Great Land of Alaska

Anchorage & Vicinity

Anchorage is Alaska's most populous city. About half of Alaska's population is in Anchorage or one of the nearby smaller towns (Girdwood, Eagle River-Chugiak, Peter's Creek, Birchwood, Eklutna, Palmer, or Wasilla). Alaska's main airport is the interational airport in Anchorage, so most visitors' first view of Alaska is Anchorage.

Anchorage has most of the amenities and conveneinces of any large city: movie theaters, shopping malls, fine restaurants, and an indoor water park to name a few. Many adventure-seekers find enough to keep them busy near Anchorage; fishing, skiing, snowboarding, wind surfing, hiking, and hunting are all a stone's throw away.

Anchorage is located on a large peninsula, bordered to the north by Knik Arm, the west by Cook Inlet, the south by Turnagain Arm, and the east by the Chugach Mountains.

Anchorage

Aerial view of station Anchorage from mountain

A couple areal views of Anchorage. In the center of the first picture is the TV station that I used to work for. The second picture shows Anchorage as it appears when viewed from the Chugach Mountains to the east.

Downtown Anchorage

Downtown Anchorage Downtown Anchorage Downtown Anchorage 4th Avenue Ship Creek and downtown Anchorage

Downtown Anchorage has the appearance of many large cities--a few short skyscrapers, busy sidewalks, many streets, and numerous shops and other businesses. Ship Creek flows past downtown Anchorage and its large run of salmon makes it a popular fishing area for both Anchorage residents and visitors from outside.

Lake Hood/Spenard Lake

Rust's Cessna 207 taking off from Lake Hood Ketchum Beaver landing on Lake Hood Pilot fueling airplane

Lake Hood and Spenard Lake are two lakes joined together by a couple canals. Together, these two lakes make up the world's largest and busiest sea plane base. Most seaplanes based on this lake are privately owned, and many of the others belong to various flightseeing companies and fly-in fishing/hunting charter companies such as Rust's FlyingService, Ketchum Air, and Ellison Air (the three aircraft shown here).

Eagle River

Part of town in valley Eagle River in valley Eagle River from mountainside

Eagle River is a small town located northeast of Anchorage. It lies along the base of the Chugach Mountains and partially in the Eagle River valley. It was annexed by Anchorage in the 1970's without putting it to a vote by its citizens, and there is currently a movement to secede from the Anchorage municipality.

Girdwood

Girdwood Cable car house Cable car Ski lift

Girdwood is a small town located near the end of Turnagain Arm, about a 45 minute drive east of Anchorage. It's located in a wide valley of the Chugach Mountains. The nearby mountains focuses the brunt of many snowstorms in this area, giving some of the surrounding mountains a large amount of snowfall. This works well as the famous Alyeska Ski Resort is located just outside of Girdwood.

Portage

Alaska Railroad

Portage was once a small town at the end of Turnagain Arm. However, after the 1964 Good Friday quake caused the ground to sink and become marsh, the town was abandoned. It's not completely deserted, however. A small train station is located at Portage to take visitors on a tour of Spencer and Grandview Glaciers, a few miles to the south and accessible only by railroad. A small restaurant sits at the intersection of the Seward Highway and Portage Valley road, and a wild animal park is also located here.


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