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Planning a trip to Alaska and was wondering if Anchorage would be a good town to base myself out of? I'm going for a week and a half and we're planning on doing a lot of hiking and want to see the Kenai Fjords, Tracy Arm, etc.. Where would you base yourself out of to get the best nature experience in Alaska?
Yes, it is the best base location for many reasons, mostly price of everything the farther away you get.
I wouldn't base myself in Anchorage if you want the best nature experience of Alaska. Anchorage is the largest city in the state with over 300,000 people. It's a great start/end point. It's certainly scenic around Anchorage with mountain ranges, Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm, but for the best nature and hiking I would go elsewhere and you should consider staying in several places - Alaska is a huge state! California, Texas, and Montana could fit into it with room to spare. For Kenai Fjords you can stay in Seward (2.5 hrs drive south of Anc). They have daily trips out of there in the summer months (6-8 hours) to see wildlife and calving glaciers. You can also hike to Exit Glacier or do a longer day hike up to Harding Ice Field. I didn't know where Tracy Arm is so I looked it up, and it is in an entirely different part of the state - near Juneau... The quickest way to Juneau from Anchorage is a 1 1/2 flight. There are no roads going to Juneau. You can only get there by air or sea.
Most people who visit Alaska also spend a few days in Denali National Park, which is about a 5 hour drive north of Anchorage. Other places to consider: McCarthy in Wrangell St Elias National Park (getting there is an adventure in itself - although you can also fly in from Anchorage) and Valdez (wildlife cruises, calving glaciers - Columbia Glacier, hiking, sea kayaking). There are plenty of other places to see and hike besides those I mentioned, so it will depend on your interests and how much traveling you want to do around Alaska. The better hotels book up far in advance, so it would be a good idea to reserve those well ahead. A very good reference book to plan from if you are driving around Alaska is the Milepost.
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