Back when we lived in Washington, hiking was our absolute jam. It was how we stayed sane through busy op-tempo months. It’s how we escaped the city. We did manage to do some beautiful hikes in South Korea (remember when we hiked Podaeneungseon Ridge in Bukhansan National Park?) We didn’t hike as much as we liked though, and we knew we wanted to jump back in with a gusto here. So, we dove in and decided to try out Monument Creek Trail near Fairbanks, Alaska.
Hiking Monument Creek Trail in Fairbanks, Alaska
One thing that’s surprised me since arriving is just how big everything is. Alaska is big. Fairbanks is big – and, dare I say, even sprawling? There’s more than the Fairbanks “city” center; its borders are pretty far-reaching, and Monument Creek, though 45 minutes away, is actually still in Fairbanks’ limits.
Located by the Chena Hot Springs, it’s clear why Monument Creek Trail is a popular one among locals. It’s a flat, even, 3.5-mile loop that starts right by the entrance of the resort area, loops back and over the river, and all the way back around to the resort again. We were aiming for a mileage distance, rather than an elevation gain this time, and this was exactly the type of hike we were looking for. It’s an unassuming trail that’s beautiful, winding, and really more of a walk in the woods than anything else.
Monument Creek Trail with Kids
When we lived at JBLM, we learned early on that there’s a process to hiking with kids. As adults, we can sort of jump right in, but with kids, it’s better to work your way up, make it fun, and build slowly. Plus, we were just starting back up as a family, so we knew we wanted to start slowly.
Summer on Monument Creek Trail is glorious, and the kids had a fun time stopping to skip rocks in the river, let Danny drink, find wild blueberries along the trail, and marvel at the mountains in the distance. It’s one of those trails where you can walk, and walk, and walk, but it’s not challenging and, rather, just an enjoyable trip for all. Basically, it was the perfect way to kick off our Alaska hiking adventures.
Tips for Hiking Monument Creek Trail in Fairbanks, Alaska
Trail Length: AllTrails clocks this one at 3.5 miles, though we tracked it at right about 3 miles.
Level of Difficulty: Easy! This one is flat and doable for all skill levels. Our four-year-old did the whole thing on her own feet.
Cost: Free; park at the resort’s overflow lot or just outside the resort, and take the trail just past the bridge.
Dogs: Yes! Dogs are allowed on-leash.
Tips: Bring plenty of bug spray. We also carried two bear horns just in case, and we ensure the kids hike between us. I also recommend bringing a container for blueberries if you’re heading out during late summer!