5 Epic Things to Do Near Anchorage, Alaska

Surrounded by majestic mountains, rugged wilderness, and glittering glaciers, the city of Anchorage is as epic as they come! As well as being home to a bustling downtown area full of cultural and historical centers, it’s also a convenient hub for those who want to discover the Alaskan wilderness by day and revel in an urban utopia by night.

As a locally-owned business, the only thing we love more than exploring the city and its surrounding areas, is sharing our discoveries with visitors through our guided biking tours.

So, whether you’re still practicing your pedaling or consider yourself ‘King of the Mountain’, have a look at our Anchorage city bike tours and our mountain biking tours from Anchorage. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite activities near Anchorage and find out why this captivating city keeps people coming back year after year!

Green pine trees under a cloudy blue sky.
Photo: Brandon Brown

Ride the Glacier Discovery Train

Whether you’re a die-hard train buff or just seeking an authentically Alaskan experience, there’s no better way to take in the state’s legendary landscape than from a cozy, comfy carriage on board the Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train.

Starting in Anchorage, this route passes through the historic towns of Girdwood, Portage, and Whittier, before culminating in Grandview. The complete circuit takes 12 hours and offers breathtaking views of Turnagain Arm, Skookum and Spencer Glaciers, awe-inspiring alpine meadows, and the cornerstone of Anchorage’s panorama: the Chugach Mountains.

Want to enjoy stunningly scenic views of the Alaskan wilderness by train and experience other activities near Anchorage? No problem! It’s also a great transport option for many popular landmarks and sightseeing spots. Jump off at Portage to get up close and personal with black and brown bears, wolves, muskox and more at the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center, or continue on to Whittier to catch a glacier and wildlife cruise in Prince WIlliam Sound. 

A blue train, snowy mountains and green forest under a cloudy sky.
Photo: Leighton Smith

Visit the Burial Spirit Houses in Eklutna 

The only thing as moving as Alaska’s legendary landscapes is its merging of cultures – and nowhere epitomizes this more than the cemetery of the St. Nicholas Church in Eklutna.

Once home to a number of Native Athabascan villages, nowadays Eklutna is inhabited by descendants of the Dena’ina tribe, and features one of the most interesting cemeteries in the whole of Alaska. Traditionally, the Dena’ina people would cremate those that passed, but under the influence of Russian Orthodoxy in the early 19th century they began covering graves with brightly-colored spirit houses instead.

Currently, over 100 spirit houses adorn the cemetery, each painted by hand to create a colorful and touching display that is well worth a visit.

Kayak or Canoe on Eklutna Lake

Located just 45 minutes south of downtown Anchorage, Eklutna Lake is an outdoor-lover’s paradise! 

At 7 miles (11km) long, this idyllic glacial lake is the largest in Chugach State Park, and a peaceful oasis in one of the oldest inhabited areas in Anchorage. Whether you have an entire day to spare or want to spend a few hours getting back to nature, there’s no better way to do it than by renting a kayak or canoe and relaxing on the serene waters of the lake. 

Prefer a more adrenaline-filled adventure? Hike or bike the Eklutna Lakeside Trail, or ascend the Twin Peaks Trail to Pepper Peak for a picture-perfect view and photo op.

A view from an orange kayak on a large lake.
Photo: Taylor Murphy

Take a Brewery Tour

From awesome ales to barrel-aged beers, we can tell you first-hand that Anchorage brewers know how to handle their hops! And while some thank the clear, fresh Alaskan water for their tantalizing tastings, others cite a simple dedication to the craft. 

Whatever their secret, one thing’s for sure: if you’re enamored by all things ale, a brewery tour is a fabulously fun way to spend the day. As well as immersing yourself in the local beer scene, you can discover the intricate steps of the brewing process and experience the true taste of Anchorage by sampling a selection of local craft beers.

If you can’t think of anything better than cycling through striking scenery and getting behind-the-scenes access to some of the best brews the city has to offer, check out our Anchorage Bike and Brewery Tour.

Take a Day Trip to Girdwood

A popular day-trip destination for visitors and locals alike, what the small town of Girdwood lacks in size it more than makes up for in beauty! Home to lush forests, mountainous terrain and wildlife-filled trails, it’s a brilliant base for a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking and even gold panning.

Every winter, thousands of snow-seekers flock to the Alyeska Resort for a spot of downhill skiing and snowboarding, while summer guests enjoy views of Turnagain Arm, hanging glaciers and riding through the Chugach Mountain on the resort’s aerial tram.

Snow-covered mountains under a cloudy sky.
Photo: Bruce Warrington

From quaint, tucked-away towns to other-worldly wilderness, Anchorage is a destination like no other! And we hope we’ve convinced you to add one or two epic adventures to your next visit!

If you’re ready to take your first step into The Last Frontier, why not have a look at our city biking and mountain biking tours? Led by local guides, our carefully-crafted routes are one of the best ways to experience all that Anchorage and its surrounding areas have to offer.

Have a question about one of our tours? Just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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