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Alaska Hiking Safety, Etiquette and Enjoyment Tips

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When it comes to outdoor beauty accessible in several different ways, it's hard to beat the great state of Alaska. From numerous boating tours and other vehicle-related excursions to several forms of hiking and other outdoor adventures, there are a huge range of ways you can enjoy this amazing state.

At Pybus Point Lodge, we're here to facilitate all of them. While many of our primary programs include boat transportation, such as our guided fishing tours and other types, many of the programs included in our all-inclusive family vacation package will also involve hiking or other boots-on-the-ground pursuits, such as day trips to beautiful Alaska landmarks and more. For those planning to do some hiking while visiting us here in Alaska, here are some basic tips on hiking safety, etiquette and enjoyment in our state.

Proper Equipment

Having the right gear is of paramount importance for any major hike. Here are some of the items to prioritize:

  • Proper shoes: Ensure you have a solid pair of walking or hiking shoes, not sandals or flip-flops. Your shoes should have proper support, and also be well-broken in if possible. And if you know you'll be hiking near streams or other water, make sure your shoes can handle water and wade through it.
  • Sturdy bag: If you'll be hiking for a while, having a sturdy backpack is of the utmost importance. Make sure to put any valuables in waterproof bags or containers, and also throw an extra pair of clothes in there as well, just in case. A rain coat is also a key item, as well as sunscreen for sunny days.
  • Wilderness First Aid Kit: Make sure you have any medicine or bandages you'll need to bring along, and that they're organized in an easy-to-access case within your bag.
  • Layers: Alaska can get cold in a hurry, so it's important to have proper layers that you can add or remove depending on the weather.
  • Water: Always make sure you have lots of water with you at all times, and always bring some extra. This is especially crucial in Alaska during the summer months, when heat can really sap your strength.
  • Map and/or navigation equipment: Make sure to have a map of the area with you in a durable case, and a compass in case your map is damaged or lost. If hiking with a group, it's generally best to stick together in case one of you gets injured or something else goes wrong.

Hiking Etiquette

When hiking in Alaska, chances are you'll be sharing your trails with other hikers. It's important to observe some proper pieces of etiquette here, including:

  • Don't cut switchbacks: Switchbacks are an important part of trails, as they make descending much safer. Always use switchbacks whenever possible, instead of trying to cut across the trail's natural progression. Cutting may risk erosion of the trail.
  • Don't litter: This one is rather self-explanatory, but always make sure you pack out all your garbage or leftover food/snacks when hiking in Alaska. If you brought water, make sure to pour out any extra when done.
  • Uphill hikers get right of way: Because they're working harder, uphill hikers always get to set the pace and move at their own speed. Try and help them by moving off the trail if you're on the way down, and don't expect to pass them until they've had a chance to rest themselves.
  • Limit noise pollution: While no one is saying you have to be silent when hiking, you should always try to limit noise pollution as much as possible. This means no loud music or talking on the phone unless it's an emergency, and also keeping your cell phones off so they don't distract you from enjoying your surroundings.

Wildlife Safety and Respect

Alaska is also home to some of the world's most gorgeous wildlife, but also a few types that will be dangerous if they are not properly respected. The two most important animals to be aware of here:

  • Bears: If you happen to encounter a bear while hiking, give it lots of space and remain calm. If the bear has not seen you, move slowly away without taking your eyes off the bear. If it has seen you, face it, stand your ground and talk to it normally -- you want it to recognize that you're human. If you can make yourself larger by standing near others, do so. It is very unlikely that you will be attacked, but if you are, do not run, as this will trigger the animal's predatory instincts. But because bears will typically not attack unless they are provoked, this is an extremely rare occurrence.
  • Moose: Like bears, moose almost never are aggressive unless they're provoked. However, if a moose does happen to charge you, unlike a bear, you should run -- try to get behind a tree or any kind of other sturdy object that will block the moose's way, then wait until it gets bored and walks away.

Have Fun!

While all of the above are important precautions to be aware of, it's important to realize that safety emergencies while hiking in Alaska are extremely rare -- especially during our programs, where you'll typically have one of our expert guides with you at all times. As such, try not to worry too much about these areas, while maximizing your fun!

From taking in all the incredible scenery and wildlife to learning cool facts from your guide, all of these can add to your overall enjoyment and make sure you leave Alaska having had a memorable and fulfilling experience.

For more on how to observe proper safety and etiquette while hiking in Alaska, or to learn about any of our Alaskan fishing trips, wildlife tours or other programs, speak to the team at Pybus Point Lodge today.

Alaska Packing List PDF


Download, share, or print out our PDF Packaging list to make sure you bring all the gear you need for your Alaska vacation!


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Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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