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Activity Guide: A Week In Anchorage

October 2, 2016

Following up on last week’s food guide for a week of eating in Anchorage, I wanted to share our activity guide.

I spent the week doing things that were a quick drive from the city – hikes mostly. Matt did more of an adventurous long weekend that needed longer drives. It provided a nice mix of activities for everyone!

Activity One: Hiking

I hiked almost every day that I was in Anchorage. It’s probably my favourite thing about Alaska in that you can be at a trailhead less than 20 minutes after leaving downtown, yet still find isolation.

Honey Bear Hike
30 minute drive from downtown Anchorage. 2 mile round trip. 1,000 ft elevation change. Gorgeous views of Anchorage and the Chugach mountains, from Flattop far on the left to peak 2, 3, and Ptarmigan Peak.

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Checking out the peaks

Rendezvous Peak Trail. Located at Arctic Valley ski area between Anchorage and Eagle River, this is a long drive because of the gravel road to get to the parking area. The total trail is ~4 miles round trip; or you can hike just to the Saddle (2 miles round trip) for some great views. Along the way, you’ll see the Nike missle site and prime berry picking in the fall. ~800 ft elevation gain to the saddle, ~1,400 ft elevation gain to the peak. More details on this hike here.

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Nike missle site in the background

Eagle & Symphony Lakes Hike
40 minute drive from downtown Anchorage. 12 mile round trip. minimal elevation gain. Walk through some tundra and a boulder field before reaching the first lake.

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Glacier fed stream through the Tundra

Local in Town: Flat Top Mountain Hike.
The ‘Most Popular Hike in Alaska’ is a 15 minute drive from downtown. If you don’t have a car, there is a shuttle service that you can pay to take. Hike to the Saddle for amazing views, make it more difficult by tackling to rock scramble to the top. Prepare your glutes for all the stairs.

Activity Two: Mountain Biking

Matt went with some friends up towards Matanuska for a day of mountain biking on Castle Mountain. They experienced major elevation gains, and amazing views.

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Local In Town: Kincaid Park
Rent a bike from the Trek store in town, and head over to Kincaid Park to check out the miles of singletrack in the 1,500 acre park. When we lived in Anchorage, Matt frequented this park after work, and came across many moose. Plus, it is right in town.

 

Activity Three: Running

Anchorage is a runner’s town, with miles of greenway connecting you all across town. During the week, check out the Skinny Raven Pub Runs that happen Tuesdays from their downtown store.

Races: Anchorage RunFest

My number one reason for going to Anchorage in August was for the Anchorage RunFest, happening the 3rd weekend of each August. I’ve been on the race committee for 4 years, and am obsessed. It’s a whole family affair, and is perfect to build a race-cation around. Distances include 1 mile, 5K, half-marathon, marathon, 49K Ultra, and marathon relay. There’s also a Kids 2K event.

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Start of 2016’s 5K race

 

Races: More

If you find yourself in Anchorage looking for a race outside of August, check out the Alaska Runners Calendar. It features every race in the state, so you can plan out your run.

Local in town: Trails and Greenways

Anchorage has amazing greenways and trails connecting all over the city. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a local and tourist favourite, running 11 miles along the waterfront from downtown to Kincaid Park.

Connect to the Chester Creek or Campbell Creek trails to head East through town. Perfect for running, biking, or XC Skiing.

 

Anchorage has so many activities to do, including breweries to explore (6 in town!), amazing local shops (no sales tax!), and lakes to explore. Reach out to the Anchorage Visitor Center for more help planning your time in Alaska.

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