Popular with hikers and backpackers, this easy-to-follow trail connects the state’s most intense sockeye salmon sports fishery with stunning mountain backcountry. It offers many of the Kenai Peninsula’s highlights in one trip. The 21-mile route accesses Russian River Falls, Lower and Upper Russian Lakes, Cooper Lake, 3 federally managed recreational cabins, and numerous campsites
Take off by seaplane for an all-day bear-viewing expedition. Fly past glaciers and volcanoes to the brown-bear country of southwest Alaska. Your Seaplane Bear Safari will take you to Brooks River Falls in Katmai National Park, home of the world ' s largest salmon run. You can also fly 70 miles southwest of Anchorage to Lake Clark Wilderness Preserve for amazing bear viewing and luxurious accommodations at the Redoubt Bay Lodge. Rust’s, which has been safely flying in Alaska since 1963, provides two-way headsets and window seats for every passenger.
Join Alaska Photo Treks as they go hunting for the best light of the day, which during summer at this latitude can last for several glorious hours before sunset. You'll be transported to scenic locations around Southcentral Alaska to shoot a variety of enchanting subjects. The itinerary is flexible and allows for spontaneous stops to photograph wildlife en route.
This is one of Homer's top hikes. It starts on top of Baycrest Hill, crosses Diamond Ridge Road, then follows Crossman Ridge to the Bridge Creek Reservoir. Throughout, it rolls through forests, meadows and over streams. The area is excellent for birding and catching a glimpse at the occasional moose.
Some 15,000 years ago, this glacier reached another 50 miles west to the Palmer area. It now has a four-mile wide towering face that you can walk right up to and touch. Keep an eye out for summertime ice-climbers at this most impressive roadside glacier.
Directions: Head north from Anchorage on the Glenn Highway. At mile 102, you can drive down to Glacier Park and pay a day fee (888-253-4480), then hike 15-20 minutes to the face of glacier.
Distance: 102 miles north of Anchorage.
Drive Time: 3 hours.
Explore Time: 1 - 2 hours.
This trail is a good day hike for the whole family. It alternates between open meadows and forests and offers the option of tent camping or staying in Crescent Lake Cabin. There are options for longer hikes and there is a lot of wildlife to be seen such as moose, goats and bears.
Portage was once a roadside glacier, but it recedes an average of one foot a day and is now no longer visible from the road. However, its big blue icebergs are often found along the shore of the lake, right in front of the parking area. You can see the lake in a half hour, but may want to spend time at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center (½-1 hour), take the boat cruise (1 hour), or have lunch at the local cafeteria.
Directions: Head south from Anchorage on the Seward Highway, to the end of the 5-mile Portage Spur Road. You can visit the face of Portage by tour boat from the dock at the lake. Bring a light jacket, as winds tend to pick up around the face of the glacier itself.
Distance: 48 miles south of Anchorage.
Drive Time: 1 hour.
Explore Time: 1-4 hours.
Where else can you walk to the end of Main Street and find yourself at the confluence of three wild rivers, overlooking a 20,000-foot peak? Close to downtown, this large, river-centered park offers wide open, untouched spaces, along with great panoramic view of the Alaska Range.
Come here to see the mingling of 3 swift glacial rivers: the Talkeetna, Susitna, and Chulitna More...
This path was constructed to provide a place for hikers to view the plantlife around interior Alaska. This is a unique trail that allows hikers to view things that would be impossible to hike without a trail. There are all types of wildlife and small plants. Waterboots are recommended in spring.
The wildflowers are abundant and verdant undergrowth can be check high sometimes. Most of the trail lies below treeline, so there are established camp clearings along the way that are nestled into the trees. One of the best campsites is 10 miles in from the northern trailhead, set among trees on a spruce-covered knoll looking over the trail and Bench Lake.
Here you'll find one of the most accessible wildlife viewing areas in Alaska. The marsh is a rest area for migratory birds including trumpeter swans, rednecked grebes, golden eyes, and pintails. Also watch for beavers, moose and bald eagles. You may even spot salmon spawning in the deeper water.
Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood (45 minutes south of Anchorage) is one of our favorite trails to take visiting friends and family. It’s an easy 3-mile hike or bike ride on a wide, well-developed trail with gentle elevation gain that winds through America’s northernmost rainforest, crosses a wooden bridge over a thundering blue-water gorge, connects to a hand tram high above thrashing Glacier Creek, then ends on Crow Creek Mine Road just below the mine.
If you want a great workout—to stunning mountain views high above the valley floor below—but want to save your knees on the way down, this trail is for you. It leaves from the Alyeska Resort tram building and climbs steep switchbacks 2.2 miles and 2000 feet to the mid-mountain restaurant where you can catch a free aerial tram ride back down to the hotel.
Many people know of the grueling Mount Marathon racecourse in Seward, some 130 miles south of Anchorage. However, most people don’t know that there’s also a hiking path to the top at Race Point—and it’s far less demanding. This 2.25-mile route, which entails hiking three different trails, takes you up the mountain and lets you to explore a glacial valley along the way.
Alaska's most productive king salmon sportfishery is located right in downtown Anchorage! Fish for salmon at Ship Creek even if you have only two hours. During the summertime derbies, specially tagged fish bring in $100-$10,000. Buy your tickets ($7-35) from the Derby Cabin next to Comfort Inn at Ship Creek and warm up your muscles-in 2002, a 41-pounder took grand prize! The More...
Worthington Glacier is found along Thompson Pass, 28 miles northeast of Valdez. Thompson Pass holds the honor of being the snowiest place in the state: During the peak winter of 1951-52, it got more than 80 feet of snow. It still gets plenty today, which keeps this 4-mile glacier from retreating as much as others. You can do a two-mile hike here along a sometimes treacherously narrow ridge, or you can also just do a short, paved hike to a viewing platform.
Directions: Take the Glenn Hwy to the Richardson Hwy. Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site is located at milepost 28.7 of the Richardson Hwy.
Distance: 28 miles from Valdez, 328 miles from Anchorage.
Drive Time: 45 minutes from Valdez, 5 hrs from Anchorage.
Explore Time: 1-4 hours.
From the base of the Homer Spit, take this 4-mile paved trail to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. The trail is in excellent condition and is flat as a pancake for most of its length. The first mile of trail is along a broad estuary that is great for birding. Once you pass the one-mile mark you’ll be riding past fishing boats that are out of the water being worked on as well as a few shops.
Well-maintained and suitable for summer hiking and biking, the 10-mile Devil’s Pass Trail features a steep route up a spectacular V-shaped valley that intersects with the Resurrection Pass Trail and a rental cabin in the alpine realm. The country is rugged, with great access to cross-country tundra exploration and berry picking.
Photograph alpenglow on snow capped mountains, frosty scenes glowing in rich winter light, wildlife wandering snowy paths, city lights reflecting on the water at twilight, and possibly even the northern lights!
Soaring high at 20,310 feet is Denali (formerly named Mt. McKinley after an Ohio Senator who never visited Alaska). The mountain was renamed Denali in 2015. Equally impressive are its nearby cousins: Mt. Foraker (17,400), and Mt. Hunter (14,573). These three dominate the skyline for hundreds of miles.
You can get up close and personal with the “Roof of North More...
Flattop is Alaska’s most visited peak. Ascend the 1.5 - mile, 1,350 vertical foot trail to the rocky, football field-sized summit in about an hour and take in panoramic views from Denali (Mt. McKinley) to the Aleutian Islands. If you want vistas without the hike, walk the short path from the parking lot to the overlook.
To snatch a sense of the state’s only real city, take this quick, two-to-three hour driving tour. It works whether you’re a local resident with a house full of wired (and maybe jetlagged!) guests—or a visitor with a rental car and few hours free to explore. Perfect for that first afternoon after arrival.
Cascade Bay, at the Northwest end of Eaglek Bay, holds the treasure of the largest waterfall in Prince William Sound. There is no lack of freshwater in the Bay, with another reasonable water source coming in just to the East of the Falls. Be prepared for the noise of the falls, and tons of jellyfish!
Most people who visit the six-million-acre Denali National Park only see roughly the first dozen—or maybe 50—miles of the legendary park Road. But this tour takes you all the way to the depths of Kantishna—the heart of the Park where you have the chance to experience postcard-perfect views of Mt. McKinley. This tour makes for a full day—from about 6 in the morning until 7 or 8 in the evening—but it’s an adventure of a lifetime.
Just 45 minutes outside Anchorage, the city gives way to the wilds of Alaska in the Knik River Valley. And one of the most exciting ways to explore the rugged tundra here is behind the wheel of your own Polaris ATV, or 2 or 4-seat UTV (perfect for families)! Splash through rivers, gaze in awe at the glacier, and look for wildlife on this unforgettable tour.
Whether you’d like to go on a personalized boat tour of the Homer area or take a water taxi to the Alaskan backcountry, Homer is an ideal place to launch from, and Coldwater has the boats and expertise to get you there. Explore places like Kachemak Bay State Park, the small town of Seldovia, and picturesque Halibut Cove.
Year round, closed for maintenance Oct 8 - Nov 21 & Apr 23 - May 11
The Alyeska Resort’s Aerial Tramway is a seven-minute ride that lifts you to a viewing deck with breathtaking panoramic views of mountains, hanging glaciers, streams, spruce, and an array of wildlife. Enjoy a relaxed midday picnic or beautiful evening sunset on Mt. Alyeska's observation deck, more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Telescopes intensify what Conde Nast Traveler Magazine rated the best view of any U.S. ski resort. Go exploring, berry picking, and paragliding, and take a hike on the glacier.
Hop on board the all-season Missing Lynx and Lost Lynx, the vessels bound for whatever Seward Ocean Excursion suits your fancy. Want to whale watch, see glaciers, go bird watching or just check out hidden coves? Captains Bixler and Krystin McClure will help your small group plan an outing catered to your preferences. No matter the season, you can always catch some excitement in Resurrection Bay!
For a closer, quieter, and more peaceful version of the Alaskan glacier and wildlife cruise, travel by sea kayak. Paddle the shoreline of Resurrection Bay, where encounters with sea otters, seabirds, and spawning salmon are common. Choose from a variety of three-hour excursions or take a full-day trip.
May 1 – 3rd week of September
Take a boutique, small-group kayaking trip with experienced guides at Liquid Adventures and get close to glaciers in kayaks or paddleboards while looking for whales and other marine mammals. You can even combine your adventure with a jetboat, helicopter, or wildlife cruise. There’s nothing quite like it in all of Alaska!
mid-May to mid-September
You’ll spend three hours, round-trip, in the air with a one-hour walking tour of the community, led by a local Alaskan guide. Learn of the local Nunamiut Eskimo culture and get a firsthand glimpse at village lifestyle as it exists today in rural Alaska.
May 20–3rd week of September
Start with a dramatic flightseeing trip in either a helicopter or ski plane and then get out onto an ancient river of ice for a thrilling glacier exploration either hiking or climbing.
Talk about one-stop shopping: At 14,000 square feet, this 20-year-old Anchorage store is Alaska's biggest gift shop. Run by the Green family—a local family that has been active in Anchorage retail for about as long as Anchorage has existed—Polar Bear makes legitimate claims for having the biggest selection and lowest prices of all the gift shops in the state.
How big More...
This recreation area is just a mile and a half from town, but it feels like wilderness—with deep woods and several lakes, it's a great place to hike, run, canoe, fish, or look for wildlife. Watch for otters, beavers, bears, foxes, moose, and more than 100 species of birds, including raptors and loons. The park's best feature is a nicely groomed 3.5-mile walking trail around X More...
This world-class, 115,000-square-foot facility was built with funds from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and serves to remind visitors—in a highly interactive way—of the importance of understanding and maintaining Alaska's marine ecosystem. See life swimming right before your eyes: witness a Steller sea lion gliding past underwater viewing windows, puffins diving in natural habitat, and harbor seals resting on rocky beaches. Take self-guided or behind-the-scenes tours.
Walk in the wild places of Alaska with experienced and friendly guides who will reveal the wonders of our local rainforests, alpine inclines, glaciers, or the far backcountry. Trusted by locals, Hollywood producers, and even the White House, Ascending Path guides you expertly to select areas just minutes from Anchorage.
For one of the loopiest and fun Nordic ski areas in the city, try out the trails behind Bartlett High School along the boundary of the military base. Hilly, with lots of curves that spring into quick and sudden climbs, this five-kilometer-plus system through a mature forest packs a lot of skiing into a small footprint.
To get a real sense of old-time Alaska, climb into Black Diamond's family-friendly Covered Wagon Adventure for a trip through time. While guides fill you in on the area's history and natural treasures, you'll be pulled by two draft horses through the Alaskan tundra, with the mountains of nearby Denali National Park hovering overhead. Hear the history of this coal-mining area as you pass through the wilderness.
Enjoy a bird's eye view of Alaska's scenic highlights on a flightseeing tour with Rust's Flying Service, where every passenger gets a window seat. Tour options include a short 30-minute Anchorage Flightseeing Safari, a flight to Denali, Denali plus a glacier landing, and more. Tours begin at Anchorage’s Lake Hood, the world’s busiest seaplane airport.
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.