Explore Your Backyard

Summer & Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop

The train to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop

Hop the train for a no-driving option into the Chugach. This remote experience is only accessible by way of train. The Alaska Railroad drops you off at Spencer Glacier, the first of a series of “whistle stops” being developed in the Chugach. Once you get off the train you will have your choice of recreation possibilities: hiking, day trips, camping, picnics, and wildlife viewing.

Take advantage of a guided tour along the fully accessible 2.6 mile trail to Spencer Glacier. The trail has outstanding views of picturesque Spencer Glacier. If a picnic is more your style, the area boasts a historically themed shelter, interpretive kiosks, and campsites.

Planning - Start from the Alaska Railroad depot in downtown Anchorage, or from Girdwood. From May through September. Check the Alaska Railroad website for exact dates.

What's near by - Float among the icebergs and down the Placer River with Chugach Adventure Guides. Travel through Grandview Pass and the historic “loop district” on the Alaska Railroad.

Fall & Coho Fishing on the Kenai-Russian River

A fisherman netting a coho salmon on the Kenai RIver

The summer sockeye (red) salmon runs draw the infamous crowds, but both solitude and fish can be found later in the year. With a season that starts in early August and continues through September, this is your chance to catch the “big one” (coho or silvers average between 10-12 lbs) without all the crowds of summer. Fall silvers can be energetic, so be sure to bring your waterproof gear and a camera to capture your catch and the fall colors.

Planning - Head down the Seward Highway to the Sterling Highway intersection (milepost 81). Campground is at milepost 54 on the Sterling Highway.

What's near by - Fall hiking on the Russian Lakes trail or camping at the Russian River and Quartz Creek campgrounds. Reasonable fall prices on accommodations. This is one of the best times for wildlife viewing.

Winter & Trout Lake Cabin on Resurrection Pass Trail

XC skiers on the Resurrection Pass Trail headed to Trout Lake cabin

Winter is a great time to head to this cabin. Only seven miles down the trail, it provides the perfect day of exercise before relaxing in front of a warm woodstove. Your options for travel to the cabin increase in the winter. Hiking a packed trail, skiing, snowshoeing and, during odd numbered years, snowmachining mean there is something for the whole family. If you’re lucky the wind will have blown the lake smooth and you can practice your double axels on the ice.

Planning - Head out from Anchorage on the Seward Highway to the Sterling Highway turnoff (milepost 81). Milepost 52.8 is the trailhead. Note: Winter travel from Sterling Highway trailhead is not recommended. Use West Juneau Road or Bean Creek Route.

What's near by - World-class snowmachining in Turnagain or around Crescent Creek.

Spring & The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival

Shorebirds on the Copper River Delta

The most inviting small town in Alaska just may be Cordova, an Alaskan fishing community and birder’s paradise. Each year, during the first weekend in May, the community welcomes 16-20 million shorebirds to the Copper River Delta, the largest contiguous wetlands complex on North America’s Pacific Coast. Community events, workshops, and educational opportunities are offered throughout the week.

Planning - Travel to Cordova from Anchorage by Alaska Airlines or ERA Air (www. alaskaair.com). The ferry leaves from Whittier, 60 miles southeast of Anchorage, and crosses scenic Prince William Sound. More information is available at the Cordova Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Marine Highway (www.akmhs.com)

What's near by - Take a hike on the Alaganik boardwalk and get in some world-class birdwatching.