The Wrangell Mountains, part of the Coast Range, offer
a backcountry recreational paradise. Wrangell-St. Elias
National Park & Preserve is located off the scenic
Edgerton Highway. A gravel road takes you to the old
mining towns of McCarthy and Kennicott, now designated as
national historic landmarks.
As in other parts of Alaska, glaciers provide scenic
excitement. Tustumena Glacier in the Kenai
Mountains is a favorite hikers' destination. Matanuska
Glacier is accessible from the Glenn Highway. Exit
Glacier is found on the Kenai Peninsula at the edge of
the Harding Ice field. Portage Glacier is close to
Anchorage, at the head of Turnagain Arm. Here, at this
accessible glacier, large icebergs fall off the toe, and
bob around Portage Lake. There's a visitor viewing center
overlooking the lake and glacier, and a tour boat
provides daily cruises.
Nearby Prince William Sound found world-wide
notoriety because of the 1989 oil spill. The rocky
beaches of the sound have been scrubbed, and the natural
environment has largely recovered from the disaster.
Sports fishing is excellent. The fishing village of Cordova is as charming
as ever. The Alaska ferry, that departs from Whittier for
Valdez and Cordova, takes you for a close-in view of the
The people of Anchorage enjoy a modern lifestyle and
big-city recreational opportunities, including skiing at
the Mt. Alyeska ski area. Anchorage boasts a zoo,
and the Potter Point State Game Refuge is home to 130
species of wildfowl. Chugach State Park, on the
Eagle River, has hundreds of miles of hiking trails,
camping, and kayaking and rafting on the river.
Anchorage is the urban part of Alaska: a busy,
bustling city of almost 250,000 which in many ways
doesn't seem part of the wild Alaska that we dream about.
Anchorage is the commercial and transportation capital of
the state, with one of the busiest international airports
in the world. It suffers from urban blight, as most other
large cities do, yet Anchorage is definitely an "Alaskan"
city that is worth exploring. The city has a moderate
rainfall, about 20 inches a year. The winter temperatures
hover around the zero mark, with the coldest days around
The Log Cabin Visitor Information Center is
located at West 4th Avenue, at F Street (907) 274-3532.
Maps and brochures on Anchorage attractions are avail
able here. There are two special hotlines: Artsline,
(907) 276-2787, gives information on entertainment and
the arts scene; the All About Anchorage Line, (907)
276-3200, lists daily happenings.
The Alaska Public Lands Information Center is
located in the Old Federal Building on 4th Avenue,
between F & G Streets (271-2737), providing
information on national & state parks, and other
remote areas, plus exhibits and an interactive video
The Post Office is located at West 4th Avenue
& C Street, in the lower level in the downtown
shopping mall (907) 277-6568. The station for the Alaska
Railroad is at 2nd Ave near Ship Creek (907) 265-2494,
with daily service to Seward, Whittier, Denali Park and
Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) offices are at
333 W 4th Street (907) 272-4482, in the Post Office Mall,
for tickets and ferry reservations.
Anchorage International Airport is located a
few miles south west of the downtown area via
International Airport Rd. Take the People Mover Bus or
the airport limousine (907) 694-6484.