While Kincaid Park is best-known for its fantastic cross country skiing in the wintertime, it also serves as a fantastic summer playground for Anchorage residents.
Kincaid Park began life as a nuclear missile site in the Cold War. After being decommissioned, the land was given to the city of Anchorage, and some of the buildings were repurposed for public use. Today, you can still spot some of the old bunkers, but most importantly: Kincaid is home to some of Anchorage's best in-town trails.
While Kincaid is best known as a wintertime nordic skiing destination, in the summer, the park transforms into a warm weather adventure playground that's easily accessible to the city's 300,000 residents. In the summer, the trail system here serves mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, road cyclists, gravel bikers, dog walkers, and more!
Despite being located in the Anchorage city limits, this 1,516-acre swath of land offers some of the best opportunities for spotting Alaskan wildlife. On any day of the year, you're likely to see a massive moose trot out of the dense undergrowth. During the warm weather of spring, summer, and early fall, black bears browse on the berry bushes growing throughout the park. You can also spot endless birds, deer, and smaller wildlife.
As you bike or hike, be sure to exercise caution to avoid a confrontation with a bear or, worse: a moose. Make noise, give animals distance, and carry bear spray. If a moose is blocking your way, you might need to turn around.
The trail system in Kincaid Park is an absolute maze of interconnected trails. You'll find some rooty, gnarled old-school singletrack trails, many of which are unmarked. However, new school machine-built mountain bike trails have been added to the trail network in the last decade, making for fantastic up-and-down cross-country pedaling on dark black dirt. Off of the main cross-country loops, you'll find optional flow trail descents. These flow trails provide riotous ripping with big berms and entertaining jumps! The hills here are all short, so the descents are over quickly, but over the course of a 15-mile ride, you can enjoy a whole slew of these short, flowy downhills.
Hikers and trail runners are welcome to use the singletrack mountain bike trails, but many people choose to explore the summer cross-country ski trails instead. Sticking to the wider trails provides better sight lines to avoid moose and bear encounters.
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs from downtown Anchorage into Kincaid Park, providing non-motorized access for cyclists looking to visit the park. It can also be used to complete a 32-mile bike path loop around Anchorage known as "The Moose."
Finally, one must-visit spot in Kincaid for all visitors is Kincaid Beach. On Kincaid Beach, you can easily access the cold water of the bay on the sandy, rocky soil—much easier to walk on than the treacherous mud flats closer to downtown Anchorage. From this beautiful beach, you'll enjoy expansive views of Turnagain Arm and Knik Arm, the mountains ringing the water, and on a clear day—massive peaks in the distance.
Kincaid Park is an incredible resource for local residents and visitors alike. Begin your Kincaid adventure with one of the recommended routes found in this guidebook!