You can hike right up to Seward's Exit Glacier and feel the dense blue ice while listening to it crackle. Walk the lower trail to get a good photo in front of the glacier face. Or, choose the more challenging 7-mile round-trip Harding Icefield Trail. There is a short ranger-led walk daily at 11am and 3pm, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Spencer Glacier rises 3,500 feet in a stunning, natural ramp from a lake of royal-blue icebergs in the Chugach National Forest just 60 miles south of Anchorage. It’s a family-friendly recreation destination featuring camping, hiking, glacier exploration, nature walks, paddling and sightseeing. Maybe best of all: You have to take a train to get there!
A stretch of exposed bedrock southeast of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm was gouged and polished by mile-thick glaciers during the last ice age. The grooves appear as smooth channels carved into the rock itself by almost unimaginable forces. Some are subtle, like ripples, and hard to see. Others are large enough to lie inside on a sunny afternoon.
The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is a place whose valleys and mountains, communities and people tell the larger story of a wild place and a rugged frontier. This audio guide gives you the inside scoop on its fascinating history. You’ll meet bigger-than-life historical characters like Alaska Nellie (as well as a few ghosts), see the original Iditarod trail, and learn about the creation of the Alaska Railroad.
Interested in learning how to smoke fish, make rugs, or carve spoons—from a teacher who’s a local Alaskan? At the Homer Folk School, those locals pass along their unique skills, which come from a variety of traditions. Topics vary, but every class allows travelers and locals to get a deeper understanding of Alaska.
The Salty Dawg Saloon was originally one of the first cabins built here in 1897, just after the town was established. Today, a visit to the historic Salty Dawg Saloon on the spit will enhance your visit and put you in touch with many locals. Much more than a saloon, the Dawg has regular music performances and also serves light food.
Stop at the Scenic View RV Park for a breathtaking view of four volcanoes. Mt. Iliamna, Mt. Redoubt, Mt. Augustine and Mt. Spurr. These smoldering mountains are part of the pacific “ring of fire” with Mt. Redoubt erupting as recently as March 2009. Look for the interpretive sign to learn more about Alaska volcanoes.
Local mushers run their teams behind 4 wheelers along South Cohoe Loop Road and down to the beach. Even though the road continues past this point it becomes too sandy to drive, so park here and walk down to the beach. If the dogs are training you'll see them whiz past with tongues lolling and sand flying.
One of the most spectacular and accessible glaciers along the rail line, Spencer Glacier also has an interesting history. Listen to find out how it got it’s name and hear tales of what life was like for those who worked in the wilderness building the rail line.
This spot, about a mile outside the town of Seldovia, offers big views that stretch out to the mouth of Kachemak Bay and even to Cook Inlet.
Across the Inlet, you can also see the Pacific Ring of Fire, including Mount Illiamna and Mount Redoubt, each standing at10,000 and 11,000 feet. Even though they're some 75 miles away, on some days they seem like they’re More...
The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (aka The Fishing Hole) is a popular park with both locals and visitors. The lagoon is stocked with fry that grow up to provide sport fishing. The fishing hole has a handicapped accessible platform and ramp. King salmon return mid-May to early July followed by an early run of silvers mid-July to early August and a late run early August to mid-September.
Driving from Anchorage to Whittier to play in Prince William Sound? You’ll go through Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel—the longest (2.5 miles) highway tunnel in North America, and the first designed for -40 Fahrenheit temperatures and 150 mph winds!
The one-lane tunnel must be shared by cars and trains traveling in both directions, and it usually needs to be More...
Tern Lake has lots to offer but few people use the old Sterling highway to access the boreal forest near this lake. Drive into the recreational area and as you turn left toward the restrooms you will see an old road to your right. You can walk for miles down this road and enjoy the smell of the woods and the sound of the birds.
Lawing was once named Roosevelt. “Alaska Nellie” purchased a cabin there in 1923 and later married Billie Lawing of Seattle. Together they ran a lodge and trophy museum that became a featured stop for Alaska Railroad passengers. Nellie loved to tell stories and her guests enjoyed her tales of daring and adventure on the Last Frontier.
After the disastrous 1988 oil spill in Prince William Sound, the state used some of the oil company’s settlement money to purchase this fleet of ships. They were designed for one reason only: to protect the fragile Alaskan coastal environment from possible future disasters.
Jean Keene, widely known as the Homer "Eagle Lady," shared her love and knowledge of eagles with visitors before she passed away January 13, 2009. She was 85. In 1977 Keene relocated from Aitkin, Minnesota to Homer, where she lived in a motorhome parked within a small enclosure, in the middle of a campground near the outer end of the Spit.
A facet of life in Homer that can be watched on television is the "Deadliest Catch" about commercial crab fishing in Alaska's icy waters. Co-captains Johathan and Andy Hillstrand have produced a new book about their adventures, Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs. Anyone who has fished Alaska’s waters, whether winter or summer and for any species, know that it is a challenging and risky profession.
A most spectacular view from the head of Kachemak Bay to Augustine volcano, this 180 degree panoramic view of ice, sea, mountains and sky makes a great backdrop for your souvenir Alaskan photos. The view changes season to season according to what wildflowers are in bloom and depending upon varying cloud, sky, and snow conditions.
The Keen-Eye Nature Trail is .75 miles long through a wooded area with a side trail leading down to Headquarters Lake. The Centennial Trail provide an additional 1.9 mile loop through a wooded area with further opportunity to view wildlife in the area. There are three basic options on these refuge trails. First and easiest is the 0.3 mile (one way), "accessible with assistance," More...
The pass is an ideal location to witness the tremendous power that glaciers have had on the landscape. On the west side of the road at the pullout, travelers can see evidence of the millennial processes of past ice ages. Low, near-horizontal ridges mark the locations of glacial moraines near the tops of the mountains. These ridges, like bathtub rings, indicate changing ice depths as More...
The town of Kasilof (pronounced kuh-SEE-loff) has a lot of the great activities that other Kenai Peninsula towns do—fishing, camping and wildlife viewing. But this tiny town 15 miles south of Soldotna, on the Sterling Highway, is also a vibrant dog sledding community—while here you can visit the kennel of Dean Osmar, an Iditarod champion, and take a ride More...
Visitors driving down to Homer (south west from Anchorage) find a perfect pull out rest stop on the right side of the highway on the hill above town. From this vantage, they get a preview of the pleasures to come. Fishing boats' windows twinkle out in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay, the Spit stretches half way across Kachemak Bay, and the snowy mountains on far side of the bay, embracing Kachemak Bay State Park, plus of course the the town itself.
This tiny town along the Sterling Highway may be known as “North America’s Most Westerly Highway Point,” but it has another, lesser publicized claim to fame: this is where locals love to come fish.
In the spring, it’s king salmon, followed by Dolly Varden and silver salmon in the summer; in the fall, you can catch steelhead until freeze-up.
In an area known for outstanding artists, Norman Lowell, whose studio is off in the wilderness north of town (near Anchor Point) several miles, is one of the best known and least visited because of his remote location. His work is exhibited in a very different gallery setting and it is presented in a personal way by the artist. Through his hanging arrangement, lighting, and sequencing of the work with thoughts on each painting, the viewer is drawn into the artist's work and is able to perceive the expressions of the artist.
The slopes north of Lower Summit Lake have long been popular for alpine skiers. Glacier Ski Lodge and rope tow operated for nearly 20 years, until the lodge burnt down in 1960, plausibly by careless trespassers. Gentry Schuster built Glacier Ski Lodge in 1941 for personal use, but when World War II brought an influx of soldiers into Seward, the Schusters welcomed all. The lodge had More...
Russian fur traders colonized this fishing village in 1820. Steeped in the history of early Russian America, it offers an old-world setting with its Russian Orthodox Church on the hill, quaint fishermen's cottages and log homes. Information signs tell the history of Ninilchik and walking tour maps are available at local businesses. A trail leads to the church and cemetery on the hill. More...
Take a stroll down the boardwalk as it winds along the river. There are several interpretive signs with information about fishing, dall sheep, rafting and boat safety. You'll also find access to Pioneer Village where you can pan for gold at Prospector John's Authentic Gold Panning.
The 125-mile water trail is intended to inspire exploration, understanding and stewardship of the natural treasure that is Kachemak Bay. People will take their own boats, kayaks, skiffs, or canoes on a mapped route which highlights the stops and the views along the way. On the website, you will find suggested itineraries.
The Swiss Kilcher family came to this country on a boat in the 1940s escaping the horrors of World War II in Europe, blessing Homer with outstanding talents in the performing as well as visual arts. They homesteaded 600 acres at mile 12.5 East End Road, near the head of Kachemak Bay.
Seward has one of the few relatively intact Main Streets in Alaska, and gives you a good idea of what the territory’s early coastal towns looked like. Despite two destructive fires, some of the town’s earliest buildings are still standing. In its early days, it was a rough and rowdy area, a place where one of Seward’s most famous mascots held sway – for a More...
The Jesse Lee Home for Children is the second of three child welfare institutions in Alaska to bear the name. The first was established at Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands in 1890. The home was moved to Seward on Resurrection Bay in 1926. Following damage to the home in the 1964 earthquake, the Jesse Lee Home was relocated to its present location in Anchorage in 1965.