Nestled within the peaks of the Chugach Mountains, Girdwood is situated just 36 miles south of Anchorage, making the area popular with both Alaskan and out-of-state travelers. Originally, named Glacier City due to the 7 glaciers perched above the scenic valley. Girdwood is home to Alaska’s largest ski resortr, Alyeska Hotel and Resort. Perched atop Mt. Alyeska, Seven Glaciers Restaurant offers exquisite Alaskan entrees in a beautiful mountain setting. The gorgeous 5-minute aerial tram ride is popular with diners and sightseers alike, and presents stunning views of the mountains and glaciers, as well as the sea below. For the skier, Alyeska Resort features 73 ski runs and 9 lifts on 1400 acres. In addition to its 8 restaurants, Alyeska Resort has shopping, a spa, a large pool, a hot tub, beautiful architecture and décor… and all the amenities one would expect from a world-class resort. In addition to the views, restaurants and amenities, Alyeska Resort’s location is ideal for exploring the region.
Just down the road from Alyeska Resort, The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is dedicated to conservation, education and quality care of Alaska’s wildlife. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center takes in injured and orphaned Alaskan animals, provides care, and gives a permanent home to those animals that cannot be released into the wild. The wildlife is able to display its natural behaviors within spacious natural enclosures. Although spontaneous wildlife sightings are common in Alaska, The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center provides guaranteed sightings of moose, reindeer, bear, bison, musk ox and more in front of a beautiful Alaskan backdrop.
A few miles south of Girdwood, the 11 ½ mile Portage Glacier Road connects the Seward Highway with Prince William Sound and the village of Whittier. The scenic two-lane road parallels the Portage Creek and provides views of the Portage Glacier. The 2 ½ mile long Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel provides access to Whittier, and is the second longest road tunnel in the U.S. The ONE-LANE tunnel transports both highway AND rail traffic. Eastbound and westbound road traffic alternates every half-hour, and road traffic is completely suspended when a train approaches. The small village of Whittier has just over 200 permanent residents, however Whittier Harbor can accommodate about 350 boats, including tour boats and an occasional cruise ship. Major Marine Tours offers glacier tours out of Seward as well as the calmer waters of Whittier and Prince William Sound. On our tour on a pleasant sunny day, we DID see humpback whales, a sea otter and lots of birds. We saw at least a dozen glaciers, dramatic waterfalls and sensational mountain scenery. Major Marine Tours’ visitors are not just out-of-state travelers.
With its many lodging and activity options, the Girdwood / Whittier area is an ideal base for your Alaskan adventure.