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!
Trygg Air offers day trips for walrus viewing from Anchorage as well as King Salmon, in Southwest Alaska. Fly to King Salmon commercially from Anchorage, and then meet Trygg Air for a 90-minute scenic journey along the west side of the Alaska Peninsula to Cape Seniavin to view these 4,000 pound animals that haul out on the beach. Trygg can also fly you out to two other iconic places: Brooks Falls, to see grizzly bears swatting at salmon; and the dramatic, ash-filled Valley of the Ten Thousand Smokes.
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.
Oct - April
Traverse Alaska creates custom tours in the Denali National Park area that allow travelers to enjoy the magic of Alaska at their own pace. Winter itineraries include iconic Alaskan cold-weather activities in Southcentral and Interior Alaska. After all, Alaska in winter is a very special time of year—quieter, full of snow-frosted trees, and frozen snow-covered ground creates an outdoor playground in every direction.
Lazy Otter offers classic tours, but this is a water taxi, so they’ll also take you anywhere you want to go within Price William Sound—or just customize a tour to whatever you want to see. Maybe that's glaciers, or whales,—or maybe it’s quiet time on a secluded beach. Lazy Otter can also help facilitate taking you and your family on a camping trip. You're not held to any strict schedule, either: if, on a day tour, you can spend more time in one spot if you want to see if a glacier will calve.
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 the classic city ice skating experience where hundreds of people might spend the afternoon careening along smooth, winding…
November – March
Join Alaska Wildlife Guide on a once in a lifetime adventure as you snowmobile through forests, over frozen lakes, view various wildlife, listen to fascinating stories and meet the world-famous Bison, Cowie.
With an astonishing maze of groomed trails over all kinds of terrain—including 12 to 15 miles equipped with lights for night skiing—Kincaid Park is the region’s premier destination for cross country skiing. The system ranges from sedate, pastoral loops suitable for families on an outing to demanding expert workouts with hard climbs and screaming descents. This venue has skiing for every level of experience.
Combine great views of the Alaska Range and Denali with the thrill of ziplining. Set in the forested ridges above the Talkeetna River Valley, this is the farthest-north canopy tour in North America. On these nine ziplines and three suspension bridges, you can get up close to the birch, cottonwood, and spruce trees of the boreal forest—it’s earth’s largest ecosystem and a critical nesting habitat for migrating songbirds.
If you’re seeking some fun skiing over groomed, forested trails away from crowds, the Coyote Trail system behind Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak is worth checking out. Used most often by middle school athletes and the neighboring community, the loop features 5.6 kilometers easy enough for beginners to enjoy and yet challenging enough to entertain more advanced skiers.
If you’re seeking some fun skiing over groomed, forested trails away from crowds, the Coyote Trail system behind Mirror…
September to May
Winter in Alaska is a magical time, with fewer visitors and a serene, snow-covered landscape. If you’re here from mid-September to mid-May, you can take it in from the comfort of the Aurora Winter Train, which runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks. It’s an easy and memorable way to travel north and experience the aurora borealis, or even do a weekend getaway to Talkeetna.
Winter or summer, experience the thrill of running Iditarod sled dogs and even have a chance to drive! Meet the sled dogs and hear first-hand just what it’s like to run the Iditarod.
April 1 to Nov. 30
If you’d like to explore a snow-bound trail system through a majestic rain forest that gets little visitation in winter, try out Bird Valley in Chugach State Park south of Anchorage off the Seward Highway. You and the family can stroll, ski, snowshoe or snow-bike for hours through a serene and almost surreal setting of towering trees with an occasional stupendous view of Penguin Peak and Bird Ridge.
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 leisurely ski along a scenic greenbelt that crosses Midtown Anchorage along an ecologically rich bottomland, try out the Campbell Creek Trail—reaching 7.5 miles from the University Lake area to West Dimond Boulevard. It’s another one of the city’s “through-the-looking-glass” experiences where you’ll feel surrounded by a wintry riparian habitat even though you’re often skiing a few hundred feet from industrial areas and neighborhoods. Very welcoming for families and popular with residents.
November - March
Everybody loves sled dogs, and Salmon Berry Tours offers you the chance to get behind the sled year-round. In summer and winter, you'll head to the kennel of Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey, where you'll see a gear demonstration, meet the dogs, and ride on the sled behind them. They also have a multi-day adventure for Iditarod enthusiasts.
For outstanding viewing and incredible access to remote places, there’s nothing like flightseeing by helicopter. Join Alaska Helicopter Tours – a locally-owned, highly-respected helicopter tour and charter company – for excursions that reveal hidden sites just minutes from Anchorage. Spot wildlife from the air, stand on a glacier or land on a remote airstrip.
Year round - water landing approximately May 1st - October 5th
Explore Alaska from above with this family-owned company that operates out of Anchorage. Options include flying above Denali, Knik and Colony Glacier, the Chugach Mountains, and more!
Go behind the scenes with Iditarod mushers and get your own thrilling ride with the dogs at Turning Heads Kennel. Choose a summer dog demonstration and cart ride, or whisk off by helicopter for glacier dog sledding. Winter brings its own variety of tours, which range from an hour long to multi-day expeditions near Willow, Alaska.
Combine your aurora viewing trip with other winter highlights planned out by Salmon Berry Tours. Tours range from single day trips to 6 or 7-day itineraries, beginning in Anchorage or Fairbanks. The multi-day trips include northern lights viewing, hot springs, dog sledding, and local museums.
The wooded, hilly trails of Hillside Park loop through the mountain foothills between Service High School and Chugach State Park, offering more than 25 kilometers of grooming. They range from the potentially strenuous Spencer Loop with the city’s biggest climb to mild Randy’s Loop close to the stadium by the school. These trails include just about every kind of terrain
It’s easy to take a “grand tour” ski across Anchorage. Using the city’s 120-mile-plus multi-use trail system, you can kick-and-glide from the mountains to the sea. Start at an urban trailhead noisy with traffic and end in a quiet forest. Launch from a sidewalk below skyscrapers to find a wildlife refuge with a vast ocean view. The city’s extensive multi-use trail system features dozens of itineraries
It’s easy to take a “grand tour” ski across Anchorage. Using the city’s 120-mile-plus multi-use trail…
Pastoral is the word here. This 300-acre park on Anchorage’s near-east side features groomed paths over the gentle fairways of a snow-bound golf course. Loops explore a handsome forest with bridges over a meandering spring-fed creek. Most groomed trails are lit or near lights, and are very popular with new and younger skiers. Still, you can find plenty of hills, plus a more challenging classic-style loop in the north-side forest.
Feel the thrill of exploring the Alaskan wilderness while driving your own snow machine over the tundra, looking for wildlife and taking in amazing views. And on a clear day you’ll get an amazing view of Denali.
Take a guided van tour from Fairbanks to the beautiful Chena Hot Springs Resort. Tour the Ice Museum, soak in the hot springs, and look for the northern lights. The drive back to Fairbanks provides another opportunity to view the lights.
Experience the excitement of racing champion sled dogs at the Alaska Mushing School, just 75 minutes from Anchorage. Get a professional’s insight into the mushing lifestyle as you ride behind a team of energetic sled dogs on trails connected to the famous Iditarod route. Bundle up and ride in comfort, or brave the cold and drive the team yourself!
Whether classic touring through deep woods or driving hard on your skate skis down a race route, you will find every kind of skiing inside Anchorage’s largest park. Scores of multi-use trails suitable for skiing crisscross this vast, 4,000-acre tract, reaching from lowland forest into the foothills of the Chugach Mountains. The most popular groomed route may be the Tour of Anchorage Trail. But with at least 65 trails covering nearly 100 miles, you’ll never run out of options.
Bike the Coastal Trail or Mountain Bike in Kincaid Park! Exploring Anchorage on a bike is an affordable, independent, year-round outdoor activity. More than 200 well-maintained bikes of all types. On their website you’ll find photos and specs of each bike and a separate page for each of Anchorage's four green belt bike paths.
Mid-August to mid-April
Just a short drive from Fairbanks, wait for the northern lights to appear in a warm, inviting space. Cozy up to the fire, sip on cocoa and coffee, and step outside when mother nature puts on a show. Although the center is a short distance from town, it is far enough away so that you won’t have to worry about light pollution interrupting your view as you stand gazing under the vast, starlit sky.
Gear Rental: May–August. Guided Trips: Year-round
Go fishing right in Anchorage – whether you have only have a few hours or a full day. Rent a gear package and fish on your own. Or, hire one of our local guides to take you on a guided tour to land your dream catch. You can also buy bait and fishing licenses.
Trail Ridge Air offers an on-demand perspective of Alaska’s wilderness, with personable and knowledgeable pilots. Watch for wildlife, check out massive glaciers, alpine lakes, Denali, or even Lake Clark National Park. Trail Ridge accommodates for the busiest of schedules, with flights ranging from one hour to a full day.
Fly from Fairbanks to the remote village of Coldfoot for a 3 day / 2 night or 4 day / 3 night trip to view the northern lights beyond the Arctic Circle. Optional daytime excursions include dog sledding and a trip to the famous Attigun Pass. You’ll return to Fairbanks via the Dalton Highway.
When snow allows, several looped ski trails are groomed near Eagle River High School and along the slope overlooking the river canyon. A fun option connects trails near the school to a multi-use section over the snowbound roads inside the Eagle River campground of Chugach State Park. This 6-kilometer system is a fun way to explore the river corridor, with connections to extensive multi-use routes
When snow allows, several looped ski trails are groomed near Eagle River High School and along the slope overlooking the river…
It’s like a block of wilderness nestled within the heart of the city. This easy 7.5-kilometer loop circumnavigates much of the undeveloped reserves of Alaska Pacific University and University of Alaska Anchorage—connecting several city parks while serving as a major hub for cross-city skiing, snow biking and other activities. A trek here can transport you deep into an Alaska winter setting without ever leaving the urban zone.
August 21 - April 21
Fly or take a guided van tour from Fairbanks to the remote village of Coldfoot, a remote town located in the Brooks Mountain Range that’s perfectly situated under the "auroral oval," where you’ll find the best displays of northern lights.
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.
Alaska’s eastern interior promises high adventure in an area relatively few visitors explore. Fly with Tok Air Service into this jaw-dropping wonderland to visit National Parks and Wildlife Refuges: Wrangell-St. Elias, Tetlin, and Yukon-Charley Rivers. Land on a remote glacier, see dramatic mountains up close, and watch for grizzlies, sheep, moose and caribou.
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.
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 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.
Late November - Mid April
Alyeska Resort is famous for its downhill skiing and snowboarding for a reason—it’s truly world-class, featuring tons of snow, steep mountains, and views that stretch on forever. But there are a ton of other winter activities that make Alyeska an epicenter for winter adventure. Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on one of the area trails; or head off into the backcountry with a guide for some heli- or cat-skiing; try a snowmobile excursion; or just take a tour of the mountain and experience its unforgettable views.
Alyeska Resort is famous for its downhill skiing and snowboarding for a reason—it’s truly world-class, featuring…
For a challenging and compact cross country ski area where you’ll find just about every kind of terrain, you can’t go wrong at Beach Lake Nordic Ski Trails off South Birchwood Loop in Chugiak. The 15-kilometer-plus system ranges from easy gliding to a sprawling advanced loop with sudden headwalls that morph into thrilling, high-speed descents. You can make it as challenging or as sedate as you like.
December - March
Plunge into a winter wonderland of spruce forests, wide open spaces and wildlife. This snowmobile tour in North Pole (just outside of Fairbanks) offers an unparalleled peek at Alaska’s interior and a serious thrill, whether you take a first-timer’s tour or embark on an overnight adventure.
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.
Winter: November - March | Summer: June - August
Experience Alaska fishing off the grid—whether you want to fish for world-class-trophy pike during the peak summer season or experience the fabulously unique sport of ice fishing in winter. This operator based in North Pole will coach you, based on whatever your skill level, and take you to spots so special that owner, Rod Pangborn, takes his own family there.
November–March (depending on snow conditions)
Glide over the snow on a sled that’s being pulled by a team of dogs—many of whom have run the Iditarod, Yukon Quest, or other races. Go with Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service and experience the thrill of dog sledding with dogs that love to run and passionate mushers who will offer a deeper understanding of this unique sport.
In the Talkeetna Mountains between the towns of Willow and Palmer, Hatcher Pass is a local favorite for recreation or a scenic drive. Hike in alpine tundra dotted with wildflowers and ptarmigan, ski fresh, deep powder, or visit Independence Mine Historical State Park.
From Anchorage, it's a 3-hour road trip (roundtrip). You can also hit Hatcher Pass on the way up to More...
For an epic sled run that drops nearly 500 feet in less than a mile, visit what some locals call “The Luge” off Arctic Valley Road in the foothills of the Chugach Mountains just east of town. Depending upon on snow conditions, it takes intrepid sledders three-to-five exhilarating minutes to descend a narrow chute-like trail to the bottom.
For an epic sled run that drops nearly 500 feet in less than a mile, visit what some locals call “The Luge” off…
The Chester Creek multi-use trail system connects city parks and mountain venues in east Anchorage with the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail along the shore of Knik Arm. The main trunk runs without break some four miles from Goose Lake Park to Westchester Lagoon, lighted all the way. Using tunnels and bridges, the fun trail offers an uninterrupted travel corridor for skiers of all ages and ability level across the heart of the city. Call it Anchorage’s winter recreation freeway.
Plenty of people come to Fairbanks to look at the sky—for northern lights, or to bask in the midnight sun. But this dog-mushing experience outside of Fairbanks is proof that there’s plenty more of Fairbanks to be seen at eye—or even paw—level. May through October, take a a trail ride with 16 dogs hitched up to an ATV. November through April, take a mushing tour through the snow!