During your time in Alaska you will work hard serving. However, you will have time to enjoy the beautiful state of Alaska.
On your last Saturday afternoon, your team will have an opportunity to See Alaska.
Several of the preplanned activities start with a drive down the Turnagain Arm (Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage Glacier Valley Hike and Crow Pass Hike). These three activities are approximately one hour south of Anchorage and the drive on the Seward Highway along the Turnagain Arm is one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
The Turnagain Arm is known for one of the most dramatic Bore Tides in the world. If you don’t know what a Bore Tide is you can read more about the Alaskan Bore Tide at this link:
You may also get lucky and see a pod of Beluga Whales rolling in or out with the tide or spot the infamous Dall Sheep on the steep rocky mountains. You can read about the Turnagain Arm at the following link:
Read below to explore adventures we’ve experienced or come up with an adventure on your own:
Visit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
See Moose, Black Bear, Brown Bear, Muskox and so much more at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation, education, and quality animal care. They’re also dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife. The center is located on about 700 acres at the southern edge of Turnagain Arm and the entrance to Portage Valley in the Municipality of Anchorage.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a refuge for orphaned or injured wildlife, as well as home or temporary home to captive born and translocated wildlife such as wood bison. The center has reintroduced elk back into Alaska, and is currently involved in a program for the reintroduction of the wood bison.
The cool thing about visiting the Wildlife Conservation Center is that you are sure to see Black Bear, Brown Bear and Moose even if we never see them in the wild. This is absolutely one of the best Bear exhibits I have ever seen. This is a very enjoyable low stress way to see an interesting part of Alaska.
You can read more about the Conservation Center and see pictures at the following link:
Portage Glacier Hike (Easy)
The Portage Glacier valley is very stunning and was at one time the location of one of the most beautiful accessible glaciers in Alaska. Today, with the retreat of the glaciers it is home to an incredible nature center and excellent trails.
It is possible to see the glacier but it requires purchasing a $40 ticket to take a 1 hour boat tour to the glacier. You can read about the Boat Tour at this link:
If the Boat Tour is something your team is interested let us know and we’ll coordinate for you.
The nature center is mostly free. There is a small fee to view an excellent movie on the changes in the Alaskan topography. The video is really well done with beautiful footage of glaciers and remote Alaskan villages. The video also talks about the historic earthquake of 1964 that leveled Anchorage. You can read about the nature center at this link:
There is a short 1 mile hike near the nature center that is not very difficult to walk at all. The trail is wide open and relatively flat. Normally well into early July there is snow at the end of the trail for you to play in.
Crow Pass Hike (Moderate)
The Crow Pass hike is a 21-mile hike that starts near Girdwood (on the Turnagain Arm) and ends at the Eagle River Nature Center. It is not physically possible for us to hike the entire Crow Pass Trail in the time we have available.
If your team (or a portion of your team) want to hike the first four miles of the trail one of our staff would be more than happy to lead you. The rest of your team can enjoy a more moderate adventure. The trail is well defined and safe and incredibly beautiful. The elevation gain going in is moderately aggressive and will take the wind out of you. However, the views of the valley and the glacier will also take the breath out of you.
You can read more about the Crow Pass hike at this link:
Remember as you read the article we will only have time for the first 4 miles before we have to turn around and head back. The 21 mile hike may be something you want to plan to come back and conquer in the future. I would recommend planning at least three days to complete the hike. We did it last year in two days. We hiked 6 miles the first day and 15 miles the second. I’m surprised someone (me) did not get hurt the second day. That was just way too much. However, it was one of the most amazing experiences we have had hiking in Alaska.
The Butte Hike
The Butte trailhead is north of Anchorage and offers an alternative to those that have already seen some of the sights of the Turnagain Arm or are more interested in seeing the wide-open Matanuska Valley and the Knick Glacier Valley.
The Butte Hike is a nice 3 mile roundtrip hike to the top of the Butte that provides phenomenal 360 degree views of the Matanuska Valley, the Knik Arm and the Knik Glacier.
Here are some links for more information and pictures:
Drive Toward Mt McKinley for Pictures
Mount McKinley, or Denali, is at least a five-hour drive from Anchorage. Making the drive all the way to the National Park at the mountain is not possible in the amount of time we have. However, on a beautiful sunny day it is a stunning drive up the Parks Highway toward Denali. The beauty of this drive is appreciated by making many stops at the scenic pull offs to take pictures of the mountain and read the placards. We would eat our lunch with the view of Mt McKinley in the background and enjoy the isolation of being in Alaska.
At over 20,000 feet you can see Denali from hundreds of miles away. As you make the drive, the mountain is seen from many different angles.
It is incredibly beautiful!
Blueberry Hill Hike (Easy)
Blueberry Hill is part of a very popular hike right here in Anchorage called Flat Top. Blueberry Hill is approximately a 3 mile round trip hike. The hike is moderately strenuous in some parts but overall it is fairly easy. The views of Anchorage, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, The Cook Inlet and the Turnagain Arm are stunning and make phenomenal group pictures.
Here is a link to a site with some reviews of the trail and some pictures:
Mount Baldy Hike (Moderate)
Hiking Mount Baldy is very local to Eagle River. It is a 3 mile round trip hike that is quite strenuous at times.
The drive from the park to the trailhead is only about 2 miles. The view of the Knik Arm from the trailhead is incredible. You can also see downtown Anchorage and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. After the challenging hike to the top you will be rewarded with many more panoramic views.
Here are some articles you where you can read more about the Baldy Mountain Hike: