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The Mountains Surrounding Anchorage

Thousands of years and immense geologic forces forged Alaska’s mountain ranges, six of which are visible from downtown Anchorage.

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Portage Pass Trail is great day hike for all ages, and provides spectacular views of Portage Lake and Glacier.
Portage Pass Trail is great day hike for all ages, and provides spectacular views of Portage Lake and Glacier. ©Michael DeYoung

No matter what angle they are viewed from, mountains make a stunning part of the Anchorage skyline. The Chugach Mountains stretch up to the city from the east, and Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain, summons from the Alaska Range to the north. The Kenai Mountains, Talkeetnas, Tordrillos and even the Aleutians can also be spotted from the city. Alaska’s most awe-inspiring peaks are within easy reach of Anchorage and each range holds a vast array of adventures.

The Chugach Mountains

The wilderness area of Chugach State Park borders Anchorage and is one of the nation’s largest parks. Full of a variety of plant and wildlife, it is a favorite for hikers, backpackers and climbers in the summer and skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts in the winter months. The range is full of spectacular vistas and peaks that rise as high as 13,176 feet.

The Kenai Mountains                                                   

Separated from the Chugach Mountains by the waters of Turnagain Arm, the Kenai Mountains share a common history, dating to 65 million years ago. The Kenai area is famous for its trophy fishing, but it’s also a great place for wildlife viewing. There are plenty of recreational areas for bikers, hikers, skiers, snowshoers and sightseers. While Kenai’s largest salmon is a whopping 97 pounds, its highest peak is 6,000 feet.

The Talkeetna Range

An hour away from Anchorage, the Talkeetna Range borders the Matanuska Valley. Among its many attractions is Hatcher Pass which features Independence Historic Gold Mine and recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, snowboarding and telemark skiing.

The Alaska Range

Standing tall in the Alaska Range – not to mention the minds of adventurers – Mount McKinley is the tallest mountain on the continent climbing to 20,320 feet.  Also referred to as Denali, the summit summons climbers during Alaska's summer climbing season. But almost anyone can climb to the highest mountain altitudes; flightseeing charters can take guests over rocky valleys and glacial icefields around the towering spires of the Alaska Range. Flights are available year round from Lake Hood Seaplane Base, Merrill Field or Talkeetna, Alaska. Even if you don’t leave terra firma, Denali – as well as nearby Mount Foraker (17,400 feet) and Mount Hunter (14,573 feet) – can be seen from downtown Anchorage on a clear day.