Anchorage is the gateway to the spectacular scenery Alaska has to offer. The snow-capped mountains surrounding the city — the Alaska, Chugach, Kenai and Talkeetna ranges are all visible and are an omnipresent reminder of the awe-inspiring natural environment. On a clear day, you can even see Denali, the highest peak in North America.
Mountains and natural beauty aren’t the only attractions Anchorage has to offer. It’s bursting with fresh seafood, prime fishing spots, hiking and biking trails, and wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you pass a moose by the side of the road.
Even if you’d rather spend most of your time away from urban areas, head to the Alaska Zoo while you are in Anchorage. It specialises in northern animals, and has snow leopards, moose, caribou, wolverines and lynx. But the real highlight is the zoo’s display of all four Alaskan species of bear: brown, black, glacier and polar.
To support injured wildlife, check out the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, which is dedicated to rehabilitating injured and orphaned animals. Expect to see moose, elk, tundra wolves, brown bears, and that ultimate American symbol, the bald eagle.
There’s such a wealth of outdoor activities around Anchorage at any time of year, it’s hard to know where to start.
If you’re visiting in the warmer months, hiking and biking are easy options in and near the city. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail follows the coastline for almost 18km. Rent a bike, but be sure to stop regularly. From high points, you’ll be able to see Denali, and during the summer months you can spot beluga whales. In the winter, the trail turns into a haven for cross-country skiers.
To break a sweat, climb Flattop Mountain (1082m), where the view from the top includes the entire city and Denali in the distance. Chugach National Forest is another great spot for hiking and is within an hour’s drive of Anchorage.
Rather go fishing? Take your pick of almost 30 lakes and streams around the city. Just don’t forget to obtain a fishing licence, available for purchase from any sporting goods store. You don’t even have to leave downtown to fish: huge king salmon swim right through Ship Creek.
If you’d rather kick back and relax, plenty of day cruises operate from Anchorage. They’re the best way to get up close to glaciers and wildlife. Portage Glacier is closest to the city, and you’re likely to spot bald eagles and mountain goats as you pass through fjords. Further afield, both Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park are two popular cruise locations.
An Alaskan winter is only for the hardy. But for those willing to brave the cold, you’ll be rewarded with a winter wonderland.
There’s 130km of maintained Nordic ski trails for cross-country skiers, ice skating around the city, and the Running of the Reindeer in February.
The most famous winter event is probably dog mushing, including the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The Fur Rondy festival in February brings dog mushing races right to downtown Anchorage.
Explore the rest of Alaska on a seven-night Alaska Inside Passage Cruise from $1304pp twin share. Visit RACQ Travel or contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166.