Virgin Creek Falls, pictured here, is one of a few options for waterfall hikes near Anchorage in southcentral Alaska. Photo courtesy Paxson Woelber.

These waterfall hikes in southcentral Alaska are great any time of year, but try them in early summer while snow is melting to see the water at peak flow.

Thunderbird Falls

These 200-foot falls are impressive to view and easy to access. Head about 30 minutes north of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway past Eagle River to the trailhead., the trail starts with a climb of about 100 feet elevation gain, then levels out for a one-mile walk to a viewing platform. The trail continues to the base of the falls for those seeking more up-close adventure. 

Virgin Creek Falls

Head south from Anchorage to Girdwood for this hike. The half-mile trail starts in a neighborhood and passes through lush forest to the small cascade. Continue past the falls to reach the top of Max’s Mountain. 

McHugh Creek Falls

Just south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway is the McHugh Creek Day Use Area. There is plenty of parking here and excellent views of Turnagain Arm. The 20-foot waterfall is a short walk from the parking area. For a full day hike, walk the 12.5-mile out-and-back trail that follows the creek to get to McHugh Lake. Hikes in Chugach State Park require a day-use pass for the park.

Serenity Falls

Accessing these falls is an all-day journey. It’s a 13-mile trek along the Eklutna Lakeside Trail to views of these falls that twist hundreds of feet down a mountain face. Visitors can opt to stay overnight at the Serenity Falls public use hut. 

Juneau Creek Falls

This spectacular waterfall is on the Kenai Peninsula near Cooper Landing on the Sterling Highway. The trail is about 8 miles out and back. It’s a long hike with some ups and downs but there isn’t much elevation gain. It’s a family friendly excursion.

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