Easy to difficult outings near Anchorage Hitting the trail is a great way to enjoy summer in Alaska—it’s good exercise, you can unplug from technology for a few hours, and you might encounter wild animals. Here are five scenic hikes within easy reach of Anchorage. 1. Turnagain Arm Trail (easy) With four trailheads along this approximately 10-mile route, you can do a quick hike or bring a picnic and make a day of it. South-facing and snow-free early in the season, this trail is a great introduction to Alaskan hiking—you’ll see wildflowers, mountain views, and maybe even Dall sheep or brown or black bears. • • • 2. Dew Mound (easy) Trek through a forest of birch, cottonwood, and spruce on this 6.1-mile loop. Take a lunch break at the exposed rock of Dew Mound overlooking a quiet pond surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Watch for moose, bears, and many species…

By Steven Merritt With its vast wilderness and the chance to get an up close and personal look at wildlife, visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve often are pulled away from the core area of the park entrance, but there’s plenty to do in and around the Visitor Center—especially for day hikers. While many of the shorter trails in the area stick to the lowlands near the visitor center campus, the Mount Healy Overlook Trail—one of the steepest in the park and often lightly trafficked—offers a perfect outing with a hikers’ trifecta of views, exercise, and elevation gain. Located off the Taiga Trail, not far from the Visitor Center, it rises steadily through spruce forest before reaching benches at an overlook near the halfway point. From there, switchbacks introduce a steeper climb as you rise above tree line on your way to an elevation gain of 1,700 feet in…

Follow Alaska’s fall colors south to Lost Lake

[by Mollie Foster]

As spectacular as they are, it’s surprisingly easy to miss fall colors in Alaska. Once the leaves start changing hues, they only stay on the trees for two to three weeks, with peak foliage lasting only 48 hours in some areas.

Juneau was Tlingit land long before the arrival of Russian explorers, prospectors, miners, settlers and later, cruise ships. But it was gold in the 1880s that spurred the birth of the town. In 1906, Juneau became Alaska ‘s capital when the government was transferred from Sitka. Today, federal, state and local governments employ one out of every two Juneau workers, and cruise liners bring an influx of seasonal revenue to the port. While government buildings dominate the skyline, you’ll find plenty of history, nature and culture to explore in Juneau. Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway offers spectacular views of Juneau and Gastineau Channel. Two 60- passenger aerial trams transport visitors from the downtown waterfront to a modern mountaintop complex at the 1,800-foot level of Mount Roberts. From there, avid hikers can trek to the 3,819-foot summit. The Alaskan Hotel Stop in for a cocktail. The Alaskan Hotel is…