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Rabbit Lake, Rabbit Lake Alaska, Rabbit Anchorage, Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska, Chugach State Park

The Rabbit Lakes Hike In Anchorage, Alaska

The Rabbit Lakes Hike In Anchorage, Alaska was originally published in May 2020

The Rabbit Lake hike is one of the most scenic treks you can take to an alpine and still not leave the city of Anchorage. Only a 20-minute drive from midtown, the Rabbit Lake Trail is a convenient and fairly easy hike that you can even squeeze in after work, or take your time and make a full day trip of.

There are two main routes that reach Rabbit Lake, the easier from Upper Canyon Road off DeArmoun, and the longer and steeper route that starts from the McHugh Creek Trailhead, located just south of Anchorage on the Turnagain Arm. You can hike to Rabbit Lake as an out and back hike from either trailhead or a one way through hike.

In this post, I’ll focus on the out and back route from Upper Canyon Road, but will include info on the McHugh Creek side as well.

Looking for more ideas? Check out the 16 best day hikes near Anchorage

Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska
Upper Canyon Road just before the Rabbit Lakes Trailhead (looking back toward Anchorage)

The Rabbit Lake Hike

The Rabbit Lake Hike From The Rabbit Lake Trailhead

  • Distance: 4.4 miles, one way (8.8 return)
  • Elevation gain: 1,200 feet

The Rabbit Lake Trail is a well-beaten path that follows an old roadbed that begins meandering through spruce and alder trees as well as shrubbery. Eventually, the vegetation lowers and you’ll have open views of the entire valley. Note that this section can be a boggy muddy mess in the spring, or after rains.

Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska
Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska

The last section of the hike will bring you up a small rolling hill from which you’ll get your first glimpses of Rabbit Lake.

Starting to plan your trip to Alaska? Read the Ultimate Alaska Travel Guide

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The McHugh Creek Route To Rabbit Lake

  • Distance: 6.4 miles one way (12.8 return)
  • Elevation gain: 2,900 feet

From the McHugh Creek Trailhead, the path will switchback between cottonwood trees until you hit the treeline where the trail continues along past alders and grasses.

MchHugh Lake, McHugh Lake Anchorage, McHugh Lake Alaska, Rabbit Lake, Rabbit Lake Alaska, Rabbit Anchorage, Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska
McHugh Lake

When you reach the upper valley it becomes more alpine with better views as you continue along the northern edge of McHugh Creek to arrive to McHugh Lake. Rabbit Lake is just up a small knoll beyond McHugh Lake.

Staying in Anchorage? Check out my Anchorage Travel Guide and start planning

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The Rabbit Lake Traverse

  • Distance: 10.8 miles, one way
  • Elevation gain: 1,200 feet from Rabbit Lake Trailhead, 2,900 feet from McHugh Creek Trailhead

For those planning to visit Rabbit Lakes while doing the Rabbit Lake Traverse, see the notes about either side above. The traverse is easier starting from the Rabbit Lake Trailhead and finishing at the McHugh Creek Trailhead. If you’re up for a challenge though, take on the Rabbit Lake Traverse in reverse.

Looking for another stunning hike in Anchorage? Try the Williwaw Lakes hike

Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska
Just past the Rabbit Lake Trailhead

How To Get To Upper Canyon Road Trailhead

From the New Seward Highway, take the DeArmoun exit and continue east toward the mountains. Keep following DeArmoun, as it will eventually turn into Canyon Road and then Upper Canyon Road. The final section of the road is pretty rough so drive carefully. There is a lot at the end, but if you try to go on a weekend in the summer get there early as it’s known to fill up (people will then begin parking on the side of the road). Parking is free.

Heading south of Anchorage? Check out my GirdwoodSeward & Homer Travel Guides

How To Get To McHugh Creek Trailhead

Getting to McHugh Creek Trailhead is simple. Take the New Seward Highway out of Anchorage. The parking lot is located at mile 111 of the Seward Highway and will be on your left-hand side. The lot is well signposted from the highway.

Trying to travel Alaska without breaking the bank? Check out my budget travel in Alaska guide

Rabbit Lake, Rabbit Lake Alaska, Rabbit Anchorage, Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska

Camping At Rabbit Lake

Camping is allowed at Rabbit Lake. Note that open campfires are not allowed, however you can bring portable camp stoves.

Looking for another gorgeous hike outside of Anchorage? Try out Reed Lakes in Hatcher Pass

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What To Pack

This is bear country so I would recommend carrying bear spray on you, especially if you’re not traveling in a larger group. Aside from that a daypack, plenty of water, and snacks are advisable. Hiking boots are a good call, but trail runners or trainers should be fine- just note that the trail can get mucky in areas.

Planning to head out on an Alaskan road trip? Check out my ultimate Alaska road trip for 1 week to 1 month

Rabbit Lake, Rabbit Lake Alaska, Rabbit Anchorage, Rabbit Lake Trail, Alaska


The Rabbit Lakes Hike is ranked as moderate in difficulty due to the length, but there aren’t any special hazards to the trail to be aware of. As mentioned in the earlier section, bear sightings are not unheard of, moose are quite common too.

Need Travel Insurance for Alaska?

Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice, or over at World Nomads.

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