Photo Credit: Portage Glacier

Anchorage Ice Skating

The Anchorage Parks Department monitors ice thickness and then authorizes hop mopping and maintenance in skating zones at five lakes and one skate pond.

For the classic city ice skating experience where hundreds of people might spend the afternoon careening along smooth, winding paths or warming themselves at burn barrels, try out Westchester Lagoon. Other lakes include Goose Lake, Cheney Lake, Delong Lake, Jewell Lake, Cuddy Family Midtown Park

Best Places for Adventure Skating Near Anchorage

  1. Potter Marsh — 12 miles from downtown. If ice skating around frozen channels and ponds inside a wildlife refuge sounds fun, try exploring the wild ice of Potter Marsh along the Seward Highway in South Anchorage. After a hard freeze-up, the marsh morphs from bird-nesting habitat into an intriguing maze, with miles of twisty routes leading to unexpected rinks. Very popular with families.
  2. Eklutna Lake — 37 miles out. Freeze-up turns this seven-mile long fresh-water fiord in Chugach State Park into a multi-mode travel corridor for ice skaters, hikers, skiers and bikers.
  3. Rabbit Slough / Wasilla Creek — 38 miles out. These frozen channels wind for miles across the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge off the Glenn Highway in the mouth of the Matanuska and Knik valleys.
  4. Portage Lake — 50 miles out. Once this glacier lake in Portage Valley at the head of Turnagain Arm freezes solid, people flock across ice on skates, skis, bikes and foot.
  5. Nancy Lake State Recreation Area canoe trail — 72 miles out. A premier paddling destination in summer, this eight-mile loop through 14 lakes can be skated after freeze-up and before significant snowfall.

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Ice Skating

Explore the wild ice of Pot­ter Marsh along the Seward High­way in South Anchor­age. After a hard freeze-up, the marsh morphs from bird-nest­ing habi­tat into an intrigu­ing maze, with miles of twisty routes lead­ing to unex­pect­ed rinks. Very pop­u­lar with families. 

A pre­mier pad­dling des­ti­na­tion in sum­mer, the eight-mile loop canoe trail through 14 lakes can be skat­ed after freeze-up and before sig­nif­i­cant snow­fall. Peo­ple often cruise the entire route in one long day, or skate out a few lakes and return. Be pre­pared to hike portages up to a half-mile between lakes. 71 miles north of Anchorage.

Freeze-up turns this sev­en-mile long fresh-water fiord in Chugach State Park into a mul­ti-mode trav­el cor­ri­dor for ice skaters, hik­ers, skiers and bik­ers. Adven­ture skat­ing can be good before snow gets too deep, or after mid-win­ter thaws or wind rehabs the surface. 

These frozen chan­nels wind for miles across the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge off the Glenn High­way in the mouth of the Matanus­ka and Knik riv­er val­leys, just 35 miles north of Anchor­age. Either trav­el the streams or explore exten­sive pond net­works on the flats.

For the clas­sic city ice skat­ing expe­ri­ence where hun­dreds of peo­ple might spend the after­noon careen­ing along smooth, wind­ing paths or warm­ing them­selves at burn bar­rels, try out Westch­ester Lagoon at the west end of the Chester Creek green­belt off the L Street / Min­neso­ta Dri­ve corridor.

For an oth­er­world­ly encounter with a famous glac­i­er you can’t eas­i­ly approach or even glimpse dur­ing sum­mer, lead the fam­i­ly across frozen Portage Lake to a fan­tas­tic wall of jum­bled, blue ice. Once the lake sur­face has frozen sol­id, peo­ple flock across on foot, ice skates, skis and bikes. 50 miles from Anchorage.

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