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25 Epic Things To Do Near Anchorage, Alaska

In this blog, we are covering the best things to do in Anchorage Alaska especially if you love outdoor adventure.

Anchorage may be the largest city in Alaska, but with the steep and jagged Chugach mountains surrounding the city, Anchorage is a haven for outdoorsmen/women. There are so many epic things to do in Anchorage and the surrounding mountains. While I don’t dream of living in a big city, of all cities in the United States, Anchorage is one of the best basecamps for an adventurer.

Tips For Visiting Anchorage, Alaska

Here’s the deal, you don’t go to Alaska for Anchorage itself. Anchorage is just a basecamp, a freaking good one at that. The reason you should be visiting Alaska is for the great outdoors.

There are few places with nature as raw as Alaska’s.

The mountains of Anchorage have hundreds of different trails to choose from and most are a short drive from the city center which means you can spend half your day bagging peaks and the other half chilling with some of the best artisan foods Alaska has to offer.

The opportunities are truly endless.

Within a 30-minute drive of Anchorage, you can explore coastal forest trails and the condensed mountain valleys of Hatcher Pass and hike to old mines.

There’s Turnagain Arm, the ski town of Girdwood, Wasilla, and the gorgeous glaciers of Portage Pass.

The area around Anchorage has adventures of all sorts, not just hiking including fishing, SUPing, kayaking, climbing, and mountain biking.

Anchorage is an up-and-coming mountain bike town and it shows with its smooth singletrack and long-distance rides nearby.

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things to do anchorage, Alaska

Tips for Hiking near Anchorage

  • Carry Bear Spray – You don’t hike in Alaska without bear spray, that’s just an absolute. If you’re flying into Anchorage, you can pick up bear spray at REI, Costco, or Cabella’s. If you’re driving, you buy some online ahead of time.
  • Get an Alaska State Parks Pass – A lot of these activities start within Alaska State Parks. Each time you park at one of these it’s $5 for the day. I highly recommend picking up an Alaska State Parks Pass which is $50 for the year. You can order one online here or you can purchase one at the REI in Anchorage, at the Mat-Su/Copper Basin Area Office in Wasilla, or at the Chugach State Park Office.

Adventurous Things to do in Anchorage

1 | Camp at Eklutna Lake

On the northeast side of Anchorage, 9 miles into Chugach State Park is a campground of peace, solitude, and a perfectly blue lake.

This one made our top 10 best campgrounds list for a good reason. Not only are the actual campsites beautiful, they are spacious and only a few minutes walk from a gorgeous alpine lake. Even if you don’t camp, it would be worth spending a few hours here at the lake to soak in the turquoise water and surrounding mountains.

2 | Hike the Twin Peaks Trail

Trailhead: Eklutna Lake
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip, 1800 feet elevation gain

From Eklutna Lake there’s more than just camping. At Eklutna Lake you’ll find the trailhead for the Twin Peaks which delivers incredible views of the lake from above. This 5-mile roundtrip takes you up to an overlook where you can see the amazing colors of Eklutna Lake plus the mountains surrounding.

The trail is steep but moderately easy compared to many Anchorage hikes. The trail switchbacks through pretty birch forests before finally cresting the treelike after 1 little more than an hour.

Eklutna Lake Ovelrook, Things to do in Anchorage
The incredible icy waters of Eklutna Lake are far more striking when seen from above

While the views are incredible from here, you also have the option to extend this hike to East Twin Peak, Pepper Peak, or tackle the Eklutna High Ridge Traverse, all of which involve exciting scrambles and are definitely some of the best hikes in Alaska.

3 | Explore Portage Pass

Trailhead: Portage Pass Trailhead, Whittier
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 2-4 miles roundtrip, 800 feet elevation gain

This is the most bang for your buck hike near Anchorage but it does cost a few bucks. To get to the trailhead you’ll need to drive through the one-way road through Portage Tunnel which costs:

  • $13 for Passenger vehicles and RVs under 28 feet (no trailers)
  • $22 for RVs over 28 feet or passenger vehicles with trailers
  • $38 for large trailers (AKA 5th wheels) or RVs that are towing trailers

Note: Prices include roundtrip travel and are not discounted for one way travel.

The tunnel alternates direction every half hour.  Currently, the summer schedule allows traffic from Bear Valley (Anchorage side) to Whittier at the:30 and traffic from Whittier to Bear Valley at on:00. Keep in mind that the tunnel only allows traffic for 15 minutes at a time since the tunnel takes so long to drive through which means you could have to wait for up to 45 minutes. Click here to see the current tunnel schedule.

Portage Pass Hike near Anchorage
Portage Lake is gorgeous but views of the port town of Whittier are almost better

Once through the tunnel, you’ll immediately turn right to the Portage Pass Trailhead. You’ll make another right at the next dirt road however this dirt road is a little rough for RVs getting to the trailhead as of 2019 so we just parked on the first dirt road and hiked an extra 0.1 miles.

If you are towing a trailer, park across the highway at the Portage Campground since there is limited room to turn around at the trailhead.

From here, now the fun begins! The Portage Pass hike is the best bang for your buck hike in probably all of Alaska and though it’s in Whittier, it’s only a 1 hour drive from Anchorage.

This hike is a short, steep one-mile trail to get to the summit of Portage Pass and the overlook where you’ll get perfect views of the Portage Lake and Portage Glacier.

If you want to extend the hike and are in search of a little more solitude, hike a mile further down to the shores of Portage Lake where you can see the beautiful moraine-colored water up close. The area by the lake makes a great picnic spot.

4 | Summit Mount Baldy

Trailhead: Mt Baldy Trailhead, Eagle River
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3-4 miles roundtrip, 500 feet elevation gain

Due to Anchorage’s mountainous features, most of the hikes near the city are EXTREMELY steep and strenuous. Mount Baldy is what I’d consider a perfect warmup to the area’s hikes. While still a steep ascent, it’s super family-friendly and the hike can be done in 2-3 hours.

summiting Mount Baldy near Anchorage
Walking down the rocky ridge from Mount Baldy and taking in the incredible Chugach Mountain range

That’s not to say this trail isn’t equally as beautiful as other hikes though. At the summit of Mount Baldy, you get 360-degree views of the coast, downtown Anchorage, and to the east, the Chugach mountains towering off into the distance. The coolest part is that you get these incredible views the whole way which helps motivate you to keep on climbing the steep trail.

From the summit, you can also choose to make it longer and continue on to Roundtop and Blacktail Rocks which lies directly east along the ridge seen from Baldy’s summit. This only adds about an hour to you hike.

This hike gains 500 feet over a 1 or 2-mile span. There are 2 trails that ascend the mountain which means you can make it a loop or just do an out-and-back.

The right trail is slightly steep and shorter and the left trail is longer and more gradual and goes up the valley, which is good if you have a fear of heights.

We chose to go up the right side and being spring when we hiked this trail, we wished we had just descended the same way since the valley was so muddy.

summiting Mount Baldy near Anchorage
From Mount Baldy, there are many amazing hikes you can extend your trip to such as Blacktail Rocks which can be seen in this photo

Getting there

The trailhead is at the top of a hill in a residential area of Eagle River. From Eagle River, head east on Eagle River Loop road then turn left at Skyline Drive and head to the top.

The road is quite steep and the parking lot is big enough for 30 or so cars and includes a turnaround spot. Our 30-foot RV made it up there great and being a weekday in spring there was plenty of parking but I wouldn’t recommend any larger vehicles.

From the parking lot, you can take the left road or the right road. The right road heads up a switchback. Even when you see a trail sign to the left, continue on the road toward the antenna.

When you reach the antenna the road will turn into a trail and you will be on the ascent to Baldy. For the more gradual ascent go straight on the left road. Soon you will see a trail open up on your right where you can head up the valley to Baldy.

5 | Brave the Bird Ridge Trail

Trailhead: Bird Ridge Trailhead, Seward Highway
Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip, 4,700 feet elevation gain

This hike is painfully steep and arguably the hardest hike in Anchorage. Its faux peaks constantly play tricks with you, however, reaching the summit of this hike is worth every step when you see views back into the mountains of Chugach.

This was one of the highest priority hikes for us to hit in Alaska but much to our disappointment, we never got to the end of it. Even though it was hot and perfectly sunny when we started this ridiculously steep trail, a thunderstorm rolled in just as we got above the tree line and we had to turn back.

Bird Ridge trail on Seward Highway near Anchorage, Alaska
Even if you don’t make it to the top, Bird Ridge delivers mind-blowing views along the way

That being said, there are 3 stopping points along this trail. The first is a bench about a third of the way up and even if you only make it here, it’s still worth the 1 hour trek.

The ocean views along the way are insanely beautiful and ironically, even though there was a thunderstorm at the top, it was clear over the Turnagain Arm and the mountains across the sound.

Pro tip: It’s hard to keep track of how far you are into the hike with time. Use your phone’s compass to check your elevation instead. The summit is at 4,700 feet.

Though only a 5-mile hike, I highly recommend giving yourself an entire (preferably sunny) day to do this hike. You won’t regret it!

Getting there:

Take the Seward Highway south from Anchorage and after a short 20 or so minutes, pay close attention to spot the trail sign along the side of the highway. It’ll be on the left-hand side just after mile marker 24.

The parking lot can accommodate RVs as long as the parking lot is relatively empty. Signs mark the trail. Parking costs $5 unless you have the Alaska State Parks Pass.

6 | Ride the Winner Creek Hand Tram

Trailhead: Winner Creek Gorge Trailhead or Alyeska Resort, Girdwood
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4-6 miles roundtrip, <500 feet elevation gain

This hike in Girdwood is a must-do for everyone. The hike itself isn’t the draw here but rather the destination: a public hand tram that crosses the Winner Creek gorge.

It’s a relatively flat 2.5-mile hike from the luxurious Alyeska Resort to the hand tram. While those with a fear of heights may choose to just watch from the sidelines, most will want to wait in line for a turn to be pulled across the Winner Creek in the hand tram.

After you’ve taken in the excitement and views, you can either backtrack (which is what we chose to do to get more miles in) or continue 2 more miles to Crow Creek Road.
Crossing the Winner Creek Hand Tram in Anchorage Area
POV perspective of crossing the hand tram which gives you awesome views down into the river gorge

This can be hiked as an out-and-back from two different trailheads or as a point-to-point hike where you can hop on the free Glacier Valley Transit Gold Mine Bus hiker shuttle provided by Alyeska Resort.

If you want to do it that way, start from Alyeska Resort, cross the hand tram, then continue to the Winner Creek Trailhead on Crow Creek Road. The same route can also be done vice versa, starting at Crow Creek Road (which can be a great place to free camp in an RV). Click here to see the bus schedule.

Disclosure: Please remember to use caution and only do what you’re comfortable with at the Winner Creek Hand Tram.

Tragically, just a few days after we visited the hand tram ourselves, someone had a fatal fall from one of the platforms and the city temporarily closed the Hand Tram. Hopefully, it’s back up and running when you visit.

Getting there:

Girdwood lies off of the Alyeska Highway just 30 miles from Anchorage. From the obvious junction from the Seward Highway, continue down the road until you see the signs pointing left to Winner Creek/ Crow Pass Trailhead. Drive down the dirt road for 3 miles where you’ll reach the Winner Creek Gorge Trailhead. If you want to hike from the Resort, continue down Alyeska Highway and make a left when the road ends at a stop sign. Follow this to the Alyeska Resort free parking area. The trail starts from behind the gondola.

7 | Rock Climb on Turnagain Arm

Note: This one is only for rock climbers, however, unlike most of Alaska, you don’t have to be a hardcore mountaineer to enjoy fun climbing.

We didn’t get a chance to test out these routes as the weather didn’t cooperate the day we planned to go climb, but if you’re an experienced adventurer who knows how to sport climb, don’t miss the scenic crags right along Seward Highway.

All along the highway are over a dozen different coastal crags, most of which are roadside with practically no approach making it easy to stop here for some climbing on the way to other adventures near Anchorage.

Tip: While this is an increasingly popular crag, it can still be chossy here so don’t forget a helmet.

Click here for climbing beta on Mountain Project or click here to get the top guidebook for Climbing on the Seward Highway.

8 | Hike to the Awe-Striking Crow Pass Cabin (aka Crystal Lake)

Trailhead: Crow Creek Trailhead, Girdwood
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip (6 to the cabin), 2100 feet elevation gain

If you’re feeling up to a challenge and want some of the best views in Alaska, hike to Crow Pass Cabin.

This was hands down our favorite hike in Alaska.

While this hike still climbs 2,000 feet in 3 miles, it’s moderate and there aren’t many hikes in the US that you can get such epic views for so little work.

I love the diversity of this hike and right from the get-go, this hike is stunning. First, the hike ascends forested switchbacks with occasional views of the mountains of Girdwood. Soon the trail sidles around the side of the mountain and enters a wide valley with green meadows and dozens of waterfalls. Here, your destination opens up before you and it’s incredible.

The trail goes from forest to alpine in a matter of seconds as you start traversing the side of a mountain (much like the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park). Note, that this trail is often covered in patches of snow until July however we still managed to hike this safely in mid-June. After ascending the easy grade, you scramble around the top of a waterfall and are met with an incredible lake (or snowfield depending on the season).

Hike over to the Crow Pass Cabin to enjoy a snack and take in the view. You may even spot some mountain goats up here. The Crow Pass Cabin is open to the public to stay overnight however reservations are required and it books up fast. You’ll need to make reservations here really far in advance if you want to stay at this cozy little cabin in the middle of the mountains.

After taking in the cabin vibes be sure to hike half a mile further to Crow Pass summit at 8,500 feet which sits at the base of the massive Raven Glacier.

This trail is also a popular backpacking spot and you can make the slow descent along the Crow Pass Trail toward the Eagle River Nature Center. While this side of the pass isn’t quite as beautiful as the Girdwood side, it could be a fun adventure to thru-hike this 21-mile trail by leaving a car at the Eagle River Nature Center before starting this trek.

There are a few designated campsites within the Eagle River side of the pass however you are allowed to backcountry camp anywhere in the wilderness here as long as you’re more than half a mile away from a trailhead.

Click here for more details on backpacking the Crow Pass Trail.

Getting There

Getting here requires driving 6 miles down a dirt road. The dirt is well maintained and we had no problem taking our RV up the road however the only sketchy part was the last mile. Just after crossing a bridge, the road becomes a windy one-lane road with only a few turnouts, and people were driving it fast. That being said, I did white-knuckle my RV to the trailhead, but it was early on a Thursday morning. I wouldn’t recommend doing this on a weekend.

9 | Ride Kincaid Park

Anchorage is an up-and-coming mountain biking town and the crown jewel of the trail network is Kincaid Park.

Kincaid Park is a dreamy network of long smooth trails with rolling berms, little elevation gain, and a perfect flow to everything.

Mountain Biking in Anchorage at Kincaid Park
Riding fun, smooth berms of Kincaid Park

This is as close as we’ve come in our travels to the smooth, rolling, hard-packed terrain that we experienced in Rotorua, New Zealand. If you love MTB, you’ll want to check out the vast network of trails here at Kincaid (which can also be hiked).

Bolling Alley combined with Toilet Bowl is a must-do ride at Kincaid Park. This loop trail is ridden counterclockwise on odd days, and clockwise on even days. Toilet Bowl is a small sub-loop along Bolling Alley and is so fun you’ll want to ride this half-mile loop over and over again.

Another top ride you can’t miss is Lee’s Train to GFB to Good Greef. This ride has only a few really fun sections, but they’re worth the ride over.

Getting There

The Kincaid Park trailhead is right next to the Jodhpur Motocross Track. The trailhead is reached by heading west on Kincaid Road or West Diamond Blvd. The parking lot holds about 30 cars and usually has room for RV’s unless the lot is full.

10 | Hike the Gold Mint Trail

Trailhead: Gold Mint Trailhead, Hatcher Pass
Difficulty: Easy (except the part right by the hut)
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip to the hut, 2500 feet elevation gain

If you head 45 minutes north of Anchorage, you’ll be at the start of a dozen or so hikes in the Hatcher Pass area. We were there early in June and a lot of the more stunning alpine lake hikes were still under snow so we opted for a few miles of the Gold Mint trail.

The Gold Mint trail is a popular and relatively easy backpacking trail that a lot of locals tackle early in the season when they’re antsy to get outdoors. This trail goes through the mountains, past Mint Glacier, to a gorgeous little mountaineer’s hut which is considered one of “America’s Most Beautiful Backcountry Huts” by Backpacker Magazine.

Gold Mint Hut of Hatcher Pass, Alaska
A long trek? Yes. Worth it, every step of the way? You got that right.
Photo credit: Cecil Sanders

The Hut is run by the Alaska Mountaineering Club and if you’re a member (which costs a whopping $20 per year) you’re welcome to use the Mint Hut which is rad because it’s equipped with a full kitchen and other supplies.

We weren’t prepared nor did we have time to tackle a big 9-mile hike at the time and just enjoyed hiking the first few miles of the trail. It’s relatively flat and good for younger kids but in retrospect, I wish I had prioritized the trek to this incredible hut.

For details on the full hike click here.

Getting There

Hatcher Pass is accessed from the Palmer-Wasilla area. From the turnoff, it’s a 7-mile drive up the scenic highway.

Pro tip: If you are in an RV, this trailhead also serves as a campground and the backdrop of the mountains makes for an epic camping destination. 

Free Adventure Resource Bundle

Before you head out on your epic Anchorage adventures, be sure to download our free adventure resource bundle with printable pack lists, trail guides & unbiased gear review where we share our honest opinion about our favorite hiking gear.

11 | Hike Flattop Mountain

Trailhead: Glen Alps Trailhead, Anchorage
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip, 1400 feet elevation gain

Much like Mt Baldy, Flattop is another one of the most popular summits to bag near Anchorage and probably the most hiked mountain in all of Alaska because of its relative ease of hiking.

Flattop Mountain Anchorage
It may seem intimidating to summit this peak but just think, this is one of the easiest peak hikes you’ll find in Alaska 🙂
Photo credit: Dwayne Parton

With views of the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage, and the Alaska Range, and being less than a 4-mile roundtrip hike to the summit, it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular.

Because of the popularity, it’s best to not hike this on a weekend, or try to hike it early or late in the day (the sun isn’t going anywhere). If the season is right, this is also a popular place to view the northern lights from.

Getting There

Take the O’Malley Road exit and head east. Turn right on Hillside Drive then left on Upper Huffman Dr. Turn right onto Toilsome Hill Drive where the road will eventually turn into Glen Alps Rd. After 2 miles you’ll see a sign for the Glen Alps/Flattop Mountain Trailhead.

12 | Summit Anchorage’s Highest Peak

Trailhead: Glen Alps Trailhead, Anchorage
Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip, 2200 feet elevation gain

If you’re up for a challenge and are prepared for a big adventure, from the same trailhead as Flattop Mountain you can also tackle the more strenuous and prestigious summit, O’Malley Peak.

Views form O'Malley Peak, Anchorage
Incredible views from the summit of O’Malley Peak are just a bonus to the incredible adventure it takes to get up there
Photo credit: Andrew Rigler via

This is an iconic and gorgeous Anchorage day hike, perfect for experienced hikers (and adrenaline junkies).

Reaching its 5,100-foot summit involves scrambling and a little bit of route finding but you’ll be rewarded with epic views from Anchorage’s highest peak.

Click here for a full route description.

Access to this trailhead same as to Flattop Mountain (see number 11)

13 | Mountain Bike Hillside Park

Hillside Park is another mountain biking hotspot of Anchorage. In the summer, this public ski area transforms into a downhill mountain biking hub filled with everything a mountain biker wants out of a trial: whoops, swoops, and berms.

Compared to Kincaid Park, Hillside Park is more suited to intermediate to advanced bikers with its steeper trails and gnarlier berms.

Beginners can’t miss the cross-country trial, Queen Bee and Intermediate to Advanced riders will be stoked by the steep berms and jumps of Jeff’s Whoop Whoop downhill-only trail. Whoop Whoop is possible for intermediate riders but you may have to walk in some spots because it can be quite steep.

Getting There

Head east on Abbot Road until you see signs for Hillside Park. There are two dirt lots to park at with plenty of room for RVs.

14 | Hike to Rabbit Lakes + McHugh Peak

Trailhead: Rabbit Creek Trailhead or McHugh Creek Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Distance: 13 (from McHugh TH) or 9 (from Rabbit Lakes TH) miles roundtrip, 2200 feet elevation gain

What makes this hike so amazing is the beautiful alpine lake that sits nestled beneath the jagged, sharp Suicide Peaks.

There are two different trailheads you can access this lake from: one on the south by Turnagain Arm (McHugh Creek Trailhead) and one from the west on the outskirts of Anchorage (Rabbit Creek Trailhead).

Trekking from the McHugh Creek Trailhead involves a longer and more challenging route, offering the chance to traverse a breathtaking glacial valley and admire the serene McHugh Lake along the way.

Opting for the Rabbit Creek trailhead covers a 9-mile distance and provides a relatively manageable hike. Starting here allows for the flexibility to conserve energy and potentially extend the journey towards Suicide Peaks or McHugh Peak, granting panoramic views overlooking the picturesque lake below.

Click here to see how you can extend the hike onto Suicide Peaks or if you’re an experienced hiker, I highly recommend combining it with McHugh Peak (see the green route below) which is another one of Anchorage’s most popular summits.

Click here to see an ultimate guide to the different ways to hike up McHugh Peak.

Easy Outdoor Activities in Anchorage

15 | Explore Virgin Creek Falls

This barely counts as a hike since it’s only a short .4-mile roundtrip to reach this waterfall. Virgin Creek Falls is the easiest hike you’ll ever do and is a must-do when you are in Girdwood.

The beautiful little waterfall is not epic but an incredibly peaceful and magical place. The water ions that fly off the waterfall are up close and personal and you can’t help but feel rejuvenated after visiting.

Getting There

The trailhead starts in a cul-de-sac at the end of Timberline Street. There’s room to park if you are driving an RV but if you camp in the overnight lot at the Aleyska Ski Resort, it’s an easy 20-minute walk through the residential area and you can see some pretty rad houses along the way.

The actual trail to the falls is only about 5 minutes and wanders through a lush temperate rainforest filled with mosses, lichen, and ferns.

Click here to get the hiking details from Alltrails

16 | Stop at Beluga Point

Beluga Point, which lies at mile marker 16, is a great place not only to take in the view but also a great place to look for, you guessed it, Beluga Whales. The best chance of seeing whales is actually about a half hour after the low tide…see below.

Beluga Point on the Seward Highway
Even if you don’t sight whales, a stop at Beluga is essential to take in the views of Turnagain Arm

Another incredible sight you could spot here is the miraculous phenomenon of a bore tide. A bore tide happens on extremely low tides when there’s at least a 27-foot difference between high and low tides. When seawater rushes from a wide bay to a narrow and shallow inlet, it forms waves AKA a bore tide.

Bore tides occur daily on Turnagain Arm but of course, sometimes the effect is much greater. You can see the bore tide along the entire 50-mile stretch of highway on Turnagain Arm and with a variety of pullouts along the whole road, it’s hard to miss the incredible occurrence when you’re driving here.

Now here’s the coolest part, you can SURF the bore tide! If I only had known this before, I would’ve been chasing low tide every day.

All you do is walk or paddle out to the middle of the inlet as if you were going to catch a regular ocean wave. The bore tide is surfable about 5 days per month because you’re going to need a larger bore tide to be able to surf it. The best odds of a big bore tide are usually in the five-day window surrounding new and full moons. Note: Do not try this unless you’re an experienced surfer.

Check tide charts here or click here to see the estimated times of Bore Tide along Turnagain Arm.

17 | Explore Independence Mine

Among Hatcher Pass’s variety of spectacular hikes is an awesome exploration that you wouldn’t expect to find amidst mountains like these.

Independence Mine sits at the top of Hatcher Pass right before the road turns into dirt and is a historic gold rush mine from the 1930s. The mine is not only a great place to explore, but it’s a great photography spot.

Unfortunately due to inclement weather, we had to turn around before reaching the mine but note that just the walk along the road up to the mine was really beautiful.

Getting There

Independence Mine is accessible year-round. In the summer, there is a parking area right by the mine making it so that there’s almost no hike up. When the access road is closed, which is usually from October until the end of June, it’s about a 1-mile hike to get up to the Mine.

18 | Look for Wildlife at Potter Marsh

Potter Marsh, which lies 9 miles from Anchorage, is a popular spot to view wildlife like moose, birds, and more. There is a boardwalk around the marsh with interactive signs along the way.

From Potter Marsh, you can also opt to hike part of the Turnagain Arm Trail which runs 10 miles to Windy. Hike to the McHugh Creek Picnic Area for a nice, easy 6-mile hike.

19 | Ride the Gird to Bird Bike Path

One of the greatest hidden gems near Anchorage is the scenic Bird to Gird bike path, except that it isn’t exactly hidden. It sits directly parallel to the Seward Highway.

The bike path is 13 miles long from point to point from Indian to Girdwood however, the iconic Bird to Gird section is from Bird Point to Girdwood.

Bird Point lies at mile marker 30 and access to the bike path is right from the parking lot. Unlike the section of bike paths between Bird and Indian, going from Bird to Gird requires ascending and descending 300 feet over a little hill which was the location of the old Seward Highway but even still, the path is easy and perfect for all ages.

We opted to ride from Bird to Indian and it was beautiful as well.

Pro tip: Camp at Bird Campground and you’ll have access to an amazing bike ride right from your front door.

20 | Cruise the Coastal Path

One of downtown Anchorage’s coolest features is the paved bike path that runs along the coast. This 11-mile path runs from Kincaid Park to downtown. This makes for a perfect chill bike ride or a pleasant walk.

Considering the path lies within in a major city, it’s pretty incredible how beautiful the route is. It goes past rivers, and along the sea, and you can see gorgeous mountains across the Cook Inlet. You may even be able to spot Mount McKinley.

Pro tip: Want to explore downtown Anchorage? Make it an adventure and park at one of the town parks like Lynn Ary Park or Earthquake Park where free parking is abundant and walk, bike, or even skate into town for a treat like Wild Scoops ice cream (see number 21).

Places to Eat in Anchorage

21 | Enjoy the Most Delicious Ice Cream EVER at Wild Scoops

How can dairy-free ice cream taste this good?!  Three people in my family have a dairy allergy and have learned to give up craving ice cream…that is until we stumbled upon Wild Scoops at a farmers market.

This is the absolute best vegan ice cream I have EVER tasted!

I had no idea coconut-based ice creams could be so good and I couldn’t get enough of their vegan chocolate Oreo.

Don’t even get me started on all the dairy-filled goodness of their other flavors like AK Honeycomb (Sweet cream + homemade honeycomb candy with Gabel Family Honey) and Yukon Gold (Sweet cream + homemade fudge + AK Chip Co potato chip toffee) 😋. If you love milk then the challenge for you will be deciding what pint to take home because you will want some for later.

Tip: Hike along the Coastal Path (see number 20) to the downtown location of Wild Scoops so you can earn those calories.

22 | Grab Goodies Fire Island Bakeshop

If you are paleo, keto, gluten-free, etc just stop reading now because the temptation of Fire Island’s perfectly golden, rustic loaves of sourdough is ridiculously tempting. If are obsessed with high-quality sourdough bread, scones, and fancy desserts, you will love Fire Island.

Fire Island Bakery, Anchorage
The south Anchorage location’s chic, open-air buildings make it a great place to hang out and get some work done with delicious goodies

Fire Island has three locations, two of which we visited ourselves: downtown Anchorage, South Anchorage, and Airport Heights. I loved the chic, industrial, and open-air vibe of the South Anchorage location and found this to be a great place to get some work done.

Fire Island Bakery, Anchorage
The Fire Island location in Airport Heights is rustic and feels like a French bakery

I also loved the Airport Heights location for its more rustic feel. This shop also has an awesome community feel to it and even hosts a weekly farmers market in the parking lot.

23 | Eat at the Famous Moose’s Tooth Pizzeria

World-famous Moose’s Tooth Pizzeria is THE place to eat in Anchorage. Now while I can’t vouch for the pizza personally due to a dairy allergy (#tragic), I’ve been told by Anchorage locals that Moose Tooth lives up to the hype.

Above photos via The Moose’s Tooth

Moose’s Tooth is more than just a pizzeria though. The restaurant hosts incredible outdoor concerts in the summer. Also, don’t miss their sister restaurants: Bear Tooth TheatrePub (a restaurant located inside in a fully operational movie theater that also hosts epic concerts), the Beartooth Grill (which serves Alaskan cuisine with local ingredients), and the Broken Tooth Brewery.

24 | Go to a Local Farmers Market

Located in one of the most pristine places on earth, it’s no surprise that local Anchorage farmers grow some of the best produce I’ve ever tasted. In addition, Anchorage is filled with dozens of artisans who create incredible kimchi, salsa, chocolate, and more.

Going to a farmers market is an amazing way to get a taste of local cuisine and with Alaska being so famous for its wild-caught fish, a trip to the farmers market isn’t complete without grabbing some fresh fish.

We decided to visit the Airport Heights farmers market which we loved because it had everything we loved but was small and not too overwhelming. Other neighborhood markets would be similar to this one as well.

The Downtown Anchorage market is of course the largest farmer market and is best if you’re looking to eat at food trucks rather than find fresh food to prepare yourself.

If you want the best seafood, you’ll want to go to the Spenard farmers market which has a huge variety of fish and veggie vendors.

Find a list of Anchorage farmers market dates and locations by clicking here.

25 | Stop by Girdwood Brewing Company

It’s hard to travel this much and not become a bit of a brewery snob. Girdwood Brewing Co was one of our all-time favs! We spent every single evening in Girdwood hanging out here.

Girdwood Brewing Co. had a great beer (a particularly good hazy IPA) on tap, everyone working the bar was nice, and the daily rotation of food trucks was AMAZING. One night there was a creperie, one night was Mediterranean, and one night was our favorite, Texas-style BBQ.

Girdwood Brewing Co near Anchorage, Things to do
The Back Porch, one of the many food trucks that cycle through Girdwood Brewing Co., had the most amazing nachos I’ve ever tasted in my entire life

The brewery has great seating outside with rad mountain views and fire pits, and the inside was spacious enough for families (it’s super kid-friendly) and groups to play board games while you eat and drink.

If beer isn’t your thing, right next door to The Bake Shop (another essential stop in Girdwood) at the base of Alyeska Day Lodge is La Bodega. They have such a huge diversity of wines from all over the world and most are under $25.

After Anchorage, I hope you have time to explore the Kenai peninsula. We loved Anchorage, but the Kenai peninsula was our favorite place in all of Alaska. Even if you don’t have time to do it all, I still recommend setting aside an hour or two to drive to the Turnagain Arm rest area. You’ll get amazing mountain views and at least get a sense of what this area is like. 

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