When we flew out of Lake Telaquana we were looking forward to a slow trip back home, complete with hiking and fishing and car camping. We wanted to hike in Denali but the weather forecast was straight rain for about a month (hah) so we thought we’d wait it out. We ended up spending a week in the Kenai Peninsula basking in some spectacular weather.

The Kenai Peninsula is excellent for hiking and fishing and camping and getting eaten alive by bugs.

One day we hiked Mt. Marathon and it was a pretty sweet hike that started [basically] in Seward. It is a prominent mountain seen from Seward and has a little history:

Mt. Marathon holds a marathon every 4th of July in Seward. Eight-hundred people participate in a 3-mile, round-trip foot race that takes them up Mt Marathon’s 3022 feet.  The ascent is covered in less than a mile. The fastest recorded time for the race is 43 minutes and 22 seconds. As you might imagine, a crazy race like this started as a barroom bet. Some locals bet the mountain couldn’t be tackled in one hour. That 4th of July in 1915, a small group of local men attempted to win the bet. The winner lost the bet when he crossed the finish line in 62 minutes.

Also, I am a catastrophic thinker, so if you are too then let this simmer in your mind if you’re in Seward:

In the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964, half the town of Seward was wiped away by the giant tsunami caused by the quake’s massive force.

I would recommend this hike if you’re in Seward and looking for a nice [strenuous] half-day activity – complete with fantastic views of Seward and Resurrection Bay.

Trip Information

via Alaska Hike Search

  • Round trip length: 3ish miles
  • Start elevation: 1,102 feet
  • End elevation: 4,124 feet
  • Total elevation gain: 3,022 feet (in 1.5 miles!)
  • Trailhead: 1st and Munroe in Seward, Alaska

The Hike

The beginning of the hike winds through a beautiful forest and quite quickly you emerge into the alpine zone.

Mt. Marathon Hike
Lots of UP.
Mt. Marathon Hike
It was pretty.

Unrelated to this hike, Dan grew a beard while we were at Lake Telaquana. It was the first time I’ve seen him with one:

Mt. Marathon Hike
Dan and his 30 day-old beard. Sadly it was shaved off soon after. RIP beard.

We reached the ridge and the winds were pretty dang strong. Onward!

The views at the top of Mt. Marathon were INCREDIBLE.

Mt. Marathon Hike
Pano from the summit.
Mt. Marathon Hike

We enjoyed the views for half an hour before making our way down the steep (race) trail. It was interesting to imagine racing down this – I’m guessing it would resemble an almost free fall, a barely contained run down the very loose, steep scree field. I wouldn’t really recommend it. It does indeed take longer to dirt ski/butt slide than if we had just gone the way we came up.

Mt. Marathon Hike
The last [easy] part of the hike – dang if most of the descent isn’t steep.



  1. Pingback: The Best Hike Near Anchorage, Alaska - Pioneer Ridge • Ashley Outside

  2. So you start at 1,102ft in elevation? Rez bay must be one of the few alpine bays in the world, with the majority being at sea level. Beautiful tho!!

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