Anchored in the wild landscape of the Alaskan coastline, Anchorage is one of the few entrance gates towards this vast, distant territory. Exploring Alaska’s woods and magnificent mountains is a challenge that every outdoor passionate must accept at least one during his/her lifetime. And Anchorage, this young city in the southern part of the Alaska Peninsula (you might find it be hard to believe, but Anchorage was only incorporated in 1920) is the ideal place to start.
Anchorage makes the perfect combination of a modern city – animated by a strong industry and cultural events, and the splendor of the Alaskan wilderness. Surrounded by volcano peaks and smoothened by a maritime climate, Anchorage represents Alaska at its best. There are very few things that are unknown to Anchorage; wheatear we speak of crazy gigs or the Aurora Borealis, Anchorage has them all. But such a unique occasion as a trip to Alaska has its musts: you cannot go as far as Anchorage without experiencing its breathtaking nature and views. And by experiencing I don’t just mean sightseeing, but taking faith in your own hands and head for the great unknown.
Meet the wildlife
Despite Anchorage metropolis status, wild animals can be spotted right at the city limits. It is estimated that over 250 black bears and 60 grizzlies live in the vicinity of Anchorage boroughs. Apart from these fascinating mammals, you can also watch an impressive number of bird species, as well as the popular and apparently inoffensive moose (the true story about the moose is that they provoke fatal injuries to those people who come too close to them; statistically, they are some of the most dangerous wild animals, especially when it comes to moose mama with baby). As for marine animals, you can always rent a boat and try to spot a Beluga whale or catch a big fat salmon! If you are willing to sacrifice the unique chance of seeing these animals in their natural habitats (and by this, I mean the national parks and reservations – adventuring yourself into the wild is not a very good idea) and play for 100% safety, you can pay a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Alaska SeaLife Center or the Alaska Zoo.
Climb a mountain
Or should I say, a glacier? It is a commonly known fact that Alaska has a record number of glaciers. Their blue iridescence against the green, vast woods have become the symbol of Alaska and are the no. 1 reason why people came here. Not far from Anchorage you can visit Alaska’s most famous glacier complex: Portage Glacier and the Begich. Another option is to take a scenic road trip on Seward or Glenn Highways (Seward follows the shores of the Turnagain Arm, one of the most spectacular fjords in the world). Apart from the magnificent glaciers, the surroundings of Anchorage are also watched over by a chain of volcanoes. Mount McKinley, visible in the distant south, is one of Alaska’s still active volcanoes and also the highest peak in North America (20, 320 feet).
Exploring the diverse wilderness that surrounds Anchorage doesn’t imply that you have to neglect this northern refuge’s more ‘urban’ attractions – actually, you can find some useful facts and information in this Anchorage Travel Guide.