7 Day Trips from Anchorage AK – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Anchorage, Alaska, serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning natural beauty and diverse attractions of the Last Frontier. With a myriad of exciting destinations within a short drive, day trips from Anchorage AK offer a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of this rugged state. From majestic glaciers and wildlife encounters to charming towns and outdoor adventures, these day trips promise unforgettable experiences that showcase the best of Alaska’s wilderness and culture. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to embark on memorable journeys just a stone’s throw away from Anchorage.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: Approximately 125 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 2.5 to 3 hours by car
  • How to get there: You can reach Kenai Fjords National Park by driving south on the Seward Highway from Anchorage. Alternatively, you can take the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward and then arrange for a shuttle or tour to the park.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Kenai Fjords National Park

Exploring Kenai Fjords National Park: Things to do

Kenai Fjords National Park is a must-see destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park’s rugged coastline, towering glaciers, and diverse wildlife offer a unique and unforgettable experience. One of the top activities to do in the park is taking a boat tour to witness the majestic tidewater glaciers calving into the ocean. You can also go hiking on the park’s numerous trails, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. Wildlife spotting is another popular activity, with opportunities to see sea otters, whales, puffins, and other marine animals in their natural habitat. For a more adventurous experience, you can opt for kayaking or camping in the park to truly immerse yourself in its pristine wilderness. Whether you’re seeking breathtaking scenery, wildlife encounters, or outdoor adventures, Kenai Fjords National Park has something for everyone.

Matanuska Glacier

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: 100 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 2 hours
  • How to get there: Take the Glenn Highway (AK-1 N) from Anchorage towards Palmer. Continue on AK-1 N until you reach the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Matanuska Glacier

Exploring Matanuska Glacier: Things to do

Matanuska Glacier is a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. This massive glacier offers a unique opportunity to witness the raw power of nature up close. One of the top activities to do at Matanuska Glacier is hiking. The glacier provides a stunning backdrop for a hike, with its icy blue hues contrasting against the rugged Alaskan landscape.

For those looking for a more adrenaline-pumping experience, ice climbing on Matanuska Glacier is a popular choice. Guided tours are available for all skill levels, allowing visitors to safely explore the crevasses and ice formations of the glacier.

Photography enthusiasts will also find Matanuska Glacier to be a paradise for capturing stunning shots of the icy expanse and surrounding mountains. The ever-changing light creates a dynamic canvas for photographers to work with, making each visit a unique experience.

Overall, Matanuska Glacier offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness the beauty and power of nature in a breathtaking setting. Whether you’re hiking, ice climbing, or simply taking in the awe-inspiring views, a visit to Matanuska Glacier is sure to be a memorable experience.

Talkeetna

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: Approximately 115 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 2.5 to 3 hours by car
  • How to get there: You can reach Talkeetna from Anchorage by driving along the George Parks Highway. Alternatively, you can take the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Talkeetna Depot.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Talkeetna

Exploring Talkeetna: Things to do

Talkeetna, a charming Alaskan town, is a must-see destination for those seeking an authentic Alaskan experience. Known as the gateway to Denali National Park, Talkeetna offers a range of activities that showcase the natural beauty and adventurous spirit of Alaska.

One of the top things to do in Talkeetna is to embark on a flightseeing tour of Denali. These scenic flights provide breathtaking views of North America’s tallest peak and the surrounding wilderness. For outdoor enthusiasts, Talkeetna offers excellent opportunities for hiking, fishing, and river rafting. The Talkeetna River is renowned for its salmon fishing, attracting anglers from around the world.

Visitors can also explore the historic downtown area, which is filled with quirky shops, art galleries, and restaurants serving up delicious Alaskan cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum to learn about the town’s rich history and unique characters.

For a truly memorable experience, consider staying in one of the cozy cabins or lodges overlooking the majestic Alaska Range. Talkeetna’s small-town charm, stunning scenery, and outdoor adventures make it a destination not to be missed on your Alaskan itinerary.

Hatcher Pass

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: Approximately 50 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 1.5 hours by car
  • How to get there: Take the Glenn Highway (AK-1 N) from Anchorage and continue onto the Palmer-Fishhook Road. Follow the signs to Hatcher Pass. There are no direct bus or train stations to Hatcher Pass.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Hatcher Pass

Exploring Hatcher Pass: Things to do

Hatcher Pass is a must-see destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Anchorage, Alaska. This rugged mountain pass offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Talkeetna Mountains and is a paradise for hikers, photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

One of the top activities at Hatcher Pass is hiking along the various trails that wind through the alpine tundra and meadows. The Gold Mint Trail is a popular choice, offering stunning vistas of the mountains and valleys below. For a more challenging hike, visitors can tackle the Reed Lakes Trail, which leads to beautiful turquoise lakes nestled amidst the peaks.

In addition to hiking, Hatcher Pass is also a great spot for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for Dall sheep, ptarmigan, and marmots that call this area home. Birdwatchers will delight in the chance to spot golden eagles and peregrine falcons soaring overhead.

Photographers will find endless opportunities to capture the natural beauty of Hatcher Pass, from the vibrant wildflowers that carpet the hillsides in summer to the snow-capped peaks that glisten in the winter sun. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times to photograph this stunning landscape.

Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors or simply looking to unwind in a serene setting, Hatcher Pass offers something for everyone. Plan a day trip from Anchorage to experience the raw beauty of this Alaskan gem.

Whittier

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: 60 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • How to get there: You can reach Whittier from Anchorage by driving through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, which is the longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America. Alternatively, you can take the Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery train from Anchorage to Whittier.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Whittier

Exploring Whittier: Things to do

Whittier, a charming coastal town in Alaska, is a must-see destination for those seeking a unique blend of history, nature, and adventure. One of the top attractions in Whittier is the Portage Glacier, where visitors can take a cruise to witness the stunning blue ice up close. The Begich Towers, a former military facility turned residential building, offers a glimpse into the town’s intriguing past.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Whittier, from kayaking in Prince William Sound to hiking the scenic trails that surround the town. The Whittier Harbor is a bustling hub of activity, with fishing charters and wildlife tours departing regularly. Don’t miss the opportunity to spot whales, sea otters, and seabirds in their natural habitat.

For history buffs, a visit to the Whittier Museum provides insight into the town’s role during World War II and its transformation into a thriving community. The 14-story Buckner Building, a remnant of the military era, stands as a haunting yet fascinating reminder of Whittier’s past.

Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, or historical exploration, Whittier offers a diverse range of experiences that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages. Plan your day trip to Whittier and discover the hidden gems of this Alaskan gem.

Denali National Park

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: Approximately 240 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 4.5 to 5 hours by car
  • How to get there: You can take the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, with the train station located in downtown Anchorage. Alternatively, you can also opt for a bus service like the Park Connection Motorcoach that offers direct transportation to the park.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Denali National Park

Exploring Denali National Park: Things to do

Denali National Park is a must-see destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The park is home to the highest peak in North America, Denali, standing at 20,310 feet tall. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities that showcase the park’s stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife.

One of the top things to do in Denali National Park is to embark on a wildlife tour. The park is teeming with wildlife such as grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. Wildlife enthusiasts will have the opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

For adventure seekers, hiking in Denali National Park offers unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. With over 6 million acres of wilderness to explore, hikers can choose from a variety of trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks.

Photography enthusiasts will find endless opportunities to capture the beauty of Denali National Park. The ever-changing light conditions create stunning landscapes that are perfect for capturing memorable moments.

Overall, Denali National Park is a destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, wildlife encounters, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in nature or an adrenaline-pumping experience, Denali National Park has something for everyone.

Portage Glacier

Travel tips

  • Distance from Anchorage AK: Approximately 50 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 1.5 hours by car
  • How to get there: Take the Seward Highway south from Anchorage, then follow the signs to Portage Glacier. Alternatively, you can take the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to the Portage Glacier station.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Portage Glacier

Exploring Portage Glacier: Things to do

Portage Glacier is a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. The glacier, a stunning remnant of the last ice age, offers visitors a chance to witness the raw power and beauty of nature up close.

One of the top activities at Portage Glacier is taking a boat tour on Portage Lake. These tours offer breathtaking views of the glacier and surrounding mountains, allowing visitors to appreciate the scale and majesty of the ice. For those looking to get even closer, kayaking on the lake is a popular option, providing a more intimate experience with the glacier.

Hiking trails around Portage Glacier offer opportunities for exploration and wildlife spotting. Keep an eye out for bald eagles soaring overhead and black bears foraging in the surrounding forests. The scenery is truly awe-inspiring, with snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear waters creating a picture-perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures.

Visitors can also learn about the science and history of the glacier at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center. Interactive exhibits and ranger-led programs provide insight into the formation and movement of glaciers, as well as the impact of climate change on these icy giants.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat into nature or an adrenaline-pumping outdoor experience, Portage Glacier has something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to witness the beauty and power of this iconic Alaskan landmark.

Share the Post:

Related Posts