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Why You Should Add Girdwood, Anchorage, Alaska to Your 2018 Travel Itinerary

Updated on February 21, 2018

A great location, no matter what time of year!

The small village of Girdwood lies just 40 minutes outside of Anchorage, Alaska, toward the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. It is primarily known as a ski town, as home to the Alyeska Ski Resort, but even in the months when skiing and snowboarding die down, there are plenty of fun hikes and sites near the area.

Girdwood is located within the northern most extent of rainforest on Earth and within the Chugach Mountains. It is the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage. Located between seven glaciers, the town is ripe with creeks and waterways, making it an excellent destination for fishermen to throw in a line.

Finally, the Girdwood Forest Fair, held each year in July, is the number one non-resort related draw to the town. The fair features Alaskan artists, exotic foods, music, and fun for the whole family!

Great fishing!

Girdwood's many creeks promise ample opportunity to throw in a line and catch your own dinner. This creek is located just steps from Girdwood's town square.
Girdwood's many creeks promise ample opportunity to throw in a line and catch your own dinner. This creek is located just steps from Girdwood's town square.

Virgin Creek Falls

The hike to up to Virgin Creek Falls is easy for even the most virgin hiker. A beautiful walk through one of Alaska's coastal temperate rainforests leads you to this picture perfect waterfall. The hike itself is only about five minutes from the entrance of the trail. Still, it is always worth noting that you should be prepared when hiking, especially in Alaska. Wildlife is everywhere, most prominently when you are near fresh water sources, so taking some bear spray with you is never a bad idea!

On my recent trip, I had an Alaskan guide (in the form of my brother-in-law) who carried bear spray with him and was more than prepared outfit wise, but even in my normal athletic shoes and with my 2-year-old niece in her rain boots, it was an exceptionally simple and beautiful hike. My husband loved playing monkey, climbing over to the base of the falls to get a different view. You can continue to hike the area to see more of the glorious natural resources found in coastal temperate rainforests as well. No need to stop at the falls!

Virgin Creek Falls, Girdwood, AK

Girdwood Forest Fair

This once-a-year attraction is free (although purchase of an official t-shirt is encouraged to help cover costs), and family friendly! Music, local artists, and plenty of activities for all ages can be found at the event. A parade and scholarship contest are also on tap. To learn more about the fair, make sure you visit their website here!

Girdwood, Anchorage, AK:
Girdwood, Anchorage, AK, USA

get directions

Alyeska Ski Resort:
1000 Arlberg Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, USA

get directions

Virgin Creek Falls Hiking Entrance:
Virgin Creek Falls Entrance, 1101-1298 Timberline Dr, Girdwood, AK 99587, USA

get directions

Make Girdwood your next vacation destination!

All in all, Girdwood is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. It is off the beaten path enough to not be swamped with tourists, but with many friendly local establishments, a top-notch ski resort, and great hiking and fishing within steps of the town center, you will be sure to have something to do all year round!

BONUS: For those of you who like craft beer as much as me, Girdwood has it's own brewery, and the food and drink for sale there will never cease to make you smile!

What would you most like to do on your adventure to Girdwood?

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