Anchorage is by far the most alive and intense place in the last frontier. Although outsiders will argue that it’s not a “real” city, us Alaskans can easily become overwhelmed by all that it has to offer. With the greatest population density in the state and truly so much to do, sometimes the hustle and bustle can become a bit claustrophobic. When that happens, escape to these hidden gems and find yourself completely decompressed and at one with nature.
1. Eklutna Lake
Eklutna Lake is a beautiful destination, no matter what time of year it is. In the summertime you can hike, bike, camp and kayak to your heart's content. In the wintertime you can snowshoe and cross country ski in the most picturesque winter-wonderland paradise. Just 45 minutes from Anchorage, you’ll want to make a trip here as often as possible.
2. Crow Creek Mine
Located in Girdwood, Alaska is this truly unique mine that comes filled with panoramic mountain views. This historic place was established in 1896 and went on to be one of the largest producing hydraulic placer gold mines in south central Alaska. Today you can still pan for gold on a tour or just soak in the beauty that surrounds you. It is said to be the most popular recreational gold panning area in all of the last frontier.
3. Eagle River Nature Center
Endless trails and outdoor adventure await you! Located in the Chugach State Park, this is the most epic starting place for all your hiking, backpacking and snowshoeing adventures. Plus, it’s less than an hour away from Anchorage – can’t beat that!
4. Harriman Fjord
As one of Prince William Sound’s most picturesque attractions, you’ll want to make a trip to this breathtakingly beautiful 8-mile long glacier place as soon as possible. To access it, head south from Anchorage to the town of Whittier, just 50 minutes away.
5. Flat Top Mountain
You’ll never in your life experience a cityscape quite like this one that you’ll find at Flat Top Mountain. By far one of the most popular attractions in Anchorage, you must do this hike (or at least drive up) before the road gets too icy to navigate.
6. Kincaid Park
Just 10 minutes away from downtown Anchorage, yet still inside city limits. Enjoy over 1,516 acres of epic mountain trails without having to go far. Finish the day off with a walk on the beach that will leave you completely forgetting about the fact that you are still inside the largest city in Alaska.
7. McHugh Creek & Falls
Hop on the Seward Highway and head down the Turnagain Arm to find this magical little spot. On the edge of Anchorage’s foothills is the truly special place that lets you completely escape into the wild nature of Alaska. The 20-foot waterfall is just the beginning of the magic that you’ll find here. Located inside the 495,204-acre Chugach State Park is unlimited access to some of the most convenient hiking, skiing, camping, wildlife viewing, snow machining, rafting, and climbing in the last frontier.
8. Ship Creek
This is one of the hottest fishing spots in Alaska, and it’s located conveniently in downtown Anchorage. That’s right – you don’t even have to leave the city. Enjoy fishing for reds, silvers and king salmon during the summer months. During the winter months this area is an enchanting place to soak in peaceful wintertime snowy views.
9. Nancy Lake State Recreation Area
This beautiful recreational paradise is located off the George Parks Highway, and it is just a quick 90-minute drive from the city of Anchorage. Many people enjoy hiking, kayaking, fishing, camping, boating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and staying in cozy cabins at this incredible getaway destination.
10. Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop
Hop on the renowned Alaska Railroad for a journey down to this backcountry paradise nestled in the Chugach National Forest. Enjoy incredible views of Spencer Glacier and Spencer Lake as well as rafting, hiking and ice climbing trips that are also available in the area.