just putting in the miles. So, if you want to hiking in Homer Alaska, tie up those laces and keep reading!
Why Trust Us On Hiking in Homer, Alaska
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My Experience with Hiking in Homer, Alaska
I’ve done a fair amount of hiking in Homer, Alaska. While working on a show for the Discovery Channel, I lived and worked in Homer for nearly five years. I was mainly stuck out on the spit (a narrow 4.5-mile-long gravel bar that extends into Kachemak Bay), feeling a bit trapped from town, but I managed to make time away from work to go hiking in Homer, Alaska. Homer doesn’t have a ton of trails, but it does have something for everyone.
Hiking in Homer, Alaska
Table of Contents: Hiking in Homer, Alaska
Table of contents
- Why Trust Us On Hiking in Homer, Alaska
- My Experience with Hiking in Homer, Alaska
- Hiking in Homer, Alaska
- Hiking Trails in Homer, Alaska
- Hiking Trails in Homer In Alaska (Post Summary)
- Easy Hiking/Walking Trails in Homer, Alaska
- For Unconventional Hiking in Homer, Alaska: Do a Pub Crawl
- Bear Precaution While Hiking in Homer, Alaska
Hiking Trails in Homer, Alaska
The following is a list of my favorite Hiking Trails in homer, Alaska.
Homer Spit Trail
While working in Homer, Alaska, we would film six days a week and get one day off. I would always do my best to stay active on my off day, and hiking in Homer, Alaska was a great way to do that. The entire film crew lived at the end of the spit, remote from downtown Homer. One benefit of living here was the immediate access to the Homer Spit Trail, a four-mile paved Hiking trail on the east side of the spit. The Homer, alaska hiking trail connects the end of the spit to the mainland and the cities road system.
The trail is heavily trafficked by locals and a sea of tourists in the summer. You will find daily runners, vacationers with rental bikes, and rollerbladers. While the path is flat, it is also without any tree cover. Bring sunblock and water!
I would take the trail to the end and back, making it a full run/walk of 8 miles. If I got tired, I would hitch a ride back from any friendly commuters heading my way. If you are a daily runner or training for a marathon, this is the Homer, Alaska hiking trail for you.
The end of the spit is packed with seasonal shops, restaurants, and fishing charters. The rest of the spit is relatively void of structures. There is an RV park and a few campsites too. I highly recommend this trail, and the views won’t disappoint.
TRAILHEAD: 59.63823° N, 151.50081° W
China Poot Lake Trail
This hiking trail isn’t in Homer, Alaska, but it is a quick boat ride away. You can take Mako’s Water Taxi for $100. There was much debate with my coworkers in Homer about what precisely a China Poot was, we never got a straight answer or understanding of where the name came from, but it was the catalyst for some entertaining conversations.
China Poot Trail is a 4.4-mile out-and-back trail in Kathcemak Bay State Park. It’s considered a moderate hike with great views. The trailhead is located at the Halibut Cove Lagoon by boat. The hike will take you past two smaller lakes before landing at China Poot Lake, where you can either camp in one of the public-use cabins (reservations required 907-269-8400) or head back to Homer, Alaska.
TRAILHEAD: Halibut Cove Lagoon Trailhead; protected anchorage with mooring buoys and public dock. For more info, check out the Alaska DNR’s guide.
Beluga Slough Trail
Located behind the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in a salt marsh. The Beluga Slough Trail in Homer, Alaska is a 1.6-mile hiking trail. This is a short, quick trail, but it offers you much information on the local habitat and wildlife. The Beluga Slough Trail has two trailheads, one at Bishops Beach and obe at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.
When my family visited me in Homer, Alaska my kids loved this hiking trail. Plenty of wildlife to see, beautiful sunsets, and a beach on one end of the trail. There is also a killer bakery near the trail, Two Sisters Bakery.
TRAILHEAD: Accessible from Bishops Beach, The Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, or Across the street from Two Sisters Bakery. Click here for a trail map and exact locations.
Calvin & Coyle Trail
A 1.3-mile loop hiking trail located within Homer, Alaska’s city limits. This easy trail gives you the immediate feeling of being in nature even though you’re still in the city. The trail features a boardwalk and a viewing platform. The trailhead is at the end of Mariner Drive, one mile east of downtown.
There is a small parking lot and an info kiosk. When I took my family hiking here, we saw a moose and did some excellent bird viewing. If you’re in Homer, Alaska for a while, this hiking trail makes for a nice morning routine with your coffee. Stop by The Bagel Shop on your way to the trail.
Glacier Lake Trail
This is one of the most incredible hiking trails in Homer, Alaska. This isn’t technically in Homer, but its an essential trail for anyone visiting the area. The Glacier Lake Trail is a quick boat ride across Kethimak Bay. The trail is in the Kachemak Bay State Park, an 8.9 out-and-back trail. The hike is well worth it since you are rewarded with a lake with actual floating glaciers!
It’s pretty epic. There is also a good chance you’ll see a bear along the way or at least see the signs of a bear. The hiking trail also features a unique tram, a hand-operated cable car pulley system allowing hikers to cross the Grewingk Creek (think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, bridge crossing scene).
I can’t recommend this hiking trail enough. Several water taxis can deliver you to the trailhead, be sure to arrange an appropriate time to get picked up. It is best to overestimate your time on the trail when arranging a pickup, just to be safe. Also, bring bear protection, which is always a good idea wherever you’re hiking in Homer, Alaska.
Grewingk Tram, a hand-operated cable car pulley system over Grewingk Creek. Operation requires two people. The maximum capacity of the tram is 500 pounds.
Hiking Trails in Homer In Alaska (Post Summary)
To recap, here’s a list of my favorite hiking trails in Homer, Alaska.
- Glacier Lake Trail
- Calvin & Coyle Trail
- Beluga Slough Trail
- China Poot Trail
- Homer Spit Trail
Easy Hiking/Walking Trails in Homer, Alaska
There are several easy walking trails located in and around Homer as well. Check out the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center trails, Eveline State Recreation Site, and the Homestead trail at Roger’s Loop RD. The City has created a great brochure profiling these trails and their locations, and it also includes a number of the local parks.
For Unconventional Hiking in Homer, Alaska: Do a Pub Crawl
Not exactly the healthiest of hikes but undoubtedly one of the most fun activities you could do while hiking in Homer, Alaska. If you spend more than a few days in Homer, Alaska, ditch the car for a day and explore the area on foot. Homer is home to some great watering holes. You can put in some real miles walking between bars depending on how far you want to crawl.
While living on the far end of the spit, I frequently walked to town and back on my day off, totaling roughly 11 miles. Here is my ideal walking pub crawl of Homer, Alaska. Start at Land’s End’s Bar, head down the spit a half mile, and hit the Salty Dawg. Drink some water while at the Dawg; you’ve got some serious walking before you hit the next bar.
Continue your pub crawl to Beluga Lake Bar and Grill, and grab a drink before heading into downtown Homer where you’ll want to hit Alice’s Champagne Palace and then Kharacters Alaskan Bar before heading back down the spit. I recommend finishing your marathon of microbrews, margaritas, and mead back at the Salty Dawg.
Congratulate yourself; you’ve wasted a perfectly good day drinking, but at least you got those steps in while hiking in Homer, Alaska.
Bear Precaution While Hiking in Homer, Alaska
If you are hiking in the woods of Homer, Alaska, the threat of bears is real. Bears should not be a deterrent from going into nature but should be a threat you are informed about. Not dissimilar from knowing how to avoid poison ivy or looking both ways when crossing a street. If hiking the China Poot Trail or the Glacier Lake Trail in Homer, Alaska you will undoubtedly see signs of bears or potentially see one.
The key to staying safe while hiking in Homer, Alaska is making yourself known to the bear and avoiding close contact when you do see them. When traveling in a group, it’s easy to make yourself known. Your group’s general noise and scent will be a natural deterrent to most wildlife.
Bears don’t want to see you. If you give them a chance to hear you first, they will generally go in the opposite direction. I usually carry bear spray with me when hiking in Homer, Alaska. That said, I have never had to use it. I am generally loud enough while hiking that I’ve only seen bears from a distance.
If you do come across a bear while hiking in Homer, Alaska, here are some sound recommendations from the National Park Service:
- Identify yourself by talking calmly so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Remain still; stand your ground but slowly wave your arms. Help the bear recognize you as a human. It may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
- Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you.
- Pick up small children immediately.
- Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person. Therefore, bears often become aware of groups of people at greater distances, and because of their cumulative size, groups are also intimidating to bears.
- Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).
- Do NOT allow the bear access to your food. Getting your food will only encourage the bear and make the problem worse for others.
- Do NOT drop your pack as it can provide protection for your back and prevent a bear from accessing your food.
- Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Bears can run as fast as a racehorse both uphill and down. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals.
- Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.
- Be especially cautious if you see a female with cubs; never place yourself between a mother and her cub, and never attempt to approach them. The chances of an attack escalate greatly if she perceives you as a danger to her cubs.