I rented a bike and got directions for some of the local trails available in and around the city.
Equipment: I had my own clothing to wear and the rest came from the shop. They have many bikes for all kinds of riding and all kinds of riders. It was mild for an October day so my timing was perfect.
My destination ended up being Kinkade Park for a total of about 22 miles roundtrip.
The trail is for bikers or hikers and follows the coast line with numerous stops to view the sites.
They say there are moose along the trail however I only saw droppings!
Alaska gets pretty shut out of the whole National and American sporting leagues because of our location and our small population. However, we do have a hockey team that's very popular among locals. The Alaska Aces (who are affiliated with St. Louis and Peoria) always draw a good sized crowd when they play--and they should. They're pretty decent from what I understand--we came up right at the end of their season last year but they did move on to win the Kelly Cup. They play in Sullivan Arena--a facility that was built to olympic standards rather than hockey standards. I come from a state that's pretty big into ice hockey so I'm excited to be able to go to a game here soon and then I'll report more:)
We do have other teams as well--the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves and an Alaska baseball league which includes 2 Anchorage teams. Now, I realize that baseball in Alaska might seem a bit strange, but these are people who play with all their heart and the list of alumni is quite impressive.
Anchorage has developed an extensive bike path system over the years. A highlight is the Coastal Trail which runs from downtown to Kincaid Park just south of the airport. Great vistas and an upclose look at the damage from the Good Friday earthquake as the trail runs thru Earthquake Park - a large chunk of land than fell away in 1964.
The trails are open to walkers and runners as well. They are fairly safe, but if walking I'd suggest you don't go alone thru the more heavily forested parts.
This wonderful and well maintained trail goes along the coast of Anchorage, starting from downtown and continuing to South-West.
You can bike, walk or jogg along it. I really recommend it, no matter the season. It is in good condition in winter time. If you're lucky you might see the moose there.
In the winter time there are also ski trails.
You can start this trail from downtown, just behind of Captain Cook Inlet.
How to describe something this good with only few words...Well, the third largest state park in US, chugach has a wide range to activities to offer to you, from hiking to camping, to rafting, to snowboarding, to climbing etc.But what is the best thing, is that it is right there, just a ten minutes drive from Ted Stevens I'nal Airport, just right there in Anchorage. Those mountains start there and keeps going on down to Kenai Peninsula.
If you go to Alaska and spend some time in Anchorage, do not underestimate this State Park. Most people wanna hit Denali, but Chugach is also worth of spending time in in some cases it might even be better than Denali, especially if you don't have lots of time.
The park close to Anchorage is divided to three good areas, which all have good trails to use: Eklutna, Hillside and Turnagain Arm.
Equipment: There are three campgrounds in Chugach State Park, offering experiences ranging from fishing, hiking, whitewater rafting, wildlife viewing, and spectacular sunsets. Two are north of Anchorage -- one at Eklutna Lake, and one on Eagle River -- and the third is south of Anchorage at Bird Creek.
Check out great pages of Chugach http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/chugach/
of Alaska Department of Natural Resources
This is a fantastic ridge walk in the rugged tundra that lies above the Eagle River valley. Views of Eagle River and surrounding Chugach State Park are awesome on a clear summer day. Water is scarce at best so bring what you need with you. Mount Magnificent is 5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 2300 feet and Mount Significant is 14 miles and 5200 feet of elevation gain (significantly harder day). Despite the mileage and climbing the hardest part of your adventure may be finding the trailhead. It is worth the search!
The hike starts in a residential area above Eagle River at a gravel turnout. From the 'parking area' follow the steep path through overgrown bushes up to an abandoned road. Follow this wide trail all the way to a flat area at an area known as 'mile hi pass'. There is a good lookout knoll up to your left with great berry picking in season. If you are hiking out to Mt Mag or Mt Sig follow the trail to your right and uphill to the ridge. From here you follow the ridgeline and the trail fades in and out of the tundra as you make your way to Mt Mag. You will go over two high points in the ridge before dropping down into a minor valley. From the depression stay left of the ridge and traverse a bit until you are below the true summit then go up to the top. (you will see a faint trail here to guide you) Don't forget to sign the summit register. To continue to Mt Significant you keep following the ridgelines up and down to a final climb to the summit. It is 4 miles to the climb up Mt Sig from Mt Mag. You should have a map for this part of the hike as there are intersecting ridges along the way that will steer you the wrong direction if taken.
Equipment: Bring extra clothes, water and food. Wear good footwear as the trail is steep and rocky in palces. Weather can change fast in the mountains so have an extra jacket at the very least.
This is a truly spectacular hike in an easily accessible part of Chugach State Park. No matter how high you get on Bird Ridge you will have awesome views of Turnagain Arm. With it's south-facing slopes this hike is one of the first to clear of snow making it a great spring warm-up. If you make it to the top you can sit in a protected nook with lush green ridges and peaks rolling out at your feet and watch eagles and ravens glide on updrafts in search of food. And, the wildflowers can be great up here during spring. High point on the ridge is a 13 mile round trip with 5500 feet of elevation gain but with treeline ending about half way up you don't need to go all the way to enjoy the views.
From the trailhead follow the unmistakable 'improved trail' a quarter mile to the outhouses. Here you will start to climb big time! Don't let the first mile or so get to you - it is the steepest (or so it seems) part of the hike. As you climb toward treeline the trail will get a bit narrower but is still very easy to follow. A lot of people will turn around or at least take a break at the first major bump in the ridge. This is the first of at least four 'false summits' on the way to the true high point. Just keep in mind that once you have reached that first bump the going gets easier as you wander the ridge toward the true high point.
Equipment: Good footwear is a must! Bring extra clothes, water and food as conditions tend to change from top to bottom. Can be quite a bit of wind on top so be prepared in those conditions for gusts.
Anchorage has more than 120 miles of paved bike and multi-use trails and 85 miles of summer non-paved hiking trails. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy 130 miles of winter walkways that are plowed, more than 100 miles of groomed ski trails, 24 miles of lighted ski trails, and 36 miles of mushing trails.
One afternoon I hiked about half of the 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and thoroughly enjoyed the scenic views of Knik Arm, Cook Inlet, the city skyline, wildlife and late summer wildflowers. The web link below gives information and maps of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and two other popular Anchorage trails.
The Middle Fork Loop is the perfect route if you only have the afternoon to be out in the woods. The trail starts at Prospect Heights parking area and decends into the woods then crosses Campbell Creek. From here it climbs up to the shoulder of Rusty Point then descends again to Campbell Creek. You then connect with Powerline Trail for the ski back to your car. It is 9 miles of great scenery and often great wildlife viewing.
After a fresh snowfall this can be one of the best short skis within the city limits. Also a popular snowshoeing area.
Equipment: Make sure you have some extra clothes and water. Great for classic or backcountry X-C gear. If you need to rent gear in Anchorage try REI or to buy a cheap used setup try Play It Again Sports.
$5 day use fee or $40 annual state park sticker available at REI and other contractors.
Powerline Trail is an access corridor for many different hikes/ski routes but also makes a great ski from end to end. The trail itself stretches 12 miles from Prospect Heights all the way to Indian a community on the Seward Highway. In the winter you shouldn't attempt to cross the pass because of probable avalanche danger. This gives you about 8 miles of trail to safely ski or you can explore the mile wide valley off trail.
The reason this trail is called Powerline is obvious as you follow the power poles up into the valley. This is a very gradual climb in a wide open valley and is suitable for all experience levels. Some years the main trail is groomed others it isn't. Most days you will see at least one moose in the valley. A great spot to watch the late season rut!
About 15 minutes from downtown.
Equipment: Make sure you have some extra clothes and water. This area gets a lot of wind so have a windbreaker to throw on if it picks up. Great for classic, backcountry or skating X-C gear. If you need to rent gear in Anchorage try REI or to buy a cheap used setup try Play It Again Sports.
Tire studs or 4WD may be necessary. $5 day use fee or $40 annual state park sticker available at REI and other contractors.
The reason I love this ski trip so much is that it gets you out into the mounatins 15 minutes from downtown. 10 minutes from my house!
This is a day ski from the Glen Alps trailhead to Ship Lake Pass (with the possibility of climbing The Wedge, The Ramp or skiing to Hidden Lake). It is a 12 mile round trip ski in a gorgeous part of Anchorage's wild backyard with many opportunities for viewing moose, ptarmagain and fox. Elevation gain on this trip is between 2000 and 3000 feet depending on your turn-around point.
Starting at Glen Alps parking lot you ski out to Powerline Trail. From here I usually like to drop down to a snow bridge and cross Campbell Creek. Start gaining elevation while you traverse SE down the valley. Eventually you will see a long gradual valley open up to your left. Start climbing. Hidden Lake is up in a tarn on your left, The Ramp is the peak at the end of the valley on your left, The Wedge is the peak up valley to your right and Ship Lake Pass is the saddle that connects the two peaks.
All your work on the way up is rewarded by an effortles glide back to the Powerline Trail. Even a few good turns in here if you are lucky!
Equipment: Make sure you have a pack with food, plenty of water and enough extra clothes. Plan for the worst not the best - this area gets a lot of wind so watch the weather! Classic or backcountry X-C gear is the best here although telemark setups would work too. If you need to rent gear in Anchorage try REI or to buy a cheap used setup try Play It Again Sports. Skins would be helpful but are definitely not necessary.
Tire studs or 4WD may be necessary. $5 day use fee or $40 annual state park sticker available at REI and other contractors.
Arctic Valley to Indian is a 22 mile one-way route that first drops 1000' to the valley floor then follows Ship Creek as it gains 1300 ft. to Indian Pass. Most people ski this trip in a day and try to travel light and fast although I am told it makes a beautiful overnight as well.
This is not a technical traverse but may require some route finding skills (if the weather goes bad) and a strong set of legs. The solitude and quiet of this area is only broken by birds and an occasional passing skier as no snowmachines are allowed here. The surounding ridges and peaks are beautiful and at your sides all day long. Most people will wait to tackle this trip until February or March so that temperatures and daylight are at a maximum. Pick a sunny day and wear layers so you can strip down if needed.
I would advise getting together with at least one friend for this traverse for safety and for company. Most people ski Arctic Valley to Indian instead of Indian to Arctic because it allows for a slow steady climb to Indian Pass then a QUICK drop down to the parking lot. I like to go this direction so I can have a few beers at the Brown Bear Saloon at days end. Whichever way you choose a vehicle should be arranged for both ends as this is a one-way ski.
Check with local ski clubs or post messages at AMH or REI to find a ride or partners.
Equipment: Make sure you have a pack with food, plenty of water, possibly a flask of schnapps and enough extra clothes. Plan for the worst weather not the best! A compass and map would be a wise investment though if other skiers have broken trail not entirely necessary. Classic or backcountry X-C gear is the norm here although I have seen some people grunting through on telemark setups. If you need to rent gear in Anchorage try REI or to buy a cheap used setup try Play It Again Sports.
There are three choices within 45 minutes of Anchorage:
Hilltop Ski Area is located on "Hillside", 15 minutes from downtown. 907-346-1446
Alpenglow at Artic Valley is about 25 minutes north. It has steeper slopes than Hilltop and great views of Anchorage due to the wide-open terrain. Don't expect high speed trams here... it's a bit rustic and operated by the Anchorage Ski Club but worthy of checking out especially if you can't make it to Alyeska. 907-428-1208
Alyeska Resort is Alaska's premier resort and is located about 40 miles south in the charming town of Girdwood (aka Gird-stock to some). Alyeska offers skiing for all skill levels. Ride the tram to the top and take a moment to appreciate the views of Turnagain Arm and the surrounding mountains. (The tram is open year-round for the views!) If it's good enough for the Warren Miller crew.....
There's some good Nordic trails here as well. 907-754-1111
There are close to 100 miles (maybe more??) of maintained cross-country skiing trails in Anchorage. Try the Kincaid Park, Russian Jack Springs, Hillside or Bicentennial Park system or head out to the trail system beginning at the Eagle River Nature Center. It's not uncommon to ski right past moose and other wildlife so keep your eyes open!
Contact the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage for more info and advice on where to rent gear.
Ice climbing is great it has everything a adventurer and sport enthusiast would want- bloodcurdling action! Its kinda like going on a rollercoaster for the first time, a little scary but well worth it!
Equipment: If you go to the Matanuska Ice Climbing Adventures bring hiking shoes, (warm!!!!!!) your hands get cold easy-gloves, fleece coat, lunch, and rain clothing (just in case) i didn't use it while there but they suggest it, if you go ice climbing by yourself then you have to buy alot of equipment which would bring the price range up to 2 grand, so for a one time trip 120 bucks is worth it! and if u don't want to do that they have hiking!