Glacier Dog Sledding
If you think winter is the only time you can go dog sledding on snow in Alaska, think again. One of the 49th state’s most memorable activities is dog sledding, and it’s something anyone can do all summer long on Alaska’s glaciers.
You can also go dogsledding at lower elevations in summer. Of course, down there, there’s no snow, so dogs pull passengers in wheeled carts through the forest. It’s still an exciting experience, but let’s face it—mushing through snow, Iditarod-style, is what most people think of when they think of dogsledding.
Fortunately, several companies can take you up in a helicopter (so you’ll also get a mini-flightseeing tour) and land on a glacier, where you’ll find a camp set up, complete with dogs, ready for your adventure. The dogs know what the helicopter’s arrival means—it’s time to run!—and they’ll start jumping and barking, excited to get going. You’ll then take off on an expedition across the glacier, going at a healthy clip. Anyone who wants will have the opportunity to drive the sled, or you can just sit back and take in the gorgeous surrounding scenery, including dramatic hanging glaciers.
It’s a trip suitable for all ages and fitness levels—some tours are even handicap-accessible. Temperatures may be chilly (always dress in layers) but are usually comfortable, and most companies will have clothes you can borrow to stay warm. Just don’t forget your camera—you won’t want to miss documenting this adventure!
Glacier Dog Sledding
Anchorage View All
Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords are great places to see wildlife and glaciers. And Major Marine’s vessels, which have cozy heated cabins and an outdoor viewing area, can take you out to see both. This family-owned tour operator has gone above and beyond to give guests an amazing day on the water since 1990.
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.
This 134-acre park is set in the woods where, in 1964, an entire neighborhood slid into the ocean during last century’s most powerful earthquake. The earthquake was measured at a 9.2 on the Richter scale and lasted 4 minutes. Today, this tragic event is commemorated in Anchorage’s Earthquake Park, where you’ll find signs explaining the circumstances of the quake and its effect on the area.
Indulge your wanderlust as you explore Alaska in a luxurious, easy-to-drive campervan that has been specifically designed to take you into the wilderness. Set off on your own, or work with River Wild to build a custom itinerary – including the highlights as well as some of Alaska’s best hidden gems.
11 day / 10 night
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Chugach State Park, Whittier, Prince William Sound, Denali National Park, Talkeetna, Fairbanks
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery
Best of Prince William Sound & Denali National Park (Anchorage to Fairbanks)
This 3‑room inn provides easy access to city excursions as well as a great springboard for any Alaskan adventure. The Arts & Crafts-style guest house, with a spacious second-story living room, offers panoramic views of downtown Anchorage, nearby mountains and Cook Inlet. You can walk to any number of restaurants, shops and museums, or look for wildlife along the city’s Coastal Trail.
This Anchorage institution has a great slogan: “If you don’t know furs, know your furrier.” The furs themselves come from Alaska and other parts of the world — such as Scandinavia and Russia — and come from mink, beaver, lynx, and fox, to name a few. Go upstairs to see how they make everything from coats to slippers, mostly by hand.
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery
Explore the natural wonders of northwestern Prince William Sound Alaska in this 3‑day version of our Classic Discovery Voyage. This is the perfect cruise for those who don’t have time to do the whole Inside Passage or wish to combine their Alaska cruise with more shore-based activities.
Here are winter adventures within a 90-minute drive or less from Anchorage. Some are outdoors and take advantage of Alaska’s winter snow cover and frozen ground. Others offer intimate indoor escapes to unexpected sights. All point toward fun activities — and the option to return home in time for dinner.
This hidden, little visited waterfall feels immense as it fills its small canyon with a roar that can be heard during the approach. Tucked into a gorge where the South Fork of Eagle River takes a 25-foot-plus plunge, the falls split into two channels as they cascade over a giant bedrock outcrop and are very photogenic. One of the Chugach’s secret places. The surrounding access trails are part of the Eagle River Greenbelt system, but private… ...more
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.
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; ...more
The most spectacular and accessible waterfalls around Alaska you can see from the road, from a hike, or from a day cruise.
Fairview was built beyond the city boundary and became an established community after World War II. Yet the area maintained a fierce independence streak. Those who lived here hoped to avoid bureaucratic oversight and taxation, and even had their own public utility district. It was the only neighborhood that African-Americans could buy property in. And when Anchorage tried to annex the area in the 1950s, locals fought back, in a lawsuit that ...more
Quick: what’s the longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America? It’s the Anderson Memorial Tunnel, and you’ll drive through it on the scenic and historic drive to Whittier. The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is a place whose valleys and mountains, communities and people tell the larger story of a wild place and a rugged frontier. This audio guide gives you the inside scoop on its fascinating history. You’ll… ...more
For many Alaskans, travel by plane is essential for work, getting to medical appointments in the big city, or connecting with family in another part of the state. For visitors, plane travel helps maximize their limited time exploring the state, showcases spectacular views of the land, and gives an authentic peek into Alaskans’ air-centric lifestyle. Ravn Alaska’s network offers flights to major Alaska cities such as Anchorage and Fairbanks, ...more
Anchorage RunFest is a collection of running events that celebrate runners of all abilities from the elite runners to the back of the packers. This late season Boston Marathon qualifier boasts ideal running weather, mild temperatures and a fast course with very little elevation gain. The out and back route takes runners through downtown Anchorage before heading out along the scenic coastline and through the city’s wooded greenbelt. In keeping ...more
Who can say no to a cool waterfall only a half-hour’s drive from town? One of the most popular “first hikes” for families with small children, the one-mile trail to Thunderbird Falls traverses a handsome birch forest along the Eklutna River canyon to reach a deck with views of a 200-foot waterfall. During winter, the falls can freeze, forming fabulous columns of blue ice.
Crow Creek Mine has been in operation since 1896, and gold is still found in its claims today! Your guides will be members of the mining family that keeps Crow Creek operational. This is their home, so tour groups are kept small, creating a more intimate environment and allowing more time for questions. Try your luck at panning, and keep what you find.
Thousands of pink salmon converge on Indian Creek each July and August, just about filling this shallow, easy-flowing stream south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm from bank-to-bank. This amazing natural spectacle occurs in one of the easiest places to view spawning salmon in the region: No steep banks, crystal clear water and fish so close they could almost be touched.
What elements make a great city? When Anchorage’s forefathers landed at Ship Creek in 1915, those elements were people, education, jobs, culture, capital investments, productivity and growth, food production and subsistence, wildlife and natural beauty. So these pioneers set out to make them all a reality. Four distinct neighborhoods arose to meet the call for housing and land management offices, as well as school, library, and museum facilities. ...more
Discover cozy cabins, great food, and big Alaskan adventures at this intimate lodge that sits on the edge of the wilderness yet is super-accessible from Anchorage. It lies tucked in at the back of the Knik River Valley and at the end of Knik River Road, where Alaska’s real wilderness opens up, with mountain and river views — but without a flight or long drive. It’s the perfect place to escape for a few days, with lots of activities available from ...more
Trail head begins by traversing private land, but an easement has been provided for such. Easy to bike, ski, run or walk to mild slope with a wide sides, making is safe from avalanches in the winter. Should you choose to turn left at the start, you can go to Flat Top as an alternative route or Peak 2 or 3, depending how far down you go down the trail before turning left. Ptarmagan Peak would be a more prominate peak just before the Rabbit creek ...more
Land Package Type: Guided Backcountry Adventures
The unique trips offered by Infinite Adventures begin with transportation in a converted school bus that’s been transformed into a spacious, comfortable chariot for 16 travelers. Accommodations are mostly in tents, and itineraries have been designed for camping lovers (and those who would like to try it). Plus, the owners run most trips themselves — a husband and wife who are passionate about showing off Alaska!
8 Day / 7 Nights
Visits: Anchorage, Talkeetna, Palmer
Land Package Type: Photography Tours
This fall photography trip offers some of the best photo opportunities in Alaska as the seasons change. Head to Lake Clark National Park for grizzly bears, turquoise-colored lakes, snowcapped mountains and the bright gold colors of fall. You’ll also spend a half day photographing moose, and a helicopter flight to an iceberg-filled glacial lake only accessible by air. Fall can also be a wonderful time to photograph the aurora borealis, weather ...more
If you only have a little experience doing off-trail hiking, then this scenic 5‑miler will help you get a bit more under your belt. Beginning on Rabbit Creek Trail, in the Front Range just above Anchorage, this hike visits a surprisingly expansive and scenic plateau that remains hidden from sight until you actually climb to it.
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.
Step into the underworld of Anchorage — a hidden gathering of ghosts and spirits — on this walking tour through some of the city’s most haunted sites. It’s the most unsual perspective you can get of Alaska’s largest metropolis.
It’s not as difficult as you might think to hike to stand atop the precipitous, gully-scarred face of Bear Point. But it’s not easy, either. The 2‑mile hike ascends 2,100 feet and can be tricky. But your reward is an amazing view in all directions, from the Kenai Peninsula to Denali and the Chugach Mountains to Matanuska Peak.
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.
Long popular with families who seek a wilderness-like setting without leaving the urban area, the place has a reputation for cleanliness and serenity. But you have to make peace with the river: it is loud. 57 campsites are nestled along three wooded lanes and the interesting gravel bars of Eagle River are never more than a few minutes’ walk away.
If you only have a limited amount of time in Anchorage but want go out for a great hike, consider Kincaid Bluff Trail. Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Anchorage, this is a 6‑mile loop hike to Kincaid Chalet. Along the way, you’ll find 3 miles of rugged trail that skirt the summit of precipitous bluffs at the end of the Anchorage Peninsula.
Visit and snuggle real Iditarod sled dogs with their musher on this unique summertime tour. After touring their kennel, you’ll harness up and explore trails along Girdwood’s mountains which offer spectacular views while your guide offers fascinating gold mining history in the area.
The world’s most famous sled dog race begins in downtown Anchorage on the first Saturday in March, in a spectator-friendly ceremony. The first mile and a half of this leg is on city streets lined with thousands of spectators. The next six miles run east and south through the city greenbelts and parks on the extensive system of bike and ski paths.
More than 1,000 moose live year around inside greenbelts and neighborhoods throughout the Anchorage Bowl. It’s not unusual for cow moose to bed down twin calves in suburban backyards, or for a bull moose with a full rack of antlers to amble straight across busy a boulevard, halting traffic as it passes.
A short drive from downtown Anchorage will land you in the middle of Kincaid Park, the jump-off point for this moderate two-mile out and back hike to Anchorage’s only big, sandy beach. If not for the cool Alaska temps, it’d be easy to think you were in Southern California. The sand is fine and very little mars its surface other than the occasional piece of driftwood. Flanked on one side by tall bluffs and on the other by gorgeous views of… ...more
11 Days / 10 Nights
Land Package Type: Wilderness Lodge Vacations
Experience up close and personal brown bear viewing at the private BearCamp, world class fishing from the Great Alaska Adventure Lodge, glaciers, 3 national parks and much more over 11 memorable days.
See Alaska’s unique and authentic side by hiring a guide for a day and creating a custom, private adventure for yourself and up to 7 others. Tours depart from Anchorage or Girdwood. Excursions include Matanuska glacier hikes, ATV tours, gold panning, northern lights viewing, snowmobiling, and more.
Tequila 61, a unique gastropub in downtown Anchorage, fuses authentic, handmade Mexican dishes and classic Alaskan ingredients to create an entirely new take on contemporary cuisine. This modern approach extends to the creative, handcrafted cocktails and the rustic, industrial interior, where every table is handmade. The result is a memorable dining experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Created by the folks behind Anchorage’s award-winning Snow City Café, Spenard Roadhouse and Sack’s Café, South Restaurant + Coffeehouse was launched to take the best qualities of those popular eateries to the South side of town. Located in a new development near the famed Alaska Sand and Gravel— and off Old Seward Highway — South Restaurant + Coffee House channels a bit of the area’s industrial past, with a clean, modern space, featuring a ...more
This trail has its own sitting area and viewing deck with views of Anchorage, the Alaska Range, and Cook Inlet. It is really good for seeing sunsets in the evening but it is also windy. The whole route is wheelchair accessible. This is a good short hike for the family to see the view over Anchorage, but not a good trail for the training runner.
You’ll take off from Anchorage, and Alaska will open up for you as you appreciate its vastness from the air. Where will you go? That’s up to you! Choose from a variety of tours. Take one of the classics, like flightseeing to Denali, or opt to explore one of the state’s hidden gems. You can also fly to see glaciers, go bear viewing in Lake Clark National Park, or work with the pros at Alaska Air Service to create your own custom itinerary.
Nothing beats a good breakfast to kick off a day of adventure in Alaska, and according to locals, nothing beats this popular downtown café for egg scrambles, omelets, salads and more. Snow City Café been voted “Best Breakfast” by Anchorage Press readers for years, thanks to their from-scratch bakery items and creative combos, such as eggs benedict with sockeye salmon cakes, or hot oatmeal topped with homemade granola and blueberries. At… ...more
Hop aboard an eco-friendly snowmobile in Girdwood and ride on groomed trails beneath massive, 7,000-foot glaciated peaks or visit the dazzling blue ice of Spencer Glacier. Or, head north of Anchorage for a trail ride through mid-alpine black spruce forests. No experience necessary, all gear provided, and warm beverages and snacks included.
If you’re looking for a wild oasis that’s just a 15-minute walk from downtown Anchorage, look no further than Westchester Lagoon (also known as Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park). One of the city’s most popular places, this is where locals come to play, as it has something for everyone. You’ll find access to great trails and wildlife, as well as year-round activities and events for the entire family.
Inqure for rates
Land Package Type: Photography Tours
Award-winning Alaska-based photographer Jeff Schultz can take you to stunning Alaska locations to create your dream images of Alaskan landscapes & wildlife. Whether you want to make photos in classic Alaska locations or in places that the average traveler will never see, based on decades of living, traveling and photographing all over Alaska, Jeff can create a custom photo trip that will meet all your wants and desires.
These ATV and a side-by-side tours in scenic Hatcher Pass with the option of half or full-day adventures are great for groups or families. Full day tour also includes a tour of Independence Mine State Historical Park. Walk the trails through the historic buildings — and depending on the time of year, stop to pan for gold or pick wild blueberries! Tours depart from Willow with transportation available from Anchorage.
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!
The City of Anchorage may be largest urban area within a thousand miles, but it still supports a full menagerie of its original Alaska wildlife. Look for moose, eagles, migratory birds, and more.
The 7- to 9‑hour tour out of Anchorage’s Lake Hood is led by a photographer-pilot whom has published photos in such magazines as Air and Space, Stearns and National Geographic. Set up for the best shots, every passenger gets a window seat and a two-way headset for pilot narration — you’ll have a stunning ride filled with photo ops of rugged mountains, glacial pools and ice blue glaciers. Then, you’ll land on a remote waterway to take photos on the ...more
The original hallmark trip that got the Alaska Railroad to bring the Glacier Discovery to Spencer Glacier in 2002. This is one of the most scenic glacier river trips in Alaska and a perfect float for all ages. Your trip begins with a scenic ride on Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery train, which runs from Anchorage, Girdwood, and other pick-up points along the railbelt. Enjoy a beautiful ride down Turnagain Arm and the Placer River Valley and ...more
Anchorage may be Alaska’s big city, but this bicycle tour operator offers quick proof that the city has a lot of wilderness. Choose your ride based on half-day or full-day options, as well as difficulty. You’ll go from downtown to Mother Nature — with mountains, coastal views, and the occasional moose sighting — in no time at all. Better yet, the tours often include beer tastings or lunch.
5 to 7 Days
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Valdez
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery
Our Classic Discovery Voyage is the perfect wilderness sampler. We take in the most spectactular sights of Prince William Sound — mountains, fjords, glaciers and wildlife — with the number of daily excursions (ashore or by kayak) tailored to the interests and activity level of the group.
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.
Don’t let the strip-mall locale fool you: This is one of the best restaurants to open in Anchorage in years. No matter which side of the open kitchen you sit on (either the “restaurant” side or the casual “bistro”) side, you can enjoy the 200-plus wine list, excellent salads and wide selection of entrees, such as Kodiak scallops, fresh troll caught King salmon, and Scandinavian duck. Save room for the creative, beautifully plated desserts, such ...more
One- and two-bedroom suites (that can sleep up to 7 people) make this centrally located hotel a great choice for families. Plus, you’ll find made-to-order breakfasts, along with the option of taking them to go, if you have early morning activities. Book a mountain view room for a breathtaking view of the surrounding Chugach Mountains.
Explore Anchorage’s best kept secrets with a local guide. Traverse Alaska’s private, custom adventures are designed to take visitors off the beaten path and away from the crowds. Adventures can incorporate a full day of hiking or a combination of scenic driving and outdoor activities. Each trip is custom designed to meet your interests and desired activity level.
With Alaska Air Service you’ll fly from Anchorage to Lake Clark National Park, where they’re a licensed park concessionaire. On the 6- to 7‑hour expedition with an intimate group (there’s a 4‑to‑1 guest-to-guide ratio), you’ll start with a landing inside the park on a beach or in the grasslands to watch bears. Then you’ll travel, unrushed, to other spots in the park. Few operators include multiple locations, but showing you as much of the park’s ...more
If you want to marvel at the sight of thousands of fish schooling in gigantic tanks, take the self-guided tour inside the state fish hatchery on the banks of Ship Creek east of downtown. The museum-quality observation deck offers intimate views of a complex operation that produces up to six million sport fish each year.
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.
Reasonably priced gifts for friends, family and office mates, or a just a delicious snack for the plane ride home. Almost three quarters of the shop consists of foods and accessories that were made, caught or picked in Alaska — from smoked salmon, reindeer sausage and jerky to jams, syrups or Ketchikan-made Ravens Brew Coffee.
All five species of Pacific salmon converge on Anchorage streams each summer, sometimes in spectacular numbers. And they’re easy to view — whether you seek feisty chinooks as long as human’s arm in spring, or dense congregations of humpies during the summer peak, or the last, lingering cohos after the first frost.
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.
This clearing at the edge of town once functioned as a firebreak between Anchorage and its neighboring forest. At other times, it acted as an airstrip, a golf course and even a makeshift housing development, when people lived here during the 1940s boom in apartments created out of old barracks. Today the Park Strip — just one block wide but 13 blocks long — is home to ball fields, a gym, ice rink and a giant steam… ...more
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.
When you feel weary of cold season weather and yearn for a whiff of summer, you can visit Anchorage’s own tropical greenhouse almost any day. The Mann Leiser Memorial Greenhouse in near-east Anchorage inside Russian Jack Springs Park features birds, fish and a collection of exotic plants from around the world.
Ratchet up the adventure factor and try your hand at dogsledding. Alpine Air Alaska flies to a dog camp run by the oldest established dog-sled tour business in Alaska. With a shuttle option available from Anchorage, you’ll travel by helicopter from Girdwood’s green forests up over a small saddle to land on a glacier and be introduced to the dog team. “Drive” the dogs yourself, or sit in the sled and enjoy hanging glaciers that surround you. ...more
What’s an affordable, comfortable, and reliable way to get around the Kenai Peninsula? Just hop aboard one of Alaska Bus Company’s 27-passenger shuttle buses! This summertime-only service runs Monday to Friday. The 5‑hour route runs in both directions between the Anchorage airport and the charming town of Homer, stopping in Girdwood, Cooper Landing, and Soldotna.
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 ...more
The Campbell Creek Gorge overlook is one of Anchorage’s best kept secrets. It’s just a 25-minute uphill hike — even shorter on bike— from both the Hillside Ski Chalet parking area and North Bivouc Trailhead, or a slightly longer 1‑hour hike from Campbell Airstrip. From the tree-covered overlook, you can gaze hundreds of feet down a sheer cliff to Campbell Creek as it crashes through a narrow, brush-infested canyon.
Alaska Motorhomes Rentals from Alaska Travel Adventures offers one-way rental options. Seeing Alaska by motorhome is different than seeing it by train, for example – so why not experience them both? If the thought of a long, round-trip journey on the Al-Can keeps you from setting out on that amazing adventure, how about driving one way and flying back? You can consider all these options when you rent one of the comfortable, easy-maneuvering C ...more
Hop aboard one of Regal Air’s planes departing from Anchorage and after a short, scenic flight you can be watching enormous brown bears swat salmon from Alaska’s rushing waters. Tours visit one of two destinations: Lake Clark National Park or Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park.
Every now and then in Alaska — where the weather can change quickly — a great indoor activity comes in handy. But this unique year-round attraction, where a family or a group of friends solves a mystery while “locked” indoors, makes a fun diversion even when the skies are clear outside.
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.
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, ...more
You don’t need to be an expert or a Hollywood star to enjoy fly-out fishing in the wilds of Alaska. Trail Ridge Air offers guided, non-guided and custom trips, getting you into creeks and lakes where you can catch not only fish, but also a great Alaskan fish tale of your very own.
10 Days / 9 Nights
Visits: Anchorage, Homer, Seward & Kenai Fjords, Talkeetna, Denali National Park
Land Package Type: Self-Guided Land Tours
Experience diverse waterways on three unique guided kayak tours. Destinations include Homer, Seward, Talkeetna, and Denali National Park.
Spencer Glacier rises 3,500 feet in a stunning, natural ramp from a lake of royal-blue icebergs in the Chugach National Forest just 60 miles south of Anchorage. It’s a family-friendly recreation destination featuring camping, hiking, glacier exploration, nature walks, paddling and sightseeing. Maybe best of all: You have to take a train to get there!
Brooks Lodge offers their own bear viewing tours which are less expensive than most, and give you more time at Katmai National Park to watch bears feasting on sockeye salmon from several viewing platforms. A commercial flight from Anchorage takes you to King Salmon where you’ll switch to a small float plane for a quick 20-minute flight to Brooks Camp. After a brief safety orientation, you can watch bears from several viewing platforms, join the ...more
Explore Alaska’s backcountry astride a speedy and fun snowmachine. Alaska Wild Guides will take you out for one thrilling day, or for several days of exhilarating adventure. Find hidden ice caves and remote glaciers while navigating along frozen rivers and through deep powder.
The Coastal Classic train runs between Anchorage and the town of Seward — a four-hour trip that’s the most beautiful along the entire Alaska Railroad. You’ll see Turnagain Arm as the train departs Anchorage, then a panorama of mountains, glaciers, lakes, and streams. You may even see wildlife like Dall sheep, Beluga whales, moose, bear, and more! Day Trip from Anchorage: Seward, Girdwood Multi-Day Trip from Anchorage: Overnight Seward, or ...more
Take a fly-in salmon or trout-fishing trip out of Anchorage with Regal Air to enjoy world-class fishing in pristine, remote rivers. Regal Air teams up with wilderness lodges and guiding services and can set you up with anything from lunch to gear. They’ll even teach you how to cast. You’ll get the ultimate Alaska flying experience, taking off and landing in a float plane, and soaring over big, braided glacier river valleys and endless forests. ...more
Longtime Alaskans Doug and Heather Robuck make modern gold prospecting easy: Their collections of handmade gold-in-quartz jewelry — a rare combination — are crafted into rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Also, check out their extensive collection of natural, unaltered gold nuggets.
Discover something truly unique to bring home at this one-of-a-kind gallery that carries only work by Alaskan artists. Shop for high-quality glass, metal, and wood art; jewelry; mittens; handbags; scarves; handmade soap; journals and notebooks; photography; watercolor prints; cards; stickers and more.
Exploring Alaska’s backcountry lakes, forests and rivers is a phenomenal experience. Wilderness Place Lodge — tucked away on a remote river northwest of Anchorage — offers excellent access to nearly any freshwater fish you came to Alaska for, along with a unique eco-travel experience that comes with a high level of service, a variety of non-fishing activities and the mellow freedom to create an Alaskan experience that suits your own taste.
This is your chance to travel like the locals! Many Alaskans ride this bus line that motors between Anchorage, Glennallen, Fairbanks, and Tok, making stops along the way in off-the-beaten-path destinations. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can board a van or a 20-passenger bus to travel Interior Alaska Bus Lines’ route.
Everyone from beginners to experts can book a custom, multi-day photography trip in Alaska. As a longtime Alaskan, Michael knows the best spots to go. And he can carefully craft custom trips to take you to the most magical areas. His specialty is landscape, wildlife and adventure-travel based trips around Southcentral Alaska — places like Chugach and Denali State parks, and the region’s accessible glaciers.
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
5 days/4 nights or 6 days/5 nights
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Cordova, Valdez
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery
Perfect for the adventurous traveler, the Hike and Kayak voyage sees all the same sites as on our Classic voyage, but with more excursions. Kayak among icebergs, hike through mountain meadows, and take in the scenery on this unique trip. Activities can be customized to suit the interests and activity level of those on board.
A stretch of exposed bedrock southeast of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm was gouged and polished by mile-thick glaciers during the last ice age. The grooves appear as smooth channels carved into the rock itself by almost unimaginable forces. Some are subtle, like ripples, and hard to see. Others are large enough to lie inside on a sunny afternoon.
Humpy’s at the airport has a selection of 20 beers on tap with most brewed in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau and the Kenai. In addition to the beers, they serve good pub food: nachos, hummus plates, burgers, soups and salads. And of course, they have Alaska seafood: halibut, salmon and fish tacos.
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.
Tour working farms in Palmer, Anchorage, and Talkeetna. You’ll take guided walks around the farms, touching plants, breathing in the air and sometimes even tasting something freshly picked. But there is also a lot of storytelling, learning about the unique challenges that Alaska farmers face. Some tours offer option to sample other local products like Alaska beer and birch syrup.
The only same-day service between Seward and Denali National Park! Enjoy the ride aboard a deluxe motorcoach with comfortable seats, picture windows, in-seat power outlets, and an onboard restroom. Offering regular scheduled summer service connecting Seward, Whittier, Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali, plus special cruise connections on ship days.
How would your kids like to scramble up a huge dune of cool, clean sand? Nap in a groove carved by a glacier? Watch scores of salmon spawn? Here are family adventures within an hour’s drive or less from Anchorage. They offer amazing sights, fun activities ¬— and the option to return home in time for dinner.
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.
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is one of four greenbelt trails located in Anchorage. Even though the trail spans 11.0 miles each way (from Kincaid Park to just north of where 2nd Avenue ends in the Cook Inlet), it is easily picked up from several points in the city, so you can enjoy any segment and hike as little or much of the trail as you desire. In the winter, the trail is groomed for cross country skiing.
There’s nothing quite like camping in the woods with the family when you’re a kid. The crackling campfire and gooey s’mores. Biking around the campground loop. Running through the forest and gathering wood. Catching (and landing) that first fish. Here we offer details for nine great public family campgrounds within a 90-minute drive from Anchorage.
For an easy, scenic walk in Anchorage, check out the Chester Creek Trail. The 4‑mile-long path, which runs from Westchester Lagoon to Goose Lake, is not only flat, but also paved, making for an easy stroll. And though it passes close to neighborhoods, the trail is part of the city’s “greenbelt” — a wooded area that makes you feel like you’ve left the city behind.
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.
This downtown shop and café is a little glimpse into old Anchorage — a city that wasn’t completely about logging, fishing and tough guys. Built in 1915, the Kimball building, on Town Square Park at the corner of 5th and E, is a stop on the historic walking tour and still has antique fixtures and flooring. It’s eclectic, “quaint-meets-cool” gift and tea shop is an extension of a famed dry goods and sewing notions store that has been in business… ...more
Visits: Anchorage, Chugach State Park, Palmer / Wasilla Area
Land Package Type: Photography Tours
Southcentral Alaska is a fall color photographers dream. This photo tour is personally crafted and led by Michael DeYoung and his wife, Lauri; they make up one of Alaska’s most seasoned travel and adventure photography teams, bringing more than 30 years of experience photographing and adventuring in this area.
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.
Land Package Type: Photography Tours
Don’t just experience the beauty of Alaska — learn how best to capture it on your camera. Travel with award-winning photographer Jeff Schultz and you’ll get personalized, hands-on instruction as you take in the state’s magnificent sights. Choose from custom tours or small group tours with a maximum of 6 participants that depart throughout the year and include accommodations, transportation, and meals.
With Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours, you can experience glaciers inaccessible by road. Never fear if you’ve never driven an before; this company teaches you to maneuver your ATV through the Alaskan wilderness with your guide at the lead. Your destination is the magnificent Knik Glacier, where you’ll enjoy lunch and gorgeous scenery.
Wondering how folks up here deal with Alaska’s long winter days? It’s easy when the inky night sky comes alive with an amazing light show like the aurora borealis. Braving the cold is nothing if you get a chance to see the lights dancing and waving overhead. Combine your aurora viewing trip with a few other highlights planned out by Salmon Berry Tours, and you’ll experience the best of winter in Alaska.
There’s great Alaskan backcountry ATV riding just a few miles south of Anchorage. Engage in the sights, sounds, and smells of the northernmost temperate rainforest while experiencing the thrill of the throttle through the winding wooded trails of the Chugach Mountain Range. In the alpine meadows of this wilderness area, there are frequent sightings of both brown and black bears, mountain goats, and Dall sheep.
Since 1963, Rust’s has been safely carrying anglers far away from the crowds. Experienced guides lead you to world-class fishing for kings, silvers, grayling, and trout in some of Alaska’s most beautiful and remote wilderness — and they’ll clean and package your catch for the trip back to Anchorage. On the way, enjoy a window-seat view and pilot narration.
2 - 5 days
Land Package Type: Wilderness Lodge Vacations
Spend 2 – 5 days in hi-tech “tent cabins” with heat, light and bathrooms, along with gourmet meals, knowledgeable local guides, and spectacular scenery.
This upscale Marriott comes with some great views of mountains, inlet, and city skyline. Take it in, or get up close by walking the nearby Tony Knowles Coastal Trail or Delaney Park strip. You’ll also be within walking distance of Anchorage’s restaurants and shops.
Giving fresh Alaskan dishes a unique touch, Orso serves dinner in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Classics like grilled wild Alaskan salmon are served with an olive and tomato salsa, while Bering sea scallops come with a walnut-gorgonzola risotto. And you don’t want to miss the desserts.
Alaska Wild Berry Products has two convenient locations. One, inside the 5th Avenue Mall in the heart of downtown Anchorage. The other is just a brief 10-minute drive from downtown. The shop itself features great Alaskan gifts like Alaskan jelly, salmon, meats, and chocolate.
This luxury resort, 40 miles from Anchorage in the town of Girdwood, is surrounded by seven glaciers. The spectacular scenery is popular in summer as well as winter, when you’ll find a full-on ski resort. It’s a romantic option that’s equally great for families.
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.
This train travels through the forested areas north of Anchorage into the boreal forest, and eventually into the tundra regions further north. On a clear day the train will slow down to allow you to see beautiful vistas of Denali. You may also spot wildlife along the way. Day Trip from Anchorage: Talkeetna Day Trip from Fairbanks: Denali Multi-Day Trip from Anchorage: Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and / or Fairbanks Multi-Day Trip ...more
Craft beer, locally sourced food, and a terrific location in the heart of downtown Anchorage all add up to a can’t‑miss experience. Dine inside the two-story restaurant, or step upstairs to the rooftop deck for magnificent views of the Alaska Range and Cook Inlet.
For a spectacular ski along Anchorage’s coast with views of icebergs, active volcanoes, a salt marsh and the majestic white massif of Denali, take a cruise along the 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This multi-use civic gem draws skiers, bikers and walkers in almost every winter condition. Once the city parks department starts regular grooming, it is often the easiest of skis, popular with families, with only two significant climbs along its ...more
Black Tail Rocks is a very airy climb that stretches to 4,446 feet above Eagle River, a town located just north of Anchorage. It’s a journey that involves only a minimal amount of hand-over-hand scrambling; you’ll be following a trail for most of the 4‑mile, 2,750-foot hike. And you’ll have a fine view from the top, looking up the length of the secluded Meadow Creek Valley and well into the deep inner reaches of the Chugach Mountains.
Anchorage’s newest hotel is located in the midtown area and offers some great amenities. You’ll find an outdoor fire pit and a family-friendly gallery, perfect for relaxing and getting to know fellow guests. Plus, half of the rooms have living areas and full kitchens.
While many people find satisfaction in climbing to the top of Bear Point, others may wonder about reaching the summit of Mount Eklutna, the prominent peak rising just to the east. It involves two more miles of hiking, up 1,100 feet, including a short, sharp scramble up a gravel trail. You can return to the Peters Creek Trail trailhead via an alternate route, which makes for a fine loop hike.
Alaska’s première shopping destination. Anchored by JCPenney, this 5‑level shopping center houses options like Apple, Michael Kors, lululemon, Sephora & 100 others, along with local shops and boutiques like Alaska Wild Berry Products and Once in a Blue Moose.
Forty minutes from downtown Anchorage lies Eagle River Nature Center, a gateway to Chugach State Park and a glacial river valley as wild and dramatic as any in Alaska. Enjoy an easy, 3‑mile nature walk on the Albert Loop or trek up-valley 5 miles to see plunging waterfalls and 3,000-foot cliffs. In winter, traverse the trails on cross-country skis or snowshoes.
Head out into the Alaskan wilderness on this exciting ATV adventure, driving through woods and splashing through rivers on your way to a gorgeous glacial moraine surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. Transportation from Anchorage included.
Alaska bear camp is magically hidden in a rare Critical Bear Habitat in the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park. Instead of hundreds, only 16 privileged guests observe the wonder of up to 50 brown Bears living out their daily drama. Due to the beauty of the location and the exceptional bear population, the deluxe camp, with en suite biffies, beds with mattresses and food flown in daily, was used as a base camp for the Disney movie Bears. ...more
The Glacier Brewhouse is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Meals are served in a large rustic dining area, complete with a fireplace in the middle, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s always abuzz with conversation. Here you can enjoy fresh seafood and meats while sampling a spectrum of homemade beers. Before or after you meal, be sure to check out the brewing equipment on display through the glass wall.
The City of Anchorage may be relatively young, but it has a storied history that is rich enough to keep you captivated for hours. And who better to recount some of the highlights than four former mayors who were there when they happened? Among other things, you’ll hear about Anchorage’s wilder days, what the 1964 earthquake was really like, how oil money helped shape many facets of modern life, and Alaska’s little-known 9⁄11 scare.
Summer or winter, visit a family-run champion kennel, meet friendly dogs and an experienced musher for a ride along private trails with views of Denali. Opt to ride in the sled or mush your own. Or, for a truly authentic adventure, go on a training run for the Iditarod! Large groups and special events welcome when organized in advance.
This 7‑mile hike, which begins in the mountains just above Anchorage, takes you to the numerous Williwaw Lakes, all of which are clustered below the sheer north face of Mount Williwaw — the highest peak in the Front Range.
Reaching the summit of Avalanche Mountain takes a considerable amount of effort: a 5.5‑mile hike up Powerline Trail followed by a 1.5‑mile off-trail scramble. But this 3,200-foot climb — which begins at the Glen Alps parking area, just 10 miles from downtown Anchorage — takes no mountaineering skills. If you feel at all comfortable hiking and climbing over some loose stones and boulders, you should find this to be a very gratifying adventure. ...more
Experience the wilderness of the Chugach National Forest from several different perspectives. Combine a helicopter ride, alpine hike, glacial lake tour, river rafting and train ride all in 9 – 10 hours! It’s one big and bold Alaska tour de force with Chugach Adventures.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in summer, more than 100 vendors sell a wide variety of Alaskan-made goods and food from all over the world. Whether you’re in the market for a valuable keepsake or a last-minute souvenir, you’ll likely find what you want here. You’ll find souvenir T‑shirts, furs, painters and photographers selling their work, handmade jewelry, and more. Music and dance performances keep the market lively.
Enjoy a magical morning or evening kayaking the calm waters of Spencer Lake, in the awe-inspiring presence of a jagged terminus glacier. Your time on the water is sandwiched between two train rides that offer up some of Alaska’s most scenic rail miles. It’s a full day of unforgettable experiences in our country’s second largest national forest – the Chugach.
Downtown’s convenient grid pattern was set up at the same time that construction started on the Government Hill neighborhood. And in 1915, downtown’s plots of land were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Many of the buildings from that era not only still stand, but are still named after some of the city’s founding fathers, reminding us of the sacrifices they made to give a future to their budding city.
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.
5 days / 4 nights
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Prince William Sound, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery
Explore a wildlife rich slice of Alaska, set in the scenic wilderness settings of Lake Clark National Park, and the Chugach National Forest Wilderness of Prince William Sound.
This experienced, locally run company offers a superb guide-to-visitor ratio, creating a real feeling of intimacy, while their expert guides will help deepen your understanding of the area. From city overviews to forays just outside town, Salmon Berry Tours offers experiences from 2.5 hours up to a full 8‑hour tour.
Adorned with rich woods and polished brass, the Fancy Moose Lounge offers a colorful environment where you can mix good times and beverages with a spectacular view of the lake. Casual dining features fresh seafood, burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups and finger foods, and an assortment of specialty drinks. Summer draws locals and visitors to the outdoor patio with the promise of brilliant Alaskan sunsets. Operating Hours 11:00 AM — 12:00 AM ...more
Stunning scenery, a thrilling ride and happy puppies: this tour out of the Anchorage area offers an unbeatable combination of classic Alaska experiences that will delight families or — really, anybody. Taking a total of about 90 minutes, and running from mid-May to early September, this tour includes a Flightseeing round trip, a small friendly group environment, and plenty of one-on-one time with the dogs and their mushers.
Viewing brown bears in their natural habitat is one of the most amazing things you can do in Alaska. If it’s high on your list, book a flight-seeing/ bear viewing trip with Trail Ridge Air, knowing that personable pilots will take you to where bears splash and fish, and where visitors run out of words to describe their amazement.
Named after the insect that, some joke, could be Alaska’s state bird, the bookstore also makes a great stop for travelers who’ve just landed in Alaska. You can pick up guidebooks, regional maps, hiking trail maps, or even a nice journal to log your travels or wildlife sightings.
Sometimes you just want to be amazed. The overlook at the Glen Alps trailhead of Chugach State Park on the Anchorage Hillside offers a grand front-row seat on the forces of geology as well as one of the best postcard views anywhere. Like — how about a three-volcano vista? Or the profile of Denali, Foraker and Hunter in a single glance? Plate tectonics at your feet? The skyline of the biggest city within 1,000 miles?
Take a road trip across Alaska without the size or cost of a full-size RV. These converted campervans, rented out of Anchorage between May and September, come with unlimited mileage, sleep four and offer most of the comforts of a big RV in a compact model — with a pop-up tent on top.
A short road called Konikson located just past Bird Ridge heading east will take you to the trailhead. Stay to the right until you see a trail about a quarter mile in going right and up. The trail follows a small drainage, and quickly gets past the tree line.
This locally owned boutique hotel, set in the heart of downtown, features 31 large suites with living rooms, bedrooms, and full kitchens. Step out the door and be within walking distance of Anchorage’s highlights, as well as downtown restaurants and shopping.
Some 50 miles north of Anchorage, this 1.5‑mile trail makes for a fine family outing. From the picnic table at the uppermost end of the trail, you’ll find a satisfying panoramic view of the Matanuska River and Knik River valleys. It’s a view as good, or better, than that from many summits.
Not everyone should undertake this 13-mile traverse that begins at Glen Alps above Anchorage. Considerable off-trail hiking, plus a steep climb to a ridge top, might be outside your comfort zone. But this trail does offer a profound sense of solitude and some spectacular views. It also includes the novelty of hiking a mile-long sheep trail that traverses the back of The Wedge, some 500 feet above the secluded waters of Ship Lake.
When you want to explore Alaska on your own timetable, with a guaranteed bed and meals any time of day, consider a trip in a state-of-the-art motorhome rented from Great Alaskan Holidays, Sales & Service. They offer the largest selection of sparkly clean and well-maintained motorhomes in Alaska, with great pricing and a no-fuss reservation and rental process. It’s the most convenient, flexible, and affordable mode of independent travel in ...more
A night at the Seven Glaciers restaurant, perched 2,300 feet above sea level on Mount Alyeska, is a dining journey that begins with a tram ride high above the treetops, followed by an elevator lift, then a stroll along a golden carpet, past a glimmering, glass-and-steel, wine-tower wall and into a dining room radiating the colors of alpenglow and glacial ice. Seven Glaciers is one of only three AAA Four Diamond restaurants in Alaska. You can ...more
A straightforward trip with big scenery payoffs, like the picturesque Mint Hut and a valley dotted with hanging glaciers. This trip is a great first backpacking trip in Alaska with simple logistics. It’s 16 miles with options for additional miles and side trips.
When your Alaska travel plans include outdoor activities (and they should!), gear up with affordable, high-quality equipment rentals from local experts. Alaska Outdoor Gear Outfitter & Rentals will pull together what you need for everything from a summer campout to a winter snowshoe or aurora viewing expedition. So get out there!
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.
Step aboard Princess Rail, whose cars have two levels with 360-degree dome views, a dining area, and large open-air platforms at the rear. You may choose to ride as an independent traveler, or with a larger package that will include lodging at the Princess properties along the way.
There’s no better place to get a grasp on Alaska’s history — really, its many histories— than by visiting the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. The state’s largest museum is truly a world-class experience, offering a compelling overview of Alaskan history, art, culture, and science.
Some of Alaska’s most alluring destinations are along its gravel roads, through timber, tundra and quaint towns. Alaska 4×4 Rental’s 4‑wheel drive vehicles are perfect for navigating these rugged roads. Choose a new model Jeep, SUV, pickup or van for your own custom road trip – and you can drive all the way to the Arctic Circle!
Complete with rooftop tents that set up in minutes, camp stove, and refrigerator, Overlanders are perfect for exploring Alaska. Explore the Denali Highway, McCarthy Road, or Dalton Highway just as easily as you can zip into towns like Homer, Talkeetna, or Fairbanks.
Rent a mountain bike (and all the body armor you need) for a thrilling, two-wheel ride down Mt. Alyeska. Lessons and tours of the route are offered. Or, go for a hike on one of the many area trails, either with a guide or on your own. You can even strap on some crampons and go trekking on a glacier.
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.
With Natron Air you can charter flights on your schedule for up to 5 passengers. Their luxury Aerostar 601P Superstar 700 is the world’s fastest piston twin. Destinations include Soldotna (their home base), Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kodiak, King Salmon, Port Alsworth, Dillingham, and Pilot Point.
This mine played a significant role in the early settling of the Turnagain Arm. The building here are on the National Register of historic places and the mine is unique because of its association with load mining. Indian Valley Mine was founded in 1910 by a vagabond who ran away from home at the age of 12, joined the circus and then finally traveled to Alaska during the gold rush. The Cowles family will tell you all about the history of this… ...more
Biking, hiking, fishing, climbing, wildlife viewing, campfires — and the bore tide spectacle of Turnagain Arm. Few campgrounds anywhere offer as many outdoor options to an adventurous family as Bird Creek Campground in Chugach State Park. Located at Mile 101 on the Seward Highway, the campground features 22 sites for tents or RVs.
When you stay at the Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park, you’re just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Anchorage, but you also get to hang out right where the locals fish. The famed Ship Creek offers plenty of action for anglers, birders and spectators.
Riding the train in Alaska is a relaxing and fun way to take in amazing sights around every bend, and many travelers choose a dome car for the best viewing experience. When you’re headed north of Anchorage, hop on a Wilderness Express private dome car for deluxe viewing at great value.
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, ...more
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! Want to fish Ship Creek? 6th Avenue Outfitters (907−276−0233) sells… ...more
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.
The train can be used as a mode of transportation, however it can also be a round-trip sightseeing excursion. This primary destination is the town of Whittier, a major cruise ship and afternoon day cruise hub. Day Trips from Anchorage: Whittier, Girdwood, Spencer Glacier, Grandview
Bringing the right gear for a vacation in Alaska can seem daunting. This independent store, in the Spenard area of Anchorage, offers both an affordable way to buy anything from rain pants to a mountain bike once you get here — as well as an efficient way to sell that same gear when it’s time to go home. Essentially a consignment store, Hoarding Marmot lets folks buy and sell gently used gear — the ultimate in good recycling.
Kincaid Park offers the easiest way to get deep in the woods right in town. It’s a mecca for outdoor sports of all kinds in a wilderness-like setting on the site of a former Cold War missile base. This 1,500-acre park sprawls over an ancient and rugged moraine at the southwest tip of the Anchorage Bowl at the west end of Raspberry Road. From its panoramic views of Denali and the vast Cook Inlet to its intimate deep woods enclaves, the park is ...more
Take in the scenic views from the domed windows in the private McKinley Explorer railcars by Gray Line Alaska. Independent travelers can book a seat, but most opt for a multi-day package including hotel and transfers. Enjoy excellent service from your car manager, who will point out sights and scenery along the way. Dine in the restaurant located just beneath you, and don’t miss a thing as you continue to gaze out of large picture windows. ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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!
If people suggest climbing Flattop, tell them you’d rather climb Rendezvous Peak. Flattop is arguably Alaska’s most popular (and therefore, most crowded) mountain; Rendezvous is far less crowded and offers better views from the summit. See them by hiking up 1,500 feet to the 4,050-foot summit.
Set along the Coastal Trail at the very end of 5th Avenue in Anchorage, Elderberry boasts 1.5 acres of scenic parkland with great views of Cook Inlet. Because it’s close to downtown, you can make this a rest stop while touring and shopping downtown. Come with a picnic, or just a walk while enjoying the view.
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
At first blush, this traditional downtown restaurant may seem like just a special occasion place: steaks, lobster, oysters Rockefeller and impeccable service. But, its also an Anchorage mainstay for business power lunches, date nights and even upscale prom nights. They also have one of the best Happy Hours in town with drink specials and discounted appetizers.
This trail quickly gains elevation on its way to an alpine meadow framed by the dramatic Twin Peaks and Goat Rock, but climbs to magnificent views overlooking the entire valley. Dall Sheep are often spotted above the timberline. From here there is a spectacular view of the lake below. This is also a good place for berry picking in the fall. Because of the crushed rocks, the trail is hardly ever muddy.
This Anchorage museum offers an in-depth look at Alaskan Native life — with a big focus on Alaska Natives. Watch dancing, listen to stories, meet carvers and explore recreated winter dwellings. The setting is so small and intimate that visitors are sometimes even invited to join the dancers on stage.
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!
Anchorage’s tallest hotel is the best place to appreciate the gorgeous views of city and mountains – you may even see Denali on a clear day. You’ll also be within walking distance of the train depot and coastal trail, as well as the city’s terrific shops and restaurants.
A giant sand dune rises into the trees of Kincaid Park near the southwest corner of the Anchorage Bowl. Its brown face of gorgeous speckled grains looms more than 40 feet above the surrounding forest floor, presenting a pyramid-steep slope that just begs to be climbed. This natural feature is a blast for the whole family, perfect for anybody who has ever delighted in a romp at the beach.
Update: As of March 27, 2019, this area is now closed. After the November 30, 2018 earthquake, it is a high rock-fall risk area. We’ll keep an eye out for a new great spot to grab fresh Alaska water! Drive just a few miles south of Anchorage, and you can taste the best water that Alaska has to offer. No fees, no gimmicks: just a 5‑foot pipe protruding from a granite cliff face that gushes crystal clear water capable of causing instant brain ...more
Step aboard Anchorage’s first trolley. Relax and enjoy the ride while your guide shows you the sites and attractions of Anchorage. You’ll see the Alaska Railroad, Lake Hood (the world’s largest and busiest float-plane base), mysterious Earthquake Park, Cook Inlet, Anchorage Museum, shopping areas, and restaurants. Your ride is fully narrated, and the trolley is heated and enclosed.
If you’re a beer snob — or just like soaking up the personality of a city through its brewpubs — this creative tour company offers a few different tours, each of which provide an interesting look at life in Alaska, as well as through a taste of the state’s legit craft beer industry. The Anchorage Brews Tour, is a short, 3.5 hour local brewery tour. Hops on the Rail tour combines breweries between Anchorage and Talkeetna with a ride on The Alaska ...more
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 ...more
Just a 45-minute drive from Anchorage, Raven’s Perch lies within the main lodge at the cozy Knik River Lodge, with big windows and an outdoor deck looking out to a spectacular view. The focus here is on local, sustainable ingredients and products. The staff talks with local farmers and plans ahead to see what vegetables are coming into season to create their menus.
Volcanoes not only shaped the face of Alaska but also make for spectacular sights. Here are the top volcanoes to look for and photograph during your Alaska vacation.
Lazy Otter offers offers double and single kayak rentals, and transportation to secluded areas of Prince William Sound. Not ready to kayak alone? Opt for a guided trip. The calm waters have a gorgeous backdrop of the Chugach Mountains’ serrated peaks. Keep an eye out for the creatures that walk the shores and swim in the sea: orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, puffins, seals, sea otters, eagles, goats, and bears.
Talk about one-stop shopping: At 14,000 square feet, this 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.
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.
Today, this unique, geographically isolated area is accessible only by bridge. But it’s worth the effort: you can stand on the very spot where Anchorage’s first neighborhood began, at the corner of Delaney and West Harvard streets. From here you can see the Brown’s Point Cottages to the west, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And walk north along West Harvard Street to see what remains of the old cottages.
One of the most original gifts you can find in Alaska is a piece of clothing made from the undercoat of the musk ox, called “Qivuit.” What’s so special about this fabric? It’s finer than cashmere, eight times warmer than wool (and not scratchy like wool), and extremely light. Pick up some items made from this rare, lustrous fiber when you’re downtown at the co-op; you’ll have a rare treasure that can be found nowhere else in the world.
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.
Rarely do two lakes lie within a few feet of each other. Fortunately, the trail to see this geological rarity begins just a 30-minute drive north of Anchorage. From the trailhead for South Fork Eagle River Trail, it’s a gradual 4.8‑mile (one-way) climb up a wide valley, leading to a narrow isthmus between the green waters of Eagle Lake and the blue waters of Symphony Lake.
Crystal-clear Williwaw Creek and its bank-side trail system in Portage Valley at the head of Turnagain Arm offers exceptionally good conditions for watching spawning in action. Coho, sockeye and chum salmon converge on the creek as it winds through the brushy flats beginning in mid-August, with some late-arriving fish still present after first frost in the fall.
This veteran tour operator runs a a fleet of fast, modern boats in Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. You’ll visit tidewater glaciers as you watch for puffins, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, sea lions, and more. Some tours are designed to please birders or shutterbugs, while others are perfect for families.
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.
Feel the thrill of exploring the Alaskan wilderness while driving your own snowmobile over the tundra, looking for wildlife and taking in amazing views. And on a clear day you’ll get an amazing view of Denali.
Walking out across the ice of Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier is an unforgettable experience that you can take advantage of year-round — and it’s just a two-hour drive from Anchorage.
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.
This downtown shop doesn’t just offer ready-made gifts and souvenirs — though it does have plenty of those, including jewelry, medallions and watches emblazoned with Alaskan images such as bears, wolves and even Iditarod champions. One of the most popular items here are gold-nugget necklaces, rendered from piece of gold brought in by modern-day prospectors. The store’s other claim to fame is being the starting point for the Iditarod and Fur… ...more
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.
The Voyager Inn in the heart of downtown Anchorage offers guests a sense of history with an updated look. Renovated rooms and suites include luxurious bedding and linens, stylish seating, plush carpeting, designer bathrooms and kitchenettes with new granite countertops.
How and where to find Alaska’s glaciers — some of the state’s most beautiful natural attractions
At the 200-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, see Alaskan wildlife up close. The center’s mission is to provide refuge for orphaned, injured, and ill animals — those that can’t survive in the wild. The center, which opened to the public in 1993, educates visitors about Alaska’s wildlife. Coyotes peer out from behind the brush while a bald eagle swoops in on the salmon remains left by a grizzly bear. Wood Bison plod through 65 acres of tidal ...more
Owners Matti and Dan cannot think of a better way to appreciate Alaska than sharing it with others. Matti was born and raised in Palmer, Alaska and has been on snowmachines most of her life. Alaska Backcountry Adventures offers “mild to wild” experiences and prides itself on providing a customized experience for all levels of ability. It offers the widest variety of expeditions on the latest and greatest equipment.
Today, the ACA is the largest performing arts presenter in Alaska: it’s the only organization that presents Broadway shows in the state, and it’s the largest resident company that uses the city’s Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (known to locals as the PAC), home to both the Atwood Concert Hall and the Discovery Theatre.
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.
Walk, hike, watch for birds or paint a picture at this living field guide of Alaska flora and fauna. The 110 acres are set in a birch and spruce forest, where you might even see a bear or moose. Walk the Wildflower Trail, relax in the Herb Garden, delight in the perennial gardens, or explore the 1.1 mile Lowenfels Family Nature Trail.
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.
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. 2021: Hand tram currently closed
You know you’re in Alaska when you can watch anglers catch salmon just behind your hotel. This property, within walking distance of the railroad depot and trails for strolling, as well a heated indoor pool and exercise room.
There are few things more spectacular than lifting off in a helicopter and soaring over Alaska’s glacier-filled terrain or out across its shimmering waters. Suitable for all ages. Get a taste for helicopter flightseeing on a 30-minute trip into the 20-Mile river valley and the heart of glacier country.
You don’t have to be a mountaineer to reach the summit of O’Malley Peak — the prominent spire rising from the Front Range above Anchorage — but don’t mistake it for an easy climb. Some of the 5‑mile-long trail climbs quite steeply; other parts add very loose gravel to the incline. Still, these conditions don’t make this hike excessively dangerous, just satisfyingly laborious.
Portage Valley southeast of Anchorage at the head of Turnagain Arm offers so many potential adventures that you might have to tow a trailer loaded with gear to sample them all. What will you find here? Biking, hiking, picnicking, fishing, paddling, wildlife viewing, potential iceberg sightings — plus a natural history visitor center packed with interactive displays about the ecosystem of the valley and Prince William Sound. It’s like an outdoor ...more
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 ...more
Touring the spectacular tidewater glaciers of Prince William Sound is even more exciting when you do it on a Jet Ski. Go with Alaska Wild Guides out of Whittier to experience the area’s unique sights and sounds while skimming across the top of the water on your own personal watercraft.
You’ll have a hard time losing your way on this 2.5‑mile climb of 4,301-foot-high McHugh Peak. You’ll also have a hard time forgetting the view from the summit, which extends up the length of Turnagain Arm and across Knik Arm to the Alaska Range. It’s even more satisfying knowing that you found your way to the summit with only minimal help from the trail.
The Northwoods Lodge is a remote lodge where visitors can find themselves in a 45 minute flight from Anchorage. The lodge specializes in guided fishing, and guests can enjoy 8 to 10 hours of fishing a day if they choose. Guides help you spin or fly fish for trophy king salmon, silver and sockeye salmon, or resident rainbow trout, arctic grayling and northern pike
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
Who can’t be tempted by a place that offers a Bacon of the Month? This Anchorage restaurant in the heart of the Spenard neighborhood serves contemporary comfort food in a casual, eclectic setting. Local newspaper readers have voted Spenard Roadhouse Best Restaurant, Best Bartender, and Best Waitstaff for a reason. Year round, its menu shows a local and sometimes whimsical flair: Bacon Jam Burger, Reindeer and Chevre Pizza, and S’mores for… ...more
Phillips 26 Glacier Cruise, out of Whittier, will take you to 26 different glaciers in just 5.5 hours. Enjoy cozy comforts on the high-speed catamaran and wander its outdoor decks as you come within 300 feet of massive tidewater glaciers. In addition to glaciers, the captain will be on the lookout for wildlife like otters, whales, harbor seals, and marine birds. The trip takes place in the afternoon, and a hot lunch is included in your tour. ...more
This classic steakhouse in downtown Anchorage has a lot of stories to tell: While the restaurant started in the 1950s, its home building dates back to the 1920s. Cut and aged on the premises, the steaks — some four inches thick — have been voted the best in Anchorage for 12 years running. No surprise, though, there is surf as well as turf: the menu features halibut, scallops, prawns and the much-sought-after red king crab.
Faster than a kayak and more intimate than a day cruise, the Jet Ski is a great way to get up close and personal with Alaska’s gorgeous scenery. Go with Whittier-based Glacier Jet Ski Adventures and you’ll be taking your machine out on the water to explore the stunning glaciers and wildlife of Blackstone Bay. All equipment is provided and no experience is necessary on this unique 4.5‑hour journey.
Anchorage’s luxurious grande dame hotel is considered by some to be the finest hotel in Alaska. The 20-story, 546-room hotel offers amazing views of the Chugach Mountains and even Denali. You’ll also find first-class restaurants and great amenities.
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.
Reopening in 2022. See website for other Princess properties open in 2021. Views abound at this unique downtown hotel, and each of the 200 oversized rooms has a balcony to look out at the Chugach Mountains and Inlet. Or just wander through the property and appreciate the Alaskan art and photographs.
About a half a mile past where the road turns sharply left (by the old Motherlode Restaurant) is a pull off on the left and archangel road to the right. The road is dirt, and in the summertime you can drive the trail for a mile or two, but it is pitted with deep holes and rocks. After a mile or two, a parking area and trail turns off to the right. Here the trail continues with little elevation gain initially, but after a mile or so you will ...more
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Dog sledding on a glacier is the ultimate blend of Alaskan adventure, as you also get there by helicopter! Board a TEMSCO flight that whisks you thousands of feet above sea level to the Denver glacier and a dog mushing camp hidden away on a snow field, where Alaskan sled dogs will greet you energetically, ready to take you on the ride of your life.