Whether it’s short jaunt through the park, perfect for a novice, or an overnight getaway for a seasoned trekker, snowshoeing is a great way to get out and enjoy the winter months in Alaska.
Anchorage boasts hundreds of miles of designated multi-use trails and huge parks that are perfect for snowshoeing and other winter activities. Areas such as Kincaid Park, the Hillside trail system, Far North Bicentennial Park and Powerline Pass at Glen Alps offer great wilderness snowshoeing adventures within a few minutes of downtown. For a longer day or weekend trip, there are countless opportunities throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Eklutna Lake and Eagle River, just 15 to 20 minutes from Anchorage, provide ideal family snowshoeing locations. Located 12 miles out of Eagle River at the end of the Eagle River Road, the Eagle River Nature Center sits in a spectacular valley setting. The center offers an extensive trail network, nature programs and guided hikes. A public-use cabin and yurt are available for rent on a reservation-only basis. The Nature Center’s close proximity to Anchorage makes it a great location for a day trek or weekend getaway. Trails range from easy, rolling loops to rugged passes. You can also rent snowshoes here, but it’s best to reserve them well in advance by calling (907) 694-2108.
North of Anchorage, the Mat-Su Borough has a wealth of snowshoeing opportunities including nearly 40 miles of maintained trails, more than 130 lakes and ponds and rentable public use cabins at Nancy Lake State Recreation Area. Hatcher Pass is one of the Valley’s most popular spots for snowshoeing day trips with wide, open fields of untouched snow and spectacular.
To the south, the Girdwood valley - Alyeska Ski Resort has a mountain shop that rents snowshoes - and the Portage Valley offer classic Alaska winter scenery for your trek.
Snowshoe gear is easy to use. Just fit the snowshoe’s straps to your winter boots, cinch up the straps, grab the poles and away you go. Snowshoes can handle existing trails or make their own, go up and down hills and traverse frozen territory that was too boggy to explore in the summer months. Be sure to check weather and snow conditions before you go and dress in layers appropriate for an activity that’s going to keep you on the move.