Caines Head Trail

MODERATE 26 reviews

Caines Head Trail is a 14 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seward, Alaska that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
14.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4796 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

paddle sports

walking

beach

forest

views

wildlife

SAFETY NOTE: It is important to time your trip around the tides. The three mile stretch of beach between Tonsina Point and North Beach can be hiked only during a tide of +3 or lower. Leave the trail head at two hours before a +3 tide to avoid becoming stranded along the way.

hiking
5 months ago

Starts out real easy, on pretty much a road that a jeep could do without a problem. You'll pass by a few really amazing areas where it might be fun to camp just to listen to the ocean all night long on a cliff bluff underneath some of those big tall beautiful green mossy trees. Then you'll gently descend down some switchbacks as you get closer to the beach, cross over a big bridge and pass on through the camping area. Since it is the winter, I helped myself to a little bit of chopped wood and warmed myself in the fire, well that is, after I returned from walking along the beach. I made a mistake as I timed it so that I would be walking through right as the tide was the lowest, but I'm so slow that it was maybe 45 minutes after the lowest point. So what you should do is try to hit it as the tide is NOT at it's lowest but maybe halfway there, then it will be getting better as you go. So as it was, I was scared about getting trapped like a rat on the other side, and it was already scary in some points with the treacherous smooth slippery icy rocks, it was like the land was trying to push me into the cold icy ocean at certain points. So I made it about 2 miles along the beach before turning back around, my only friend being a harbor seal who was following me along the coast, probably waiting for me to get swept into the ocean so that he could have an easy meal. The million long thin grey rocks are a pain in the butt to walk on top off too. But anyway, it was beautiful because it was snowing the whole time, a little cloudy but still had nice views, plus on the way back I found a big angry noisy ferret in the tree. Someone told me it was a marten when they saw the picture. Anyway, maybe I'll do the entire trail and update this review, but since I did most of it, that's enough for a review. Pretty easy trail, blahblahblah about the tides, and you can even have yourself a nice little rest at the camp area with a bench. Plus they're building a really nice cabin so maybe you can do that too, but I'm sure that people will always have it rented once it's available because people just love cabins.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. We got lucky with the tide, but make sure you check it. We ran into people that had to spend the night without gear because they got stuck. Also, the way back on the rocks can be kind of brutal, but it's work it. You can cut a good chunk of the beach walking out, and risk of getting stuck, if you do a kayak tour.

9 months ago

Beautiful and accessible. Great trail

backpacking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

This was a very enjoyable backpacking trip with a group of ladies! Timing the beach walk is the key. You have to hit the tide just right so you are not stuck up against the rocky cliffs. We hiked out to the first camp corundum and stayed the night there. The next morning we climbed up to the old fort and down the other side to the beach on the other side. That beach was magical! While sitting on the beach and resting our legs we were treated to whales breaching and playing in the water right in front of us! We completed the loop (and getting lost at some point where the trail was grown over) and went back to camp for the night. The next day we timed the tides and hiked back. I would definitely do this hike again!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Great view at the top!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Beautiful! One of my favorites in Seward.

hiking
Monday, December 14, 2015

Great hike with lots of opportunity to enjoy gorgeous views along the way. I did this hike with my little dog back in July when the salmon were spawning and saw quite a few making their way upstream. Blueberries were just getting ripe and the trail had enough ups and downs to make it interesting yet not TOO challenging (although the first part, which is also the last part on the return trip, is a long slow decline/incline and not very "exciting" but don't give up!). Even if it's high tide hiking to Tonsina point and turning around is still worth it.

hiking
Thursday, July 30, 2015

We did this a couple times years back when we still lived in AK. You do have to time your trip so that you pass the rocky shoreline at low tide. Note that the low must be 2' or less or you are going to get wet. There is a pretty good climb up to the "Head" where the old bunkers are. From there you can hike another mile or so down to the cove on the backside of Cain's Hd. If you do get stuck out there you can call either by cell ph if you have service or vhf radio to a water taxi back in Seward. We discovered that on our first trip :0

paddle sports
Tuesday, July 07, 2015

There are a few ways to do this trail. Because part of it is coastal and is submerged during high tide, you can either hike, spend the night in a tent, and then return next low tide, or you can kayak from Lowell Point to Caine's Head and pick up the trail there. The end of the trail is at the remains of a WWII fun battery, Fort McGilvray.

hiking
Monday, March 17, 2014

Did this hike with my cousins two springs ago - it was so fun. We didn't time it perfectly so that we ended up at the end, however, we all made a pact to finish it someday. It started raining on us half way through. Plan accordingly - plan to backpack and stay the night - bring the right gear - and follow the tidal warning! Even if we didn't "finish" it like we wanted, it had the most amazing views ever and was a fun day.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The hike to Caines Head is a beautiful woodland/waterland interface full of wildlife and beautiful vistas. I have hiked and paddled to the park. To get there you drive south from Seward and park in a trailhead parkinglot near Lowell Point. The trailhead begins right there out of the parkinglot and winds through the woods for a few miles.
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The tricky part of the trail is the beach zone where the trail follows along the rocky seashore. Make sure to check a tide chart for the crossing about an hour into your hike. http://www.tides4fishing.com/us/southcentral-alaska/seward. Much of the trail can avoid the beach but there is one spot where elevation forces you out on to the beach.
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Once when the tides were not lining up at a reasonable time my wife and I decided to kayak out the five miles to the camp area. Our friends walked it. The tides were extreme low at 5am and small low a 5pm. So they made it out at a reasonable time (being summer and lots of light) but the next morning they did not get up early enough to make the morning tide. We all left the camp site around 11am and my wife and I paddled out in the fog and two foot swells. Our friends got caught at the water crossing and had to spend the day on the shore waiting for the low tide. I finally heard from them that they made it back to Anchorage at 9pm. CHECK THE TIDES before hiking this trail.

The World War II batteries are really neat to explore and photograph.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Great trail, well maintained with lots of variation and terrain. There are a few different camping sites and places of interest on this trail including an old military site. You must cross a long section at low tide so make sure to plan accordingly. We typically do this one in the summer from late May to July. Highly recommend this one for overnight trips!

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

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8 months ago

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9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

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10 months ago

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

backpacking
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

hiking
Wednesday, June 08, 2016

hiking
Saturday, May 24, 2014