If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that almost all of the pictures I’ve posted recently have a sunset glow going on. The sun is almost perpetually rising or setting during the winter in Alaska, so there’s basically no way around a sunset hike whenever I’m outside. But even if the sun wasn’t always about to set up here I would still opt for a sunset hike after work or on the weekends, and you should too. Why?
1. The views. Obviously. But on a serious note, I think that a sunset is one of the most gorgeous things that we humans get to see on a daily basis. I’m mesmerized by sunsets and will often drive out to the coast to watch the sun set for no reason, so the ability to see this gorgeous daily phenomenon from a hiking trail is extra special.
2. The vibes. Whenever I’m watching a sunset, I just feel so peaceful and relaxed. No matter how stressful my day/week was, standing on a mountain watching the sun set for 20 minutes instantly puts me in a better mood. It always feels like a special bonding experience with the people that I’m hiking with too. Bonus points if you bring hot chocolate along for the hike and can sip that to warm up while you wait for the sun to fully set.
3. To experience alpenglow. This is when the setting sun reflects on the mountains with a gorgeous pink glow. Sometimes when I hike I’m standing on the mountains and get to be part of that magical pink light. Sometimes I’m looking up at the pink mountains all around me from a valley floor, my heart beating wildly as I take in the beauty of the mountains on fire. I know this doesn’t happen in many places in the US, but here in Alaska it’s a huge reason to hike at sunset.
4. Quiet trails. There are less people out on the trails during sunset – maybe because they’re still at work, because they’re at home getting dinner ready, or because they’re hiding from the cold and the ice. Whatever the reason, I tend to find quiet trails and empty overlooks whenever I head out at sunset. It feels like an extra special gift knowing that I have these views all to myself.
5. Finishing in the dark. I know this one might sound a bit scary, but hear me out. With a headlamp and a group of hiking buddies, finishing a hike during twilight is actually a really fun adventure. Most of my winter hikes have ended this way, and as long as I’m aware of trail conditions and I’m looking out for moose on the trail I know I’ll make it back to my car safely. Plus getting to see your favorite trail in little to no light is pretty unique!
Have you ever done a sunset hike? What is the most gorgeous sunset you’ve ever seen?