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It takes more than a day to experience the Last Frontier.
Anchorage has hundreds of miles of trails, but if you have to pick one it is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail along the shores of Cook Inlet. With several access points (bring your mosquito spray!), it offers outstanding views of the city’s manmade and natural skylines featuring Sleeping Lady and the Alaska Range to the West and, on a clear day, Denali to the north.
We drove the hour or so from Anchorage to Whittier through the 2.1-mile Anderson tunnel (it’s a one-way, so check the schedule) and hopped aboard a cruise past tidewater glaciers spotting seals, otters and thousands of kittiwakes on the cliffs. The crew will also fish some fresh ice chunks from Prince William Sound to make glacier margaritas, an Alaska classic.
Next up was boarding the Alaska Railroad for a trip to Denali Park. The following day we boarded a bus for the 92-mile trek to the Kantishna Roadhouse at the end of the Denali Highway. I highly recommend it over a half-day trip, as we spotted far more bears, moose and Dall sheep than those who didn’t travel as deeply into the park.