I have decided to do a hike through Crow Pass with an excursion up to Grizzly Bear Lake in late June. We are expecting to finish the hike with about 3 days left in our trip. Is there any thing we should make sure and do while we are close to the Kenai Penn.? I was thinking about driving down to Seward, but wasn't sure if it would be worthwhile, or if we should spend our time somewhere else. We will have plenty of gear, so day hikes, overnighters, campgrounds, cool sights, whatever. We just want to make the best use of our time. We are younger and in good shape, so let the ideas fly. I am not real familiar with the geographical proximity of all the locations, so maybe give me a general idea too of where your suggestion is. I will have a rental car, so if your idea is within reasonable driving distance of Anchorage we could make it.
Another fun hike would be to go up Summit Pass, connect with the Resurrection Trail, and then come out via Devil's Pass. 80% of this hike is up in the high alpine, and the two trailheads are only a few miles apart. The total distance will be somewhere around 15 miles, but you'll end up close to where you started. With a short hitch-hiked ride back to your rental car, it would be easy logistically.
These trails are located on the way to Seward, about 45 miles or so from Girdwood.
If you're going to roll over toward Seward, think about going up to Exit Glacier. There are a couple nice trails up around the glacier itself. They aren't long, but you can get right up next to the glacier. You do have to pay an access fee to get into the park.
As for "tourist" stuff around Seward, the SeaLife Center is OK; I wouldn't call it a "must see", but if you have a couple hours to kill it's not a bad tour. There isn't a whole lot else going on in Seward besides a walk about town and harbor. Or you could check out the Marathon Mountain trail.
Back toward the Sterling-Seward highway junction, there is a fish hatchery that you could check out. There are also a few other trails around the Cooper Landing area and Quartz Creek. A few more miles south of Cooper Landing on the Sterling highway you've got Skilak loop that has a few trails in the area. If you're looking for a nice campground to spend the night, the Hidden Lake campground a couple miles in on the north end of the loop is a really good spot, though it does tend to fill up in the mid-summer.
Another area to explore would be to get off the Seward highway at Canyon Creek and head over to Hope. There are some recreational areas back there to check out and some places to hike as well.
Yes, Seward is worth it.
There is a nice day hike/overnighter up Paradise Valley that starts at the RR trestle over the Snow River at 12.5 mile about 9.5 miles of trail that you can out/back in a day if you are light and fast, or backpack an overnighter.
Then there's the Lost Lake trail. Google this one.
If you climb, you may want to look at some of the rock and mixed routes up Mt Ascension, a beautiful climb in a spectacular area.
Get some of the locals to tell you about the Mt Alice trail. A pair of good climbers could summit in a day, but it is technical after you leave the caprock and drop down to start up the long arrete to the summit pitches. The approach hike is glorious, even if you don't climb. Starts on Nash Rd.
Then there's Tiehacker Ridge, very steep to a little above treeline, then along the Bear Lake Glacier canyon with spectacular views of the glacial chasm to one side, and the Paradise Peaks across the S Fork valley. A good hike!
Then there's the Harding Icefield Trail along Exit Glacier. About 1000 vertical feet/mile as it climbs and drops up to the snowfields and finally a cabin overlooking the Harding Icefield. You'll need specialized glacier knowledge and gear to do much out there.
There's also trails up Mt Benson and Mt Bear, if you want to run with the mountain goats.
The Cain's Head trail runs along the coast of the Bay to Cain's Head SRA. there's lots of info printed on this tidal trek. Some of this fairly easy trail is blocked by high tide, so you have to time things.
This should keep you guys busy for a few days. Be sure to grab some of the killer pizza at Cristos, or go for some steamer clams or some of the best halibut anywhere at Thorne's Showcase, right across from the Yukon Bar. The Alehouse is a nice place to chill too.
The Kenai Fjords tour boats are spectacular, especially in good weather. Awesome National Park scenery that will turn even a jaded traveler into a gaper. A Must Do if the weather cooperates! Most tours feed you prime rib and grilled Copper River sockeye...
After hours anarchy at the Pit is the stuff of epic legend, Don't say i didn't warn you...
Very cool stuff!! Maybe I will try to get a little more time to spend down there. I definately can't wait, June has never seemed so far away.