Approximately 35 miles south of Anchorage, nestled below the Chugach Mountains, you will find the small community of Girdwood. With its breathtaking view of Alaska's vast wilderness, hanging glaciers and virgin beauty, enjoy year-round activities, incredible Alaskan hospitality and a variety of excellent accommodations to meet your individual needs. Girdwood is where you also find Alaska's premier year-round destination, Alyeska Ski Resort.
Alyeska Resort is beautiful and charming winter, spring, summer and fall. Winter offers world class skiing and snowboarding and summer brings stunning beauty filled with colorful wildflowers. Two 60-passenger trams operate year-round, providing a scenic ride up Mt. Alyeska and ending at the 2,300-foot level where you enjoy a view of Turnagain Arm and seven area glaciers.
While there be sure to visit Crow Creek Mine. Built in 1898, the camp includes a mess hall, blacksmith's shop, bunkhouse and several other restored buildings. See a gold panning demonstration and then strike out on your own at a nearby creek.
The Girdwood Marketplace, featuring live music and local artisans, is held every Sunday throughout the summer at the Girdwood Lions Park and an enjoyable way to spend a morning or afternoon. The Girdwood Center of Visual Arts is a coop studio featuring local artists and is open daily in summer. Both activities are free.
Girdwood/Alyeska also hosts the annual Girdwood Forest Faire, a popular summer crafts fair held each July. This weekend event features crafts, food and entertainment and draws a ton of locals and visitors. The Alyeska Blueberry and Mountain Arts Festival takes place in August and features local artists, live music and the Classic Alyeska Mountain Run.
Surrounded by Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest, Girdwood and the surrounding area offers plenty of hiking and adventure, including kayaking, raft trips, mountain biking, wildlife viewing and it is a popular place for paragliding. Guided snowmachine adventures are available year-round, with summer trips on one of the surrounding glaciers.
Girdwood/Alyeska is the perfect place to anchor your Alaska experience. Girdwood is the gateway to Portage Glacier, located a short distance down the road and featuring the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center as well as boat cruises to get a closer look at the glacier. Just across the way is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a 140-acre refuge dedicated to the care of orphaned, injured and displaced Alaska wildlife.
Also down the road and through the Anton Anderson tunnel is Whittier, a major gateway into Prince William Sound and the base for a ton of glacier and wildlife cruise operators. The Kenai Peninsula is next with its famous fishing, unlimited adventure and many communities, each offering its own special attractions. Anchorage, with all the largest community in Alaska has to offer, is only 35 miles the other direction.
Location: Girdwood/Alyeska is located on Turnagain Arm, in the Municipality of Anchorage, 35 miles southwest of downtown Anchorage. The Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest border Girdwood on three sides.
Access: By road on the Seward Highway, 35 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Accommodations: One resort, numerous condos/chalets/cabins/bed and breakfasts; eight restaurants and cafes.