Although summer is just one of four great seasons to visit the Anchorage area, it’s the most popular.
With virtually endless sunlight, abundant wildlife, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the region’s natural beauty with outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why visitor numbers reach their zenith during the summer months.
Each summer brings a new crop of experiences as local outfitters refine packages to meet visitor demands and tastes.
For Outdoor Enthusiasts
A new company, Hike Alaska, is offering a variety of hikes throughout the Anchorage area, with walks ranging from four to 24 hours in duration. Walks as simple as three hours down the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail right in the heart of the city to full-day ascents to peaks treasured by locals such as O’Malley Peak or Flattop are available for day-trippers. There are also overnight excursions to Williwaw Lakes or Hidden Lake for those wanting the full campout experience.
Chugach Adventures is offering a new overnight camping hike through the hanging glaciers of Bartlett Glacier Valley, including the eponymous glacier known for its stunning blue ice. An overnight campout completes guests’ immersion in a full two days of wild splendor. The hike begins at the Alaska Railroad’s historic Grandview Whistle Stop.
Ascending Path has new helicopter flights from the foot of Spencer Glacier to the top of the glacier, where guides are situated for the season to scope out the best opportunities for hiking and cave exploring. Guests also have the option of spending an overnight on the glacier with two scenic helicopter tours and a luxury “glamping” experience.
For Culture Champions
The Anchorage Museum has a number of permanent collections, notably the world’s most extensive collection of Native Alaskan art, artifact, and handiwork, in addition to fine art by Alaskan and Northern artists. Also of interest are the temporary exhibits, which give insight and context to the lives of Alaskans past and present.
Through January 2020, the Alaskans and Salmon exhibit explores the inexorable link between Alaskans and salmon, from native collection, storage, and cooking practices to modern sport and commercial fishing topics. The exhibit is presented in conjunction with the non-partisan group The Salmon Project, which seeks to raise awareness of issues surrounding sustainability in Alaska’s salmon industry.
Through October 13, the PBS Kids series Molly of Denali, the first national children’s television series featuring a native Alaskan as a lead character, is the seminal source for The Culture of Media: Representation from Nanook to Molly. The exhibit provides additional context to the series with a review of historical and contemporary media perspectives on indigenous Alaskans throughout the 20th-Century.
The new Hyatt Place Anchorage Midtown offers summer visitors a residential-style stay experience centrally located to Midtown Anchorage’s retail and entertainment options. Pizza lovers will note that it’s near the world-famous Moose’s Tooth.
The historic Copper Whale Inn may not be new, but it’s under new ownership: Salmon Berry Tours (with whom I had a lovely tour during my winter visit) has expanded into hospitality with this delightful downtown inn with views of Cook Inlet and a photo-worthy garden.
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