Near the heart of the city, a lookout point opens into wilderness.
Anchorage is close to Alaska, locals often joke, because the city can feel removed from the state's natural wonders. But a short drive to the Glen Alps overlook, just 15 miles southeast of downtown, dispels that notion.
On a clear day, as soon as you get out of your car you are treated to the panorama of an urban skyline rimmed by the waters of Cook Inlet. The backdrop is Denali, North America's tallest peak, and its neighbors in the Alaska Range.
Turn from the view and you quickly forget that behind and below you sits a city of nearly 300,000 people. Before you is Chugach State Park, where an easy, tree-lined path of about half a mile leads to the Powerline Trail. You'll find yourself dwarfed by the towering Chugach Mountains, which seem to go on forever. The trail traverses the south fork of Campbell Creek, which runs through the middle of a sprawling valley.
Most of this nearly 500,000-acre wilderness falls within Anchorage's boundaries, but the park feels a world away. With more than 280 miles of trails, it also offers distinctly nonurban chances to spot a moose, bald eagle, or black or brown bear.
This article was first published in Summer 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.