Man hiking on side of mountain overlooking lake

Mount Alice: Hiking up Seward’s Tallest Mountain

When entering the city of Seward, Alaska, it is impossible to miss the awe-inspiring Mount Alice. The mountain is visible from nearly everywhere, and its allure can be felt for anyone who has a desire to explore the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.

Even those who prefer to enjoy the beauty of Seward from afar will have a deep appreciation for the giant towering sentinel that is Mount Alice.

hiking mount alice

Whether you have seen this mountain with your own eyes and are ready to enjoy it up close and personal, or you are just looking for things to do in Seward, follow along as I give the rundown on the very special Mount Alice Trail.

Prepare to Hike Mount Alice

Overview of the Mount Alice Trail

Mount Alice is the tallest mountain in the area around Seward, Alaska. At its highest, Mount Alice reaches an elevation of 5,318 feet.

This number compared to the elevations of other prominent mountains in the country makes it seem quite small. But it is important to remember that the Kenai Mountains (mostly) rise straight out of the ocean.

hiking up mount alice in seward

Even though the elevation of Mount Alice is comparatively tame, the vertical feet traveled when hiking up this giant mountain is not easily ignored. The trailhead for the Mount Alice Trail is at an elevation of less than 150 feet above sea level.

From the bottom to the tippy-top, a climber would be gaining over 5,000 vertical feet. That is no easy climb.

Here are some quick facts about the Mount Alice Trail.

  • Distance: ~4.9 miles to Lookout Point, ~6 miles to Godwin Glacier Viewpoint (both distances are roundtrip)
  • Elevation Gain: ~2,975 feet to Lookout Point, ~3,530 feet to Godwin Glacier Viewpoint
  • Difficulty: Hard-Severe
  • Time to Complete: Around 5 hours out-and-back
  • Traffic: Moderately to lightly trafficked

Trailhead Location

Even though it’s pretty easy to find details about this hike online (such as in this article), the trail still feels like a well-kept secret. The trailhead is not marked in any way; no signs exist along the entirety of this trail.


Because of this, it is important to come prepared.

The first step for good preparation is knowing where to find the trailhead. The easiest way to find where you will begin your hike is by clicking the “direction” button on the AllTrails listing for the Alice Mountain Lookout trail.

Clicking that button will allow you to map directly to the start of the trail, with a place to park on the opposite side of the road.

map to mount alice hike
The trail is highlighted in green on the right side of the map. Map courtesy of FATMAP


If you are starting from downtown Seward, take Third Avenue northbound. Before you reach Herman Leirer Rd, take a right turn onto Nash Rd. Drive on Nash Rd for about 3 miles, at which point you will reach a parking area on the right.

It is less of a parking lot and more of a pull-off. Make sure to park in a way that is considerate to other people.

Hiking Guide: Mount Alice, Alaska

Mount Alice Trail Guide

Once you have parked, direct your attention towards the opposite side of the road where you will notice a small gap in the bushes and trees. Safely cross the road and enter through the brush, where you will make a quick climb.

The trail soon widens considerably, taking the form of a steep path aimed directly up the mountain.


For people who aren’t used to Alaska’s incredibly steep hiking, this first section may serve as a test for how the rest of the hike will go. The first mile takes you through a dense forest of Sitka spruce and hemlock trees, rarely letting up in its steep grade.

hiking through the trees in seward, alaska

This goes for the entire trail, but it is important to watch out for wildlife. Bears and moose frequent the area.

As you climb through the trees, pockets of sky will poke through the hemlocks, where you’ll catch your first views of the Mount Alice summit since hitting the trail. It’s always tempting (and usually warranted) to stop for a picture at every point of beauty.

Just a little ways ahead, however, the views get even better.

a view of mount alice through the trees
Mount Alice poking through the trees.
seeing mount alice through the trees


The trail will pop you out onto a relatively level area with knee-height ferns and tall grasses. The urge to frolick is not one you should be ashamed of.

best hikes in seward, alaska


There is a little spur trail that leads to the left as you hike into this open field. Take this path for a good place to stop and rest as well as some great views looking back west towards the city of Seward. Backtrack to hop back on the main trail.

seward alaska hikes
Looking west towards Seward.

Be mindful of the weather conditions and pack lightweight rain gear if you’re hiking after rainfall. You clothes can get very wet during your adventure through the tall grass.

Continue hiking east through the tall grass. This area is pretty overgrown at times. After a good rain, walking through this grass can leave your pants soaked.

seward, alaska hiking
Heading east through the field. The southern ‘spine’ feature that we will be walking on is visible directly in front of us.
tallest mountain in seward, alaska

Eventually you will reach a point where two different paths are available: one that continues east and one that takes a hard right to the south. Take the trail to the right in order to head up towards the top of Mount Alice’s southern ridge.


The trail to the right will send you through some alder trees, weaving in and out as you climb towards the ridgeline. As you climb upwards through those patches of alders, the view of the bay below becomes grander.

view of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska


As a word of caution, this area is where we have encountered a moose in the past. If you’re not paying close attention, a moose can take you by surprise as it stands behind the alder trees (as it did for us).


Another fork will appear in the trail, with one trail heading up an incline to the hiker’s left, and another continuing forward. Take the left trail to continue climbing towards the ridge. The other trail doesn’t actually lead anywhere, but save your energy by not mistakenly taking a longer route.


At this phase, when you encounter another fork, take the left trail. The other false trail does not lead anywhere and you will need to double back.

After a little while, you will reach the alpine tundra. With no barriers to stop your vision, the whole of Resurrection Bay is visible below.

On a clear day, it truly feels like you can see forever. If you want panoramic views of the entire city of Seward and miles of coastline, this is one of the best places to get them.

Alpine tundra in Seward
Alpine tundra.
hiking up the southern spine of mount alice
Hiking up the southern spine.
amazing rock formations on a seward hike
There are some really cool rock formations in this area.
hiking views in seward, alaska


The trail continues heading east along the ridge. At this point, you are about halfway to the best and most dramatic lookout point this trail offers. Hiking another 1.3 miles will land you at the “main” lookout point, which is where the AllTrails track will take you. 

hiking mount alice in seward
mount alice hike
engulfed in clouds on the mount alice hike
We were completely engulfed in a cloud at one point.

As the trail climbs the southern ridge, the steep dropoff to the left of the trail will get larger and larger. It’s always fun to walk to the edge and look into the glacial valley below.


At the base of the Mount Alice peak, there is a small glacier that once filled in this valley, a remnant of the receding Godwin Glacier. It will soon disappear entirely, with only the shape of the mountain to serve as a reminder of what once was.

mount alice shrouded in clouds
Mount Alice shrouded in clouds.

If you look out towards the Gulf of Alaska, you may notice a group of blue buildings that are sitting on the southern side of the mountain. This is the Spring Correctional Center.

The Spring Correctional Center is a maximum-security prison for men that can house up to 500 inmates. You can also spot Seward’s dry dock on the coast.

resurrection bay and spring correctional center in seward
Resurrection Bay and the Spring Correctional Center.

The steepness will occasionally let up and offer a brief break from the constant climb, but not for long at all. It’s usually at this point on the trail that I realize how I could be in better shape.


You may encounter marmots in the area. Give them space.

This alpine tundra biome is an ideal area for marmots to hang out. I think I’ve seen or heard one every time I’ve hiked this trail.

If you hear a high-pitched squeal that almost sounds like a whistle, chances are that it’s a marmot responding to your presence in their area. Marmots can be feisty little dudes, so make sure to give them plenty of space if you happen to cross paths with one. 

stunning views on mount alice hike
mount alice in the clouds


Around 2.3 miles into the hike, make a turn to the right to reach the proper Lookout Point. This is the point that the AllTrails track will take you.

Take the 0.2 mile detour to reach a point that is slightly more elevated but offers greater views to the southeast towards a wide convergence of glacial valleys.

The extra elevation and mileage is worth it. You won’t get a view of the actual Godwin Glacier from this point, however.


If you have the stamina to trek up to the ridge, you will be rewarded with the best views of Godwin Glacier.

lookout point in seward, alaska
Lookout Point is located on the spine feature on the left of the photo. The actual point is just slightly out of frame.

If all you want from this trail is a good view of the bay and to get intimate with the Kenai Mountains, feel free to turn around and head back at any point.

However, if you still have much more energy in the reserves, trekking on towards the summit ridge will provide incredible views of Godwin Glacier. 

Don’t bother taking the short detour to Lookout Point if you’re planning to reach the summit ridge. You will get the same views and even better ones from the ridge than you will at Lookout Point.


From the point where you would have turned right to reach Lookout Point, continue east for another 0.4 miles, heading straight up the steep slope towards the ridgeline.

As you crest the final hill, you will be greeted with expansive views of glacial terrain, including the rapidly receding Godwin Glacier.

This glacier once filled the entire valley, including the areas where the prison and dry dock are situated. It stretched all the way to the ocean.

Over 150 years ago, Godwin Glacier was calving into Resurrection Bay. This is a crazy thing to think about, especially once you see how far back into the mountains the toe of the glacier now rests.

view of Godwin Glacier from Mt. Alice summit
A view of Godwin Glacier from the summit of Mt. Alice, with the overlook point on the far right of the picture, down the ridge. Photo courtesy of the Chugach Mountain Institute.
Godwin Glacier from Mt. Alice
Godwin Glacier from the summit of Mt. Alice. Photo courtesy of Matt Lemke

For the true adventurer (who is also properly prepared) you can gain the true summit of Mount Alice from this ridge.

The Kenai Mountains aren’t known for having the best rock, and reaching the summit of Alice requires some sketchy climbing on brittle, loose shale.

But for those who are looking for a thrill, and who are armed with the right knowledge and skills, reaching the summit is a feat not many people, even locals, can say they’ve done.

This Summit Post article does a good job providing necessary information for climbers, so take a look if you’re interested.

Once you’ve had your fill at the top of the ridge, head back the way you came to reach your car.

last view of mount alice heading down trail
One last look at Mount Alice as we head down the trail.

What to Know Before Hiking Mount Alice Trail

  • Practice Leave No Trace principles – You should always leave the trail either as good or better than you found it. Whatever you pack in, make sure to pack out. Limit the impact we have on the landscape in every way you can.
  • Bring plenty of water and ample snacks – This is a strenuous trail that may take longer than you expect. Come prepared with more than enough water and extra snacks. Make sure your hiking partner does the same.
  • Always let someone know where you will be when heading into the mountains – Even on fairly popular trails, it is generally a good idea to let someone who isn’t part of the hiking party know where you will be. If something happens on the trail that prevents you from returning, that person will be able to help start rescue efforts.
  • Be mindful of/respect the wildlife – This is wild land (for the most part). We are entering the domain of a variety of animals, all of which deserve our respect. Let the wildlife know you are there by making plenty of noise. Talking in a normal tone with the occasional “Hey, Bear!” shout will do the trick.
  • Never take on more than you can handle – Climbing mountains comes with inherent danger. When planning a trip and/or actually traveling on the mountain, be honest and realistic with what your party can handle. The last thing you need is a miserable experience on a beautiful mountain.

More Great Hikes Near Seward Alaska

For more information, tips and insights about the stunning hiking trails near Seward, AK, check out the following four in-depth guides.

hiking mt alice in seward, alaska
best hikes in seward, alaska
your guide to hiking up mt. alice in seward, ak

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    1. That’s what we love to hear, Rick! So glad you enjoyed your travels. We are planning to head up to Seward this summer (2nd summer in a row) to enjoy that incredible beauty…can’t wait!

      Hope you can make it up there as well in the future.

  1. Would you recommend Mount Alice or Harding Icefield? We will have one day at the beginning of July to hike in Seward. Thanks! Great posts!

    1. I’m so sorry, Tanya! Not sure how this comment slipped through the cracks.
      We honestly don’t know too much about Harding Icefield, so it’s hard to say…but I think it is safe to say that Harding is going to be a bit more of an extreme experience.
      We just know you will NOT be disappointed with Mt Alice! Happy travels.

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