Anita Nelson

Arctic Valley

One of the first Chugach access points heading north from Anchorage, Arctic Valley is packed with trails but light on traffic, often giving hikers and other visitors the feeling of having the whole place to themselves.

Locals know it best as a community ski hill, but even when the chairlift stops spinning in spring, the area is still a popular spot for outdoor recreation.

Rendezvous Peak is the most popular trail. A 4-mile roundtrip hike with a mild 1,500 foot elevation gain, it’s the perfect way to gain views of the Anchorage Bowl and Cook Inlet waters and still be back in time for lunch.

The valley is prime picking territory for berries in late summer. Blueberries, mossberries, crowberries and cranberries blanket the area starting in August.

Search the peaks for a glimpse of a Cold War relic. A military missile site once topped the nearby mountains on the edge of Fort Richardson.