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Are you looking into vacationing in Alaska? It’s a great choice. There’s a lot of natural beauty to be seen and fun things to do.
We will look into the town of Girdwood, Alaska and what you can do there.
About Girdwood Alaska
Girdwood is considered a resort town, though that can be because of Hotel Alyeska. It’s a luxury resort at the base of Mount Alyeska. It has a small, tight knit community.
It was originally called “Glacier City” for the huge glaciers that were on top of the surrounding mountains.
18 Fun Things To Do In Girdwood, Alaska
We found a variety of things to do in the city. We tried to find activities of all kinds at different price ranges.
1. Alaska Wildlife Conversation
You can see Alaskan wildlife up close at the 200 acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The center’s mission is to provide refuge for orphaned, injured, and ill animals. All the animals that can’t survive in the wild.
It opened to the public in 1993. Visitors learn about Alaska’s wildlife. Coyotes peek out from behind the brush, while a Bald Eagle swoops in on the salmon remains left by a grizzly bear.
Wood Bison plod through 65 acres of tidal flat terrain, as part of a program that will one day restore the species to the Alaskan wilderness. Animals that can’t be released into the wild are given a permanent home at the center.
You can watch these animals in their natural habitat while learning about them.
2. Alyeska Resort Aerial Tramway
The Alyeska Resort’s Aerial Tramway is a 7-minute ride that brings you to a viewing deck with breathtaking panoramic views of mountains, hanging glaciers, streams, spruce, and a bunch of wildlife.
You can have a picnic or watch the beautiful evening sunset on Mt. Alyeska’s observation deck, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level.
You can also go exploring, berry picking, paragliding, or take a hike.
3. KMTA National Heritage Area Guide
The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is a place whose valleys, mountains, communities, and people tell the larger story of a wild place and a rugged frontier.
The audio guide tells you all about the fascinating history of Alaska.
4. Crow Creek Mine
This mine has been in operation since 1896 and people still find gold today. Your guides will be members of the mining family that keeps Crow Creek operational.
Tour groups are kept small, creating a more intimate environment. It also gives more time for questions.
There is also an audio tour. This is a great kid friendly Girdwood, Alaska activity.
5. Ghost Forest
When the Seward Highway approaches Girdwood, you can see the remains of trees whose roots were swamped with salt water and killed during the 1964 Earthquake. Portage was destroyed when a lot of the ground along Turnagain Arm sank 5 to 9 feet.
At high tide, the town that once laid at sea level was underwater.
6. Girdwood Forest Fair
During the first weekend in July, you can go to the Girdwood Forest Fair. It’s a huge festival celebrating Alaskan music, arts, and crafts. Artists and visitors come from all over Alaska to take part in the fair or just have some fun.
The entire community comes together to make it happen.
7. Alyeska Slush Cup
If you enjoy skiing and funny costumes, then you should travel to Girdwood, Alaska during the 3rd weekend of April. Competitors dress up and try to skim across a 90-foot-long pool of freezing water on skis. Not a lot of people make it.
There are other activities as well, like swimming across a freezing pool, face painting for kids, food booths, and more.
8. Alyeska Resort Blueberry Festival
The Alaskan blueberry is plump, delicious, and so popular that every year Girdwood does a big festival in August. As many as 4,000 people have been going to Girdwood for this festival for the last 7 years.
9. Powder Hound Ski And Bike
In the winter, this place is filled with all kinds of ski equipment in toddler to adult sizes. You can ski in and out, and even buy any skiing stuff you need.
They also offer all types of bike rentals. From hybrid style touring bikes to all mountain and downhill bikes. You can even rent stand up paddle boards as well.
10. Ascending Path-Iceberg Sea Kayaking
Ride the rails or sea kayak through an iceberg strewn lake and explore a glacier. Locally owned Ascending Path designed this outing, packing several exciting adventures into one fun day.
11. Glacier Blue Kayak And Grandview Train Tour
Enjoy the scenery as you kayak the calm waters of Spencer Lake. You will be in the presence of a jagged terminus glacier.
Your time is sandwiched between 2 train rides that offer up some of Alaska’s most scenic rail miles. It’s a fun day in the country’s 2nd largest national forest, the Chugach.
12. Alpine Air Alaska Flightseeing
Flightseeing is the best way to take in all of the Girdwood, Alaska scenery. You can get into a helicopter and soar over Alaska’s glacier filled terrain or out across its waters.
It’s good for anyone, no matter what their age. You can get a 30-minute ride into the 20 mile river valley and the heart of glacier country.
13. Alpine Air Alaska Glacier Dogsledding
If you love dogs, then you will have to fly to Alaska’s dog camp run by the oldest established dog sled tour business. You will travel by helicopter from Girdwood to over a small saddle to land on a glacier.
Then you will be introduced to the dog team. You get to stand on the sled runners and “drive” the dog team or you can sit in the sled and check out your surroundings.
14. Spencer Iceberg Float
This was original hallmark stop that got the Alaska Railroad to bring the Glacier Discover to Spencer Glacier in 2002. This is one of the most scenic glacier river trips in Alaska.
Your trip begins with a scenic ride on Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery train. It runs from Anchorage, Girdwood, and other pick up points along the rail belt.
You get to ride down Turnagain Arm and Placer River Valley and into remoter areas of Alaska that you can’t get to by car.
You’ll disembark at the Spencer Glacier Whistlestop, and gear up for an exploration of the iceberg filled Spencer Lake.
15. Alaska Wild Guides Jet Ski Tours
Tour the tidewater glaciers of Prince William Sound on a jet ski. Go with Alaska Wild Guides out of Whittier to experience area’s unique sights and sounds while skiing.
16. Winner Creek Trail
Winner Creak Trail in Girdwood, Alaska is one of the favorite trails of locals. It’s an easy 3 mile hike or bike ride on a wide, well developed trail with gentle elevation gain that winds through America’s northernmost rainforest.
Cross a wooden bridge that’s over a thundering blue water gorge that connects to a hand tram high above thrashing Glacier Creek. It ends on Crow Creek Mine Road just below the mine.
17. Alyeska North Face Trail
This has a stunning mountain view high above the valley floor below. It leaves from the Alyeska Resort tram building and climbs steep switchbacks 2.2 miles and 2000 feet to the mid mountain restaurant where you get a free aerial tram ride back.
18. Crow Pass Trail
This is considered to be one of the best hikes in all of the Chugach Mountains. It follows a part of the original Iditarod Trail, including its highest point.
It’s a 21-mile trail, which most people do in 2 days, but the first 4 miles will lead you past some amazing scenery. You will find glaciers, waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife, mine ruins, and berries.
It’s not usually recommend in winter due to avalanches, but it’s snow free by late June.
Lots Of Fun Things To Do In Girdwood, Alaska
There are so many things to do in this town. Whether you are by yourself or with your family there is something for you.
You can wander through the local scenery through trails and hikes. If you prefer something more directed, you can take a tour through helicopters, trains, and jet skis.
If physical activity isn’t for you, you can check out the local festivals and stores. You can learn about the state’s history or look into the local native cultures and past.
There is so much more to do in Girdwood, Alaska than we listed here. Make sure you do your own research to see what this town has to offer. You should be able to find something you like.