Waterfalls, glaciers and mountains – oh, my.
When you fly into the Anchorage airport, the first thing you’ll notice as you walk out the arrivals gate is a huge wall of windows. What’s outside those windows? Mountains.
We have a lot of mountains, and many are accessible right here in town for easy strolls or hard-core ice climbing.
Just 15 minutes from downtown is the locals’ favorite, Flattop Mountain. It’s a gorgeous trip to make even if all you do is drive up the winding road to the parking lot or stroll one of the gentle, maintained paths (suitable for seniors and small children) to a berry-strewn Valley or a panoramic view of the city. But keep going and you’ll be in for a vigorous climb 1,200 feet to the summit.
About 20 minutes up the highway takes you Thunderbird Falls, another local fav and an easy, 1-mile walk along a maintained path through the woods to a 200-foot waterfall.
Want to see a glacier? You can book a helicopter tour that will actually land you on a glacier, but there are many both north and south of the city that can be reached by car, in the Matanuska Glacier and Portage Glacier. Keep going south and you have even more options, including near the wonderful little seaside town of Seward (about 2 hour’s drive).
About 45 minutes south of Anchorage is the little ski town of Girdwood, packed with good restaurants. In the summer, you can hike the north face of Mount Alyeska and multiple trails in the area, including Crow Pass. Bears galore down there. Check out the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on your way back.
If you want a bit of sea breeze in your hair, take a stroll along the 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. More of a walk than a hike, but beautiful, relaxing and adjacent to downtown, so you can grab lunch when you’re done.
There are too many great hikes in the Anchorage area to list here. But the bottom line is if you want to experience the wonder and beauty of Alaska by walking up a mountain or along a glacier, Anchorage is the place to be.
And your warm bed at Puffin Inn will be waiting to welcome you at the end of the day. Have fun!