Anchorage is a stunning locale, tucked between the sea and the mountains. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing, many residents and visitors are heading back out for some fun. With so much pristine wilderness and open space, Anchorage is the perfect place to get outside while social distancing.
Hiking and Cycling
The striking range that forms Anchorage’s backdrop is the Chugach Mountains. McHugh Peak is the main feature of this range and has several trails that go up to its 4,000+ foot summit. The easiest trail, McHugh Peak Trail, is mostly a ridge walk to the summit. Once there, hikers won’t forget the view that extends all the way down Turnagain Arm. The best time to visit McHugh Peak is between May and October, otherwise, hikers may encounter a fair bit of snow.
Campbell Tract Loop
A new addition to the Anchorage trail system in 2007, the Campbell Tract Loop connects the city directly to the wilderness. The system of 3 trails begins in downtown Anchorage and extends 4.5 miles into the Campbell Tract. Even with it’s close proximity to the city center, the tract is teeming with wildlife. Moose, porcupines, snowshoe hares, bears, and lynx all call this area home. This trail is also a great way to get up close and personal with the local history. It was formerly a tank path during World War II for the Campbell Garrison. Foxholes and defensive earthworks can still be found along the trail to this day.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Cyclists and hikers both enjoy a day on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This trail extends 11 miles from Kinkaid Park to the city center. Beluga whales can sometimes be seen swimming together in the sea along the trail. The Tony Knowles also offers views of Denali, the highest peak in North America. The trail does move away from the coast in certain sections and meanders through fragrant hardwood forests. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and moose!
One of Alaska’s most popular summer pastimes is salmon fishing. Even though hundreds of people come to angle in the salmon runs, with so many miles of river it’s easy to remain socially distant. Ship Creek is an urban sport fishery right in downtown Anchorage. They hold Salmon Derbies in the summer with specially tagged fish. Prizes can get up to $10,000 dollars! Ship Creek runs two kinds of salmon, King Salmon in the early summer and Silver Salmon later on. Fishing licenses are required and can be purchased locally.
Purists think that fishing shouldn’t be done in an urban area, but out in the middle of nature. Indian Creek is 20 miles from Anchorage and its clear waters are home to Pink Salmon. On even-numbered years, Pink Salmon come here to spawn and the river is teeming with fins that seem close enough to touch. The river is perfect for either baitcasting, fly fishing, or trolling.
Another natural fishing area about 25 miles outside of the city is Bird Creek. While King fishing is currently prohibited in this area, there are plenty of other species of salmon running through. Anglers can fish for Coho, Sockeye, and Red Salmon at this excellent fishing spot. The best time to fish is about 2 hours before high tide and fly fishing is the recommended catch method here.
Camping and Retreats
Alpenglow Luxury Camping
A great way to limit contact with other people is to take a camping trip. Alpenglow Luxury Camping is one of the sumptuous glamping experiences in the Anchorage area. The campground is situated near the Matanuska Glacier, a 27-mile long and 4-mile wide wall of ice. There are excellent hikes to the base of the glacier or to observation points that offer stunning views of the whole thing. The luxury tents are furnished with Alaskan decore and have their own private porches. The campground has a cedar hot tub, perfect for late-night star gazing or viewing the Northern Lights.
Yoga on the Nizina
The Alaskan wilderness is humbling in its majesty and beauty. It’s also the perfect place to be mindful and center yourself. Yoga on the Nizina is a hiking and paddleboard yoga retreat in the mountains. The retreats are small, only 4-8 people, and perfect for small households to socially distance together. The retreats include 2 nights of cabin lodging and 2 nights of tent camping. There are 2 daily yoga and meditation sessions and healthy ayurvedic meals. The entire experience takes place in America’s largest national park, Wrangell St. Elias.