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Seward/Homer, Alaska: Hiking Tonsina Creek + the Homer Spit located in Alaska's Halibut Capital

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Summary: Our third day in Alaska started out with an early hike on the Tonsina Creek Trail. This relatively flat and easy hike through a forest to Resurrection Bay is roughly 4.5 miles from the parking area and 3.4 miles from the trailhead. Afterwards, we took the 3.5 hour Kenai Peninsula drive to the town of Homer, Alaska, our next stop on our itinerary. The evening was spent on the famous Homer Spit, including a drink at the Salty Dawg Saloon (Est. 1897).

What Gear To Bring. Whenever hiking in Alaska, come prepared with your day pack stocked with bear spray, water, and snacks. Bear spray ($50), can be purchased in Seward's Ace hardware store. It does not really matter whether you hike a highly trafficked trail or not, bear danger is real no matter where you go. Also, when we traveled in June the weather can change quickly. Bring layers including rain jackets and/or ponchos, gloves, and knit caps.

Hike. The morning started out with an early hike on the Tonsina Creek Trail. This relatively flat and easy hike is roughly 4.5 miles from the parking area and 3.4 miles from the trailhead. This out and back trail is kid-friendly, with just a couple hilly sections. The trail starts in the forest, with the turn around point at the beach on Resurrection Bay.

The trail crosses streams and includes this pretty bridge. The salmon run here so be out on the look out for bears. Our hike was early in the morning when the fog had not yet burned off.

The beach at the turn-around point is gorgeous with mountain views across the Resurrection Bay.

The beach itself is peppered with flat rocks that are perfect for skipping along the water - which we all promptly did for quite some time!

Drive to Homer, Alaska. After the hike, we made the 3.5 hour drive from Seward to Homer, which takes you along the scenic Kenai Peninsula. Glacier melt along the way makes lakes and rivers impossibly blue. We stopped for a picnic lunch in Soldotna, a popular launching point for avid recreational fisherman, before making our way to Homer, where we checked into our Air BnB and grocery shopped for our next leg of the trip.

Stop along the way to Homer.

View from our AirBnB. Not too shabby!

Homer Spit. In the evening, we headed out to see the famous Homer Spit, a 4.5 mile narrow strip of land that extends into Kachemak Bay. The Spit is the longest road into ocean waters in the world. Here, tourists and commercial fisherman share the area, with commercial fishing boats coming and going on one side, and motels and restaurants and shops lining the other. The Homer Spit also contains the boat marina that launched us to our next two days of activities (hiking Kachemak Bay State Park and Kayaking on the Bay). Restaurants here are a novelty because of their location, which made them more pricey than central Homer. We did find a relatively cheap but tasty spot called Boardwalk Fish & Chips. Here we had the Halibut fish and chips, which is the more pricey option but we wanted to try the fish the area is known for. It did not disappoint.

Salty Dawg Saloon. The Homer Spit is also the home of the Salty Dawg Saloon, a pub that was opened all the way back in 1897. Featured on the show "the Deadliest Catch," this pub is known for patrons tacking dollar bills on the ceiling. We took a cue from the surroundings and ordered a classic "Jack and Coke."

About the towns of Seward and Homer. Located on the Kenai Peninsula, the Town of Seward was founded in 1903 by John E. Ballaine, who was also the founder of the Alaska Railroad Company. Ballaine had established Resurrection Bay, upon which Seward sits, as the beginning stop of his railroad company. In naming the town Seward, in honor of William H. Seward, President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, Ballaine is cited as saying "That city deserves to be named in honor of the man responsible for making Alaska American territory." Today, Seward has two main industries, fishing and tourism. In the main harbor, you will find both private, small boat fisherman, as well as large commercial operations. If you are looking for a place to stay, we loved our little AirBnB in the woods, just minutes away from downtown.

About Homer. Homer is known as the "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." A frequent tourist activity is chartering a boat out of Kachemak Bay to catch, haul in, and ship home, these large fish. We, however, did not go out fishing. Instead, our time here was spent hiking Kachemak Bay State Park and Kayaking on the Bay. In other words, there's plenty to do here even if you do not like to fish. The town itself has a population just under 6,000, which by Alaska standards, seemed on the largest side of the many small towns in this State. The larger population and influx of tourists in the summer means there are a surprisingly large amount of restaurants for such a small town. That being said, wait times were long and reservations where possible are a highly recommended (or in some cases, required).


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