Caines Head State Recreation Area
★ Beach Combing
★ 4.5 miles of coastal trails
★ Historical Attractions
Caines Head State Recreation Area is the scenic site of an abandoned World War II fort, can be reached by boat or foot from Seward. The massive headland rises 650 feet above Resurrection Bay, against a back drop of rolling alpine meadows and sharp peaks, giving way to a sweeping view of the North Pacific Ocean.
The shale covered, forest framed beaches of Caines Head have long been stopping points for boaters and fisherman. But early in World War II, as the territory of Alaska was attacked and occupied by Imperial Japanese ground forces, Caines Head and other Resurrection Bay vantages became strategic spots for defending the Port of Seward. The port was the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad, a critical supply line for the war effort and for Alaskans.
The 4.5 mile coastal trail leads from Lowell Point to the recreation area, ending at North Beach. A portion of this trail can be hiked only at low tide. Historic trails following old army roads take hikers to Fort McGilvray and on to South Beach.
Accessible by foot from Seward via coastal trails or by boat.
Seward Highway (1) to Highway 9 to Seward.
By Coastal Trail: There is a parking area at Lowell Point, south of Seward. Lowell Point State Recreation Site has two small parking lots with a $5 daily fee required. No motorhomes or trailers are allowed. The lower parking lot provides access to Lowell Point Beach. Warning: It is not possible to hike the beach between Lowell Point Beach and Tonsina Point due to steep cliffs and deep water. A short trail right behind the restrooms connects Lowell Point lower parking lot to the upper parking lot.
The upper parking lot provides access to Tonsina Point on the popular Tonsina Trail. The land along both sides of the first mile of the Tonsina Trail is private property. Please stay on the designated trail. The Coastal Trail leads from the south end of the Tonsina Trail to Caines Head. 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 very low tide; be sure to check the tide tables.
Leave Seward at least two hours before low tide to avoid becoming stranded along the way. The 4.5 mile trip takes the average hiker two to three hours. Most hikers to North Beach stay overnight. Plan to stay at least until the next low tide. Please respect private property. The land along both sides of the first mile of the Coastal Trail is private property. Please stay on the designated trail.
By Boat: Visitors with large boats can anchor off North Beach and dinghy ashore. Smaller boats may be brought up on shore clear of high tide line.
By Charter: Charter boats are available in Seward and provide shuttle service to and from the park and its cabins. Click here for a list of authorized carriers.