Child's Glacier is certainly Alaska's most spectacular roadside glacier--it's the only one where you can see calving. Child's Glacier is 400 yards across the river from the viewing platform, so you can't walk up to it like you can Exit, Byron, or Matanuska Glaciers.
Directions: Cordova is an hour flight from Anchorage. Then, it's a 1 hr drive to the glacier.
Distance: 190 miles east of Anchorage
Drive Time: 3 hours
Explore: If you visit Cordova, make a day out of exploring the Copper River Highway (which ends at the glacier), Child's Glacier itself, and the nearby Million Dollar Bridge.
Where else can you walk to the end of Main Street and find yourself at the confluence of three wild rivers, overlooking a 20,000-foot peak? Close to downtown, this large, river-centered park offers wide open, untouched spaces, along with great panoramic view of the Alaska Range.
Come here to see the mingling of 3 swift glacial rivers: the Talkeetna, Susitna, and Chulitna More...
This 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 More...
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.
Visible outside the windows of the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau, this state wildlife refuge is the result of the 1964 earthquake. Literally overnight, the land dropped by 6 to 20 feet; hay fields and pastureland became salt flats and marshland. Once home to cows and grains, the land is now prime habitat for moose, birds, and fish. Some 20,000 acres are protected in the More...
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 crisscrossed by a world-class trail system usable all year round.
This recreation area is just a mile and a half from town, but it feels like wilderness—with deep woods and several lakes, it's a great place to hike, run, canoe, fish, or look for wildlife. Watch for otters, beavers, bears, foxes, moose, and more than 100 species of birds, including raptors and loons. The park's best feature is a nicely groomed 3.5-mile walking trail around X More...
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.
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.
Leaving from the end of Tongass Highway, enter the Lunch Creek Trail and very soon take the trail to the left as this steps you quickly down to a waterfall viewing platform and then the rest of the way down to where, to the right, you can also cross the Lunch Creek bridge, which provides waterfall views as well as the ocean where the creek flows into.
Refuge Cove State Recreation Site is a sliver of land lining part of an edge of a neighborhood and is a popular beach picnicking destination with the locals. The site comes complete with pit toilets, sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables with fire grates, and a quarter-mile trail accompanied by interpretive signs that address the local natural history.
Summit Lake, located some 60 miles north of Anchorage at the crest of Hatcher Pass, offers a short, memorable lakeside ramble. Here you can explore the surrounding gullies and slopes or just sit and watch hang gliders drift out over the long Willow Creek Valley, which extends for miles from the west side of the pass.
If you have the ability to transport bicycles, this trail makes for a great afternoon trip. The dirt path winds through the Portage Valley, passing glacial lakes and ending at Portage Lake (this part of the trip is 5 miles each way). Make sure to bring your camera: you’ll see hanging glaciers and, very likely, some wildlife.
Settlers Cove State Recreation Site offers two of the best sandy beaches to be found in the Ketchikan area and provides pit toilets and sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables with fire grates. A campground with eight campsites is available as well and one public-use cabin on the water that can be rented.
Explore the 4000-acre Far North Bicentennial Park to experience true wilderness within Anchorage. Though the area looks very wild, a few locations near Campbell Creek had substantial development during World War II when the nearby Campbell Airstrip was readied for use by fighter planes.
Talkeetna may have one of Alaska’s best adult playgrounds, as it hosts mountain climbers and adventurers from all over the world, but that doesn’t mean kids don’t fit in, too. A group of mothers got together in 2008 and built this playground, worthy of a frontier town. Constructed from rough-hewn timbers, the play area incorporates mazes, cabins, swings, slides, and even art from local children.
The idea of this downtown plaza stemmed from a celebration of the silver anniversary of Alaska’s statehood in 1984. Through the work of Festival Fairbanks, Inc. ’84 Director, William R. Wood, the Fairbanks City Council supported the creation of the Golden Heart Plaza. Construction was completed in 1987 and funded by donations from Fairbanks citizens, families, businesses, and associations.
Chena Lake has two distinct personalities: The Lake Park and The River Park. The two parks were created at the same time an earthfill dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in response to devastating Chena River floods in 1967. The dam is 7.1 miles long and controls nearly 1,500 miles of watershed that would otherwise freely flow into Fairbanks.
Cuddy Family Park was a labor of love for many volunteers for years. The park was established in the early 1980’s. But it was only when the speed skating oval was built out in 2011 and the playground added in 2013 that Midtown Anchorage gained its own park on par with Westchester Lagoon in downtown.
This bike ride takes you along a pretty flat and mellow single track, and through the heart of Girdwood. Running along Glacier Creek, the trail connects the new and old town sites. This is a great ride for anyone new to mountain biking, but it’s also an efficient way to get from one end of town to the other.
This is a great pocket of wilderness right in Anchorage: easy to get to, quiet and pretty idyllic. Set in the northeastern section of Kincaid Park, Little Campbell Lake is packed with lily pads and surrounded by a thick forest lined with trails. Spend the afternoon hiking, swimming, fishing, or paddling around the lake.
This small campground, less than one mile south of the cruise ship dock in Haines, is for bicyclists and others arriving on foot—no vehicles are allowed to here. Don’t miss the nice overlook in the forest above the campground, with views over the water to the Chilkat Mountains.
Once the administrative headquarters for an empire stretching from Asia to California and Hawaii, Castle Hill today is little more than a grassy hill with a few interpretive signs, a modest stonewall, several old cannons, and a few flagpoles. But when you visit the top of this hill, you’re standing on rich historic grounds. Archeological excavations have unearthed over 300,000 More...
You are now entering the 397-square mile Chena River State Recreation Area. Here you'll find activities year round from hiking, rock climbing, and berry picking to dog sledding and cross-country skiing. Maintained and well-marked trails lead into alpine country and access very different hiking experiences. Once above treeline, smaller trails lead away from the main, More...
The 40-acre Karen Hornaday Park is the new favorite spot for families in Homer. BBQ grills and picnic facilities are available for summer gatherings, as well as public restrooms. For those looking to relax, benches offer views of Kachemak Bay and surrounding mountains and glaciers.
One of the easiest beaches to access from town, this park has a nice overlook and excellent waterfront with picnic sites. In late July through September, you can fish from the beach for silver and pink salmon. Wander down the beach to a small creek (on the left side) that is filled with salmon in late summer. Surfers ride storm waves here, and some locals even scuba dive in the cove More...
Located on Santa Claus Lane, the Terry Miller Memorial Park features a picnic area, children's playground, a spacious gazebo donated by the North Pole Rotary Club and an up close view of the Alaska Railroad as it passes by.
Terry Miller, a former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, moved to the last frontier at seven years old and has the distinct honor of being the son of Con More...
At the Government Peak Recreation area you will find an extensive trail system for nordic skiing, walking, hiking, fat tire biking, and mountain biking. The newest addition is a Chalet that is available to warm winter visitors. It's also available for rent.
Two lefts past the Alaska Marine Highway Juneau Terminus is the road to Auke Bay Recreational Area. Inside, you’ll find Point Louisa, a traditional fishing ground for the Auke people (a subgroup of Southeast Alaska’s First People, the Tlingit). Point Louisa is a good fishing spot with good water views, covered picnic areas, and gently sloping gravel beach make it a family favorite.
Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site is made up of 113 acres, and includes one of the most visited spots in the Copper River Basin, Worthington Glacier. There are trails, picnic sites, and picnic shelters within the roadside park, along with water and restrooms. Make sure to stop at milepost 28.7 on the Richardson Highway to view this favorite glacier, or take a short walk to More...
Chilkat State Park, seven miles south of Haines, is less visited than Chilkoot Lake, probably because it’s further from town and the road is gravel. But don’t let that stop you. The park is quiet, it’s one of the best local areas to look for moose, and the view of the Rainbow Glacier—a hanging glacier with a huge waterfall dropping from its face—is world-class.
Here's another great stop to take in the scenic beauty of the mountains and the Turnagain Arm. Here you can access the Bird to Gird paved multi use pathway. From this spot it's a six-mile journey down the trail, which features stunning views and interpretive signs. Take a walk or a bike ride to Girdwood for a bite to eat.
And don't forget to look for Beluga More...
Goose Lake is located in central Anchorage, near the university district. You'd never know you're in the heart of Anchorage as you view Pacific loons nesting at the far end of the lake from mid-May to mid-September. Rent a paddleboat from the Paddleboat cafe (certain days of the week) to get a closer view of the loons. Obey the signs, and don't get too close. More...
This is an easy two-mile trail through meadows and forests that’s great for hiking in the summer and skiing during the winter. In summer, the highlight is fields of wildflowers, especially from June through August: Lupine, Wild Geranium, False Hellebore, Monk’s Hood, Chocolate Lily, Fireweed, and much more.
This is one of the states most scenic campgrounds offering views of some of the tallest peaks in the Alaska Range. Twelve campsites are situated along a loop road; the grounds are equipped with water, toilets, fire pits and hiking trail. The Delta bison herd can often be seen from the campground and nearby viewpoints.
The park has a few campsites, but no outhouses. The dock at the park provides public access to Mosquito Lake, which offers great fishing, especially for cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden char. The lake fills with migrating ducks in the spring and fall, and trumpeter swans use the lake as a stopover on their migrations. Up to 80 swans have been seen at one time on the lake. In the winter, locals like to ice fish and cross-country ski on the lake and nearby areas.