Hikers on the Kesugi Ridge Trail in Denali State Park with Mount Denali in the distance. Courtesy Paxson Woelber.
Imagine the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, except crossing the vast wilds of Alaska. The proposed Alaska Long Trail is a 500-mile route between Fairbanks and Seward that advocates hope will carry the same allure as other long treks around the world. The super trail would link some already popular Alaskan trails, including Kesugi Ridge, Crow Pass, and a southern portion of the Iditarod National Historic Trail. In fact, about two-thirds of the planned route utilizes existing trails. Much of the remaining third crosses public land, and the nonprofit Alaska Trails Initiative is working to garner funds to build environmentally friendly trails through those sections.
Hikers could choose to trek the trail’s entire length or just travel a portion. Either way, supporters say the trail would bring people to Alaska and provide an economic boost to communities along the route. The 500-mile Fairbanks to Seward segment could be expanded into a 2,000-mile trail that stretches from the North Slope to Southeast via a mix of trails and ferries.