Anchorage Alaska may just be the perfect place to try the sport of snowshoeing–with its unbelievable scenery, abundance of wildlife and excellent snowshoe trails. Within a 45-minute drive of the city there are plenty of parks, resorts and trails that all cater to beginners with amenities, snowshoe rentals and clearly marked trails.
With plenty of opportunity to catch a glimpse or two of the high moose population and guided rangers to trek you along the land; Anchorage is begging to be explored on snowshoes. Below are our top five-day trips for snowshoe beginners.
5. Eagle River Nature Center
The perfect beginner snowshoe destination in Anchorage for groups and families is Eagle River Nature Center. Located just a short drive from the city, this breathtaking nature center offers views of plunging waterfalls and dramatic cliffs. There are snowshoe and binocular rentals available visitors–you just need warm clothes and a yearning to experience nature.
With easy trails with options to loop back before the end it’s the perfect place to try this sport. If you are feeling adventurous and are fully prepared, try your hand at backcountry camping at one of the yurts for rent. Popular beginner snowshoe trails include the 0.7-mile Rodak Nature Loop and the 2.8-mile Albert Loop Trail. Keep your eyes peeled for bears and moose and spend the day exploring the beautiful nature of Eagle River Nature Center.
Visit the website to learn more: http://www.ernc.org/.
4. Denali National Park (Special Mention)
Although not in Anchorage, snowshoeing in Denali National Park deserves a special mention in this top five list. Winter is a magical time in Denali National Park where the white snow blankets the ground and the Northern Lights come shining through. Some would say it is the perfect time to strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore this beautiful park.
Free snowshoe rentals to every visitor to the park along with detailed trail maps that can be found at the impressive visitors centre make this the perfect beginner spot. Guided ranger snowshoe hikes are offered on the weekends starting in February and provide the perfect starting point.
Many snowshoe and ski trails loop right around the park’s entrance making them easy to access. Finish your day at the visitor’s centre warming your toes around the fireplace and taking in a short film.
Find out more at http://www.nps.gov/dena/index.htm.
Please note: It’s important to be aware that Denali National Park isn’t considered a simple day trip. The park is quite a distance from Anchorage, but it certainly deserves to be explored. Plan accordingly.
3. Kincaid Park
Offering gorgeous views of the Chugagh Mountains, Kincaid Park is the easiest way to get deep into the woods without leaving the city. Offering one of America’s top trail systems along with the largest population of moose in Anchorage; beginners will delight in trying their hand at snowshoeing here. Beginners can try their snowshoes out at the motor cross track that is closed in the winter to motorized vehicles but perfect to test out your ability on your snowshoes.
There are no rentals here so you will have to bring your own. Detailed trail maps can be found online. The groomed trails are shared by many snow loving enthusiasts so please keep your head up and be aware of visitors, both people and animals.
Find out more at http://www.muni.org/departments/parks/pages/parkdistrictsw.aspx.
2. Russian Jack Springs Park
A golf course that is turned into a snowshoer’s paradise is our next stop on our top 5 list of best beginner trails in Anchorage, Alaska. The wooded area surrounding the park makes this the perfect place for beginners to “blaze” their own trails without the fear of getting lost.
You have to bring your snowshoes with you to this spot, but don’t worry there are plenty of rental spots nearby in the town. Groomed trails set the pace for skiers but venture off those trails and explore, keeping your eyes open for the moose that frequent the area.
If you tire of snowshoeing, make sure to bring your sled and head over to the hill south of the chalet for a fast ride down, or warm your hands at the nearby greenhouse. Backcountry snowshoeing for beginners; what could be better?
Visit their website at http://www.muni.org/Departments/parks/Pages/Russian%20Jack%20Springs.pdf.
1. Alyeska Resort
Located 45 minutes outside of the city is a resort that caters perfectly to the beginner snowshoer. Alyeska Resort sits in the middle of a glacier carved valleys and provides breathtaking scenery along with an abundance of local flora and fauna.
Although primarily a ski resort, Alyeska makes the list for its great trails and guided snowshoe hikes. The hotel rental shop offers snowshoe rentals for the day and the front desk provides you with detailed trail maps that will help guide you along the way.
If you choose to do a guided tour, enjoy a trek along the historic Iditarod trail with hot drinks and snacks. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including moose along the way. Conclude your day by dining at one of the fabulous restaurants at the resort. Clearly marked trails, snowshoe rentals and all the amenities you needs makes this the perfect spot to try the sport of snowshoeing.
Visit Alyeska Resort at http://www.alyeskaresort.com/.