5 Amazing (but Hidden) Spots Near Anchorage
Harriman? Eklutna? If you're visiting Alaska, names like Denali are familiar (as they should be). Alaskans know these five hidden spots near Anchorage well. You may not know them now, but you ought to! Their names are unfamiliar, but the sights are unforgettable.
With more than a dozen glaciers named after Ivy League colleges, College Fjord in Prince William Sound gets a lot of attention. But nearby Harriman Fjord, an unassuming offshoot, is home to some amazing tidewater glaciers of its own, and they almost weren’t discovered. After all, Surprise Glacier got its name when the Harriman Expedition sailed through a narrow passage and discovered the massive glacier on the far side. To relive the expedition's sense of adventure, book a glacier cruise out of Whittier and get you own surprise.
Eklutna Historical Park
The community of Eklutna is the oldest inhabited location in the Anchorage Bowl. Eklutna was originally a Dena’ina Athabascan village. When Russian Orthodox missionaries arrived in the 1840's, the melding of Orthodox Christianity and native practices resulted in brightly colored spirit houses seen at the Eklutna cemetery. Nearby is Eklutna Lake, a popular recreation area for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking and camping. The bluish-green lake is fed by Eklutna Glacier – a primary source of water for the city of Anchorage.
This secluded lake deep in the Chugach Mountains is a prime place to explore glacier from the air. Three large glaciers - Lake George, Colony and Knik - are clustered around the lake. Flightseeing tours from Anchorage's Merrill Field and Lake Hood, and Girdwood's airfield pay a visit to the area. Many helicopter tours touch down atop the glaciers themselves, and float planes are well-equipped to use Lake George as a runway as well.
This picturesque forested stream is hidden in plain sight. Drive down the Seward Highway along Turnagain Arm, and you might be tempted to whizz right past this trailhead. But even a short walk leads to a serene scene; a pedestrian bridge over the creek, and a great hike beyond.
Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop
The train pulls away, and the Spencer Glacier area is yours for the day. The Alaska Railroad is the only way to access this special place in Alaska (unless you happen to own a helicopter). Spend the day rafting, ice hiking or just strolling the lake in full view of Spencer Glacier.