Washed over by the icy North Pacific and beset by the snow-mantled peaks of the Coast Mountains, Anchorage – Alaska’s most populated city – really is a place shrouded on all sides by wilderness. Earthquakes have rattled it, oil industries, gold rushes and railroads have all boomed between its streets, while the settlements of native Dena’ina people have flourished along its rivers and ice creeks for far longer.
Today, the town is the cultural hub of the Last Frontier State, offering all the outdoorsy draws you’d expect of a city so deep in the wilds of the north, along with bustling microbreweries and raucous pubs, open-air markets, state museums and heritage centers to boot. Add to that some top-notch skiing in the Chugach ranges, glacier walking and sea kayaking and bingo: it’s easy to see why this far-flung town is a real favourite on the northern circuit around the United States. Oh, and don’t forget the boots and bobble hats folks – this one’s chilly!
Let’s explore the best things to do in Anchorage:
1. Hike the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Fringed by wild fir trees and walked by galumphing moose and stalking wolves alike, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail can be found ringing its way around the edges of Anchorage city. Easily accessible from the heart of the town, the 11-mile track weaves along beautiful, salt-sprayed sections of the Pacific coast, around the runways of the Ted Steven’s International Airport, past the profile of Fire Island out at sea, and down to where the dunes of Kincaid Park meet the more rugged reaches on the edge of Point Campbell. Closed to cars and trucks, the track is great for cross-country skiing, hiking, biking and snow-shoeing – depending on the season.