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An insider’s guide to Alaska’s biggest city and beyond









Be inspired by the light of the Aurora Borealis. Renew your energy under the Midnight Sun. Experience the warmth of Fairbanks—Alaska’s Golden Heart—and the basecamp to Denali, Interior and Arctic Alaska. Make the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center your first stop to planning your Alaskan adventure. Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center 101 Dunkel Street • Downtown Fairbanks 8am – 7pm Summer • 8am – 5pm Winter

www.explorefairbanks.com (907) 456-5774













WELCOME TO ALASKA — WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE HERE! As I write this, the view out the window is of snow everywhere. But already the afternoons are becoming warmer, the days are lengthening and there’s the familiar feeling that the state is waking up. Summer is coming. And with it, summertime adventures, visitors and fun outside. Our hope for this guide is that it offers some practical guidance from the perspective of people who love living in Alaska. We’ve done our best to make sure the information presented here is accurate. But the course of the pandemic has been unpredictable, and we encourage checking in advance on availability and safety protocols for any experiences or businesses you have your heart set on. Pretty soon we’ll reach that glorious, manic rush of summer, when it feels like a whole season can be packed into a single day. I hope you enjoy every minute.





A moose calf caught feeding along the fence line of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN

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ANCHORAGE 32 / Searching for Alaska’s finest bites? Start with seafood VISITORS’ GUIDE • 2022

35 / Downtown Anchorage packs a lot in a small area

CONTENTS 7 / GLACIERS Get close to some ice 10

/ FLIGHTSEEING Alaska by air 13 / BOAT TRIPS Alaska by water

37 / Anchorage coffee culture

20 / WILDLIFE See Alaska animals up close

40 / Exploring Anchorage’s terrific trail system

22 / WRANGELL ST. ELIAS Exploring Kennecott Mine and more 24 / HIKING Tips, etiquette and safety

15 / FISHING Where casting dreams come true

26 / TRAILS Great hikes near Anchorage

18 / DENALI See North America’s tallest peak

29 / CANNABIS What’s legal in Alaska

42 / A guide to Alaska breweries


Andy Pennington


Nina Wladkowski


Lisa McGuire and Michael Oldroyd


Brandi Nelson


56 / Land of spectacular extremes

MAT-SU & EAGLE RIVER 58 / Art and adventure abound


61 / The best of Alaska in one scenic roadtrip





48 / Life on the water’s edge

Victoria Barber

53 / Visiting is a capital idea

45 / A wealth of arts and culture

50 / Endless options await



Kiera Clark, Ryan Estrada, Victoria Hansen, Brandi Nelson, Joleesa Stepetin, Erika Watsjold Kevin Powell


Anne Raup


Loren Holmes

KENAI PENINSULA 64 / Explore Hope, Seward, Soldotna, Kenai and Homer


Laurel Andrews, Bailey Berg, Mike Campbell, Erik Hill, Zack Fields, Bob Hallinen, Loren Holmes, Marc Lester, Josh Niva, Katie Pesznecker, Bill Roth, Jenna Schnuer, Mara Severin, Mollie Barnes


America’s Largest National Park

Enjoy gracious hospitality, fine dining, and spectacular scenery in the center of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Hike on a glacier, discover historic Kennicott, and go flightseeing.

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Wander through walls of ice with a Matanuska Glacier Park guide. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER



hether you live in Alaska or are visiting, glaciers are one of the state’s most awe-inspiring and unique attractions. Alaska is, after all, home to most of the glaciers in the United States. There are glacier trips for people of all ages and abilities. We narrowed those trips down to the glaciers under 150 miles — or a two- to three-hour drive — from Anchorage. But before we get to the adventures, let’s talk briefly about glacier safety.

HOW TO ENJOY GLACIERS AND STAY SAFE Michelle Dalpes, a park ranger at Denali National Park and Preserve, urges all glacier travelers to bring warm, layered clothes, sturdy shoes or boots, and a windbreak layer. Glaciers are colder than surrounding areas, and often windy. Walking on glaciers can be dangerous

unless — and sometimes even if — you have proper training and equipment. “Ice is unpredictable,” Dalpes said. Crevasses and moulins (deep holes) form in the glacier. Crevasses especially are not always visible. If you want to trek on the surface of a glacier, you need to either know what you are doing — i.e. be an experienced outdoorsperson with training in glacier travel — or hire a guide. If you are on a kayak or boat near a glacier, stay half a mile away, as glaciers shift and calve without warning and create massive waves, Dalpes said. Land on a beach at least a mile from a glacier, and camp 2 miles away. When walking around the toe, where the glacier ends, keep a distance of twice the glacier’s height. Same goes for paddling around an iceberg. And keep in mind — some of these glaciers may be hard to access depending on the time of year you visit. Make sure to contact local visitors centers for information on current conditions. Got it? Phew. Now for the fun stuff. Disclaimer: This list explores some of the most popular glaciers and ways to see them,

but for brevity’s sake it does not include many of the tour operators that offer hikes, boat trips, scenic flights, kayaking, etc. More information about tours can be found with a simple online search.

PORTAGE VALLEY About an hour’s drive from Anchorage on the Seward Highway is Portage Valley and the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. Two glaciers are easily accessible in the valley. Byron Glacier is considered highly accessible for all ages. The 1.4-mile trail is a flat, easy walk. The first half is wellmaintained, with a wide path. The second half is rocky, and to get closer to the glacier, visitors must cross boulders and small streams. Then there’s Portage Glacier. The glacier has receded out of view from the visitor center, but in the summer there’s a daily cruise and a pull-off where you can see the glacier from the road. A little farther down the road, Portage Pass trail is a 4-mile round-trip hike with glacier views. During the winter, frozen Portage Lake is a popular spot for skiers and bikers traveling


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to the toe of the glacier. There are no park rangers around in case of emergency, though, so traverse the ice at your own risk. Check ahead on the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center website for information regarding current conditions, operational hours, and fees.

WHITTIER AND PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND Continue down Portage Glacier Road another few miles — including a trip through the 2.5-mile-long Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel — and you wind up in the town of Whittier. Whittier is the launching point for many cruises in Prince William Sound, which boasts more tidewater glaciers than any other region in North America. (Valdez is another launching spot, about a five-hour drive from Anchorage.) Columbia, Meares and Blackstone glaciers are just three of the oft-visited glaciers in the area. There are many different types of tours, kayaking opportunities and public-use cabins in Prince William Sound.

SPENCER GLACIER About 60 miles southeast of Anchorage, Spencer Glacier is only accessible via the Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery Train, which runs daily from May 28 through Sept. 11 in 2022. Visitors get off at the Spencer Whistle Stop in Chugach National Forest at 1:45 p.m. You can hike about 1.3 miles one way to the glacier viewing platform, or another 1.7 miles to the edge of the glacier (but be mindful of getting back to the train in time for the 4:30 p.m. pickup). Hike on your own or take a hike guided by a U.S. Forest Service ranger. Campsites and a cabin are open mid-June and can be reserved through the railroad. Tour operators offer guided kayaking, ice climbing or trips down the Placer River. The route continues past Spencer Glacier to Grandview, where Bartlett and Trail glaciers can be seen. There’s a short, 20-minute stop before the train 8


loops around and heads back to Portage. From there, visitors take a motorcoach back to the Anchorage train depot, arriving around 6:45 pm. Visitors can also take the Alaska Railroad to the community of Seward and experience the same glacier views along the way.

Kids explore the waterline at Spencer Lake with a good view of Spencer Glacier and some of its icebergs. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

EKLUTNA About an hour northeast of Anchorage is Eklutna Glacier, which provides most of the drinking water for Alaska’s largest city. Part of Chugach State Park, Eklutna Lake Campground has a large campsite, bike and kayak rentals, and a trail system that leads out to the glacier. Glacier access is a bit of a journey — to get up close, take the Eklutna Lakeside Trail, 12.9 miles one way. The path follows the shore of the lake, then to the river and glacier. Alternatively, the Bold Ridge Trail is about 4 miles long with a steep 3,600-foot elevation gain that rewards you with glacier views.

MATANUSKA GLACIER Matanuska Glacier is about a two-hour drive on the Glenn Highway northeast of Anchorage. It’s touted as one of the few major ice sheets in the world that visitors can drive to and explore on foot. The glacier itself is gigantic — about 26 miles long and 4 miles wide at its terminus. The Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area has 12 campsites, and a 20-minute walk to glacierviewing platforms, but no direct access to the glacier. The only road-accessible route direct to the glacier face is through property owned by Matanuska Glacier Park LLC. Tours are sold out of a gift shop and information center. Then, it’s a short drive and hike to reach the glacier. According to owner Bill Stevenson, Glacier Park will only allow access via guided tours for visitors in the 2022 summer season. The cost is $125 for out-of-state visitors and $40 for Alaska residents and military members. (907-745-2534)


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Guide Wendy Smith-Wood leads hikers on a tour of Matanuska Glacier on July 19, 2015. The glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in Southcentral Alaska. PHOTO BY LOREN HOLMES

SOUTH FORK VALLEY TRAIL The South Fork Valley Trail is an easy- to moderate-level hike to Eagle and Symphony Lakes in Eagle River, about half an hour east of Anchorage. The hike is about 12 miles round-trip. Flute Glacier can be reached by hiking to Eagle Lake, then heading another 4 miles up the valley to the toe of the glacier.

TALKEETNA A little over two hours north of Anchorage, the town of Talkeetna is the staging point for climbers heading to Denali. It also has flightseeing options for those who want to bask in the splendor of North America’s tallest peak without climbing it. There are hundreds of unnamed glaciers on Denali, and 40 named ones, according to the National Park Service. The longest ones — Ruth, Kahiltna and Muldrow — each span more than 30 miles. Multiple Talkeetna air taxi operators offer trips around the mountain. Some land on glaciers.

SEWARD Exit Glacier is the only glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by road. The Exit Glacier Nature Center is the starting point for a system of trails leading to the glacier. Those wanting more can make

the strenuous 8.2-mile roundtrip hike up the Harding Icefield Trail for spectacular views of the massive ice field. There’s also a 12-site, tentsonly campground near the nature center. Exit Glacier Road is only open to cars during the summer, usually mid-May. In the winter, snow machines, skiers, dog sleds and fat bikes are still allowed on the road. Check the park’s website for current conditions. Then, there’s the rest of Kenai Fjords National Park. The National Park Service highlights Bear Glacier Lagoon and boat tours that take visitors along the park’s tidewater glaciers.

KNIK RIVER Excursions to Knik Glacier in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have exploded in popularity during the winter, with fat-tire bikers taking a northern route that crosses a river. Summer access comes by way of Knik Glacier Trail. There’s an 8-mile trail starting from Knik Glacier Tours that requires river crossings. Biking and boating are common. Tours are also offered through Knik River Lodge, but call ahead to confirm (877-7454575). There’s also flightseeing available to Knik and Colony Glacier.

CROW PASS TRAIL AND RAVEN GLACIER Raven Glacier can be seen on the historic 21-mile Crow Pass Trail, which has trailheads at Girdwood (40 miles from Anchorage on the Seward Highway ) and the Eagle River Nature Center (about 26 miles east of Anchorage). This hike is recommended from late June to early September due to snow and avalanche danger. For a glacier view with an 8-mile round trip, start from Girdwood’s Crow Creek trailhead. Hikers follow a series of switchbacks uphill, passing Jewel Glacier to the east of Crow Pass Cabin, and eventually arrive at Crow Pass and Raven Glacier. Hikers can continue on past the glacier, or turn around.

HATCHER PASS About 80 minutes north of Anchorage is the Hatcher Pass Management Area, a popular recreational area. The Gold Mint Trail is a 16mile round-trip journey that follows the Little Susitna River to the Mint Glacier Valley, where at the end, hikers can follow a fairly undeveloped trail up to Mint Glacier. There’s also good glacier viewing — and traversing — on the multiday Mint-Bomber Traverse for more advanced outdoor explorers.

MARATHON HELICOPTERS By far the best thing we did in ALASKA!


View Wildlife, Glaciers, Icebergs, and Waterfalls from above! Land next to an ancient glacier and touch the ice! Flight start at $75 / person.

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Journey above glaciers, gorges and peaks on a flightseeing tour for unique views of Alaska’s landscape.





663,268 square miles, Alaska is by far the biggest state in the union. But only four states have fewer road miles. It makes sense that perhaps the best way to see Alaska — especially for visitors with limited time — is by air on one of the charters that specialize in flights into the rugged and spectacular Alaska Range. You’ll enter the wilderness cathedral of mountains surrounding 20,310-foot Denali, the tallest peak in North America, and perhaps land on one of the mountain’s glaciers. Prices for flightseeing vary widely, from about $250 to $1,000 — or more, depending on the length of the trip, the departure point and whether the tour includes a landing. That 10



might seem steep, but on a bluebird day, few trips deliver such gawk-worthy moments as you soar past sheer granite faces and above glaciers. And while Denali may be Alaska’s bestknown flightseeing tour, visitors’ aerial options don’t end there. Here are a few options:

BEAR VIEWING Rust’s and Regal are among the Anchorage flight services that cross Cook Inlet to Chinitna Bay in Lake Clark National Park and the Brooks River in Katmai National Park in search of brown bears feeding on salmon. Trips from Anchorage generally depart in the morning and return about 10-11 hours later, and run about $1,000 per person. Typically, Regal pilots make early-season scouting flights. Usually, the grizzlies are up and about by May 10, and the season runs into September. The company provides a

Book your adventure now at ravnalaska.com


preflight safety briefing in Anchorage. At Brooks, the brown bears may walk beneath the boardwalk (spanning the river). But passengers never approach closer than 50 feet.

on Colony Glacier is even more fun. A walk on the glacier — and a sip from a glacial stream — will help you cool off in summer months. ($300-$530.)



Knik River Lodge glacier tours start less than 60 miles from Anchorage, leaving from Knik River Lodge at the end of Knik River Road in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The lodge’s front lawn doubles as a helipad for helicopters that take groups of two or three people to the Knik Glacier, a five-minute flight away. Perhaps the most popular trip is dog sledding on the glacier after a landing. En route, you’ll see the Knik Glacier in all its glory as well as Lake George and a couple of the feeder glaciers. (Tours range from $330$680.)

GIRDWOOD GRANDEUR Less than an hour south of Anchorage is the ski and recreation community of Girdwood. Alpine Air, operating since 1991, will fly you above the Mount Alyeska tram to land on glaciers or to Prince William Sound in search of calving glacial ice. In peak season, helicopters depart regularly from the Girdwood Airport. You can take a 30-minute flight, but the 60-minute tour with a landing

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the nation’s largest national park, featuring 14 of the 20 tallest peaks in North America. You can take a regularly scheduled flight from Chitina to McCarthy on the edge of the park to avoid driving the gravelsurfaced McCarthy Road, which is slow going (allow up to three hours) but scenic; flying in from Chitina is typically even more spectacular. A Wrangell Mountain Air flight may take you into the mountains and through the Fourth of July Pass if weather permits. You’ll see rock glaciers and maybe some critters. On the other side of the pass is giant Root Glacier. You’ll fly right past the old copper mine structures in neighboring Kennecott before landing in McCarthy. Flights range from 50 minutes to two hours. ($250-$395) Drivers park at the McCarthy footbridge, where you’ll make your way over to the airport and fly from there.




Plan Ahead and Save!








COLUMBIA GLACIER (VALDEZ) The 400-square-mile Columbia tidewater glacier has retreated nearly a dozen miles since 1982, but there’s still plenty of ice, and the warming climate has triggered a surge of calving, during which large pieces of ice break off and splash into Prince William Sound. A convenient way to see it is to book a flight to Valdez with Ravn Alaska. Try to get a window seat on the left side of the plane. When you land in Valdez, you can circle back by boat on a charter for a Columbia Glacier view from the water. Other Valdez flight services offer tours of Columbia and the Valdez Glacier as well.

JUNEAU Commercial flights into the state capital of Juneau can offer great views of Mendenhall Glacier. But several companies offer helicopter tours, typically an hour or two. And if you want a double-shot of Alaskan on a single trip, book one that includes dog sledding on a glacier. Most helicopter tours require that three seats be booked before the flight, potentially an issue if you’re traveling alone or as a couple. According to Juneau Shore Tours, the most

w e N Se wa



ka rd, Alas

Downtown Seward, Alaska 1-888-378-2525



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Soar over the Tokositna and Ruth glaciers on a breathtaking flightseeing tour of Denali. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN

sought-after Juneau flightseeing option, the Icefield Excursion ($335), is recommended for those looking to see Alaska from a bird’s eye view but not necessarily interested in dogsledding. TEMSCO Helicopters offers an array of trips, too. On most of the tours, you’ll get a nice view of downtown Juneau, including the popular Mount Roberts Tramway, which leaves from the cruise port. On most trips, you’ll see the exposed deep-blue ice that’s the face of Taku Glacier, a sharp contrast to the muddy Taku River.

DENALI Those are some highlights for Alaska flightseers, but Denali trips remain at the 12



top of many must-see lists. You can catch a flight right out of Anchorage, but that’s more expensive than driving north to Talkeetna and flying with K2 Aviation, Talkeetna Air Taxi or Sheldon Air Service. The companies offer a selection of tours that include views of the Ruth Glacier, the Wickersham Wall, the climbers’ base camp at Kantishna Glacier and the Denali summit (weather permitting). Prices range from about $220 to $400, or more if the tour includes a glacier landing. Particularly memorable is a tour that includes a glacier landing. Most pilots favor Ruth Glacier, because it is so spectacular and the runway is well-marked. But the clouds move in and out quickly, so several other glaciers are available if the Ruth is socked in.

While a little more spendy, helicopter flightseeing offer an alternative. Enclosed in Plexiglas with no wings to peer over, even trips as short as 30 minutes can provide exceptional views. Wherever you want to see, there’s probably a flightseeing business nearby. Among the locales where tours are offered: Kenai, Soldotna, Tok, McCarthy, Homer, Girdwood, King Salmon, Talkeetna, Juneau, Ketchikan, Fairbanks, Skagway and Kantishna.

Paddlers try out different forms of paddling, including, from left, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, and kayaking at Goose Lake. PHOTO BY LOREN HOLMES


Located on the Homer Spit

By M I K E C A M P B E L L


ne dependable way to escape crowds of Alaska summertime visitors is simple. Just get wet. When you see the 49th state from the water — whether aboard a tour boat, paddling a kayak, renting a powerboat, or moseying around a lake on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) — you won’t be trading elbows with anyone. And what’s not to like? You can still see wildlife, glaciers and mountains soaring above the water. Or soak up quiet of a cool July evening paddling on a Southcentral Alaska lake, watching a greenwinged teal paddle with her chicks in tow. Options are plentiful.

BOAT TOURS Human-powered trips in rafts or kayaks are rewarding, but to see the most glaciers and marine mammals, consider a boat tour in Resurrection Bay or Prince William Sound. They’re accessible to

r e v o c s Di Kachemak ay! B


makoswatertaxi.com VISITORS’ GUIDE •

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people of all ages and abilities. Major Marine Tours has cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park out of Seward from four to 8½ hours on vessels ranging from large catamarans to much smaller ships (about $100-$250). Many of them include onboard narration by a National Park Service ranger, turning a pleasure cruise into a learning opportunity. In Prince William Sound, Blackstone Bay or Harriman Fjord both have glaciers that descend from extensive icefields to the ocean. Marine mammals including otters, seals and whales are usually visible. Although a full-day Prince William Sound trip is pricier than a short trip, you usually see much more. Phillips 26 Glacier Cruise, which sails through Oct. 8, travels up College Fjord, taking in views of the perilously steep glaciers that cascade down from Mount Marcus Baker, the highest peak in the Chugach, before traveling through Harriman Fjord. For nervous flatlanders, the company offers what it calls a “no seasickness guarantee” (about $180 per adult, meal included). Family-owned Lazy Otter Charters, now in its 26th season, offers a convenient five-hour trip in the Sound, including the spectacular waterfalls of Blackstone Bay. Kenai Fjords Tours has an array of trips in Resurrection Bay, including a dinner cruise, which delivers breathtaking scenery of towering peaks and hanging glaciers above Seward. A tour to Northwestern Fjord is popular — you’re likely to see puffins, sea lions and whales, as well as tidewater glaciers plunging from the Harding Icefield. At about $160-$200 for a full day cruising, you probably aren’t paying more than you would to buy gas for your own boat. In spring, a four-hour tour that includes lunch is designed to offer a glimpse of gray whales migrating from the Baja in Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic.

WHITEWATER RAFTING Have a hankering to paddle 14


whitewater? Consider a trip with NOVA on the Matanuska River. Lion’s Head, a section of Class III-IV whitewater that cascades between towering cliffs and the Matanuska Glacier’s terminal moraine, is particularly scenic and thrilling ($120-$150 per person). If you prefer a mellower float, NOVA also runs trips through the easier rapids just downstream of Lion’s Head, a location that’s particularly stunning as the leaves change color in August. There’s even an evening raft trip to take advantage of Alaska’s long summer days. If you’re headed toward the Kenai Peninsula and looking for a bigger adrenaline rush, consider a trip down the Class IV-V Six Mile Creek. Six Mile’s turquoise waters wind between overhanging cliff walls and hammer down intimidating rapids that drop 50 feet per mile and clients paddle under their guide’s supervision. It is one of the most intense guided raft trips you’ll find in the country, due to the powerful rapids on the creek. Only physically fit individuals who can swim well — occasionally people get flung out of the rafts — should sign up for this trip with NOVA or the Chugach Outdoor Center. (Prices range from $120-$185.)

SEA KAYAKING Though the Gulf of Alaska has some of the world’s worst maritime weather, there are often calm waters and spectacular sea kayaking near Anchorage. Consider a day trip to Resurrection or Kachemak Bay or plan an overnighter to Prince William Sound to observe whales, otters, sea lions, glaciers and towering peaks. To paddle in Resurrection Bay, you might drive to near the road’s end and rent kayaks from Miller’s Landing, which is conveniently located for an easy paddle out to Caines Head and back. Expect to see marine mammals and spectacular sea arches. In Kachemak Bay, Mako’s Water Taxi offers a 20-minute ride from Homer across Kachemak Bay ($80-$90 per


The skies begin to clear following a rain shower as a kayak tour group returns to Miller’s Landing in Seward. PHOTO BY ERIK HILL

adult, $60 per child). From there you can paddle around Yukon, Grass and the Herring Islands. Mako’s runs trips all day, so you can head out in the morning, paddle for a few hours and come back in the evening. Prince William Sound has one of the most underrated sea kayak trips in the region: an out-andback paddle to Decision Point, 9 miles each way. Make sure to check the weather before embarking on any sea kayaking trip, and don’t head out unless the marine forecast calls for calm seas (2 feet or less). The marine forecast is easy to find: On weather.gov, simply click on the body of water you plan on visiting.

STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD Rent a board and take a lesson to see whether you’ve got the balance, strength and aptitude for stand-up paddle-boarding. Among the Southcentral companies marketing boards are Liquid Adventures in Seward; Alaska Rivers Company in Cooper Landing, which takes clients to Kenai Lake and Portage Lake; Alaska Paddleboard Guru in Anchorage and Eagle River;

and True North Adventures in Homer.

WHAT’S THE APPEAL? “The experience of essentially standing on a lake, my feet inches from the surface, gave me a new perspective,” wrote Alaska outdoors columnist Alli Harvey of her inaugural paddle. “It felt playful, a feeling I don’t readily access as an adult since so much of what I do outside is structured — I’m going for an hourlong run; I’m going to ride my bike to the grocery store, etc.”

POWERBOAT RENTALS If you’ve got a need for speed and a fat checkbook, you can rent a powerboat from such businesses as Whittier Marine Charters. One-day rates start at $650 and go up from there. Big Lake Boat Rentals in the Mat-Su north of Anchorage also has pontoons for an easygoing tour of the 145-square-mile lake — and jet skis for those with a need for speed. Note: Unless you’re aboard a big cruise ship, expect to get wet when you take to Alaska’s waterways.



ensational silvers and killer kings. Trophy-worthy trout and fantastically finned grayling. Hearty halibut and rewarding reds. It’s a lineup of Alaska’s finest fishing action, and these spectacular species — and many more — are all within casting distance, driving distance and short-flight distance of Anchorage. Yes, Alaska’s largest, busiest and most populated urban hub is also a fishing fantasy come to life… and that isn’t a fishing tale. Even the most secretive fisherman will brag about this fishery, and it couldn’t be kept secret anyway: Anchorage is a mainstay on any “America’s Best Fishing Cities” list. “We’re very fortunate here in Southcentral, where we have so many diverse fisheries,” said Jay Baumer, a Sports Fisheries Manager Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game who manages the Anchorage, Prince William Sound and North Gulf Coast regions. “You can go fishing for a wide variety of species and have different opportunities, whether it’s a remote experience or you just want the convenience of something nearby. We’ve got it all here, which is fantastic.” “You can go fishing just about anywhere in Anchorage,” added Dan Bosch in a 2018 interview. Bosch is a passionate fisherman, now retired from a longtime role at Alaska Department of Fish and Game, most recently as regional management coordinator for the Anchorage area. “It’s some of the best fishing around. And the accessibility — it’s so easy. Right at your doorstep.” For Anchorage visitors, that includes hotel doorsteps. The community is covered in streams, creeks and lakes that are packed and stocked with tens of thousands of fun, fighting fish. And there are seemingly endless fishing options around Southcentral Alaska that are just a short and scenic drive or flight away. Sport fishing is a year-round activity in Anchorage and Alaska, but the action surges in summer. From May to September, the fish counts are high, the midnight sun is warm and bright, and fishermen are giddy. Where should you wet a line? Around Anchorage, practically anywhere there’s water, there are fish. Many of these fishing holes also offer peace, quiet and the natural vibe of wild Alaska. As you cast and relax, it’s easy to forget you’re in Alaska’s biggest city.

URBAN HOT SPOTS Ship Creek might be the most visible venue, but incredible fishing opportunities abound in every corner of town and every direction of Southcentral Alaska. Anchorage lakes (Campbell, DeLong, Jewel, Mirror, Sand Lake) are loaded, and creeks (Bird, Campbell and Ship) and rivers (Eagle and Eklutna) are crammed with an array of fish: from several freshwater and landlocked salmon species to Dolly Varden/ Arctic char and awesome Arctic grayling. Chester Creek runs through the center of town and can be great for rainbow trout (8-12 inches!), too.

OUTSIDE ANCHORAGE ACTION: ROAD TRIP REELING Anchorage is also the jumping-off point for fishing adventures all over Southcentral Alaska and beyond. A short drive or quick hike in practically any direction from urban Anchorage adds more casting spots. For next-level groundfish and salmon fishing, drive south for an hour (Prince William Sound out of Whittier) or two (Resurrection Bay out of Seward on the Kenai Peninsula) or five (Kachemak Bay out of Homer on the Kenai Peninsula), or drive north for 30 minutes to two hours (Matanuska-Susitna Borough). Some of Alaska’s — and the world’s — most exciting salmon fishing goes down on the Kenai Peninsula, a few hours’ drive south of Anchorage, where the Kenai, Russian, Anchor and Kasilof rivers


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SHIP CREEK — ANCHORAGE One of Anchorage’s most exciting fishing holes is set in one of the city’s most popular hospitality hot spots — downtown. Ship Creek carves across the northern side of Anchorage, passing by the William Jack Hernandez Hatchery before depositing downtown into picturesque Cook Inlet. It’s a beautiful natural oasis on the edge of Anchorage’s cityscape. Its water is home to a constant run of summer salmon — kings early in the season, silvers (coho) later — and its banks are usually bustling with fishermen. “Right downtown you can fish for king salmon and coho salmon,” said Bosch, himself a Ship Creek regular who has worked and fished the Anchorage area for decades. “If you haven’t fished there before, just watch what everyone is doing, if they’re using eggs or spinners, and where they are setting up along the creek.”

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flow flush with fish. This is action-packed angling for Alaska’s salmon species. It can also be combat fishing at its gnarliest. When the fish are running, anglers line the banks, practically shoulder to shoulder, while locals and guides motor boats up and down the rivers, homing in on the hot spots. For most, all the work is worth it when they land one of Alaska’s bright and hard-fighting salmon, creating photo-worthy moments that will be social media profile shots for years. The fishing is also exciting in port towns like Whittier, Seward and Homer, which are all a beautiful drive south of Anchorage. There, you can cast from the banks for salmon, but you’ll improve your odds and your options by jumping aboard a charter boat to chase the big, bad, barn-door halibut and cruise along salmon runs as they return to their freshwater spawning grounds. Catching a big halibut is tough work, but it’s a different kind of fish fight. Instead of running and splashing, these flat lunkers are more likely to play like dead weight as you slowly reel them up from the dark of the ocean bottom. They sometimes freak when they surface and see daylight, but handy deckhands are ready with a net and/or a gaff to snatch the flopping fish. The port town of Valdez is an even longer drive away, but the roads there are about as scenic (glaciers, mountains, wildlife, waterfalls) as it gets and once you’ve arrived, the fishing is equally impressive. Point your vehicle north from Anchorage and you’ll soon have awe-inspiring Denali looming large in your windshield, guiding you toward the glacier-carved and fish-filled Matanuska-Susitna Borough. You’ll also find exciting fishing all around the Mat-Su, some less than an hour from Anchorage, some a little farther. When the salmon are running, the region’s rivers are slamming, especially the Deshka River, Willow Creek, Susitna Rivers, Eklutna Tailrace and Montana Creek. If you prefer a slower pace, there are dozens of lakes packed with grayling, trout, Arctic char and landlocked salmon; favorites include Nancy Lake, Big Lake, Rolly Lakes and Knik Lake. If you like lakes, consider packing a lunch and your gear, renting a canoe and soaking up the midnight sun and the peace of the Alaska outdoors.

OUTSIDE ANCHORAGE ACTION FLY-IN FISHING If you’ve come all the way to Alaska to chase fish, you might as well dial up the fun to a once-in-a-lifetime experience by booking a fly-in fishing adventure. From Anchorage, 16



floatplanes, skilled pilots and savvy guides will get you to the fish in high-flying fashion. Often, you’ll take off in a floatplane from Anchorage’s Lake Hood, which buzzes with around-the-clock activity during Southcentral’s warm, bright summers. If you think the takeoff from the lake is thrilling, what until the landing! And that’s just the start of the fun. (Of course, more conventional plane rides are available; you could even fly commercial to great fishing towns like Cordova, Ketchikan, Juneau and more.) What do you want to catch? A fighting salmon? A plump trout? A vicious pike? All of the above? Your guides have you covered. How long do you want to cast? Half-day, fullday and multiday trips are available. Want to go really big? Hook up with an outfit that will get you to a remote, fly-in lodge, where you can spend your days fishing until your arm is sore from casting and your nights recovering like royalty in massive cabin-like lodge. This is the ultimate in Alaska fishing experiences.

FISHING FACTOIDS Overwhelmed by the options? Too excited to think clearly? Contact Fish and Game in person, on the ADF&G Sport Fish Information Center phone line (907-2672218) or online (adfg.license@alaska.gov or the Fishing section of adfg.alaska.gov) for questions about fishing, licenses, regulations or anything else Anchorage or Alaska fishing related. Fish and Game’s We Fish AK and Go Fish AK sport fishing websites are especially helpful for ambitious anglers. The Sport Fish Information Center (333 Raspberry Road) provides up-to-date information on all the fisheries. You can even borrow fishing gear! There are also area fishing blogs and message boards, and friendly fishermen and retailers who are happy share tips while you shop for tackle or gear. Lures and lines, rods and reels — the choices are endless. But there’s one piece of equipment fishermen (residents 18 or older and nonresidents age 16 or older) must carry: a sport fishing license. Nonresidents have many sport fishing license options, from one-day ($15) to 14-day ($75) to annual ($100). If you are on a quest for a king, you will also need a king salmon tag, which runs an additional $15 for one day and up to $100 for an annual stamp. For residents, there are numerous license options for different fishermen (military, low income, senior citizens, blind), so do your research. For the savvy shopper, many license prices have dropped from prior seasons following a dip in sales during the pandemic.

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Note: You might see or hear about Alaskans filling their freezers while dipnetting salmon. Yes, it can be an awesome and fruitful fishing experience, but only Alaska residents are legally allowed to do it. Alaska sport fishing licenses are available at most sporting goods shops, even many grocery and convenience stores, and online, of course. It’s also a fisherman’s responsibility to know regulations, which are easily available in print and online. Bosch said the key to figuring it out is to read the general regulations for each region (example: the Anchorage area), then look for site-specific regulations for streams (example: Ship Creek). In other words, know where you are fishing and what you are fishing for. Oh, and always be bear aware — clean your fish and dispose of fish waste responsibly. If you’re plotting a chartered or guided fishing experience, whether by road, boat or plane, shop around. Most reputable charter companies have years of experience and are easy to study up on via their websites and social media. Find a perfect fishing fit by being specific about what you want to catch, how long you want to fish, and how much you want to spend. One charter fishing bonus: It often comes with sightseeing in some of Alaska’s most incredible landscapes and wildlife, including water wonders like whales, orcas, porpoises and countless seabirds. And don’t forget the bevy of fishing derbies that take place all summer in regions across Alaska. Catching a trophy fish in Alaska is memory making; neglecting to buy a derby ticket and then landing a potentially winning fish is heartbreaking.

SPORTFISHING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC As the COVID pandemic pounded the physical, financial and mental health of millions of Americans the last two years, many found a respite in reeling for fish, the original social distancing sport, which experienced a sharp increase in popularity and participation. Nationally and in Alaska, people spent more time playing outside and shaking off the hunker-down blues, so it’s no surprise that the lure of sportfishing rode an upward trend along with other outdoor recreational activities and industries that took off during the pandemic (biking, skiing, camping). “I think the majority of Alaskans were happy to have the opportunity and distraction from the COVID situation — everyone was eager to get some fresh air and take advantage of what we have locally,” said Jay Baumer in a spring 2021 interview, summarizing the busy 2020 fishing season. Baumer is the Sports Fisheries Manager Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game who manages the Anchorage, Prince William Sound and North Gulf Coast regions. “A lot of Alaskans, because they maybe had a little more time on their hands, were driving a little further, going to new fisheries, and really enjoying going fishing. And with nonresident numbers down, crowds were smaller in a lot of places, too.” The upward trend in fishing interest and activity for Alaskans continued in the 2021 season. And as COVID mandates lifted, attitudes shifted, vaccination numbers increased and more people began traveling to Alaska again, fishing picked up for nonresidents, too. Baumer expects even more residents and nonresidents casting and landing in Alaska’s waters in 2022. “As we saw tourism go up in Alaska, we look at last season and see a lot more people going fishing and getting outside, as well,” he said in a







March 2022 interview. “Anecdotally, we are seeing what feels like a lot more tourists and visitors coming up and taking advantage of the great resources we have here. And we’re definitely encouraging those people to come up and go fishing.” That buzz was reflected in fishing license sales. For residents, sales shot up in 2020 and 2021. There were more than 122,000 resident sports fishing licenses sold in 2021, up big-time from 95,000 in 2020, the highest total since 2016, and up from 89,313 in 2019 and 85,956 in 2018. Resident King Salmon stamps were especially hot tickets: 71,751 were sold in 2021 after 75,500 in 2020. Nonresident sport fishing license sales rebounded swimmingly in 2021 after doing a pandemic deep dive in 2020. In fact, most sales categories doubled or came close. In 2021, 18,600 annual nonresident licenses were sold, up from 11,500 in 2020; also tallied in 2021 were 88,600 1-day licenses (up from 33,463 in 2020), 59,800 3-day licenses (up from 26,500) and 110,100 7-day licenses (up from 44,600). Baumer recommended that visitors and residents alike spend time on the ADF&G’s sportfishing website — adfg.alaska.gov — for updates on everything from hot fishing spots, places to borrow, rent or buy gear, to potential COVID-19 restrictions. “Nothing really different or changed over the past seasons, but it is always good to remind people to check for most recent regulations and emergency orders, which are all posted online,” he said. “From the oldtime fisherman or someone going for the first time, it’s always good to refresh your memory on that. “And we’re always here to help with questions, whether they’re planning their trip or there’s a specific detail they’ve got a questions about,” he added. “And we’re ready to get people here to go fishing. You can come up and fish, be careful and, like always, do it safely.” Fish on!

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ure, Denali National Park and Preserve is named for the nation’s mightiest mountain, but the 6-million-acre park encompasses so much more. Denali has options for every type of visitor. Whether you’re an avid backpacker looking to forge new trails or a relaxed traveler content to watch for animals on a tour, you’re sure to experience jaw-dropping scenery.

A visit to Denali National Park includes the drama of nature taken to new heights.

GETTING THERE About a four hour-drive north of Anchorage and two hours south of Fairbanks on the George Parks Highway, it’s an easy trip to the heart of the state — after all, there’s only one road entrance to the park. If you don’t have your own wheels, here’s how to get there: BUS: One option is Alaska/Yukon Trails (907-452-3337), a passenger van company capable of transporting up to 16 passengers. They run from Anchorage to Talkeetna to Denali to Fairbanks and the same route in reverse. Expect to leave town early for either departure and to get in around lunchtime. For a ride in a deluxe motorcoach, another option is The Park Connection (800-266-8625), where travelers can either book tickets from Anchorage or Seward. TRAIN: Taking the train adds about three hours of travel time to your journey, but it goes through wilderness only accessible on the track (plus, there’s a dining and bar car, knowledgeable guides and viewing-dome cars with sweeping views of the mountains and valleys along the way). The train makes a stop on the nearly 1,000-foot-long railroad bridge over an enormous gorge known as Hurricane Gulch. On a clear day, you can see Denali from there. (A more economical option both in terms of funds and time is taking the rails one way and a motorcoach back. Bonus: You’ll see even more of the state.) Check out alaskarailroad.com for more information on riding the train.

GETTING AROUND The Park Service maintains the only road leading into the park. It’s


a 92-mile, mostly gravel route running parallel to the Alaska Range to what was once the mining community of Kantishna. Normally, from late May to early September, visitors can drive the first 12.5 miles of the road to Savage River with just their park pass. Due to rock slides, during summer 2022 the road will only be open to mile 43. To go farther than the dozen-ish miles allowed to personal vehicles, travelers have to be on foot, bike or riding on one of the school-busstyle shuttles. You can hop on a cheaper, more flexible bus tour that allows you to get off and on and explore on your own, or you can take a narrated bus tour with a driver who crafts an itinerary for you. There are also courtesy buses that serve the portion of the park road that is publicly driveable, which includes stops at the sled dog kennel and visitors center.

‘WILL THE MOUNTAIN BE OUT?’: WHERE TO SEE DENALI Rising 20,310 feet, Denali can be seen from parts of Anchorage to Fairbanks on a clear day. But clear days can be hard to come by. National Park Service rangers stress to visitors that the mammoth mountain is only out one of every three days (a rule that isn’t hard and fast — it could be out for days at a time and then hidden for a month straight).



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Even with its great height, the mountain isn’t visible from the park entrance, the surrounding campgrounds or nearby hotels. Miles 9 and 11 are your first chances of spotting it, the latter spot having a pullout and interpretive waysides with information about the cliff. There are myriad other spots along the road that allow for peeks of the peak, though the most iconic view of Denali is at Reflection Pond, near Mile 85, however, the road to that view is likely to be closed all season after mile 43.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO FOR SURE OPEN SLED DOG KENNEL: Denali is the only national park in the U.S. where rangers do winter patrols via dog sled. But during the few precious months when there isn’t snow on the ground, the dogs have different duties: educating tourists, posing for pictures and getting belly rubs. Their kennel is free to visit, and their handlers are available to chat about what goes into making a sled dog. (Bonus: There’s usually a litter of puppies there training to become full-fledged sled dogs.) DENALI NATIONAL PARK VISITORS CENTER: If you come in by train, the visitors center will be one of the first buildings you see. It’s the main information center in the park, with exhibits on the park’s history and the animals you might see in the boreal forest outside its doors. There are also various ranger-led activities and hikes that launch from there. ADVENTURE SPORTS AND FLIGHTSEEING: Various operators tout all manners of escape from their storefronts on Glitter Gulch, a half-mile stretch of road near the park entrance. Activities range from ATV rides and ziplining near the park to raft ing down the Nenana River or flightseeing around the mountain. Shop around to find an itinerary that matches your interest and budget.

MAYBE OPEN As of spring 2022, the road is closed at Mile 43. There’s a chance it will reopen, in which case the following spots will be accessible. EIELSON VISITOR CENTER: Located at Mile 66, you can reach the Eielson Visitor Center by shuttle. On a clear day, the views of Denali are stunning. Three maintained trails spider out from the center, though hikers are welcome to go off path. Inside the center is also a small art gallery with works depicting the wilderness of Denali. WONDER LAKE: This is where Ansel Adams’ famous photograph of the mountain was taken. When Denali isn’t shrouded in clouds, its image is mirrored in the water below, making Wonder Lake a favorite spot for photographers.


WHERE TO STAY THERE ARE FIVE CAMPGROUNDS IN DENALI NATIONAL PARK THAT WILL FOR SURE BE ACCESSIBLE: Riley Creek (at the park entrance), Savage River (13 miles in), Sanctuary River (23 miles), Teklanika River (29 miles), and Igloo Creek (35 miles). Should the rest of the road reopen, Wonder Lake (85 miles) would be an option. The sites have anywhere from seven to 53 tent-only campsites, with the exception of Riley Creek, which has 150

Tourists gather at the Teklanika Rest Area to watch a couple of grizzly bears on the Teklanika River bed.

sites suitable for camping and RVs. Considering how few campsites there are in the park, we highly recommended you make a reservation ahead of time. For more information, go to reservedenali.com. There are also many hotel, cabin, B&B and hostel options for visitors to Denali National Park. Many are clustered just outside the park entrance, a few are found at the end of the park road and more are located in neighboring towns. While remote, the

accommodations at the end of the park road in Kantishna are far from roughing it. Places like Denali Backcountry Lodge, Kantishna Roadhouse and Camp Denali may be 92 miles into the national park, but they don’t skimp on creature comforts like running water, electricity, heat and private bathrooms (granted, there’s no WiFi or cell reception). Generally much spendier than the options at the park entrance, these lodges are usually allinclusive. Outside the park, your options vary widely. Denali Park Salmon Bake Restaurant and Cabins offers simple, affordable rooms with private bathrooms, as well as basic dry cabins; Crow’s Nest is made up of terraced rows of cozy cabins tucked up on a hillside, offering exponentially better views of Mount Healy the higher you go; and Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is one of the biggest lodging options with high-end amenities, including an espresso bar, a dinner theater and laundry services. More accommodation options can be found at denalichamber.com.



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A bull moose walks across a small pond between the Seward Highway and the Alaska Railroad tracks at Potter Marsh in Anchorage. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN



he 49th state is home to an astounding variety of wildlife: Some species are present at the highest density anywhere in the world. These animals have the power to captivate locals and visitors alike; you’ll often see cars pulling over to get a closer look. Here are just a few for your bucket list and tips on where to scope them out. MOOSE: Locals will joke that moose are to Alaska what squirrels are to the Lower 48. While they’re not quite that ubiquitous, they do often show up where you’d least expect them — perusing a backyard garden, browsing shrubs in a grocery store parking lot or enjoying the long grass on the side of the highway. They’re hard to miss: Adult females weigh between 800 to 1,300 pounds and males tip the scales at 1,200 to 1,600 pounds. BEARS: Of the species of bear found in Alaska, the two you’re most likely to see are brown bears and black bears. Black bears, the smallest of the bunch, usually dwell in forested areas, but are also more likely to wander into town or pick through garbage cans. Brown bears, also called grizzlies, are spread throughout much of the state. A subspecies of brown bear, the Kodiak bear, is one of the largest kinds of bears and found exclusively in the Kodiak Archipelago. Then there’s the Arcticdwelling polar bear, found in coastal areas above the Arctic Circle and on the North Slope. DALL SHEEP: Snow white with small, curved, golden-brown horns, this nimble subspecies of sheep thrives in mountainous terrain, where predators can’t reach and humans don’t bother them. You might see them high up on the near-vertical rock face of the Seward Highway — where they can sometimes distract drivers and present a traffic hazard. They’re also found throughout Chugach State Park and scattered




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around Denali National Park and Preserve. SALMON: Five kinds of salmon can be found in the rivers and streams of Alaska: sockeye (also called red), pink (aka humpy), king (or chinook), coho (silver) and chum (dog). During the summer months, salmon return from the sea to the waters where they were hatched. Their internal homing devices bring them remarkably close to where they entered the world, and that’s where they mate, spawn and die. You can watch their epic homecoming journeys throughout the state, though one of the easiest viewing areas, Ship Creek, runs through the heart of downtown Anchorage. There you can watch kings, coho and pink salmon charging upstream and eager anglers standing shoulder-to-shoulder, trying to fill their freezers. Kings start running in late May through July and cohos claim the river from August through mid-September. BALD EAGLES: Bald eagles, Alaska’s largest resident bird of prey with a wing span of up to 7.5 feet, are a frequent sight in the Last Frontier. Some towns, like Unalaska/ Dutch Harbor, are practically overrun with this national emblem. It’s estimated that a whopping 30,000 bald eagles are in Alaska. WHALES: Take a boat in Prince William Sound or Resurrection Bay and, if the timing is right, you’ll see the tails of humpback, bowhead and gray whales waving in the distance. A few of the other kinds of whales in Alaska: beluga populations found in Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm; bowheads, which come close to North Slope villages during their migration; and orcas, found in Glacier Bay area and the Aleutian Islands.




ALASKA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER (PORTAGE) Each of the animals at the Conservation Center has a story. Uli, the female black bear, was found wandering downtown Juneau as a 5-pound cub; Jade, the red fox, was found by joggers after being orphaned; Artemis, a musk ox, was found hiding under a raised utility building near Prudhoe Bay after she was separated from her herd. They’ve all found a lifelong home at the sanctuary, which is dedicated to animal care, conservation, research and education. The center has over 200 acres of habitat for the animals — including moose, wood bison, deer, elk, birds of prey, coyotes and reindeer. Some, like the wood bison, are raised and reintroduced to the wild. (Mile 79 of the Seward Highway, Portage)

Started in 1969 with just Annabelle, an elephant won by a local grocer in a contest, the zoo now includes more than 100 animals, including polar bears, Dall sheep, harbor seals and Arctic fox. Beyond simply providing a way to view the animals, the zoo focuses on education, research and animal rehabilitation. (4731 O’Malley Road, Anchorage)

ALASKA SEALIFE CENTER (SEWARD) The only coldwater marine science facility in the Western Hemisphere, the SeaLife Center in Seward is where to go if you want to see Steller sea lions, seals, puffins and other coastal birds, salmon, octopus, crabs, starfish and sea urchins. A big part of the SeaLife Center’s mission is rehabilitating injured or abandoned animals from throughout the state, so you might even see an infant walrus, beluga whale or other sea mammal. (301 Railway Ave., Seward)

THE MUSK OX FARM (PALMER) Located on a Colony farm in Palmer, The Musk Ox Farm is a domesticated animal operation began in 1964. Part of the farm’s animal husbandry involves collecting the hair that’s shed from musk ox undercoats each spring. The fibers, called qiviut, are said to be softer than cashmere and warmer than wool when spun into yarn, which you can purchase in the farm’s gift shop. You can only get as close as the fences allow, but you’ll have no problem seeing the handful of new calves born each spring. (12850 E. Archie Road, Palmer) You can pet and feed the roughly 150 reindeer at the Reindeer Farm in Palmer — they’re friendly and will take grain pellets out of your hand. Fun fact: These same reindeer participate in the annual Running of the Reindeer at the Anchorage Rondy festival each February (think running of the bulls, but with reindeer in downtown Anchorage). (5561 S. Bodenburg Loop Road, Palmer)

ROBERT G. WHITE LARGE ANIMAL RESEARCH STATION (FAIRBANKS) Bordering the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this research station is mostly devoted to studying musk oxen, which gives students at the university experience maintaining colonies of large animals. You don’t have to be a student to meet their musk oxen (and the reindeer and cattle that also live there) — LARS has regularly scheduled open hours in the summer and pre-arranged tours in the winter for visitors to stop by. (2220 Yankovich Road, Fairbanks)


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Visitors to McCarthy and the Kenecott copper mine site can walk and haul gear across the Kennicott River using a footbridge that replaced a tram system. PHOTO BY ERIK HILL

By B A I L E Y B E R G


rangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is big. Really big. At 13.2 million acres, it’s the largest national park in the United States and covers roughly the same area as the next two biggest national parks combined (Denali and Gates of the Arctic, also in Alaska). It’s difficult not to talk about the area in superlatives, as that sheer amount of acreage holds a lot: four major mountain ranges; the second-and third-highest peaks on the continent; nine of the 16 highest peaks in the U.S.; incredibly diverse wildlife; and the nation’s largest glacial system. For true adventure seekers and wilderness lovers, the park acts as a kind of El Dorado, a place rife with opportunities to play — from backpacking, fishing and camping to raft ing, hiking and climbing — and see the wilderness in all its glory.

HOW TO GET THERE Only two roads, both dirt, lead into the park: McCarthy Road and Nabesna Road. Of the two, the 60-mile-long McCarthy Road is the one far more traveled. You’ll know when the Edgerton Highway merges with McCarthy Road in Chitina because it will go from pavement to dirt road atop what was once a railroad track. It’s slow going, with blind corners and potholes, but the scenery makes up for it: spectacular views of distant mountains, the Copper River raging below and the impressive Kuskulana River Bridge, which spans a vertigo-inducing gorge. The road ends at the Kennicott River; from there, you cross the river on a footbridge and can either shuttle or walk the half-mile to McCarthy or 4.5 miles to Kennicott. 22



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Alternatively, Copper Valley Air offers biweekly flights from Anchorage and Gulkana to McCarthy (907-822-4200). Wrangell Mountain Air does three daily flights from Chitina into the park (800-478-1160).

WHAT TO SEE AND DO KENNECOTT MINES: Within 35 years, the Kennecott Mines went from being an established mining camp — pumping out copper around the clock — to a ghost town. For decades, the mill sat empty and abandoned, until 1998, when the National Park Service purchased the mill, power plant and many other camp buildings from private owners and began restoring them. You can take a tour of the mill, a 14-story behemoth that was used to process ore through a multistage process. The tour is worth it for the glaciers and mountain view from the top floors and the opportunity to check out the massive, nearly 100-year-old machinery. There’s also oodles of information about the history of the mines and the people that once worked there at the Kennecott Visitor Center. MCCARTHY-KENNICOTT HISTORICAL MUSEUM: While it could be argued that both towns are museums in and of themselves, the actual museum, located in what was once a railway depot, does a good job of showing the history from the town’s inception in the late 1800s to today. You can see old photographs, artifacts, a miniature model of historic McCarthy and a diorama of the Bonanza Mine. ROOT GLACIER TRAIL: Past all the wagonred buildings of the mining camp on the far end of town is the start of the Root Glacier Trail. It’s an easy 4-mile round-trip jaunt out to one of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers. Even from a distance, you can look for the blue pools and streams speckled across the top of the glacier and admire the nearby peaks. If you intend to walk on the ice, wear appropriate footwear and take appropriate safety measures. GUIDED WILDERNESS ADVENTURES: Companies like Kennicott Wilderness Guides, McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters and St. Elias Alpine Guides offer hiking, ice climbing, packrafting and multi day trips through the spruce forests, alpine tundra, glacier fields and canyons of the park.

Delve into Alaska’s mining history at Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. NPS PHOTO

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Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park attracts many on the evening of summer solstice. The hike is a solstice tradition for some looking to take in an evening view on the longest day of the year. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER



ikers are spoiled for options in Alaska. From quick jaunts near urban centers to multi-day hikes, there is no shortage of trail options. While some hikes demand special equipment, like crampons for a glacier trek or a tent for overnight ventures, there are other items you need every time. Here are some of the essentials.

GEAR GOOD SHOES: If you’re doing a fairly flat or paved trail, you can probably get by with trail running shoes or a pair of hiking sandals.




If you’re on a hike with multiple creek crossings, muddy trails or scree, you may spend more time missing the ankle support and waterproofing powers of your hiking boots than you’ll spend actually enjoying nature. LAYERS: Even the most beautiful bluebird day can devolve into a downpour of rain. Be sure to bring moisture-wicking base layers, an insulating layer and a waterproof outer layer to keep you dry and cozy. A good rule of thumb is to avoid cotton-based clothing, as it doesn’t dry as quickly as others. BEAR PROTECTION: Did you know that an estimated 30,000 brown bears and 100,000 black bears are spread throughout Alaska? While bear attacks are rare, it’s always a good idea to carry bear spray in an accessible spot (and to know how to use it). WATER: Staying well-hydrated while hiking is essential for both performance and general survival, so if you can’t carry the amount



you need for your trip, bring a filter or purifying tablets to cleanse the water you find along the way. Clear flowing water, like streams, is usually a better, safer water source than stagnant bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds. MAP: Cellphone coverage is a rare gift in Alaska’s backcountry, so don’t plan on relying on your cell service to download maps on the trail. Even busier trails in the city can be out of range. If you’re going to use your phone, download a topographic map on your device before you head out. Otherwise, print maps of your desired trail (plus a few miles more of the surrounding area, in case you accidentally wander too far off the map) or pick one up at stores like Alaska Geographic and REI.


TRAIL ETIQUETTE Consider these nature’s rules of the road. DON’T CUT SWITCHBACKS: When done repeatedly in high-traffic areas, it can lead to erosion. IF YOU STOP FOR A WATER BREAK OR TO TAKE A PICTURE: move to the side of the trail so others can get by easily. GIVE HIKERS MOVING UPHILL THE RIGHT OF WAY: They’re working harder than those going downhill. PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN: Don’t leave empty bottles, food wrappers or toilet paper in the woods. Why would you want to destroy the nature you’re out here to see? BE MINDFUL OF NOISE POLLUTION: Many people go out into the woods to get away from city noise and to enjoy the sounds of nature, so don’t blast music on speakers. That being said, consider wearing a bear bell to warn the other mammals in the park that you’re coming — you don’t want to catch them by surprise.

SAFETY AROUND MOOSE AND BEARS Generally speaking, neither bears nor moose want anything to do with you. Try to make noise when you’re on the trails — talking, clapping or singing are all good signals that people are coming. If you’re making enough noise that animals can hear your approach and travel slowly enough that they have time to move, you might not even see them. Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game has some good resources about what to do in case of a close encounter. Here are some general pointers. BEARS: If you encounter a bear, give it plenty of space and remain calm. If it appears that the bear hasn’t seen you, move away slowly, never taking your eyes off it. If it has seen you, face the bear, stand your ground and talk to it in a normal voice so it recognizes you as a human. Try to seem bigger by standing near others in your group or putting your arms above your head. If the bear comes toward you, raise your voice, throw rocks or sticks and use a deterrent like bear spray if you have it. Don’t try to outrun the bear — you can’t, and running will trigger the animal’s prey drive, causing it to chase you instinctively. In the very unlikely event that you are attacked, either play dead or fight back. To play dead, lie as still as possible on your stomach and protect the back of your neck with your hands. If the bear no longer feels you’re a threat, it will most likely leave. Stay motionless as long as you’re able. If the bear sees you moving again, it may renew its attack. To read up more on the topic, see the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s guide: “The Essentials for Traveling in Alaska’s Bear Country.” MOOSE: Like bears, moose aren’t usually aggressive unless they’re provoked. Unlike bears, if one is charging, you should run — a bull moose can weigh over 1,400 pounds, which can do some serious damage. Get behind a tree, car, fence, or put some kind of sturdy object or structure between you and the moose.


The Ahtna Land app is designed to provide users with the ability to check land ownership while hunting, fishing, or recreating in the Ahtna region. Major landowners are identified by name and unique color. The user can select a variety of base maps including topographic and aerial imagery maps to aid in navigation and identification of landmarks. Major roads and mileposts are also included to aid the user.



A great tool for showing property boundaries, public and private landowner names and more - empowering you to adventure responsibly.


Check to see if your planned adventure takes you across private land.


See your current location in relation to the property boundaries, landmarks, major roads and mileposts. Check if the land you are on is private or public land.


Help protect and preserve the lands in the Ahtna region by using them responsibly and ethically. Using the app will help you be an informed land user.


Please remember that Ahtna lands are private lands. We ask that you respect this land as it is our home. To access our lands, a Land use Permit is required at all times: www.ahtna.com/permits



iOS DOWNLOAD Scan this code



Android DOWNLOAD Scan this code

P.O. Box 649 Glennallen, AK 99588

Phone: (907) 822-3476 Email: landdepartment@ahtna.net



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Late-day sun brightens a hike up Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park on the summer solstice. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

HIKES NEAR ANCHORAGE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE By B A I L E Y B E R G A runner strides down into Raven Creek valley during the Crow Pass Crossing race.



t’s no secret that hiking opportunities in Alaska are worldclass. But while the state is geographically massive, it doesn’t mean all the good stuff is remote — even Anchorage, the largest city, has quick and convenient access to incredible nature. Here are just a few hikes, with varying degrees of length and difficulty, that epitomize the beauty and majesty of Alaska, all within a 30-minute drive of downtown Anchorage.

IF YOU HAVE 3-4 HOURS FLATTOP MOUNTAIN: Easily the most climbed mountain in Alaska, Flattop is a perennial favorite among locals and visitors alike thanks to its well-maintained trail and views encompassing all of Anchorage (and stretching as far as Denali on a clear day). While the entire mountain stands at 3,510 feet, you’ll only ascend the final 1,280 over the course of a mile and a half. The mountain’s popularity has its pros and cons. On one hand, you don’t need a car to get there — simply take the Flattop Mountain Shuttle ($23 roundtrip; runs May 20 to Sept. 20, 12:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 907-279-3334).




Water carves through the tundra in a spot I shouldn’t have seen on a hike from the Prospect Heights trailhead to Williwaw Lakes, Long Lake and Near Point on July PHOTO BY VICKY HO

A man walking on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail at Point Woronzof is silhouetted against Mount Susitna. PHOTO BY BILL ROTH

It departs from downtown and arrives at the Glen Alps Trailhead within 30 minutes. The downside is that it’s easily the most crowded trail in Anchorage, so you may be jockeying for space with other visitors and their dogs. The trail becomes steep near the summit and the last 300 or so feet call for some rocky scrambling that might be a little scary for novice hikers. TONY KNOWLES COASTAL TRAIL: If you’re looking for a walk that can be done with coffee in hand, this is it. Starting in downtown Anchorage, this paved 11-mile trail hugs the coast all the way to its terminus in Kincaid Park. It’s a leisurely path (save for a daunting final half-mile that rises somewhat steeply) that links up with several sightseeing spots, including Westchester Lagoon, Earthquake Park and Point Woronzof. Aside from the occasional urban moose, there aren’t many possibilities of animal sightings until you reach Kincaid Park (unless you count the metal birds blasting off at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport), but the land and cityscapes are lovely.

IF YOU HAVE A HALF-DAY RABBIT LAKE: Eight and a half miles out and back, it’s a gorgeous hike the whole way, but the big payoff comes right at the end with views of Rabbit Lake in the shadows of the mighty Suicide Peaks. An easy hike with

pretty minimal elevation gain, the first half cuts through brush as it runs parallel to the Flattop ridgeline before emerging into an open valley for the final couple of miles. Pack in a picnic and spend some time soaking in the lakeside views before heading back. Keep an eye out for blueberries in late summer! EAGLE AND SYMPHONY LAKES: Just northeast of Anchorage near Eagle River, this 12-mile round-trip hike is outrageously photogenic from start to finish. Even though it’s a longer hike, the bulk of the trail is level, making it easy to breeze through. It’s not until the end when you reach a boulder field that you really need to watch your step (this part can be challenging for small kids and dogs). But the finale, including the two lakes — one mint green, the other a deep aquamarine — separated by a single moraine, and the towering peaks on all sides, makes the effort worth it.

FULL DAY OR OVERNIGHT TRIP WILLIWAW LAKES: Tucked in Chugach State Park, this string of nine alpine lakes allows for the most customizable itinerary. You could do a big loop, starting at the Prospect Heights Trailhead parking lot and coming back via the Campbell Creek Canyon Trail and Near Point. You could take it easy, going down Powerline Pass to Middle Fork to the Williwaw Lakes Trail, following the

creek through the valley as long as you care to before turning around. Or, if you start at the Glen Alps Trailhead, you could go up and over via the “football field” (also called the “ballfield”) for a workout that’ll make your legs burn but offers the most awe-inspiring views of the valley. Whichever way you choose, you’ll almost certainly see moose, Dall sheep and various waterfowl. CROW PASS: If you travel light, move quickly and start early, you can cover the 21-mile trail in a single day. Most people choose to break it up over two days, though. Starting in Girdwood, the trail passes glaciers, waterfalls, mine ruins and a Forest Service cabin, then winds through a valley to the Eagle River before terminating at the Eagle River Nature Center. The river crossing can be dangerous (the depth of its frigid waters can reach your belly button, though it’s lower earlier in the morning, and the current is swift), so it’s not recommended for a solo trek. Your odds of seeing wild animals — ranging from arctic ground squirrels, marmots and Dall sheep to bears and moose — are good, considering the trail isn’t as trafficked as others in the Chugach. Make sure to arrange for transport back to town from the end of the trail in Eagle River, though: The hike back to Girdwood is uphill.

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Talk with budtenders at cannabis retail shops around the state about local marijuana varieties. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN

By Z A C H A R I A H H U G H E S


o, you’re visiting Alaska and wondering about weed. You’ve come to the right place. Please, follow me for a few hundred words about the 49th state’s unique legal cannabis industry. We’ve got an overview of where you can find what you’re looking for. And how to safely consume in a way that respects a, frankly, confounding patchwork of rules and regulations. Whether you’re a cannabis connoisseur or just looking to sample a novel local offering during vacation, Alaska’s pot industry covers the full spectrum of products.

THE BASICS Alaska has long had permissive rules when it comes to cannabis, but following a 2014 ballot initiative, the state fully legalized recreational consumption for anyone 21 and older. That includes tourists, provided you can proffer a valid ID. Cannabis is regulated more or less like alcohol, so if you’re wondering if something is legal or not, ask yourself “Would I get in trouble doing this with a cocktail in my hand or an open beer?” The big caveat there is that Alaska has almost no equivalents of bars for pot. With the exception of one establishment in Fairbanks, Good Titrations, there are no “pot cafes” or easy commercial locations in which to light up. This leaves visitors with relatively few places to legally consume.

Most hotels and bars ban indoor smoking (of everything). If you’re staying on private property, check the rules or with your host. As with alcohol, it remains unlawful to consume in public parks and greenbelts. This all gets especially confusing given that federally governed entities like planes, marine ferries and national parks within Alaska still abide by full prohibitions on cannabis. The state has a handy and comprehensive guide about lawful consumption while you’re visiting.

WHERE TO BUY Most cities and towns in Alaska have cannabis retail shops. The state has the highest number of retailers per capita of any in the union (take that, Oregon!). If you’re in population centers like Anchorage, Juneau or Fairbanks, you should have no problem finding a number of high-quality retailers. Even smaller towns that tend to see lots of summer tourists and cruise-ship passengers have multiple well-stocked businesses with a full range of products. This is not the case in small, rural, primarily indigenous communities, some of which have bans on cannabis commerce as they do with alcohol. Shops abide by strict standards for ID’ing customers, so make sure you have your driver’s license or a state-issued ID handy when you enter. They also deal primarily in cash, though businesses will typically have an ATM on site. A few have recently started processing debit cards. But don’t expect to just breeze in with your AmEx or Apple Pay. Once inside, “budtenders” are on hand to help you find what you need, and are generally exceptionally well versed in the merits of the products on hand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The industry is still relatively new, and staff, especially budtenders, are accustomed to VISITORS’ GUIDE •

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A customer pays for a purchase. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

helping customers find what they are looking for, not dismiss or belittle people who are new to cannabis. Same as you would with a barista or bartender, always tip your budtender.

WHAT TO BUY Owing to a number of factors, Alaska has a unique cannabis industry relative to other states that have legalized recreational use. Though there are some bigger players, the state’s cultivators, manufacturers and retailers are generally small and independently run. We are overwhelmingly a “mom and pop”-type cannabis industry, without the major corporate and heavily financed conglomerates that have begun to dominate in the Lower 48. At least so far. The cannabis scene here is creative, collegial, comprehensive and high-quality. You’ll find most of the same products you’d encounter in bigger, more sophisticated markets. The caveat is that the range of options, particularly for more cutting edge and highly refined products, might be a bit smaller. And a bit more costly. Everything is more expensive in Alaska, from energy costs to cultivation equipment to labor, and that is reflected at the point of sale. Businesses work hard to keep costs low for consumers, but you’re still likely to find familiar products a bit pricier than if you’re buying them in Seattle or Los Angeles. Bud flower remains the most popular product in retail shops across the state, with plenty of strains and strengths to choose from. Alaskans have tended to prefer higher THC strains, which are generally what’s most ubiquitous at product counters. There are lots of small and ambitious edible operations that have thrived in the last few years. Cookies and gummies, sure, but also highly local fare like THC-infused fireweed honey, cannabis ice cream and “strawberry moose milk,” which … does not actually come from a moose. It can be hit-or-miss wandering into a shop if you have a 30




specific edible product in mind, so check the menu online or look up an edible manufacturer’s website and see where they supply their products. As far as more avant-garde concentrate products go, from THC cartridges to sugar wax to live rosin offerings, Alaska lags just slightly behind what’s happening in major markets. Again, best to query a particular store or company in advance if you have a specific product you’re intent on purchasing. Whatever your level of interest in cannabis, spending a little bit of cash while you’re visiting (even if it’s just on a shop T-shirt or hat) supports local businesses and chips in a little tax money to our state budget, which are things to generally feel good about. And lastly: Always, always tip your budtenders.


The chef at the Crow’s Nest restaurant prepares the first-of-the-season sockeye salmon.


like to explore a new place fork first. A destination’s culinary landscape is often as interesting as its topographical one. And Alaska is no different. If you want to break the ice with a local, ask them about their favorite pizza. Or burger. Or bowl of pho. You’ll definitely hear about Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, which might be described as one of the city’s most important social hubs. You’ll hear about the broth-to-noodle soup ratios at oldschool Vietnamese eatery Ray’s Place vs. the trendy Phonatik in South Anchorage. You’ll hear about Tommy’s Burger Stop, Lucky Wishbone and Arctic Roadrunner, where the loyal locals have gotten their burger-and-fries fixes for decades. Landlubbers, quit reading here. For most visitors to Alaska, fork-first travel means seafood. Fish is at the top of our gourmet (and recreational) food chain. Many residents love to fish, and those who don’t make sure to befriend someone who does. How else will you keep your second freezer packed tight with salmon and halibut? However, if during your Alaska vacation you’re not lucky enough to finagle a dinner invitation from a wellstocked local, never fear. The seafood-savvy chefs at Anchorage’s best restaurants have got you covered. From sweet king crab legs to humble halibut tacos, dining out in Anchorage means eating the way many Alaskans dine in. Which is to say, beautifully.

SPECTACULAR SALMON Salmon, in Alaska, is both a luxury and a staple. Flaky, fatty (the good kind of fat) and full-flavored, salmon stands up to a wide range of preparations, including the smokiness and heat of an open flame. There are five salmon species found in Alaska but the king variety is, well, king. If you’re going to tuck into a glistening piece of Alaska king salmon (also known as chinook), you might as well get the royal treatment at The Crow’s Nest, the elegant restaurant at the top of the Hotel Captain Cook. A recent king salmon preparation is served with a cauliflower emulsion, roasted floret, couscous, crispy chickpeas, raisin, and sherry jam. Food comes to the table with flair and finesse, and every dish comes with 360 degrees of stunning views. For similarly beautiful views with a more relaxed vibe, check out the 49th State Brewing Co., serving where grilled king salmon served on a 32




bed of brown and red rice, kale, red quinoa with a lemon cream sauce can be paired with a house-brewed IPA. Bonus points for grabbing a spot at the best deck in town. Or keep your eyes peeled for the Salmon HookUp Truck, which makes appearances at festivals, breweries and food truck fairs around Anchorage throughout the summer. Owned and operated by commercial fishermen, the Cook Inlet salmon in their sandwiches, quesadillas, tacos and kebabs is as fresh as it’s possible to get anywhere. It’s like a taste of the ocean on wheels. For a meal with a little Latin flair, duck into the chic and trendy Tequila 61 for salmon tacos garnished with crispy fried onions, grilled pineapple and chipotle slaw. Make sure to wash them down with one of their top-notch scratch margaritas. Or get your seafood fix at the most important meal of the day and hit up Snow City Café for a Ship Creek Benedict made with smoked salmon cakes. This laid-back local favorite also offers a Kodiak Benedict with Alaska red king crab cakes. Or go all out with the Deadliest Catch Benedict, which is a sampling of each. When it comes to Alaska breakfasts? It’s go big or go home.

HEAVENLY HALIBUT Considering the size of this behemoth catch (some exceed 400 pounds), Alaska halibut is prized for its delicate, buttery flavor. Its name derivation comes from half (holy) and butte (flat fish) and a beautifully prepared fillet can indeed be a spiritual experience. Its immaculate white flesh, firm textured and clean tasting, lends itself to a wide variety of flavor profiles. At Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill, an Anchorage seafood landmark with a classic culinary sensibility, the halibut is stuffed with crab and macadamia nuts. This upscale eatery also boasts a bustling bar with beautiful views of Mount Susitna (known locally as the “Sleeping Lady”). The halibut filet at Glacier Brewhouse is coated with

basil pesto and spent grain breadcrumbs and will pair nicely with a house-made beer. Or for a more playful take on this revered fish, head to Haute Quarter Grill for pecan beer-battered halibut and chips with a lemon caper tartar sauce and fries. (Pro-tip: order the zippy salmon dip to dip the crisp fries in). At the new downtown hot spot, Tent City Taphouse, try the Halibut Alaskana served Olympia style with fresh dill, lemon crème fraiche, smoked lemon pan jus, and braised fennel. Across the street, Pangea serves up a banana cashew crusted halibut with green curry and mango chutney on jasmine rice (or on a sandwich or in tacos, depending on your mood). Crush Bistro serves a pan roasted halibut with edamame and wakame mash, baby bok choy, miso cream & house XO sauce if you’re looking for a bit of Asian flair with your fish. In midtown, the refined but relaxed Kinley’s Restaurant offers a range of creative offerings like lightly pan seared halibut cheeks with pancetta and pea risotto, lemon brown butter, basil oil, and a balsamic reduction. But if you want to eat halibut like a true local, look for the hand-held variety. The White Spot Cafe, established in 1946, is an old-school lunch counter that serves up a lightly battered halibut sandwich revered by Anchorage residents for decades. At El Green-Go’s food truck, you can customize your fish tacos with either halibut or salmon and enjoy them al fresco. At F Street Station, a thick slab of perfectly grilled halibut is served as a classic sandwich with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce. (Also, make sure to check out the bar’s famous communal block of cheese). And Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse serves up everpopular halibut tacos that most locals could describe from memory.

The halibut sandwich is one of the favorites at the White Spot Cafe on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.



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King crab legs and blue cheese stuffed filet at Club Paris in downtown Anchorage. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN

resistant to experimental recipes. Drawn butter and perhaps a few lemon wedges are, for me, the ideal accompaniment to this peculiarly sweet delicacy. Happily, many of Anchorage’s best restaurants share my view. Haute Quarter Grill, Crow’s Nest, 49th State Brewing Company, Simon & Seafort’s, and Tent City Taphouse all offer this decadent treat, by the pound, in its simplest form. And if you want your old-school dish served in an old-school dining room, head to Club Paris, which has been serving seafood and steak since the 1950s, and where you can eat your crab with a side of nostalgia and a dash of “Mad Men” flair. Of course, I’m still open to a cheeky king crab offering like Altura Bistro’s deeply decadent red king crab macaroni and cheese featuring fresh gemelli, hatch chilies, aged white cheddar, fontina, grana, and gremolata. And while there do not — I repeat, do not pass up a bowl of their sweet prawn bisque.

SCALLOPS A fine-dining destination with low-key charm is The Marx Brothers Café, located in a diminutive, freestanding, historic house on Third Avenue in downtown. A bit of planning is called for to snag one of the 14 tables at this cozy culinary gem. Once there, try their Kodiak scallops like the ones served over butternut squash puree, sherry gastrique, and carrot-parsnip salad. Marx Brothers also boasts one of the best wine cellars in the state and will be happy to help you find the perfect sip for your scallops. Or head over to Ginger Restaurant where seared diver scallops are served atop a basil-pine nut crusted three-cheese pasta, tomato brunoise, and finished with truffle oil and fresh basil. This is not your grandma’s mac and cheese. Altura Bistro’s recent Kodiak Weathervane Scallop special featured forbidden rice, mint-pea puree, togarashi bacon, pickled onion, dashi tuile, and basil flowers if you’re looking for a dish that looks as beautiful as it tastes. And the always exceptional Kincaid Grill serves a French take on scallops in an upscale environment with their Kodiak Scallops Nicoise served with haricots verts, roasted cherry tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, roasted garlic, mashed potatoes, and lemon butter nage.

OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY OYSTERS As my family will tell you, I love oysters. Every year, I dutifully bring my family to the Alaska State Fair. I like giant pumpkins and baby

A raw oyster from Simpson Bay, near Cordova, at the Bubbly Mermaid Champagne and Oyster Bar PHOTO BY LOREN HOLMES




piglets as much as the next person, but secretly, I go for the oysters. When I arrive, I saddle up to the Pristine Products oyster booth and down a quick dozen of Prince William Sound’s finest while watching the pros shuck the next plateful. At the end of the day, after my family has stuffed themselves full of funnel cake and onion blossoms, I’ve been biding my time. My farewell gesture to the fair is to slurp back another dozen oysters. They’re that good. If you aren’t lucky enough to be in town during the Alaska State Fair, you’ll just have to suck it up (so to speak) and get your fi x without the funnel-cake palate cleanser. Many restaurants serve fresh-shucked local oysters with a traditional mignonette or cocktail sauce, including Fletcher’s (the more casual dining option in the Hotel Captain Cook), F Street Station, and Sullivan’s Steakhouse. For something more refined, the Crow’s Nest offers theirs with a melon sorbet and serrano chili, Haute Quarter Grill offers a cold oyster dish served with a strawberry-ginger mignonette. In midtown, Altura Bistro serves fresh oysters with cucumber caviar, yuzu mignonette, and ruby grapefruit while nearby, Kinley’s serves them cold or au gratin in roasted shallot cream sauce topped with basil and sauteed spinach. That said, the cold salt waters of Alaskan’s coast produce the most delicious oysters in the world — plump, sweet and briny — so after dabbling with dips, toppings and sauces, do yourself a flavor and end your meal with at least one oyster eaten au naturel. A little taste of the sea is the perfect dessert.



nchorage’s historic downtown is an approachable quarter with beautiful boutiques, bountiful restaurants and bustling bars, and it’s just compact enough to easily and leisurely navigate on foot — perfect for ambling visitors exploring Alaska’s largest city. Of the roughly 731,000 people who live in Alaska, nearly 293,000 people call Anchorage home. Downtown’s compressed size and sensible street grids render it pleasantly walkable. Add to that its share of hotels, and it’s a probable home base for tourists, if not a logical stopping-off point for any visitor. The city celebrated its centennial in 2015, and a frontier-town past coexists with 2022 modernity. Anchorage’s charm lies in its dichotomies of new and old, classic and contemporary. Downtown is packed with old-school souvenir shops and hip art galleries, moody dive bars and upscale eateries. Start your exploration at the centrally-located Log Cabin Visitor

Information Center at the corner of F Street and Fourth Avenue. Staffed year-round, you’ll find information about Anchorage history, tours, general visitor guides and exciting out-of-town excursions or city tours. While the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake destroyed many of Anchorage’s older buildings, some scenic structures remain. Next to the visitor center sits the two-story cast concrete Historic City Hall, which first opened in 1936. The art deco 4th Avenue Theatre (closed now for many years) remains a prominent Fourth Avenue landmark and a classic Anchorage photo backdrop. A handful of quaint circa-1915 cottages on Third Avenue are among the city’s original homes. Just below downtown in Ship Creek, the Alaska Railroad Anchorage Depot, built in 1942, still serves the state’s rails today. Across downtown, interpretive signs dot corners or are erected midblock, and tell stories of Anchorage’s earliest days and most important landmarks. The circa-1915 Oscar Anderson House Museum at 420 M St. is scheduled to open in May 2022 and offers a peek back in time to the pioneer days, when namesake Anderson claimed to be the 18th settler to arrive in “Tent City.” His widow donated the property to posterity in 1976 and it is Anchorage’s only home museum. Other downtown stops for the historically curious include the Anchorage Museum, at 625 C St., packed with historical, arts, and cultural exhibits; the Fraternal Order of the Alaska State Troopers Alaska Law Enforcement Museum, boasting the state’s only collection of historical law enforcement memorabilia; and even the serene Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson, where some of Anchorage’s most significant pioneers are laid to rest. The 22-acre cemetery covers a nine-block area and offers contemplative space for walking along its footpaths.


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Downtown features plenty of shopping too. Fourth and Fifth avenues are never short of tourist shops with reasonably priced T-shirts, hats, trinkets and more. More valuable Alaska mementos like fur, ivory, and Alaska Native art are plentiful too. The more discerning shopper will find clothing and jewelry boutiques, art galleries, and dessert and wine shops. For a centralized experience, explore the Fifth Avenue Mall.

DOWNTOWN NIGHTLIFE Anchorage’s nighttime pursuits range from sporty pubs to higher-end cocktail bars to no-frills Alaska dive bars. A hot ticket during Anchorage’s long-lit summer days is to score a seat some on a patio or deck and soak in the novelty of late-hour sunshine. Start out at the corner of G Street and Sixth Avenue, across from the Performing Arts Center, where a nexus of bars includes Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse (610 W. Sixth Ave.). The menu covers the gamut of Alaska pub grub, like fried halibut and king crab nuggets with garlic aioli, and its expansive beer selection is top-tier. Next door to Humpy’s is Flattop Pizza + Pool (600 W. Sixth Ave.), featuring a laid-back, urban vibe, solid pizza and pool tables. Across the street, Williwaw Social (601





F St.) contains multitudes. There’s a large ground-floor space for dining courtesy of Alaska Burger Company. The space transforms when it’s show time, with a rotating roster of performances from both local and national artists. The second-floor speakeasy features craft cocktails and moody ambiance, with an arcade area nearby. Williwaw’s crowning gem is a rooftop bar that opens on nice summer days and is unparalleled for its sun-soaked views of Anchorage’s Town Square. For a fancier evening, several fine-dining restaurants downtown have similarly delicious cocktail creations and extensive wine selections. Ginger (425 W. Fifth Ave.) serves Pacific Rim-influenced cuisine amid a modern, warm interior and a chic bar. Crush (328 G St.) features wine flights from an impressive cellar presented by competent staff, alongside shareable small plates and seasonal entrees. Haute Quarter Grill (525 W. Fourth Ave.) boasts upscale American cuisine, featuring Alaska seafood and home-grown produce whenever possible. This is a great spot on a warm summer night when the bar opens up its front-facing accordion walls and diners can enjoy patio seating. For a more laid-back dive-bar experience,

try Darwin’s Theory (426 G St.) and Pioneer Bar (739 W. Fourth Ave). Both have been around for decades and share some commonalities: no food, personable and longstanding bartenders, and plenty of friendly and loyal regulars. Mad Myrna’s (530 E. Fifth Ave.) is downtown’s lively and welcoming gay club, recently remodeled. With drag shows, cabaret performances, karaoke nights and dancing, Myrna’s is a true standout with a highenergy vibe and a long tradition of inclusive entertainment in the Last Frontier. In your nightlife explorations, don’t forget Anchorage’s growing number of breweries. Downtown hosts 49th State Brewing Co. (717 W. Third Ave.), complete with a huge bar, massive menu, and an epic rooftop deck with fantastic views of the inlet and distant mountains — even Denali on a clear day.

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ven the hardiest Alaskans need a coping mechanism or two to help us through the long winter: sun lamps, blackout curtains, aromatherapy. You name it, we’ve probably tried it. And, sure, long walks and Vitamin D are great, but have you tried coffee? One thing many Alaskans rely on is year-round coffee therapy. A hot, frothy cappuccino, sipped in a cozy café, can be the perfect cure for the lowwinter-sun blues. Or, skip the trudge through a snowy parking lot and pick up a hot brew from one of Anchorage’s many drive-thru coffee carts. Sip smugly in your warm car. Caffeinated pick-me-ups are no less valuable in summer when Alaskans are burning the candle at both ends. After all, if the sun never goes down, is it ever really bedtime? Which is why Alaska’s coffee roasters are household names to the locals. There’s Kaladi Brothers, which grew from a lone espresso cart in 1984 to a burgeoning business with 16 stores around the state (and one in Seattle). There is SteamDot Coffee Co., whose Midtown café features a “slow bar” with a rotating menu of origin coffees, where your coffee is ground and brewed fresh to order. And then there’s Black Cup Coffee — they serve a full menu of espresso drinks but their motto, as their name implies, is: “Extraordinary coffee best served black.” Undecided? Head over to Sip Coffee Lounge where you can order a coffee flight of coffees featuring both Kaladi Brothers and Black Cup brews. It’s a friendly battle of the beans. Everyone has their favorite, but each of these coffee purveyors enjoys a well-earned popularity. But coffee can be as much about café culture as it is about beans. A good coffee house is part community center, part


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extended office, part mental day spa and part art gallery. It’s a great way to learn about someplace new. And in Anchorage, café culture is thriving. Kaladi Brothers Café at the Performing Arts Center (621 W. Sixth Ave.) in downtown is a bustling space and a convenient spot to grab a cup of stamina while in the midst of souvenir shopping or on the way to see a show. Another cozy spot is Moose A’La Mode, featuring expertly made coffee drinks served alongside some of the best baked goods in town. Try the most delicious cupcakes in town with inventive flavors like s’mores, blueberry lemonade, and cinnamon toast crunch. Another spot that specializes in sweet treats and brew is Gelatte (with a downtown location and one in the Dimond Center Mall) where, as the name suggests, you can warm up with a specialty drink or cool down with house made ice cream. Or you can thread both needles and order an affogato, if you want a grown-up sip that pleases your inner child. Another local favorite is Dark Horse Coffee (646 F St.), a cozy, slightly out-of-theway spot with a reputation for great coffee drinks (which they source from Heritage Coffee in Juneau) and avocado toast. Bonus points for their inviting little porch, where you can sit and sip on sunny days. If you require an American breakfast alongside your Americano, Kaladi Brothers coffee (including their own snow city espresso blend) is served up at the friendly Snow City Café (1034 W. Fourth Ave.). A favorite with locals, this funky, vibrant spot features rotating local art, an impressive variety of eggs Benedict and expertly crafted espresso drinks. I’m particularly partial to their use of tall, sleeved pint glasses to serve large-sized lattes and mochas. Hot drinks taste better served this way. It’s just science. Originale, the authentic, downtown Italian deli serves a variety of traditional specialty Italian coffee drinks. And if you can resist their incredible sandwiches stuffed with imported Italian salumi, like my favorite, the “Don Quixote” with ham, homemade garlic mousse, and manchego cheese, then I bow to your superior will power. That Feeling Co. is an eclectic houseplant, gift, and coffee shop with excellent coffee and the added bonus of good neighbors (Johnny’s Produce in midtown and Fire Island Bakery downtown) because if you pick up some carrots and a baguette along with your mocha, you’ve been “doing errands” and not just being self-indulgent. Also in midtown, the Writer’s Block, a cozy book shop with an excellent café featuring local coffee, adult beverages, and an eclectic food menu (I’m partial to the curry-dusted pelmeni) is making excellent coffee drinks 38





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and offers a menu of eclectic events like open mic’s, poetry readings, book launches, and even the occasional Japanese sake tasting. For a unique coffee house experience with bohemian vibe, hunt down Uncle Leroy’s Coffee, a local roaster that began in a 1968 bus (and owned by an “outlaw preacher” according to legend). The origin story is scrappy but the drinks being served from this mobile coffee bar are anything but (the bus is in operation during summer months only). Or hit up AK Alchemist (103 E. Fourth Ave.), which describes itself as the perfect mix of “Alaskan culture, urban city swank, and steam punk artistry” all wrapped up into one coffee house. On the other end of the ambiance spectrum is Kobuk Coffee (corner of Fift h Avenue and E Street). By Town Square, in the historic Kimball Building (1915), this charming little gift shop retains some of its original fi xtures and flooring. In a store packed full of unnecessary necessities (old-timey candy, scented candles and teacups), you’ll be hard-pressed to make it to the coffee room without doing some impromptu browsing (and, if you’re like me, buying). Kobuk offers a whole range of espresso drinks and a wide variety of teas but, whichever you choose, make sure you get house-made doughnuts to keep it company. What kind of doughnuts, you ask? Like everything else in the store: old-fashioned. Husband-and-wife owners George Gee and Deborah Seaton have been running Side Street Espresso (412 G St.) for 25 years and it has evolved from a café into a neighborhood institution. In contrast to the gleaming fi xtures of trendier, newer cafés in town, Side Street Espresso is like a living scrapbook commemorating 2 1/2 decades of serving the Anchorage community. The cozy space is fi lled with curios, a Buddhist shrine, a lending library, a rack of local postcards, board games and layers of notices about local events. Espresso drinks are expertly made and soups, quiche, and fantastic biscuits and gravy, feed the appetite

George Gee, co-owner of Side Street Espresso in downtown Anchorage, makes an expresso drink for a customer. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

and the soul. George and Deb treat everyone like an old friend. But my favorite thing about Side Street Espresso is the art. George has been creating an original piece of art on white “specials” board almost every day for 20 years. Inspired by his morning thoughts on his walk to work, Monday’s board might announce a vanilla hazelnut cinnamon latte atop a portrait of Shaquille O’Neal. Or Georgia O’Keefe might share space with the price-point for a salted caramel mocha. George used to erase these daily (with a Zen-like attitude that I cannot fathom) but local public outcry inspired him to begin to preserve them. They’ve now been assembled into a book of collected works called “Flutters from Side Street.” It’s a reminder that a cup of coffee can invigorate, but a café can inspire.

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authentically experience what it’s like to live, work and play in Alaska’s largest city, tackle Anchorage’s terrific trail system, an awardwinning network of routes that connect the city’s various neighborhoods. Anchorage boasts more than 120 miles of paved bike and multi-use trails, not to mention 130 miles of plowed winter walkways, 105 miles of maintained ski trails, 36 miles of dog mushing trails, and 87 miles of nonpaved hiking trails — and that’s just within the municipality! Many routes ramble beyond city limits, connecting outdoorsy adventurers to Chugach State Park, with its scenic alpine tundra and access some 495,000 acres of jawdropping scenery. Within town limits, Anchorage’s impressive trail system meanders along the city’s coastline, threads through thick forests, and connects pretty parks and a multitude of neighborhoods. Sturdy tunnels barrel beneath busy roadways and wood-planked bridges span creeks and streams. This comprehensive system is foundational for recreation, exploration, relaxing, and in some cases, is the route people commute to work. Overall, the trail system is an ideal entrée for visitors venturing for variety in a city known for its natural surroundings. The crown jewel of the system is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a recreational conduit for walkers, bicyclists, runners, roller bladers, and more in its popular summer months. The 11-mile trail connects downtown’s historic Second Avenue sector to the multi-use chalet at Kincaid Park. The generally flat grade affords easy access and use for all ages and abilities. There are multiple locations to access this picturesque route, making it a scalable and customizable experience. Begin or pause your Coastal Trail outing at Westchester Lagoon. Just 1.6 miles from the




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Cyclists pause along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to watch cargo planes take off from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at Point Woronzof. PHOTO BY ERIK HILL

trail’s downtown start, the lagoon features plenty of parking and an expansive park, with Chugach Mountains views, serene water, picnic tables and benches for contemplative breaks and a nice playground for kids. Birders will appreciate flocks of waterfowl, migrating shorebirds, mallards, grebes, swallows and more. The lagoon lends to a pretty summer paddle, and when iced over in winter, transforms into a popular spot for skating and hockey. From Westchester, travel 9 miles on the Coastal Trail to Kincaid Park, or hop on the eastbound 4-mile-long Chester Creek Trail. The Chester Creek Trail is paved, flat and fun, following its namesake creek. Stopping-off points include Valley of the Moon Park, another spot worthy of picnic or play on a pleasant summer day. Chester Creek Trail ends at Goose Lake Park, in central Anchorage near the University District. If you’re not ready for your walk to end, follow the 3-mile paved trail surrounding this scenic lake. Warm summer days draw swimmers here, and everyone can enjoy views of pretty birds and geese. There is an on-site snack café, a playground area, and municipal life guards are on duty during sunny summer days. Another popular entry point or rest stop along the Coastal Trail en route to its Kincaid terminus is Earthquake Park. Famous for the long-gone houses that slid into the sea with the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, the park today is a modest lot and viewpoint with interpretive signs and photo-ops of downtown Anchorage. On clear days, you may see North America’s tallest peak, Denali, and its companion mountains on the northern horizon. If you want to go big, consider tying all these trails together and attempting the growing-in-popularity Moose Loop. The Moose Loop is an inventive construct, a hodge-podge amalgam that creatively links Anchorage’s various trails into a route that, creatively, might be viewed almost kind-of sort-of like the shape of a moose head. The route is 32 miles and it covers it all — from parks to schools, trails to neighborhood streets, past businesses and homes, in quiet woodsy areas and crossing highway overpasses. It’s a buffet of Anchorage biking and an epic ride. The major trails that cover the Moose Loop do not seamlessly link, so riding this route demands paying attention to location and being nimble in making one’s way. For those eager to bike the trail system, multiple downtown vendors rent bikes all year round. Rates and lengths of rentals vary from hourly to by the day or even the week. Downtown Bicycle Rental (333 W. Fourth Ave. #206; 907-279-5293) offers all kinds options and accessories, including complimentary bear spray. Alaska Pablo’s Bicycle Rentals (415 L St.; 277-2453) is also open for the 2022 season. Anchorage’s trail system is busy and full of people of different skills and abilities traveling at different speeds using various methods, so it’s important to remember some basic safety and courtesy guidelines. The municipality reminds users that trails are usually multi-use and not intended for racing, so people should be aware of their surroundings, travel at safe speeds and never take up more than half the trail, leaving space for other users. Keep right, except to pass. Listen for others upon approach; it’s

common for bicyclists and others to have bells on, or to verbally warn those ahead of their approach by saying things like, “On your left!” Pets must be leashed. The law requires any animal or human litter be picked up and disposed of. Even so, keep an eye out for meandering dogs as you navigate turns and narrow spaces. Wildlife awareness is key. Moose, bears, coyotes and other animals share city trails, and that’s especially true the farther one travels from downtown. Be alert and give wildlife plenty of room — moose, in particular, often show up on or near the trails. Applying bug spray and carrying bear spray are smart moves. When traveling in bear country, be mindful of making noise, traveling with one or more people whenever possible, and staying observant. It’s also smart to carry water and make sure someone knows your route plan. Of note: there are homeless camps present along some of the Anchorage greenbelts that are off the trail system. Daytime is the best time to access the trails, and as always, be aware of your environment and exercise caution when traveling, especially when solo.

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exchange for living in what is perhaps the country’s most beautiful state, Alaskans sometimes have to do without: professional sports teams, Trader Joe’s and, well, sunlight for half the year. But we make up for it with the Iditarod, reindeer sausages and aurora borealis chasing. In other words, we often have to make our own fun. And by “fun” I mean “beer.” Those words are interchangeable, right? Beer is a big part of life for Alaskans. We hike with it, camp with it, boat with it, cook with it and pair it with foods like the stuffiest of sommeliers. We throw it monthly birthday parties like the First Tap events at Broken Tooth Brewing Co. (otherwise known as Bear Tooth Theatrepub and Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria), complete with national musical acts like Michael Franti and Norah Jones. We even do yoga with it (at downtown’s sprawling Williwaw venue). In other words, we take it everywhere and we take it seriously. Beers from the state’s biggest brewery, Alaskan Brewing Co. based in Juneau, might already be in your refrigerator if you live in one of

the 25 states where it’s available, or you might have had an Alaskan Amber on your flight into Anchorage. With a steady line of signature brews — and some seasonal specialties that incorporate cranberries, raspberries, locally roasted coffee, locally grown white wheat from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and even Alaska spruce tips — it’s the most well-established of all the state’s breweries. Ubiquitous around Alaska, this long-running brewery is our Papa Beer, if you will (I’ll show myself out). But Alaskan Brewing is just one of over 50 breweries, distilleries, meaderies, and cideries in the state (for an excellent list visit brewersguildofalaska.org). And while almost half of them are in Anchorage or within a short drive of our state’s largest city (including the relatively populous communities of Girdwood, Eagle River, Palmer and Wasilla), some of our most remote ports of call and tiniest towns (I’m looking at you, Gakona Brewery in Gakona, population 218) are emphatically in on the brewing action. The ever-expanding Denali Brewing Co. in Talkeetna (population 876) may be a small-town hero, but it’s now anything but small. Their four signature beers — Mother Ale, Chuli Stout, Single Engine Red and the ever-popular Twister Creek IPA — are year-round mainstays of summer barbecues and winter bonfires around the state. Their brewery is also home to the recently established Alaska Cider Works, Alaska Meadery (featuring “Razzery,” a mead made with raspberries,




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sour cherries and apples) and Denali Spirits (featuring vodka, gin, whiskey and “smoke” whiskey) because when you’ve fermented one, why not ferment them all? (Denali Spirits’ canned cocktails, especially their blueberry mojito, are so popular in Anchorage that there is a Facebook page largely dedicated to tracking them down.) Some breweries are even more remote. Ports of call and island hopping here can be one way to get your fill of hops. Breweries can be found in Ketchikan (Bawden Street Brewing Co. and Baleen Brewing Co.), Kodiak (Kodiak Island Brewing Co. and Olds River Brewing), Homer (Homer Brewing Co. and Grace Ridge Brewing Co.), Sitka (Harbor Mountain Brewing), Hoonah (Icy Strait Brewing Company), Seward (Seward Brewing Co. and Stoney Creek Brewhouse), Valdez (Valdez Brewing and Growler Bay Brewing), and Skagway (Klondike Brewing Co. and Skagway Brewing Co.). Of course, many trips to Alaska begin and end in Anchorage. And if, during your travels, you’ve foolishly left some beers untasted, you can make up for lost time in our state’s biggest city which boasts — let’s face it, a ridiculous number of exceptional craft breweries. Downtown’s Glacier Brewhouse specializes in oak-aged English and American West

Coast style beers. Beneath the floor of the Brewhouse is a “Wall of Wood,” comprised of casks of special release beers that are conditioning in oak barrels once used to age wine and bourbon. The history of the oak imparts the “mother tongue” flavor characteristics, like vanilla and coconut, into these limited edition brews. Opt for one of these unique beers or choose from their flagship choices like raspberry wheat, oatmeal stout, imperial blonde, Bavarian hefeweizen or a flight that includes them all. Down the street is 49th State Brewing Co., expanding into Anchorage from its original location in Healy, at the edge of Denali National Park and Preserve. If you were unable to visit their flagship location, where you can sip beer while playing bocce or horseshoes on the lawn, you can catch up with them here. There are unique beer offerings like the Seward’s Folly Whisky BA Russian Imperial Stout 2021 described as “thick and viscous, overflowing with intense notes of dark chocolate, rich caramel, dried figs, vanilla and whiskey with background nuances of hazelnut, cinnamon and coconut,” or the Thundershuck Alaska Oyster Stout brewed with over two bushels of oysters from Shikat Bay Oyster Company. This location also boasts some of the best views in town and






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an expansive outdoor rooftop patio. Just about all of the full-service restaurants in downtown Anchorage proudly feature some variety of Alaska beers. In the heart of downtown, Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse prides itself on a huge selection of beers, both international and local and if you want to add a little backspin to your beverage, you can sip next-door at their sister eatery, Flattop Pizza and Pool. Anchorage Cider House-Fat Ptarmigan is a pizzeria with an extensive list of local brews and a collaboration with Double Shovel Cider, if your tastes run toward fermented fruit. Tent City Taphouse, offers a diverse and carefully curated list of rotating local brews including their house beer, Tent City Tangerine, developed and brewed in collaboration with Glacier Brewhouse. If you have transportation around the city, treat yourself to a brewery tasting-room tour. Found in unassuming little side streets in the more industrial areas of Anchorage, some of our best beers can be sipped and savored at the source. Finding these funky little spots can feel like being invited to a secret party. And it’s a glimpse into Anchorage’s most authentic beer culture. You might start by trying the Neighborhood IPA at Alpenglow Brewery. Called “the most diverse beer in Anchorage,”






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A beer flight at King Street Brewing Co. PHOTO BY MARA SEVERIN

it celebrates its home neighborhood of Mountain View which, according to census data and a widely-seen CNN story, was at point the most diverse census tract in the United States. (Second place, for context, is a neighborhood in Queens, NY.) In midtown, Onsite Brewing Co. has unique small-batch brews in a funky relaxed environment. For brewing of a different kind, Zip Brewing Company offers a wide variety of kombucha (both hard and not). And while not an actual brewery, the charming Café Amsterdam offers a wide range of local and international beers in a European-style tasting room adjacent to their dining room (a further plug for this spot is the excellent local ice cream store, Wild Scoops, just a few doors down). Further south, King Street Brewing Co., Anchorage Brewing Co., Turnagain Brewing, Cynosure Brewing, Magnetic North Brewing Company, Brewerks, and Double Shovel Cider Co. (for a little variety), are all within a stone’s throw of one another. If you’re lucky, you might run into one of Anchorage’s popular food trucks parked outside, so you’ll have something to wash down with your flights. Depending on the day, you might find reindeer sausages, pad thai, cheesesteaks or pupusas. Nearby, Midnight Sun Brewing Co. is part tasting room and part community center, with First Friday art openings, a rotating menu of creative comfort food and an all-around cool, local vibe. My next-door neighbors frequent the brewery for their great brews (favorites include the Panty Peeler Belgian-style tripel and the Pleasure Town IPA) and

also to pick up free spent grain to feed to their chickens. One of the newest and furthest south, while still in the Anchorage bowl, is Raven’s Ring Brewing Company which is a brewery/winery and meadery. From a traditional IPA to a Concorde grape wine called Grape Juice to a rotating Vintner’s pour like Sweet Peach Jalapeno mead, this ambitious operation is challenging the notion that you can’t please everyone. If your travels are over and you still haven’t had your fi ll, check out the Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co. inside Terminal C at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on your way out of town. An offshoot of the flagship Silver Gulch brewery in Fox, Alaska (about 10 miles north of Fairbanks), this location has a bar and restaurant as and a retail shop carrying growlers of their own brews as well as those of other Alaskan brewers and distillers. Last-minute souvenir shopping never tasted so good Before you start your great Northern beer safari, bear in mind that tasting rooms often have limited and varying hours. In addition, COVID restrictions might affect open hours, occupancy, and other protocols so double-check before planning a visit. Whether your travels take you to fine-dining restaurants, low-key alehouses, or even rustic cabins in the woods, make like an Alaskan and fuel your adventures with one of our beloved, home-grown brews. When in Alaska, drink as the Alaskans do.

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hether you’re culturally curious, artistically inclined, or hungry for history, Anchorage’s diverse arts and culture scene has you covered. Museums scattered across town feature perspectives, relics, treasures and experiences that offer a little of everything for Anchorage visitors. For many, the journey begins at the venerable campus of the Anchorage Museum, at 625 C St., an easy walking distance for downtown-dwelling tourists. Permanent installations include “Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First People of Alaska.” This interactive gallery reverently showcases Alaska Native history, arts and culture, featuring more than 600 objects from the Smithsonian, selected and interpreted with counsel from Alaska Native groups. From traditional clothing fashioned from skins and furs, intricate bead work and baskets, and hand tools dating to long-ago times, it’s an impressive collection highlighting the resiliency and beauty of Alaska Native cultures. The Alaska Exhibition highlights the ingenuity, technology, and connection to place that have allowed Alaskans to thrive in the last frontier, touching on areas such as aviation exploration, the military in Alaska, and significant industries like mining and oil. Nearby, the Art of the North exhibit populates impressive gallery bays with sculptures, videos, photography and paintings, including the timeless works of Sydney Laurence, Alaska’s most-loved romantic landscape artist. Rotating exhibits running during the summer of 2022 are featured on the museum’s website. They include “Counter Cartographies: Living the Land,” examining people’s relationship to landscapes; the immersive “Lies, Lies, Lies” exhibit from Paola Pivi, a multimedia installation; Stuart Hyatt’s “Stations” installation which probes listening as a way of making sense of the world; and “Dissonance and Disturbance” from Christina Seely, addressing the relationships between the planet and humans. The museum store sells unique items, with proceeds benefiting educational and

public programs and exhibitions. A café in the atrium sells coffee, tea, and snacks. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For cultural tourism devoted to Alaska’s Indigenous first people, the Alaska Native Heritage Center offers an encompassing celebration of the history and experience of Alaska Natives. The center opened to the public in 1999. The Native Heritage Center is an indoor and outdoor facility that covers some 26 scenic acres, located northwest of the Glenn Highway and Muldoon Road. Its largely Alaska Native staff educates visitors about the enduring legacy of Alaska Natives, including their resiliency, unique traditions and shared experiences. It includes exhibits, demonstrations, a café and gift shop. Many visitors will be surprised by Alaska’s broad range of Native cultures and traditions, and the Heritage Center presents an extraordinary chance to see it all in one

place. Situated alongside a picturesque lake, the center includes recreated village sites, a glimpse into more traditional ways of life that visitors can freely explore. The Heritage Center, at 8800 Heritage Center Dr., is open year-round with updated hours posted on its website. The Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center are the two big shows in town, but many other cultural centers and museums address both broad topics and niche interests. Downtown Anchorage, visitors will find the Fraternal Order of the Alaska State Troopers Alaska Law Enforcement Museum. Admission is $5, or $3 for military, law enforcement, youth and seniors, and the museum is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. This specialty museum houses the state’s only collection of historical law enforcement memorabilia, including an authentically restored 1952 Hudson Hornet automobile. The Troopers museum also sports antique radios, handcuffs and leg irons, early wiretapping

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equipment, old photographs and documents and Alaska policing uniforms. Exhibits showcase women in Alaska law enforcement and one room contains a remarkable collection of law enforcement patches. There’s even a gift shop with Alaska State Troopers memorabilia and souvenirs (245 W. Fifth Ave., Suite 113). Also downtown is the Oscar Anderson House, a 1915 home in storied Bootleggers Cove that was home to the 18th settler to arrive in “Tent City.” The charming cottage now surrounded by park and looking out across the waters west of Anchorage is a National Trust for Historic Preservation “Distinctive Destination” and is slated to reopen to visitors in May 2022. Over on Anchorage’s east side is the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature, a hidden gem showcasing the unique science of Alaska, from prehistoric times to present. The museum is designed to take visitors of all ages on a learning adventure exploring Alaska’s unique geological, cultural, and ecological background. The museum is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday (201 N. Bragaw St.). Another unique stop from Anchorage’s roster of museums is the Alaska Aviation Museum, situated on the shores of Lake Hood

Seaplane Base in Midtown Anchorage, which claims to be the busiest seaplane base in the world, first opening in the 1970s. In and of itself, Lake Hood is worth a stop and photo op, or even a walking tour. The Aviation Museum is among Anchorage’s top attractions, with artifacts and relics of Alaska’s remarkable air travel history that will delight aviation buffs. There are more than two dozen vintage aircraft on display in four hangars, and also outdoor exhibits (4721 Aircraft Dr.). The Aviation Museum opens 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; entry is $17 for adults, $14 for seniors and veterans, $10 for children 3-13 and free for those under 3. And before leaving Alaska, there’s more arts and culture opportunities to be found at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. First, on the lower level is the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. This ever-growing exhibit celebrates Alaska athletes, sporting events and moments, paying homage to some of the state’s greats. A few names will ring bells with visitors from the Lower 48, like cross-country skiing Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall and NBA player Mario Chalmers. After a two-year pause due to COVID-19, 2022 inductees include running pioneer

Marcie Trent and National Hockey League player Matt Carle. Past inductees offer interesting peeks into Alaska’s unique sports culture and Arctic pursuits. The Hall of Fame celebrates dog mushing feats, mountain climbing and other athletic advocacy, and the lovely hall of portraits include compelling captions and context. The main airport past security features a bronze life-size statue of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, for whom the airport is named. The statue depicts “Uncle Ted,” as Alaskans fondly called him, seated on a bench with an arm outstretched, as though mid-sentence and making a point. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in Alaska politics and history, in which Stevens played an essential role for many decades. Finally, the airport offers a fine display of Alaska Native art. The “Art in Public Places” gallery covers two areas, with the main collection on the C Concourse mezzanine level, and additional light-sensitive pieces in the Northern Lights Corridor that connects the main terminal to rental car and railroad facilities. It’s a last chance for visitors to take in beautiful creations unique to the 49th state before their Last Frontier adventure draws to a close.


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The city of Kodiak PHOTO BY LOREN HOLMES



ust a taste of Kodiak’s island life or the summer hustle of the fishing towns of Southeast Alaska leave most people wanting more. So much more. With busy fishing fleets, thriving art and food scenes, vibrant Native communities and quirky little museums, it’s hard not to fall deeply, madly in love with Alaska’s largest island and coastal communities. You can drive to a few towns in Southeast, but those road trips require many, many miles. For a first visit, your best bet is to travel by boat or plane. (Note: Travel by boat has become more complicated lately due to the beleaguered state of Alaska’s ferry system; if you’re hoping to travel the Alaska Marine Highway System, be sure to check updates at dot.alaska.gov/amhs.) One word of advice — pack some waterproof layers. Known as the Alaska 48



Panhandle, Southeast Alaska is part of the world’s largest temperate rainforest. There’s a reason for all that lush greenery you’ll see as you travel through. Ketchikan normally gets just under 23 inches of rain between June and August — but some years, it blows that average out of the, um, water. From May to August 2001, Ketchikan residents (grudgingly) welcomed 57.12 inches of rain to town.

KODIAK Famous for its sizable namesake brown bears, Kodiak should be just as well known to outsiders for its ever-so-green landscape — its nickname is the Emerald Isle. Kodiak Island is, to put it mildly, a beauty. Between Kodiak City and the villages, there are around 13,000 year-round residents on the island. Hike the local trails. Launch a kayak or stand-up paddleboard in Anton Larsen Bay. Keep watch for whales or, often just as thrilling, puffins speeding by. Drive out Anton Larsen Bay Road to see the island’s famed wild bison. (Just slow down as you approach them. You don’t want to startle a herd of something

so sizable.) Dig into Kodiak’s history at the Alutiiq Museum — home to more than 250,000 artifacts, recordings and documents — or the Kodiak History Museum (formerly known as the Baranov Museum). Get ideas for the next day’s adventures over a brew at Kodiak Island Brewing Co.

SITKA It could be the mist or fog that often hugs Sitka. Or perhaps it’s the insane sunsets that take over the entire sky. Maybe it’s just the really good coffee at the local bookstore. Whichever “it” of Sitka grabs you, the place sticks with visitors forever. Ignore the rain and keep on paddling during a guided kayak trip around the islands off Sitka. Walk the pathways and take time at each totem pole at Sitka National Historical Park. The park, where Russians invaded and fought the Kiks. ádi Tlingit people, offers an immersion course in the Russian occupation of the town. Sitka served as the capital of Russian America from 1808 until Alaska became part of the United States 59 years later. Open the drawers in the exhibition space of the Sheldon

On special weekends during the summer season the White Pass and Yukon Railroad will pick up hikers at Bennett at the northern terminus of the trail and bring them down White Pass back to Skagway. PHOTO BY RICHARD J. MURPHY

Jackson Museum — first opened in 1887 — to see antique children’s toys, jewelry and more beautiful artifacts. It’s quite the intimate and peaceful museum experience. Classical music fans would do well to time their visit to the annual Sitka Summer Music Festival (June 3-26), when some of the world’s best chamber music groups perform. Or make sure you’re on the island July 17 when the next generation of the world’s best cellists perform a concert to close out the Sitka International Cello Seminar. For a locally-made treasure, head straight to the Island Arts Gallery, a co-op run by 24 of the town’s artists.

KETCHIKAN Ketchikan tends to be all hustle and bustle in the summer when

cruise ships are in, but there’s more to the town than just that. Ketchikan has one of Southeast Alaska’s most colorful art scenes. Get the lowdown on who creates what on the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council site. The city’s best-known artist, Ray Troll, is the talent behind the punny T-shirts you’ll see everywhere from airport gift shops to festivals across the state. Check out Troll’s work, along with pieces by Evon Zerbetz and many of Ketchikan’s other fine artists, at the Soho Coho art gallery (5 Creek St.). But the art goes on … from the docks to the school buildings, the island community celebrates local artists at every turn. Turn a walk around town into a public art treasure hunt. Or, for art that’s equal parts craftsmanship and storytelling, visit the Totem Heritage Center — or just keep your eyes open for some of the many, many totem poles around town. Prefer learning about the, ahem, saucier side of olden times? Stop in at Dolly’s House Museum (24 Creek St.) to learn about Ketchikan’s Prohibitionera red light district. Then, take a flight trip out to Misty Fjords National Monument for the chance to kayak among whales.


Ketchikan artist Ray Troll paints salmon mural. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN

This is Klondike Gold Rush territory, flat out. Skagway has its modern bits —Glacial Smoothies & Espresso, two breweries Skagway Brewing Co. and Klondike Brewing Co. and gift shops that sell things that aren’t made in Alaska — but at its core it’s a town-sized Gold Rush museum. Home of the, visitors intent on camping should consider staking their tents in the former town of Dyea, home to ruins and cemeteries that include gravesites of many a person who once moved to the area to strike it rich. Of course, there’s plenty more to explore here, with trails to hike and, after a helicopter ride out, glaciers to dog sled on. One of the only Southeast towns accessible by road (via the Klondike Highway), visitors can also get to town by air, ferry or, during non-pandemic summers, cruise ship.


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A whitewater kayaker paddles down Mineral Creek in Valdez. PHOTO BY ERIK HILL



aldez is an end-of-the-road town featuring endless adventure, and visitors will delight in its beauty, history, and impressive range of recreation. Located at the head of a deep fjord in eastern Prince William Sound, Valdez is a 300-mile drive from Anchorage, treating motorists to boundless views of mountains, wildlife, waterfalls and more. While the road route stuns, travelers can alternatively venture by Alaska Marine Highway System ferry. Drive an hour south of Anchorage to Whittier, and enjoy front-row views of beautiful Prince William Sound. In many ways, Valdez delights with small-town charm. There is one post office, one grocery store and many residents work for or in connection to the terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, visible across Port Valdez. The town is simply arranged and easy to navigate, with walkable, open roads, and frequent and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains that beckon the daring to backcountry adventurers. For water-based play, it’s easy access to a glittering port that fills with fishermen, shrimpers, kayakers and sightseers. A number of hotels, camping and RV options promise choices when booking overnight accommodations. History buffs can visit the original Valdez town site. In the early 50



1900s, Valdez enjoyed prosperous Gold Rush-era roots, but its landscape changed forever when the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake triggered a tsunami that caused the deaths of 32 residents and the demise of the town as they knew it. The old site — just a few miles east of Valdez today — is now a quiet, natural place of remembrance, marked with signage and a seaside pioneer cemetery. Salvageable buildings were moved to the town’s current location. Download a self-guided walking tour (valdezmuseum.org) to view those buildings that survived the quake. The Valdez Museum and Historical Archive showcases the town’s vibrant history, from its earliest Alaska Native settlers to its prospector days to its modern form. Another option, the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum boasts one of the largest collection of Alaska Native art and artifacts in the world. Valdez boasts a satisfying assortment of restaurants. The Fat Mermaid on North Harbor Drive offers sensational pizza and a full bar with occasional live music and an outdoor dining area. A cluster of food trucks also on North Harbor Drive offer delicious variety, among them local favorites Nat Shack, with artisan tacos and Cal-Mex fare; and Aunty Yum Yum’s, boasting bountiful and authentic Thai cuisine. Further east on North Harbor is The Roadside Potatohead, a cornerspot restaurant with the best beer and wine options in town, not to mention fantastic patio dining with views of anglers hauling in the daily catch. The nearby Wheelhouse at the Best Western Hotel features the best harbor views and locally sourced seafood dishes, with a fun bar and adjoining fine-dining restaurant. Valdez visitors will face endless opportunities to hike, bike, boat, kayak, fish and more. The Valdez vicinity serves as a jumping-off point

point for countless remarkable hikes and trails, including the Dock Point Trail, Gold Creek Trail, the Valdez Glacier area for hikes and kayaking, and Mineral Creek, which cuts deep into the folds of the surrounding mountains toward old mining territory. Valdez Stay and Play offers guided adventures like glacier tours and electric bikes rentals. Kayak outfits Anadyr Adventures and Pangea are reputable for safe, unforgettable, fully outfitted experiences. For a more relaxing experience, try a sightseeing charter: Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises offers far-ranging day cruises aboard smooth-sailing catamarans. Wildlife lovers should keep eyes on the harbor waters for lolling otters or the occasional orca, and look up for bald eagles. It’s worth a drive around Port Valdez to Allison Point for a chance to see black bears pawing waters near the hatchery for pink salmon. For souvenirs commemorating your Valdez visit, there are options. The Prospector remains the go-to spot for outdoor gear and clothing. The Salty Lupine features stylish and trendy Valdezbranded clothing and gifts. The Valdez Art Co-Op sells adorable wares by local artists. And on the waterfront, The Painted Moose is an excellent spot for gifts and trinkets.

Nasturtiums brighten the scene at Valdez harbor. PHOTO BY ERIK HILL

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A pedestrian walks the Gold Creek Flume Trail on a soggy morning in Juneau. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

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uneau is flanked by white snowcapped mountains, fields of blue ice, verdant green forests and frigid turquoise waters, making it the perfect town for travelers who love cozy small-town vibes, as well as those who seek extreme outdoor adventures in nature. Long the land inhabited by the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people, the capital city of Alaska got its Western name and infrastructure during the Gold Rush. This waterfront town is an outdoor enthusiast’s haven, and boasts that it has more miles of trails and mining tunnels than road (of which there are just 190). Make sure you pack your rain gear, as this town of 32,000 gets 70 inches of rain a year, and has around 235 days of precipitation. But no matter the forecast, locals and travelers alike will be out enjoying nature. As the Scandinavians say, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” The absolute must-see for most travelers is the Mendenhall Glacier. There are many ways to see the glacier, depending on your level of comfort. The West Glacier Trail is by far one of the best bangs for your buck. While it includes a little bit of scrambling (up a waterfall, for example) the payoff is worth far more than it will cost you to get there. The trail is 3.5 miles out and back and brings you right up to the face of the glacier. For less experienced hikers, Above and Beyond Alaska offers guided hiking tours. For a more family-friendly/accessible option, the Nugget Falls Trail brings you around the other side of the Mendenhall Lake directly to a massive waterfall with views of the glacier from a bit farther away. (The

short, informational video in the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is the cheapest tour of Juneau you’ll get.) Liquid Alaska offers canoe tours that go across the lake to bring you to the face of the glacier and across the top of the ice. Or, if you’re balling without a budget, you can charter a helicopter through Northstar, Coastal or Temsco Helicopters for a flightseeing tour that will land you on the glacier (tours cost $300 or more). If you’re looking for a more relaxing way than hiking to sightsee and get up close to a glacier, try a full day boat trip to Tracy Arm Fjord with Adventure Bound. For $175, this 10-hour tour is an exceptional value and unforgettable experience. Make sure to pack a cooler with snacks and beverages to enjoy while you cruise through a steep fjord, usually seeing whales, bears, eagles, harbor seals along the way, and culminating at one of the Sawyer Glaciers, which are often actively calving. Even if it’s cloudy or rainy, this trip is sure to be memorable and enjoyable — the glacier can look more blue when it’s overcast.

If you’re looking for a shorter tour, several other companies offer two- to three-hour whale watching or city tours during the summer cruise ship season (check out Juneau Tours & Whale Watch and Allen Marine for options). If you’re more of a plant lover than animal lover, check out the upside-down tree gardens at Glacier Gardens. They also offer tours up the mountain in small trams during the summer season. A good place to see fireweed is along Point Bridget Trail. The drive out the road to this trail also makes for great views of the looming Chilkat Mountains. Another top-notch Juneau experience is cabin camping. You can rent cabins online; however, weekends can generally get booked up to six months in advance so make sure to book far ahead of time. Most public cabins are in backcountry and require hiking your gear out. However, there are some private cabins that can be rented that are more accessible, such as those at the Shrine of St. Therese or on Airbnb. Nights at Eaglecrest Ski Resort’s newest cabin, Hilda Dam, during VISITORS’ GUIDE •

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Water gushes down Nugget Falls as visitors make a short hike to the cataract adjacent to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. PHOTO BY ERIK HILL

Low clouds hug the mountains at Mendenhall Lake near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center in Juneau. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

the winter, and a new city cabin, Amalga, are among the most coveted reservations in town. Good family activities include walking along Sandy Beach on Douglas Island. Ruins from the old mine that collapsed there give the beach a historic vibe, and informational signs along the way entertain and inform little ones. The Mount Roberts Tram usually runs during the summer cruise season. Here are some quick favorites if you’re looking for places to eat, drink, and shop: BEST VALUE BREAKFAST: Donna’s Restaurant. BEST FOOD IN THE MENDENHALL VALLEY: Zerelda’s Bistro (check their Instagram for specials). BEST FOOD DOWNTOWN: In Bocca Al Lupo (the chef specials are where it’s at, he was recently nominated as a James Beard semifinalist). BEST FOOD ON DOUGLAS ISLAND: The Island Pub (try the salmon dip). BEST FAMILY DINING: The Hangar on the Wharf (can’t go wrong with anything with the halibut, great views of seaplanes taking off during the summer). BEST TACOS: Deckhand Dave’s (only open in summer). BEST ICE CREAM: Gelato by the pint from In Bocca Al Lupo. BEST BAR: Alaskan Hotel & Bar (especially on open mic nights or live music nights, check their Instagram for updates). BEST COCKTAILS: Amalga Distillery (early hours — closes at 8 p.m.), The Narrows (late night). BEST BREWERY: Devil’s Club Brewery Co. (you cannot go wrong with the signature IPA). BEST PLACE TO DRINK WITH KIDS: Forbidden Peak Brewery. BEST DRUNK FOOD: Pel’mini’s. (if you’re not drunk try them anyway, a Juneau staple of dumplings topped with butter, curry, cilantro, Sriracha and sour cream). BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Triangle Club Bar and the downtown cruise ship docks. BEST PLACE TO NURSE A HANGOVER WITH SALTY POPCORN AND A

BLOODY MARY: Red Dog Saloon (also best kitschy decor). BEST COFFEE: The Grind Coffee Co. BEST SHOPPING: Resolute Boutique, Treetop Tees. BEST CHEAP SOUVENIRS: Alaska Shirt Company. BEST INSTAGRAM PHOTO OPS: The Whale Project, the flower wallpaper at Amalga Distillery, Nugget Falls, holding crab legs at Tracy’s Crab Shack, atop the platforms on the top of the Mount Roberts Tram. BEST SOUVENIRS: Whale tail necklaces from various downtown jewelry stores, whale tail salad tossers, Tlingit silver bracelets from Mt. Juneau Trading Post and others, kitschy matching shirts from the T-Shirt Company, Alaskan Brewing Company sweatshirts, smoked salmon from Taku Store, a Ray Troll “Spawn Till You Die” shirt. BEST PLACE TO CATCH A SUNSET WHEN IT’S SUNNY: Bonfire on the Outer Point Beach on North Douglas or Auke Recreation Area. BEST FOOD WHEN YOU’RE COLD FROM WALKING AROUND IN THE RAIN: Old Friend Noodle Soup from Lemon Tree Cafe.








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Soak up some sun on or off the water in Fairbanks.

ocated near the geographic center of the state, Fairbanks is Alaska’s year-round tourism destination. Established along the Chena River in 1901, it originally served prospectors working outlying gold claims. In the twelve decades since, it’s grown to include a University and two military bases, and has become the commercial hub of Interior Alaska. Owing to its inland climate, the town enjoys drier weather than most of Alaska and hotter summers. On summer solstice, Fairbanks residents bask in 22 hours and 49 minutes of direct sunlight. But with the sun setting just below the horizon before rising again, the town does not see darkness from early May until mid August. With the COVID-19 pandemic still an ongoing concern, it’s important to check with all businesses and facilities before visiting. While there are no borough or state restrictions outside of government-run buildings at present, masking, social distancing, and maximum capacity limits might be enforced on site. It’s best to know what’s requested of the public in advance, and kindly respect the wishes of those in charge of the establishments you seek to enter. The Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau is the place for information, and has welcome centers along the riverfront downtown and in the nearby Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. The Thompson Center provides an excellent introduction to the history and culture of Interior Alaska’s original inhabitants, the Athabascan people. Downtown has many shops, restaurants and events. Often on summer evenings, the Golden Heart Plaza is brimming with live music from local performers. And from downtown, it’s a short stroll to nearby Pioneer Park, which offers fun for the whole family with playground equipment, historic buildings, a train ride, museums and more. Fairbanks is the site of several summer festivals, where residents and visitors enjoy being outdoors during the long daylight hours. The annual Midnight Sun Festival, hosted by the Downtown Association, takes place in the city’s downtown center on June 18. The large outdoor gathering includes live music, vendors and activities. The Golden Days celebration, the largest summer event in Fairbanks, begins July 16 with a series of events, culminating downtown on July 23 with a parade, street fair, rubber duckie race on the Chena River, and more. Finally, the Tanana Valley State Fair runs from July 29 to August 7 this year and offers fairgoers a chance to watch livestock shows, take in live music, wander through commercial exhibits, and let the kids go on some rides, all while keeping fueled on the endless food options. Museums are scattered throughout town, including the Museum of the North on the University campus, which holds one of the state’s premier collections of Alaskan and Arctic artifacts. The Fairbanks Community Museum focuses on city history. Car buffs will motor toward the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. Summer visitors wanting a taste of winter can experience 20 below temperatures at the Ice Museum. And restless young ones will enjoy a stop at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum. Fairbanks has a lively, close-knit and very supportive arts 56




community, with several galleries open year-round to display the work of local artists. For those seeking a deeper knowledge of Alaska and its culture, its people and its history, the secondhand bookstore ForgetMe-Not Books, operated by and benefiting the Literacy Council of Alaska, always has a large selection of Alaska-related books — some of them quite rare — along with plenty of other volumes on all topics. Much of Fairbanks’ growth has been driven by the gold and oil industries. A tour of Gold Dredge 8 north of town gives visitors a taste of the rich gold mining history of Fairbanks, while the nearby TransAlaska Pipeline Viewpoint lets people walk right up to one of the world’s engineering marvels. For a taste of nature, Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, located on the north side of town, offers birding and wildlife viewing, as well as miles of walking trails. The Large Animal Research Station on the north part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus allows visitors a close look at musk oxen. People looking to go fishing or hunting first need to obtain the proper license from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Department also has advice for obtaining a licensed and qualified guide to help arrange transportation, supplies and other needs to make the experience complete. For outdoor recreation, hiking (and/or mountain biking trails) can be found on the UAF campus, at the nearby Birch Hill Recreation Area, in the Chena River State Recreation Area east of town and elsewhere. All of these trails are open to skiers in winter. The Chena River winds through downtown and is popular with paddlers. Mountain bikes, canoes and kayaks can be rented from several establishments, skis and fat bikes can be rented in winter. The Fairbanks Hiking Club, Fairbanks Cycle Club, Fairbanks Paddlers, and Running Club North can be contacted for information. All four welcome out-of-town guests to their events. ATVs and snowmachines can be rented for excursions on the vast

With the setting sun peeking through the dugout chain link, players watch one of their own at bat during a Goldpanners Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks. PHOTO BY JIM LAVRAKAS

network of public multiple-use trails that extend in all directions beyond Fairbanks. Check with rental companies for information on accessing the best trails. For getaways, Denali National Park is just a two hour drive south, and the Arctic Circle about five hours north. The Riverboat Discovery Tour provides the opportunity to slip out of town and head down the Chena and Tanana Rivers via sternwheeler. The nearby town of North Pole is home to the Santa Claus House, where it’s Christmas all year. A bit further down the road is the Chena Lake Recreation Area. Popular with paddlers, cyclists, walkers and swimmers, the park also has 45 campsites. Many races are available for those seeking a workout. After a two year break, the Midnight Sun Run returns this year on June 18 at 10 p.m. Held annually on the Saturday night closest to solstice, the race usually attracts as many as 3,000 participants for a 10K dash under the perpetual daylight of summer. In September, the Equinox Marathon, starting and finishing at the University, is one of the most grueling marathon courses in North America, with over 3,000 feet of climbing and descending along a route that is largely trails and dirt roads, and that offers a spectacular view of the Alaska Range from the top of Ester Dome – if the skies are clear. Some years it snows on race day, so be prepared for anything. In 2022 the race is on Sept. 17, and there will be a full marathon as well as a half, but no relay. Restaurants for all tastes and budgets abound, including a remarkable number of very good Thai restaurants. And later, visitors can kick back at one of the growing number of breweries and distilleries. Winters bring icy temperatures dipping to negative 40 or colder, and visitors should come prepared. But usually it’s nowhere near this severe. And with the dry climate and minimal wind, zero in Fairbanks can feel warmer than 30 above in Anchorage. Winter solstice brings just 3 hours and 41 minutes of direct sunlight, but the low lying sun envelops the town and hills in a beautiful pink and golden glow. And

by late January the light is back. December is when the the darkness reaches its zenith, and the season is marked by numerous events downtown, leading up to the solstice itself, Dec. 21, when an evening festival culminates with a fireworks show welcoming back the light. Ten days later, on New Year’s Eve, fireworks again illuminate the sky, this time from the West Ridge of the UAF campus. Fairbanks is an ideal location for aurora viewing, and a number of local businesses cater to this growing clientele. It also offers some of the best winter recreational opportunities in Alaska. Snowmobile tours are gaining in popularity, and several guides offer them, both near town and further afield. Dogsled tours are available for those wanting to experience mushing. For spectators, the Yukon Quest alternates beginning and finishing with the city of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory every year, although the pandemic has made it an Alaskaonly event these past two years. For winter athletes, the Chena River to Ridge Race offers 25 and 50 mile routes for skiers, fat bikers, and runners every March, while the White Mountains 100 presents those same groups with a challenging 100 mile trip though the White Mountains National Recreation Area about an hour north of town. Even those with more modest ambitions can rent fat bikes for winter excursions on the trails in Goldstream Valley, and cross country skis for the trails on Birch Hill and the University campus. Downhill ski runs can be found on Birch Hill and Moose Mountain. Finally, no visit to Fairbanks is complete without a trip to Chena Hot Springs Resort, 56 miles east of town. While open year round, winter is the best time to climb into the outdoor pools. The hot water keeps bathers comfortable even as air temperatures drop below zero, snow and ice sweep upward from the pool edges, and the northern lights dance in the sky. It’s the quintessential Fairbanks experience, and one of the reasons why many residents consider winter in Fairbanks the best season of all.


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There’s no knowing what kind of friendly faces you’ll find in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. PHOTO BY BILL ROTH



rive less than an hour north of Anchorage and the landscape changes dramatically as you enter Mat-Su. The view opens up to showcase dramatic peaks rising steeply from a vast, flat valley floor. This is only the beginning. At 25,000 square miles, the MatanuskaSusitna Borough is nearly the size of West Virginia. The attractions of this region are varied and surprising; you will find everything from world-class wilderness experiences to historic sites and museums and delicious and uniquely Alaskan eats. The charms of the Mat-Su start even before you reach its official boundary. In Eagle River, be like a local on a sunny Saturday and hike up Mount Baldy; a short, steep climb to above treeline with terrific views. You’ll earn your lunch — and schooner-sized signature beer — at Pizza Man, chased by a quick pick-me-up from the well-loved coffee shop Jitters. Not quite ready to leave the area? Head a little farther north on the Glenn Highway and take the exit to Eklutna Lake. Rent kayaks for the day and paddle out on this pristine, glacial lake that supplies Anchorage with its drinking water. Next stop: Palmer. You could spend an afternoon or a lifetime here and have plenty to do. Downtown is postcard-picturesque with breathtaking mountain views. Park the car and take a walk: check 58



out the Palmer Museum of History and Art, duck into the well-loved independent Fireside Books, fuel up at delicious and superbly run Turkey Red restaurant, and top your visit off with a flight at 203 Kombucha, a modern and community-minded kombuchery. Need to stretch your legs? Options range from hiking the well-loved local Butte to more strenuous hiking on Lazy Mountain. On your way out of town, pay a visit to the Musk Ox Farm to learn firsthand about this unique and iconic Arctic creature from knowledgeable guides. Heading north, don’t miss historic Hatcher Pass. Hatcher Pass Road winds 12 miles from downtown Palmer and over 3,000 feet up into the


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Sunbathers at Newcomb Park wade in Wasilla Lake during a sunny day. PHOTO BY BILL ROTH

Talkeetna mountains, with incredible views at every turn. Learn about the area’s mining history by visiting the museum set right in the alpine at Independence Mine State Historic Park; take a hike and see remnants from perilous gold mining operations amid the

jaw-dropping tundra scenery. If an afternoon visit isn’t enough, stay over at Hatcher Pass Lodge in one of the adorable red A-frame cabins. Or, just grab a bite in the cozy cafe with stellar views. Wasilla gets a bad rap for its strip malls

and big box stores. Locals know there’s much more just off the beaten path. Pay a visit to the Wasilla Museum and Visitors Center to orient yourself. Venture down Knik-Goose Bay Road to the Knik Museum, situated at what was once the most populated community along

Experience and photograph this Ice Age survivor up-close with an interpretive tour of our unique working farm


MILE 50.1 GLENN HWY • 12850 E. ARCHIE RD. • PALMER • AK www.muskoxfarm.org






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Tourists pass by Nagley’s Store in Talkeetna in August 2016. The store was previously named B & K Trading Company. Talkeetna has become a very popular summer destination for tourists, drawing hundreds of people to the small town that is the jumping off spot for most Denali climbers. PHOTO BY BOB HALLINEN

Cook Inlet. Golf much? Keep driving, and tee off at Settlers Bay Golf Course. Back in the core of Wasilla? Don’t miss a meal at delicious and creative Basil Ginger restaurant. Take advantage of convenient one-stop-shopping by fueling up the car and getting groceries before continuing north. Talkeetna is as charming and quirky as Alaska towns come. The walkable downtown is like a scene from the ‘90s TV show “Northern Exposure” — if it were actually filmed in Alaska. The journey down the 14-mile spur road to town from the main highway is long because there’s so much to see. Inventive and tasty Denali Brewing Co. cannot be missed; ditto with Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe, a standalone gem tucked away in the forest. Alaska Wild Harvest offers tours and tastings in its birch syrup production facility and wonderful gift shop. Approaching town, the Denali view on a clear day is worth the entire trek. A visit to Talkeetna Roadhouse is a must — either to stay or to feast, or both; visit Dancing Leaf Gallery for a flavor of well-curated local art and craft. Want to get a closer look at Denali? Check out the options for flightseeing tours. Finally, push the boundary of the Mat-Su region and your physical ability by paying a visit to Denali State Park. No, this isn’t the national park and you won’t actually summit The Mountain. But you’ll still experience thrilling and wild Alaska outdoors with an overnight at K’esugi Ken Campground, and a hike up the slow but steadily uphill Curry Ridge trail that has stellar and consistent Denali views. If there’s one region in Alaska with a little taste of everything magic about the state, it’s Mat-Su. Fuel up, power down, explore and enjoy all that you’ll find in this amazing corner of the world.




Independence Day fireworks in Seward shortly after midnight PHOTO BY LOREN HOLMES


By K A T I E P E S Z N E C K E R


nchorage visitors feeling wanderlust can escape the city for a road trip on the scenic Seward Highway, a spectacular experience that offers surprising diversions, culminating in the historic harbor town of Seward. This renowned 125-mile roadway goes south from Anchorage, sailing alongside a slender slip of water called Turnagain Arm. Ascending into the dramatic Chugach and Kenai Mountains, ancient glaciers wink through summertime greenery. Passing bedroom communities, ramshackle roadhouses and pristine alpine lakes, the highway arrives at last in Seward, on the edge of Resurrection Bay. The time-pressed traveler could make it to Seward and back in one long, full day, logging five-plus hours of road travel alone. Don’t rush it: this memorable trip is better enjoyed across two or more days and nights, allowing for lingering stops to appreciate the Alaska scenery and character, history and dining offered by small towns along the way.

For hikers, the user-friendly Winner Creek Trail begins just behind the picturesque Hotel Alyeska. For a challenge, tackle the south end of the 21-mile Crow Pass Trail, which connects Girdwood to Eagle River’s outskirts north of Anchorage. The first few miles of the Girdwood end of this storied trail wind upward from Girdwood, with breathtaking views of glaciers, remnants of long-gone gold mining and jagged mountaintops. Girdwood’s dining options are impressively aplenty. Begin at a local icon, The Bake Shop (194 Olympic Mountain Loop), open as of press time Thursday through Monday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. A morning-time staple for 40-plus years, the Bake Shop features home-style favorites like sourdough pancakes and sweet rolls. For lunch, the shop switches gears to scratch homemade soups and sandwiches on fresh-baked bread.

Located at 535 Second Ave. in the Historic Empress Theater Upstairs in the Co-Op Plaza.

GIRDWOOD About 45 minutes south of Anchorage, Girdwood is a laid-back ski town that relocated inland a few miles from the highway after the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. For Alaskans and visitors alike, Girdwood is a recreation mecca. Winter slopes and ski lifts are transformed to host downhill mountain biking come summer. Paved paths thread throughout town, offering an opportunity to take in scenery at slow pace. It’s a charming collection of memorable restaurants, art galleries, ski chalets and condos.

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Summer, Daily: 11– 5pm Winter, Daily: 11– 3pm

ADMISSION FREE(907) 457-3669

Exhibits: Exhi bits:

Winter in Fairbanks • The Great Flood • Klondike Gold Rush Early Fairbanks • The Driving Spirit (Dog Mushing) • Monthly Art Show


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For a special dinner experience, try Jack Sprat (165 Olympic Mountain Loop). Its regional cuisine with an Alaska touch is truly special, highlighting seasonal fresh produce and locally sourced protein such as halibut. Its tall chalet windows offer romantic views of the mountainside. Check the website for hours. Nearby, stalwart Double Musky Inn (Mile 0.3 Crow Creek Road) is a tuckedaway steakhouse known for colorful French Quarter décor, a world-class wine cellar and spot-on Creole classics with Alaskan flair. Its lively elegance has delighted locals and tourists alike for decades. There will be a wait many nights, but it’s worth it. For a fun, laid-back vibe, pop by Girdwood Brewing Company. With indoor tables and outdoor seating around gas-fed fire pits, sip pints or smaller tasters while ordering from one or more local food trucks that rotate on site; the truck schedule is updated on the website. They also sell trendy hoodies, hats and stickers to remember your sudsy Girdwood detour.

PORTAGE Like Girdwood, Portage once sat alongside the Seward Highway. While Girdwood rebuilt inland, Portage faded away, with






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little remaining today but decrepit cabins overtaken by aggressive brush. Today in Portage’s place, visitors will find the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (Mile 79 Seward Highway), a sprawling sanctuary that provides large-enclosure spaces for orphaned and rehabilitating Alaska animals. View animals by either driving, walking the 1.5-mile loop encircling the center, or booking a tour with one of the staff naturalists. Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. May through August; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. September and October; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in November; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in December.

WHITTIER An eastern turn at Portage down Portage Valley Road will deliver the curious traveler to two worthy destinations: the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, and beyond that, the city of Whittier. The Begich, Boggs Visitor Center (Portage Lake Loop) sits about 5 miles east of the highway and opens from late May to early September. Named in honor of congressman Nick Begich and Hale Boggs, whose flight in Alaska disappeared in 1972, the center is built on the edge a lake on the moraine left by the receding Portage Glacier. The glacier is visible via boat trips to its front. The center

itself offers science-geared educational opportunities for adults and kids alike. Drive farther and travelers will encounter a truly different experience by way of the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. The 2.5-milelong, one-way highway toll tunnel is the longest in North America, a dark and moody viaduct through the formidable mountains, originally a train tunnel connecting the western side of Turnagain Arm to the military port town of Whittier. Find tunnel schedules online to time your visit accordingly. Whittier exists as a critical deep-water port. In this unusual community, most residents call one of two large buildings home due to the lack of housing and buildable land. For activities, there are glacier-viewing boats, regular cruise ship stops, a fine harbor-view hotel called The Inn at Whittier (5A Harbor Loop Road) and also camping and RV options. The one-way toll tunnel is strange enough to warrant a one-hour side trip. If you have time, visit the small but surprisingly comprehensive Prince William Sound Museum (743 Whittier Street). An impressive number of exhibits fill its snug space, capturing the story of Whittier’s very original history.

SEWARD Arriving in Seward is a show-stopper. About 2,800 people call this quintessential town a year-round home, and in this special place they are surrounded by the dramatic mountains of Resurrection Bay, a beautiful boat harbor where visitors can walk the docks, and an amiable community with a hodgepodge economy built on fishing outfits, kayak companies, sightseeing excursions, shops, restaurants and bars. Highlights of Seward include the Alaska SeaLife Center (301 Railway Ave.), a handson aquarium and working science facility that boasts opportunities to ogle diving puffins and swimming sea lions, peer at octopus up close, and learn about the special place that is Resurrection Bay. From the SeaLife Center, a leisurely walk up Fourth Avenue provides a serene sense of Seward’s long-ago frontier culture, with Old West storefronts, historical murals, steepled churches, and commemorative plaques and historical markers. A paved footpath that runs from the SeaLife Center along the waterfront toward the harbor is a pleasant way to enjoy the mountain scenery. Seward has plenty of hotels and motels, home rentals, hostel beds, and camping and

RV options for those overnighting it. Beyond the roadways, day cruises through Kenai Fjords National Park are a popular way to soak up the glorious waters of Resurrection Bay. Otters, seals, puffins, orcas and various migrating whales all may make cameos on these charters, some of which include island stopovers for meals. To see a glacier by foot, carve out a couple of hours for a stop at Exit Glacier. Located just inside Kenai Fjords National Park, this glacier at the edge of Harding Icefield recedes annually, to the sadness of many fans. But a moderately graded walking path leads to overlooks where the glacier is still easily visible and photographable. Seward is synonymous with fishing, and there are a bounty of half- or full-day charters that fish for halibut, salmon, or both. Charters typically provide all fishing gear, and in town, there are options for having fish fi lleted and flash-frozen for shipping after your excursion ends. These trips depart early and return late and make for a full Alaskan experience. Play your cards right, and you will enjoy the scenery of a wildlife-viewing trip while returning home with a freezer full of fish to commemorate your unique and unforgettable Alaska vacation long after it’s over.

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The crew harpoons a 70-pound halibut. PHOTO BY MATTHEW ELLIS

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Seward Municipal Campgrounds Memories that will last a lifetime. Reserve online today at cityofseward.us

* Ask us about booking Alaska tours for you and your family. Our staff is here to help. Some companies even offer discounts if you book through KOA.

Seward KOA

31702 Herman Leirer Rd Seward, AK 99664 907.224.4887 www.koa.com/campgrounds/seward



April 15 – September 30 Info: 907-224-4887


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ccessible wilderness, heaps of trails and enough trophy fish to spawn “it was THIS big” stories for years to come, it’s easy to see why the Kenai Peninsula is often referred to as “Alaska’s playground.” While there are oodles of worthwhile spots to visit, here are just a few to get you started.


Fishermen clean their catch at Miller’s Landing outside of Seward. PHOTO BY MARC LESTER

Impossibly charming, Hope is a worthwhile detour for those zipping down to conquer the Kenai Peninsula. The atmospheric downtown with stunning views of Turnagain Arm offers a good jumping-off point for a variety of hikes. Gull Rock Trail, an old wagon road, is a local favorite — it’s 5 miles one way with negligible elevation gain. Hope Point is a strenuous climb following an alpine ridge that offers incredible views (and serious bragging rights). Those looking for an adrenaline rush can book a rafting trip down Six Mile Creek. For those looking for a more relaxing trip, there are heaps of cabins with cozy porches ideal for cracking into a book. The Dirty Skillet makes for

Stay in the most convenient location in town. At the heart of the small boat harbor!

There is always time to celebrate... • 100% smoke free guest rooms • Lounge & coffee shop • Smoke–free dining room & lounge • Free Wi-Fi • Free local calls & coffee • Conference facilities • Fridge in all rooms


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Open 7am till Late!

An angler fly-fishes for red salmon on the upper Kenai River.

a solid dinner spot, and the Seaview Cafe attracts some of the better Alaska bands for nighttime entertainment.


SEWARD Just over 120 miles away, Seward could make a nice day trip from Anchorage. But why rush? It has all the Alaska elements: water, mountains, forests, fishing and quirky local charm. Want to see a glacier up close? Access them by water in Kenai Fjords National Park or by land at Exit Glacier. Want to see sweeping views of Resurrection Bay? Meet Mount Marathon and marvel at how local and international athletes get to the top, and back again, in one of Alaska’s most iconic footraces each year (traditionally held on the Fourth of July). Looking for something the whole family will enjoy? Don’t miss the touch pool at the Alaska SeaLife Center and look for vessels with pun-inspired names in the harbor. Complement your adventures with a meal at one of the local eateries, many of which are housed in historic buildings.

SOLDOTNA AND KENAI Drive through these towns in the height of summer and you’ll notice many cars laden with big, round dipnets, rods and reels with all the bells and whistles, coolers and muddy Xtratuf boots. The salmon that return en masse to the Kenai River are legendary, and locals look to fill their freezers with the muscular kings, shiny silvers and ruby reds. (Be advised: The area’s dipnet fishery is deservedly famous but open to state residents only. See our fishing guide for an overview of other great options, and always make sure you have the correct permits; the Department of Fish and Game’s We Fish AK site is a good place to start, or call 907-267-2218.) If fishing doesn’t call to you, there are breweries with airy patios, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters & Visitors Center



Phone: 907-224-3674 Seward, AK 99664

Call Toll Free

1-800-257-7760 www.TheFishHouse.Net




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6 Hour Salmon & Rock Fishing

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Sea otters bob along the surface of Kachemak Bay offshore from Homer.

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offers naturalist-led outdoor programs, and Soldotna’s Homestead Museum showcases homesteaders’ cabins with free guided tours.

HOMER Visitors to Homer find there are many ways to explore “the end of the road.” Just 220 miles from Anchorage, the town sits between the water and the mountains and extends out onto a skinny, 4.5-mile-long spit. It’s a town where fishermen, artists, beer-lovers, foodies, musicians, adventurers and beachcombers all feel at home. It’s easy to while away a few days — tramp along the beautiful trail systems, check out the tide pools, eat at first-rate restaurants,


pick through the various art galleries and handicraft stores. You can learn a bit more about the 49th state’s local ecosystem at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies or the Exxon oil spill at the Pratt Museum. If time and budget allow, tick off some bucket list experiences: Get a bird’s-eye view of nearby glaciers and wildlife on a flightseeing tour; cruise around on a water taxi looking for sea creatures; try your hand at reeling in a “barn-door” sized halibut on a charter; or take a water taxi across the bay to Halibut Cove, an artist enclave known for divine dishes at The Saltry Restaurant and stunning scenery.


Fish in comfort aboard the super stable 65-foot RAINISONG. Our licensed Captain and experienced crew will bait your hooks, net and fillet your fish. Plenty of inside seating & 2 clean restrooms.

Outdoor Market & FREE concerts in Soldotna Creek Park Every Wednesday, from June-August

200+ Riverside Campsites on the

907.262.9814 WWW.




World Famous Kenai River. Stop by the Visitor Center at 44790 Sterling Hwy. for information and brochures on the area, and view a variety of exhibits, including the world-

record King Salmon.


Call or Text (907) 953-3099 www.sewardfishingclub.com Reserve online and enter code: ADN

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Downtown on Town Square Park at 5th & E

Anchorage, AK 99501


Ted Stevens Int'l Airport Shops Visit our locally owned gift shops featuring salmon, jams and candy at AK&CO Gourmet Market; a large variety of stylish tees and Alaska Made gifts and jewelry at Alaska Mercantile; trendy fashion and accessories at Moosetique; tea, candy and a large selection of great reads at Mosquito Books and Kobuk To Go.

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