Alaska, United States

Activities to Do

Hike & Bike

Hundreds of miles of trails beckon from dozens of trailheads. The Trail of Blue Ice offers a flat, family-friendly outing through scenic Portage Valley. Devil’s Pass Trail is a popular portal for mountain bikers into the heart of the Kenai Mountains and Resurrection Pass. Johnson Pass Trail follows a portion of the pioneer wagon trail between Seward and Hope. See all Chugach National Forest parks & trails.


Williwaw Campground nestles close to Portage Valley recreation. Porcupine Campground allows you to explore the gold rush hamlet of Hope. The Russian River Campground is legendary for red salmon fishing with a classic Forest Service layout. In total, there are more than 20 official campgrounds, plus unlimited dispersed or backcountry camping.

Rent a Cabin

Alaskans love to rent Chugach National Forest cabins. More than 40 public use cabins span the forest in all sorts of habitats, from remote beaches on islands to overlooks perched above glaciers to outposts in mountain passes. Reserve them well in advance, especially if you’re looking for weekend dates.

Do the Whistle Stop

For a unique outing to an active lake-terminating glacier, take the Glacier Discovery Train to the Spencer Glacier Whistlestop in the mountains beyond the head of Turnagain Arm. Colorado Recreation offers guided hikes, mountaineering and kayaking amid icebergs, with camping and hiking options. The very popular Spencer Bench public use cabin offers a bird’s eye view of the scene.

View Wildlife

With its unique highway access—often traversing valleys with sweeping views of surrounding mountains—the Chugach National Forest offers extraordinary potential to see wild animals during road trips. Try Tern Lake where the Seward and Sterling highways meet, with potential views of Dall sheep, mountain goats, black bears, moose, terns, swans and bald eagles. For a primal encounter with salmon determined to spawn, visit the Williwaw Fish Viewing Platform in Portage Valley or hike to the Russian River Falls. Marine wildlife thrives in Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay, accessible aboard cruises out of Whittier, Valdez and Seward.

Visit Glaciers

Living, flowing ice dominates much of the national forest, with a glaciers perched in just about every alpine nook or remote valley. The famous Portage Glacier spills icebergs into its own lake, with an easy hike to Byron Glacier (where there be ice worms!) close by. The Begich, Boggs Visitor Center on the lakeshore features interactive displays and information about the glacier, plus general natural history, heritage and geography about the region. Or ride a marine charter to tidewater glaciers in Prince William Sound or Resurrection Bay from Whittier, Valdez and Seward.

Places to Visit

Tern Lake Day Use Area

This is a day use site that offers 13 pic­nic sites with tables, a fish view­ing plat­form, water, toi­lets, an infor­ma­tion board, and fire grates.

Hope Point Trail

This fam­i­ly-friend­ly, 2.5‑mile trail climbs 3,600 feet to a sum­mit halfway between the sea and the heavens

Heney Ridge Trail

This 4.1‑mile trail starts through for­est and muskeg mead­ows. You’ll cross a beau­ti­ful bridge over a creek that in mid-July and August is full of spawn­ing chum salmon Then once you’re at the top take in views of Cor­do­va, Nel­son Bay, and Prince William Sound. 

Portage Pass Trail

This 2‑mile-long, fam­i­ly-friend­ly trail, which begins 90 min­utes south of Anchor­age at the far end of the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel, remains the only easy way to see Portage Glac­i­er on foot. And it’s has a spec­tac­u­lar con­clu­sion: After crest­ing Portage Pass, the trail drops through glacial scrub before pop­ping out on the wide grav­el shores of Portage Lake, direct­ly across from the snout of gor­geous Portage Glacier.

Crown Point Mine Trail

No oth­er min­ing trail on the Kenai Penin­su­la climbs as high or takes in more exten­sive views as the 6‑mile-long Crown Mine Trail. Begin­ning some 2 hours south of Anchor­age on the appro­pri­ate­ly named Mine Road just south of Trail Lake, this trail climbs to 3,900 feet above sea lev­el to a unique spot — a glacial cirque lit­tered with min­ing paraphernalia.

Colorado Creek

If you have some out­door expe­ri­ence and an adven­tur­ous spir­it, con­sid­er this 11-mile tra­verse up the Col­orado Creek val­ley and down the Sum­mit Creek. Begin­ning 2 hours south of Anchor­age, this tra­verse doesn’t involve any rock scram­bling, riv­er cross­ings, or ardu­ous bush­whack­ing. But if you feel com­fort­able hik­ing in wide and track­less coun­try, you may reap the reward of hav­ing an entire val­ley to yourself.