It’s impossible to drive Turnagain Arm without noticing the massive green mountains on both sides of the Inlet. The hulking mountain which dominates this stretch of road between Bird and Girdwood is Penguin Peak.
In early Spring, avalanches thunder down its slopes. Most years, the deposits are deep enough to shut down the highway for hours, frustrating motorists. In summer, the delays are of a more cheerful nature—as drivers stop to photograph the Dall Sheep which prance along its rocky cliffs.
Penguin Peak is a favorite of back-country skiers who “skin up” (climb the mountain with snow-gripping skins fastened to the bottom of their skis), take in the sweeping views of Turnagain Arm from its upper ridges, then ski untracked powder far from the madding crowds!
If you’re not in the mood to beat your way up to the summit, click on our flyover video. You’ll soar over the summit ridge, gaze down at the still waters of the Inlet far below, contour down the hillside, and end up on the flats near Girdwood—all in less than a minute! This video was made in late May—that colorful time of year when the hillsides have turned lush green, yet are still striped with the white snows of winter.