A trip to Seward, Alaska
I spent a few days exploring Seward, Alaska. My favourite activity in the area was paddling through icebergs in Bear Glacier Lagoon, but I also enjoyed a rainy day hike to Tonsina Beach and wandering the town - especially along the harbour.
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The town of Seward was the first destination on my road trip through Alaska, with a handful of stops along the way.
I’m not much of a city girl these days, so my time in Alaska’s largest city was limited to two stops: a gas station and the grocery store. The city would make a great jumping off point for exploring the nearby Chugach Mountains! From here, it is a 2.5 hour drive to Seward.
Just outside of Anchorage, as you drive down the Seward Highway, is Beluga Point. This viewpoint is known for wildlife viewing - especially beluga whales between July and August. I stopped at the paved turnout for a short while, but without any binoculars or the luck to spot one of these all-white whales!
Girdwood is an adventure town known for its trails and Mount Alyeska ski resort. Later in my trip, I spent one day here and hiked the Crow Pass Trail.
Whittier & Portage Glacier
A short detour could take you through the historical one-lane, two-mile-long tunnel to the small city of Whittier. Whittier became popularly known as the state’s one-house town because of the single condo building that most of the city’s population calls home. I did not learn this myself until later! Due to the rainy weather, I chose to skip this stop because I was focused on hiking the Portage Pass Trail for a view of Portage Glacier.
The tunnel switches traffic directions every half hour, and drivers’ must pay a toll to enter. The schedule and operating hours vary seasonally, and is occasionally affected by trains.
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Seward became my first destination because it is the jumping off point for the paddling trip to Bear Glacier Lagoon I had in mind. You can watch my video from that bucket list adventure here! It is also home to a number of great hikes. I originally wanted to hike the Harding Icefield Trail, which leads to views of Exit Glacier. This 15km trail is known as challenging and can take up to 8 hours. Due to unsafe weather conditions, I opted for a hike to Tonsina Beach instead.
📍Tonsina Creek Trail | ⛰ 5.5km, 220m | ⏰ 1h 45m | Easy to Moderate | AllTrails
Although this trail is fairly short and flat, I would consider it as moderate because of potentially slippery conditions and roots in the trail. Parts of the trail are more developed with some wooden steps and bridges!
You’ll have to use your imagination for the mountains you’d see on sunny day, but with the heavily forested trail providing reasonable cover I would still recommend this for a rainy day hike. Tonsina Beach is also a popular spot for beach combing!
Check out my mini vlog from the day here to get an idea of the trail or watch a shorter recap here.
Post-hike, I found myself warming up by the wood stove at the Barrio Coffee + Kitchen café in the Miller’s Landing campground office. They had no problem with me setting up office there for hours!
I had a few days to get to know Seward while waiting for my paddleboard booking, and it gradually became my favourite of the Alaskan cities I visited. There are a number of bars, restaurants, cafes, nearby hikes and even a bird sanctuary. The locals I met were welcoming, friendly, and laid back. Most of all, I enjoyed walking along the waterfront of Resurrection Bay, watching the various boats float about in the harbour.
If you’re thinking of making a trip to Seward, Alaska yourself, feel free to leave any questions for me in the comment section below!