Let us be the headquarters for your Alaskan Adventure...
Girdwood is the land of adventure and luxury, where the outdoor opportunities are endless like the summer sun and you don't have to give up the comforts to experience the adventure. Girdwood offers the best restaurants in Alaska, museums, galleries and shopping, along with deluxe accommodations, where wild Alaska is right outside.
So whether you are 8 or 80, active or not active, feel like climbing a mountain or just looking at it, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.
Summer in Girdwood
The drive south from Anchorage along Turnagain arm on the Seward Highway, is a "National Forest Scenic Byway", voted one of 15 roads in the U.S. designated an "All-American Road." From beginning to end there are dramatic views of snow capped mountain scenery, dotted with colorful wildflowers and the changing tides of the Turnagain Arm waterway. There's a good chance of viewing Dall Sheep grazing in the cliffs or Cook Inlet's 350 beluga whales feeding on the Salmon or Hooligan as they follow the tide in or eagles feeding on the remains. About 1 to 2 hours after Anchorage's predicted low tide you might catch the bore tide which is the second highest in North America. Second only to the tide in Canada's Bay of Fundy. There are also many trails along the Turnagain Arm waterway.
Arriving in Girdwood at the front of the Valley, you will notice the standing dead trees that have been left from the 1964 earthquake that lowered the land allowing the salt water to seep in. As you drive into the Girdwood Valley you will see beauty all around you with gorgeous snow capped mountains and hanging glaciers, rivers and streams, tall spruce and hemlock trees and wildflowers abound.
A great place to enjoy this scenery is the historical Crow Creek Mine "an outdoor museum," where you can view mine ruins, learn about the history, pan for gold or just take in the beauty around you. Just down the road in Portage is the Begich Boggs Visitor Center, "an indoor museum" where you can immerse yourself in the history or shop, take an educational cruise out on Portage lake to view Portage glacier, hike to the face of Byron Glacier or the Blue Ice Trail that runs through the Portage Valley.
While you are in Portage don't miss the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where orphaned babies or injured wildlife are brought to rehabilitate and then return to the wild, or if that is not possible, they remain at the Center to educate and entertain us. These animals– Moose, Bear, several species of Deer, Musk Ox, Caribou, etc. – are all in their natural habitat, which makes for a beautiful setting and photographic opportunity. And don't miss the great gift shop at the Center!
For the more active approach, and the opportunity to get in touch with nature, try hiking some of the incredible trails in Girdwood from easy to strenuous, guided or unguided, there are plenty to choose from like the historic Iditarod trail or the Winner Creek trail with a hand tram that takes you across a scenic river gorge. Many of these trails are also perfect for mountain biking.
A visit to Alaska is not complete without getting into the air to experience the vast ranges of mountains and glaciers. Try a flight seeing trip where you can watch wildlife migrating from the helicopter suspended in the air, land on a glacier or even dog sled on a glacier. If you are a little more adventurous paragliding from the top of Mt. Alyeska over the beautiful Girdwood Valley is certain to give you a thrill. For the less adventurous, take the Alyeska tramway to the top of Mt. Alyeska where 360 degree views of snow capped mountains and glaciers are certain to put you in awe!
Getting out on the water is another must in Alaska and Girdwood offers many ways to experience the water. Choose from thrilling whitewater rafting on the famous 6 Mile River or jet-boating up the 20 Mile River. For something more laid back, take a Wildlife and Glacier Cruise or a Custom Cruise on the calm protected waters of Prince William Sound or a scenic river float on one of the many rivers around Girdwood. For a more hands on approach, try guided or unguided kayaking or canoeing on one of the many lakes or rivers in or around Girdwood.
Fishing is just minutes away! The Kenai River is famous for trophy size King Salmon and Rainbow trout, and there are many lakes and rivers nearby to choose from freshwater guided or unguided fishing. The protected waters of Prince William Sound offer a variety of saltwater guided fishing options like refrigerator size halibut, cod, salmon, sharks, shrimp etc. to fill your freezer with, while enjoying the amazing scenery of tidewater glaciers, cliffs filled with abundant bird life and whales, seals and otter swimming around you.
Winter in Girdwood
Winter in Girdwood brings completely new views and host of activities, with snow fall exceeding 1,000 inches some years, making it one of the top ski destinations in North America.
Alyeska Resort is at the town's base, offering world class alpine skiing and snowboarding. For the more experienced skiers try heli-skiing or cat skiing or create your own backcountry adventure among the millions of acres untouched wilderness and mountains. The Alyeska Resort also offers a full service spa, shopping, restaurants and an aerial tram that takes you to the top of Mt. Alyeska for spectacular views of the glaciers, Turnagain Arm waterway and the Roundhouse Museum.
Dog sledding, backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are just minutes away with miles of trails to choose from through enchanted forests and rolling meadows, the beauty is surreal. For a speedier approach try a snow machine/mobile tour that will take you deep into the wilderness among the mountains and glaciers.
Winter is the best time to view the "Northern Lights" a natural phenomenon that is sure to take your breath away. Flight seeing aboard a helicopter is a great way to take in the vast beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges, glaciers and Prince William Sound, while possibly seeing moose or herds of sheep or caribou.
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