Alyeska vacation rentals
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Your guide to Alyeska
All About Alyeska
Set among south-central Alaska’s untamed wilderness on the eastern edges of Glacier Valley, Alyeska Mountain is a towering geological formation overlooking the small community of Girdwood. The mountain area lies under an hour from the metropolitan center of Anchorage, making Alyeska a popular wintertime destination for locals and visitors who want to take to the slopes on one of Alaska’s only ski hills — which is also one of the highest-rated ski destinations in the country.
The dense coastal rainforests surrounding the mountain bring hikers, mountain bikers, and adventurers from far and wide during the summertime, when the snow has dissipated and the rugged Alaskan interior opens up for exploration. In the nearby community of Girdwood, you’ll find restaurants, breweries, cabin rentals, and outfitters offering equipment rentals for travelers taking on the Chugach Range. For even more adventure, consider hiking Portage Valley, or kayaking on Portage Lake to the base of the nearby glaciers.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Alyeska?
The extremes of Alaska’s far northern climate are in full force in Girdwood and on Alyeska Mountain. The summers consist of long, warm days — often approaching 20 hours or more of daylight — that provide excellent conditions for exploring the rainforests, wild rivers, and rugged terrain of the Kenai Peninsula. Conversely, the winter months are long, dark, and frigidly cold, with dozens of feet of snow accumulating throughout the season on the valley floor and the mountains. Short transitional seasons offer brilliant displays of spring blossoms and vast swaths of golden forests in autumn.
Regardless of the season, however, it is wise to pack a waterproof jacket and several layers, because rain is a constant presence in the area. It can get chilly even in the summer, depending upon where you are on the mountain. Several festivals and events occur throughout the year in Girdwood, independent of the seasonal conditions. The Alyeska Slush Cup, for instance, is a capstone to the ski season held in April that sees costumed skiers try their best to skim a pond at high speeds.
What are the top things to do in Alyeska?
Upper Iditarod Trail
Around three miles long, this section of the iconic Iditarod Trail was used by gold miners to travel between backcountry mines and the coastal communities. You can find a trailhead along Crow Creek Road, four miles northwest of town. Today, the route is popular with hikers and mountain bikers looking to challenge themselves in the depths of the Alaskan wilderness.
Portage Valley & Glacier
Portage Glacier once extended the entire length of the 14-mile-long Portage Valley, but climatic fluctuations have broken it into several smaller, but still vast, glaciers. The nearly ten-story-tall, six-mile-long Portage Glacier can be accessed by boat via Portage Lake; you can sign up for a cruise to learn all about the area’s history and geology. You can also explore the valley by hiking or mountain biking — the five-mile Trail of Blue Ice, which connects many of the glaciers, is an unforgettable experience.
Round House Historical Museum
Sitting at 2,280 feet, this octagonal mountaintop museum showcases the history of Alyeska Mountain and Girdwood, with photo exhibits covering mining, skiing, and the frontier era. The 1960s former warming hut is now on the National Historic Register, and the views of the towering mountain peaks are spectacular. The museum is accessible year-round by tram or, in winter, ski lift.