Tony Knowles Coastal Trail In Alaska

Here is everything you need to know about the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Alaska
  • Length: 11 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Anchorage Parks and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, located in Anchorage, Alaska, is a popular recreational trail that stretches approximately 11 miles along the city’s coastline. Named after Tony Knowles, the former governor of Alaska, the trail holds significant historical importance. It was initially established in the late 1970s as a way to provide residents and visitors with a scenic route for walking, jogging, and biking while showcasing the natural beauty of the area.

The trail follows the path of the historic Alaska Railroad, which played a crucial role in the development of Anchorage. The railroad was constructed in the early 20th century to connect Anchorage with other parts of the state, facilitating transportation of goods and people. As the city grew, the railroad became less essential, and the tracks were eventually removed. However, the trail still retains remnants of this historical transportation system, including old railroad bridges and trestles, which add to its charm and character.

Over the years, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail has undergone several improvements and expansions. In the 1990s, the trail was extended to include Kincaid Park, a large municipal park known for its diverse wildlife and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. This expansion further enhanced the trail’s appeal and provided users with even more opportunities to explore the natural wonders of Anchorage.

Today, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving its history and promoting outdoor recreation. It serves as a popular destination for both locals and tourists, offering a unique blend of historical significance and breathtaking scenery. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or an invigorating bike ride, the trail provides an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to connect with Anchorage’s past while enjoying the beauty of its present.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Westchester Lagoon
2. Elderberry Park
3. Point Woronzof Park
4. Earthquake Park
5. Lyn Ary Park
6. Coastal Trail Overlook
7. Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area
8. Valley of the Moon Park
9. Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park
10. Delaney Park Strip
11. Ship Creek Trailhead
12. Downtown Anchorage

Transportation Available

1. Anchorage People Mover – Public bus service covering various routes in Anchorage.
2. Anchorage Trolley Tours – Sightseeing tours on a charming trolley.
3. Anchorage Taxi Cab – Local taxi service for convenient transportation.
4. Anchorage Pedicabs – Eco-friendly pedicabs for short trips around the area.
5. Anchorage Segway Tours – Guided tours on Segways for a unique experience.
6. Anchorage Scooter Rentals – Rent scooters to explore the trail and surrounding areas.
7. Anchorage Bike Rentals – Rent bicycles for a leisurely ride along the coastal trail.
8. Anchorage Car Rentals – Various car rental agencies available for independent travel.
9. Anchorage Uber/Lyft – Ride-hailing services for quick and convenient transportation.
10. Anchorage Water Taxi – Water taxi service for scenic trips along the coast.


The amenities available at the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage, Alaska include:

1. Restrooms: There are public restrooms available at various points along the trail, including at the trailhead near the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Chalet.

2. Parking: There are several parking areas available for trail users. These include the trailhead parking lot near the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Chalet, as well as parking areas at Westchester Lagoon, Earthquake Park, and Point Woronzof.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not permitted directly on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, there are nearby campgrounds available for those interested in camping. Kincaid Park, located near the trail, offers camping facilities.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables and benches for convenience.

5. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the local flora, fauna, and history of the area. These signs offer educational opportunities for trail users.

6. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is known for its wildlife sightings, particularly for spotting moose. There are designated areas along the trail where visitors can stop and observe wildlife in their natural habitat.

7. Bike Rentals: Bike rentals are available near the trailhead, allowing visitors to explore the trail on two wheels. This is a popular option for those who prefer cycling over walking or running.

8. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at various points along the trail, providing a convenient source of hydration for trail users.

9. Benches and Seating Areas: The trail features numerous benches and seating areas where visitors can rest, relax, and take in the scenic views.

10. Dog-Friendly: The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a walk or run. However, dogs must be kept on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change, so it is always a good idea to check for any updates or specific details before visiting the trail.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Captain Cook – Upscale hotel offering luxurious accommodations in downtown Anchorage.
2. The Voyager Inn – Cozy inn located in the heart of downtown Anchorage, perfect for budget travelers.
3. Westmark Anchorage Hotel – Modern hotel with comfortable rooms and convenient access to downtown attractions.
4. Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzaria – Popular local eatery serving delicious pizzas and craft beers.
5. Snow City Cafe – Quaint cafe known for its hearty breakfast options and friendly atmosphere.
6. Sourdough Mining Company – Rustic restaurant offering Alaskan cuisine and a lively atmosphere.
7. Anchorage Regional Hospital – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care and specialized services.
8. Anchorage Fire Department – Local fire station offering emergency response services.
9. Anchorage Police Department – Law enforcement agency ensuring public safety in the area.
10. Providence Alaska Medical Center – Major hospital equipped with advanced medical facilities and services.

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Difficulty Notes

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage, Alaska offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. Spanning approximately 11 miles, the trail showcases stunning views of the Cook Inlet, the Chugach Mountains, and the city skyline. While the trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, there are some sections with slight inclines and uneven terrain. Additionally, the trail can be exposed to the elements, including strong winds and changing weather conditions, which can add to the challenge. Overall, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail provides a rewarding outdoor experience suitable for individuals of various fitness levels.

Features And Attractions

1. Westchester Lagoon: A popular starting point for the trail, this scenic lagoon offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and is a great spot for birdwatching.

2. Earthquake Park: Located near the western end of the trail, this park commemorates the 1964 earthquake that devastated Anchorage. It offers interpretive signs, scenic overlooks, and a chance to learn about the earthquake’s impact on the area.

3. Point Woronzof: This viewpoint provides stunning panoramic views of the Cook Inlet, the Alaska Range, and the Chugach Mountains. It’s a great spot for watching the sunset or spotting wildlife, including beluga whales.

4. Kincaid Park: Situated along the trail, this expansive park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. It features beautiful forests, coastal bluffs, and even a small lake.

5. Coastal Wildlife Refuge: As you continue along the trail, you’ll pass through the Coastal Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for a variety of bird species, including bald eagles, sandhill cranes, and migratory waterfowl.

6. Elderberry Park: Located near downtown Anchorage, this park offers a picturesque setting with views of the Cook Inlet and the city skyline. It’s a great place to relax, have a picnic, or watch the seaplanes take off and land.

7. Ship Creek: This historic site was once a bustling hub for the city’s early settlers and gold miners. Today, it’s a popular fishing spot, and you might even catch a glimpse of salmon swimming upstream during the summer months.

8. Resolution Park: Situated near the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail’s endpoint, this park features the Captain Cook Monument, which commemorates the famous explorer’s visit to the area in 1778. It offers stunning views of the inlet and the surrounding mountains.

9. Anchorage Museum: While not directly on the trail, the Anchorage Museum is worth a visit if you’re interested in learning about the history, culture, and art of Alaska. It’s located near the trail’s endpoint and offers a fascinating glimpse into the state’s past.

10. Flattop Mountain: Although not directly accessible from the trail, Flattop Mountain is a popular hiking destination located near the trail’s endpoint. It offers breathtaking views of Anchorage, the surrounding mountains, and even Denali on a clear day.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and skaters must yield to pedestrians.
4. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
5. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
6. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
7. No camping or overnight stays are permitted along the trail.
8. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
9. Observe seasonal restrictions, such as closures during moose calving season.
10. Do not litter and help keep the trail clean.
11. Follow all posted signs and regulations.
12. Use caution during winter months when the trail may be icy or slippery.
13. Be aware of other trail users and maintain a safe distance while passing.
14. Do not disturb or damage any structures or landmarks along the trail.
15. Use the trail at your own risk and be mindful of your own safety.

Seasonal Information

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage, Alaska, offers breathtaking views and a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the type of experience you are seeking. However, the summer months from June to August are generally considered the peak season due to the pleasant weather and extended daylight hours. During this time, the trail is bustling with hikers, bikers, and joggers, and you can enjoy the vibrant greenery, blooming wildflowers, and stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains and coastline.

If you prefer a quieter and more serene experience, visiting the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall can be equally rewarding. In spring, the trail comes alive with the arrival of migratory birds, and you can witness the awakening of nature after a long winter. Fall, on the other hand, offers a stunning display of vibrant autumn colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventures.

It is important to note that the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail has some seasonal closures and restrictions. During the winter months, from November to April, certain sections of the trail may be closed or inaccessible due to heavy snowfall and icy conditions. However, if you are an avid winter sports enthusiast, this can be an excellent time to visit as the trail transforms into a winter wonderland, perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking.

Additionally, it is worth checking for any temporary closures or restrictions due to maintenance or wildlife activity. The trail passes through various habitats, including areas frequented by moose, bears, and other wildlife. Occasionally, sections of the trail may be closed to ensure the safety of both visitors and the animals.

Overall, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail offers a unique experience throughout the year, each season showcasing its own beauty and charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant energy of summer, the tranquility of spring and fall, or the snowy landscapes of winter, there is always a perfect time to explore this stunning trail in Anchorage.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trailhead: The trail can be accessed by wheelchair users at designated trailheads with accessible parking and ramps.
2. Paved Path: The trail offers a paved surface, allowing wheelchair users to navigate easily.
3. Wide Path: The trail provides ample width, accommodating wheelchair users and allowing for easy passing.
4. Gentle Slopes: The trail features gradual inclines and declines, ensuring a smooth and manageable experience for wheelchair users.
5. Rest Areas: The trail offers designated rest areas with benches or seating for individuals who may need to take breaks.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
7. Braille Signage: Some trail information signs are provided in Braille, ensuring accessibility for visually impaired individuals.
8. Audio Guides: Audio guides or smartphone apps may be available, providing audio descriptions and information about the trail for individuals with visual impairments.
9. Service Animal Friendly: The trail welcomes service animals, allowing individuals with disabilities to have their assistance animals accompany them.
10. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Slippery sections during wet weather – Exercise caution on the trail during rainy conditions due to slippery surfaces.
2. Wildlife encounters – Be aware of potential encounters with moose, bears, and other wildlife along the trail.
3. Limited lighting in some areas – Certain sections of the trail may have limited lighting, so take precautions if walking or biking at night.
4. Uneven terrain – Watch out for uneven surfaces and tree roots along the trail to avoid tripping or falling.
5. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic – Be mindful of other trail users, especially during peak hours, to prevent accidents or collisions.
6. Trail closures or detours – Stay updated on any temporary closures or detours due to maintenance or construction work.
7. Extreme weather conditions – Prepare for changing weather conditions, including strong winds, rain, or snow, which can affect trail conditions.
8. Limited restroom facilities – Plan accordingly as restroom facilities may be limited along the trail.
9. No potable water sources – Bring your own water as there may not be any potable water sources available.
10. Limited cell phone reception – Keep in mind that cell phone reception may be limited in certain areas, so plan accordingly for emergencies.

Conservation Notes

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, located in Anchorage, Alaska, is considered to have a favorable conservation status. The trail is well-maintained and managed by the Municipality of Anchorage, ensuring its preservation and protection. The conservation efforts focus on maintaining the natural integrity of the trail and its surrounding environment.

The trail passes through diverse ecosystems, including coastal forests, wetlands, and scenic viewpoints, which are carefully monitored to prevent any degradation or disturbance. The Municipality of Anchorage has implemented measures to control invasive species and prevent habitat destruction along the trail. This includes regular monitoring and removal of non-native plants and animals that could potentially harm the native flora and fauna.

Furthermore, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is designed to minimize human impact on the environment. The trail is constructed using sustainable materials and techniques that reduce erosion and disturbance to the surrounding ecosystems. Adequate signage and educational materials are also provided to raise awareness among trail users about the importance of conservation and responsible outdoor practices.

Overall, the conservation status of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is considered to be in good standing. The efforts put forth by the Municipality of Anchorage ensure the preservation of the trail’s natural beauty and ecological balance, allowing visitors to enjoy the trail while minimizing their impact on the environment.

Leave a Comment