Seward: Alaska’s 4th of July HQ

We deliberately planned our Alaska itinerary so we could be in Seward for the fourth of July. Seward is kind of the center of the July 4th universe in Alaska, where the town of about 3,000 residents balloons to about 30,000 for the weekend. The beautiful setting, great weather, and expansive camping opportunities are just the start of the attraction. We’ll break it down.

Seward sits at the foot of Mount Marathon, a 3,000 foot vertical climb on less than a mile and a half trail. The infamous Mount Marathon race is run every fourth of July and draws crazy trail runners from all over.

How crazy? The leading racers run the top of the mountain in about 35 minutes and descend in about 10 minutes. We watched the men’s and women’s race from downtown with binoculars and cheered the runners on as they crossed the finish line. Here’s this year’s winner, Max King, nearing the finish with a final time of 43:37.

In between the men’s and women’s races the town hosts a parade right down the race course and everyone turns out! 

We weren’t crazy enough to hike the runner’s trail but we did take on the Mt Marathon hiker’s trail, which is a little longer and more scenic. Still very steep, the hike afforded us great views of the town and harbor and gave us a sense of what it might be like to take on the race challenge. 

Fourth of July wouldn’t be complete without fireworks, and Seward puts on a show. We took our chairs to the harbor and watched the fun boat parade at 11:00 p.m.

The fireworks show followed at 12:01 a.m. on the morning of July 4th. We think the hour had something to do with the fact that it doesn’t get dark until after 11:00 p.m. Here a few shots with the bursts over Mt. Marathon.

When we last posted a blog the guys were out fishing. Well, it was a successful trip as the waters near Seward are very fertile. They came home with bags of fillets that totaled four pounds of rockfish, 12 pounds of halibut, and 29 pounds of cod!

We tried to package it up and freeze it but eventually took it to the professionals when we realized what a job we had before us!

After leaving Seward we spent a few nights in the small Russian village of Ninilchik. The cute Russian Orthodox church that overlooks Cook Inlet kept us mesmerized. It’s a popular stop on the way to Homer.

Then Steve caught another 14 pounds of Halibut on a day trip out of Ninilchik. What are we going to do with all this fish?

Steve continues to shoot the flowers that abound in Alaska this time of year. Here are a few from our time in and around Seward.

Our next stop is Homer, and oh boy is that gonna be fun!