Why Take This Hike
Just over a 10-mile drive from downtown Anchorage at the Glen Alps trailhead, this short, 0.2-mile paved trail leads to a protected overlook where you can look out on the expanse of the Anchorage peninsula and beyond.
No matter what time of the day you reach the Glen Alps parking area, you could find it quite crowded, especially on weekend afternoons and summer evenings. But if you have a handicap sign on your windshield, look for a handicap spot by the outhouse in the far left corner—right next to the start of the Anchorage Overlook Trail.
You’ll immediately have fine views of Flattop Mountain up to the right and O’Malley Peak across the valley to the left. These views improve as you start up the trail. As it begins circling around the small knoll, you’ll have a broad view up most the length of the Campbell Creek Valley. Just after that, you’ll see as far as Powerline Pass, at the uppermost end of the valley. (This odd name comes from the power lines that connect Anchorage to Indian, and which you can see passing just to the north.)
After curling up and around the north side of the knoll, the trail reaches the overlook. Its backside is a solid wall that keeps the frequent hard winds at bay. The front of the overlook faces west over the Anchorage bowl.
On a chilly day, consider bringing some blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee. But on a warm and sunny day, you can bask in the sun’s light while leaning back on the benches that line the back of the overlook.
If you visit the overlook on the summer solstice, you can enjoy the view without the day ever darkening. The light may dim after the sun sets, far off to the northwest behind the Alaska Range, but it will only reach twilight before the sun rises again to the northeast. Then you can look out over the shadowed length of Anchorage, a few thousand feet below you, and its lights shining in the gloaming.
Make sure to take a picture for your friends back home. No doubt they will raise their eyebrows when you tell them you took the picture at midnight. They might then fall silent in wonder, even as many experienced Alaskans do on such summer nights, when they can hike all night without any headlamp or flashlight.
(For more, see Walk-About Guide to Alaska, Volume Two by Shawn R. Lyons)
Distance: 0.3 miles