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9 Remarkable Outdoor Activities in Anchorage, Alaska

9 Remarkable Outdoor Activities in Anchorage, Alaska blog cover image

9 Remarkable Outdoor Activities in Anchorage, Alaska

Located over 3,000 miles north of Honolulu, Hawaii; Anchorage, Alaska sometimes live in the shadow of its tropical neighbor. However, as Alaska’s most populous metropolitan area, Anchorage has lots of charm, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking trails to kayaking trips, Anchorage has plenty of opportunities for vacationers with a love for nature.

If you’re looking for remarkable outdoor activities, you should include Anchorage on your travel list. Here are a few must-dos when venturing to this remarkable city:

three mountain bikers moving uphill

1. Go Sightseeing On the Bike Trails

Anchorage offers outdoor enthusiasts 135 miles worth of bike paths. You can start at one end of Anchorage, before making your way through the city, including the scenic downtown area. Following the bike paths west through downtown, you’ll eventually find your way to The Tony Knowles Bike Trail.

This bike trail is only 11-miles long but takes you down the shoreline and is a great way to end a day. If you don’t have a bike, bike rental is relatively cheap in Anchorage. Additionally, if 135 miles sounds like too long of a journey for you, you can start biking in the downtown area and immediately move onto The Tony Knowles Trail.

young photographer standing on a snowy peak

2. Hike Through the Wilderness

Anchorage is a bustling city but the great outdoors is never too far away. There are numerous hiking trails in the area including the Chugach Range and The Glen Alps. Each hiking trail offers a different scenic view, so hiking through more than one is recommended.

The Chugach Range is a wilderness center with various entry points only a short drive from the city. Whether you’re staying in downtown Anchorage or at the city’s edge, reaching the Chugach Range is an easy trip. Additionally, the Glen Alps trailhead leads to Flattop - a popular hiking spot.

a flyfisher on a boat in the water

3. Fish for Salmon in the Local Waters

Fishing is an Alaskan pastime. Throughout Anchorage, you will find lakes and creeks full of a variety of fish. However, before you start fishing, you will have to register for a permit and a separate stamp if you’re interested in King Salmon fishing. You can register for a permit at most fish sporting shops.

Once you have the permit and stamp, feel free to visit spots like Ship Creek located in the heart of Anchorage. The creek is home to many fish including the Alaskan King and Silver Salmon. You’ll have the chance to spot plenty of fish and meet a few locals, as well.

the greenish Northern Lights in the Anchorage night sky

4. Try Gold Panning in the Valley

The 19th century was America’s Gold Rush but gold panning is still a popular activity in Anchorage. Indian Valley and Crow Creek were the spots of gold strikes in the 19th century, and they are still popular destinations for gold panning today. Make an adventure out of it and you may find a few flakes of gold, yourself.

Because both Indian Valley and Crow Creek are historic places, you can do some sightseeing after you’ve found your gold, too.

two kayakers paddling through calm water

5. Go Kayaking in the National Parks

Alaska is one of the few places you can go kayaking among glaciers. All around you’ll see mountains with tops covered in snow, and you can travel as far as you’d like in the vast waters. Of course, there are guided tours, so you can have a local show you the best views. Otherwise, you’re free to venture on your own but do so with caution.

Depending on how far you’ve traveled, it may be more convenient to rent a kayak once you arrive in Anchorage vs. packing one for your trip.

sun beams shining through the clouds over a mountain lake

6. Take Sled Dogs out for a Race

Dog Sledding is Alaska’s national sport and is in-season during the winter. However, mushers (the riders who control the sled dogs) are open to visitors throughout the year. You can take a tour of their kennels, learn more about dog sledding, and maybe take a ride on one of the sleds yourself!

Because dog sledding is a seasonal sport, outdoor lovers will get a more authentic experience if they travel during the winter.

tall, bare mountains standing over blue waters

7. Climb the Icy Mountains

Ice Climbing and Rock Climbing are common activities in Alaska. With so many beautiful mountains in the state, it’s difficult for the outdoor enthusiast to grow bored. Experienced climbers and beginners are all welcome, though beginners should hire a climbing specialist.

These specialists can give tours and training to someone new to the sport. Some will even help you plan a climbing itinerary to ensure safety and great sights.

yellow road lines passing through green foliage on a cloudy day

8. Ride an ATV through Anchorage’s Natural Scenery

ATVs are a popular mode of transportation throughout Alaska. Though they’re used most often outside of the city, you’ll see locals riding these vehicles in Anchorage, as well. Instead of renting a car when you visit Anchorage, consider spending a day on an ATV. Get around like a local and act as your own tour guide.

If you plan on traveling outside of Anchorage, using an ATV is even better. In areas of Alaska with few roads, ATVs are the perfect way to move from place to place.

9. Enjoy A Wildlife Watch

Though Anchorage is a city, there are plenty of nature centers and National Parks full of wildlife. You can find a few in Anchorage and even more just outside the city if you’re willing to travel. These areas are great for hiking, biking, and catching glimpses of the Alaskan wildlife. Of course, make sure you’re safe at all times and do not approach wild animals!

To give you some insight, moose are a common occurrence in Alaska. You won’t have to look too hard to find one. Also, Alaska is the only US state with black, brown, and polar bears!

Anchorage, Alaska is a great travel destination for any lover of the outdoors. The remarkable, natural beauty of the area and its endless outdoor activities make it a top choice for any traveler.

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