Exploring Alaska


Having the Annual Summit in Alaska presents fantastic opportunities to explore Anchorage and the surrounding area through a wonderful variety of activities, which are listed below. Take advantage of your time in Alaska and check out what’s available. Your own Alaska adventure awaits.

Tours and activities can be mixed and matched to fit your available time, with the exception of the Seward train trip and day cruises, which are available only on Saturday October 3rd.


Downtown Anchorage Shopping

Anchorage has no sales tax! Unique shopping opportunities – everything from handmade Native art, furs, jade, soapstone and ivory carvings to doggie treats made from wild Alaskan salmon – means there’s something for everyone.

Anchorage Museum (.4 miles from the Summit Hotel)

The Anchorage Museum is a world-class facility with a fascinating depiction of Alaska’s history, and art of the far north. Open year-round, the Museum also features permanent and traveling exhibits, special programs and many annual events.

Alaska PhotoTreks (1.3 miles from the Summit Hotel)

Fun, photo-centric tours and workshops to help maximize your Alaska travel and photography experience. Their services cater to photographer needs such as touring during optimum hours for light and going where the wildlife is. From two hour tours in Anchorage city center to multi-day wilderness excursions, all tours come with full, technical and creative support from professional Alaskan photographer guides.

The ULU Factory (.4 miles from the Summit Hotel)

Of all the innovative tools that came from Alaskan Native culture, one is the foremost is the ULU knife. The ULU, their main cutting tool, was originally made from flat, thin rocks, slate, or even jade. Handles were fashioned out of wood, ivory, or bone and often decorated with distinctive markings of the craftsman. The ULU Factory invites you to a truly interesting experience at Alaska’s most unique manufacturing facility. Watch the knives being made, the blade and handle assembled and packaged. A staff member will be happy to take you on a personal tour.

SegTours of Anchorage (394 feet from the Summit Hotel)

A guided Segway tour is a whole new way to appreciate the beauty of Anchorage.  As the world’s first and only self-balancing electric transport mechanism, the Segway Human Transporter has set a new standard for sightseeing fun. Great for individuals, families or groups!

Downtown Bicycle Rental (.2 miles from the Summit Hotel)

Come rent one of over 100 bikes at this downtown Anchorage location and explore one of four paved greenbelt trails that ring the city, with the 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail being the closest. Together with the Chester Creek Trail, the meandering Campbell Creek Trail and the new Ship Creek Trail, they create a bike beltway.  Many bikers encounter moose in the woods along the Coastal Trail.

Alaska Zoo (9.6 miles from the Summit Hotel)

The Alaska Zoo is proud to provide a home for orphaned, injured and captive-born animals. Visitors to the zoo can discover the unique beginnings of the Alaska Zoo and their progress through the years by visiting the Discovery Center. The Alaska Zoo is home to snow leopard, black and brown bear, Amur tiger, gray wolf, and many other species.

Alaska Native Heritage Center (6.7 miles from the Summit Hotel)

Come learn and immerse yourself in Alaskan Native culture and history in the center’s indoor and outdoor exhibits. Tour around the Traditional Alaska Native Village Sites and make your trip truly Alaskan.

Flightseeing with Rust’s Flying Service (5.6 miles from the Summit Hotel)

Rust’s year-round Anchorage flightseeing tours are sky-high on adventure and perfect for visitors who want to make the most of their Alaska travel. Aircraft featuring large windows and two way headsets ensure you’ll see the most glaciers, the most wildlife, the most of what you came here for! After an exhilarating take off from Lake Hood, the world’s largest and busiest floatplane base, Rust’s experienced Alaska “bush pilots” will climb the aircraft over the Chugach Mountains or Alaska Range to your scenic destination.

Alaska Aviation Museum (5.6 miles from the Summit Hotel)

The Alaska Aviation Museum sits on the south shore of Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane base in the world, with more than 87,000 takeoffs and landings per year. The museum presents one of the finest displays of Alaskan aviation history with many interactive displays, memorabilia, photographs, films and artifacts from personal collections of Alaska’s pioneer aviators.

Alaska Horse Adventures (9.9 miles from the Summit Hotel)

Here adventures in the wilderness are year round!  Most of the rides are done about 45 minutes from Anchorage, but there are rides in Anchorage on certain days. These invigorating scenic trail rides last from 2 hours to a full day. Whether it’s gentle and easy for beginners or quick paced for the advanced thrill seeker, you’ll ride through enchanting forested trails traveled by moose, bears, lynx, coyotes, migrating birds, hawks and eagles!


The historic village of Talkeetna is nestled at the base of North America’s tallest peak Mt. McKinley (Denali). Talkeetna has an outstanding panoramic view of the Alaska Range that can be enjoyed and photographed from several places as you wander through town, and discover what this unique location has to offer: Flightseeing, fishing, hiking, unique lodging, art galleries and gift shops, places to dine and have a locally brewed beer… and of course year-round frontier hospitality!

Talkeetna is often compared to the fictional town of Cicely, from the 90’s the TV series “Northern Exposure.”

Talkeetna is 113 miles north of Anchorage and 2.5 hours away.  It can be a day trip or an overnight adventure.

Martin Buser’s Happy Trails Kennels

Welcome to Happy Trails Kennels, the home of four-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser and family. The Buser’s welcome guests from all over the world to visit their training facility and kennel, and to meet the athlete stars of Happy Trails, the dogs.

Denali Zipline Tours

This zipline canopy adventure tour is Southcentral Alaska’s first world class and the farthest north canopy tour in North America! Denali Zipline Tours offers a thrilling and educational way to experience breathtaking natural scenery and awesome wilderness.

Flightseeing with K2 Aviation

A flightseeing trip over Denali National Park will give you a bird’s-eye view of its incredible vastness and awesome beauty. Encounter a mile high gorge, rivers of pre-historic glacier ice, snow capped mountains, and North America’s tallest mountain, Mt. McKinley.

Phantom Tri-River Charters

At Phantom Tri-River Charters, fish for a variety of different salmon types, including Sockeye, Silvers, Chums, Kings, and Pinks, as well as a number of other fish species, which include rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, arctic grayling and more. They provide all of the freshwater gear you need to get your line baited and in the water, making it easy to enjoy your trip while reaping the benefits of a bountiful habitat.

Talkeetna Roadhouse

The Roadhouse, built around 1917, is one of the oldest establishments still in operation on Main Street in “Beautiful Downtown Talkeetna.” With a restaurant open to the public, and a bakery that makes fresh pastries every day, the Roadhouse can accommodate up to 32 people in our cozy quarters.

Talkeetna Lodging

Meandering Moose Lodging

Meandering Moose Lodging offers a personal touch to help make your Alaska vacation adventure the best it can be.  They offer a clean, comfortable and peaceful setting of five tranquil birch treed acres that is close enough to walk or bike to downtown Talkeetna, yet far enough away for a truly peaceful retreat.  Choose between two types of accommodations, private log cabins or rooms in the B&B.  Light continental breakfast served.

Denali Overlook Inn

Located five miles from downtown Talkeetna, the Denali Overlook Inn Bed and Breakfast and Cabins are situated on the top of a spectacular bluff which provides unobstructed views of Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker, & Mt. Hunter. Full gourmet breakfast served.


Eklutna is an Alaska Native village of about 70 residents that is within the boundaries of the Municipality of Anchorage in Southcentral Alaska. Even though it’s best known for its iconic cemetery, the village has plenty more to offer visitors.  Eklutna is one of the oldest inhabited areas in the Municipality of Anchorage.  Archaeological evidence suggests it is more than 800 years old, although the first non-Native settlers didn’t arrive until the 1840s.

Home to Eklutna Lake State Recreation Area, the town is a recreational paradise, including more than 27 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails, kayaking opportunities and a campground. Eklutna Lake is seven miles long and is the largest body of water in Chugach State Park. It is also incredibly scenic, framed by glaciers and the high peaks of the Chugach Mountains along its shoreline. Closer to the Glenn Highway is Thunderbird Falls. A drive of only 0.3 miles from the highway, the falls is an easy mile-long hike to a viewing platform overlooking the cascade tumbling into a small, rocky gorge.

The town of Eklutna is 37 miles north of downtown Anchorage and Eklutna Lake is 42 miles – this is a day trip.

Alaska ATV Adventures

Visitors to South-Central Alaska will enjoy the opportunity to ride ATVs among the most spectacular mountains, scenery and wildlife imaginable with Alaska ATV Adventures. Their tours are for the entire family, young, old and in between. Choose guided 4 wheeler tours from 3 hours to full day trips. Also offering team building and combination Quad/Kayak custom tours.

Lifetime Adventures Alaska

Eklutna Lake State Recreation Site is 30 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, in Chugach State Park. Kayak & bike rentals, kayak lessons, equipment shuttles & more! Groups, team building and picnics are a specialty.

Eklutna Historical Park

Visitors to Eklutna Historical Park can take a guided tour to the old log Russian Orthodox Church, see the Spirit Houses, and visit the new Orthodox Church.  You’ll learn about the history, culture, and customs of the Dena’ina Athabascans in combination with Russian Orthodox traditions.


Girdwood, originally named Glacier City, was founded as a gold mining town at the turn of the century with several gold claims being staked on Crow Creek and the Virgin and California Creek drainages. James Girdwood was an Irish immigrant and linen merchant with four gold claims on Crow Creek. He later became the namesake for the town.

Though founded as a mining town, the development of Girdwood was spurred by railroad construction begun by the Federal Government in 1915. The little town boomed with new businesses.

In 1954, eleven local men formed the Alyeska Ski Corporation along with the beginnings of the hard-earned dream of a first-class ski resort. In 1960, the first chair lift and a day lodge was built. Francois de Gunzburg, a Frenchman and a member of the Rothschild Banking family managed to secure a used chair lift from France that was dismantled, shipped to Alaska and rebuilt at Alyeska.

Today the ski resort has seven lifts, including a new high-speed quad chair, a fixed quad and a 60 passenger aerial tram. In addition, The Hotel Alyeska at Alyeska Resort, a luxurious 304 room hotel, was opened in August of 1994, a mountaintop facility with a fine dining restaurant and skier’s cafeteria was also included.

Girdwood is 38 miles south of downtown Anchorage. Girdwood can be a day trip, although an overnight at Alyeska Resort is fun and relaxing.

The Hotel Alyeska at Alyeska Resort

Alyeska Resort is Alaska’s premier year-round destination featuring the 304-room Hotel Alyeska. Located just 38 miles from Anchorage and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Alyeska Resort is your base camp for summer and winter excursions.  Features include an indoor heated saltwater pool and 16 person hot-tub, both of which have bay windows that overlook the north face of the mountain, a traditional sauna and a spa with a variety of spa services and treatments.  The surrounding hiking trails range from easy to extremely challenging – miles of paved bike trails are accessible from the Resort and bikes are available to check out.

Alyeska Resort Arial Tram

The Alyeska Aerial Tram is a three-to-seven minute scenic ride from The Hotel Alyeska to the 2,300 foot top of Mt. Alyeska. From the Tram, you can see miles in all directions – including views of the Turnagain Arm, up to seven “hanging” glaciers and endless peaks deep into the Chugach Mountain range.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation, education, and quality animal care of Alaska’s wildlife. AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Animals that cannot be released into the wild are given a permanent home at the center. Come be a part of these exciting programs and watch the animals display their natural, wild behavior.  AWWC is 10 miles south of Girdwood.

Crow Creek Gold Mine

Crow Creek Mine is a historic site with preserved buildings, rare mining equipment, gold-panning, and access to nature trails including the Historic Iditarod Trail.  Grab your shovel and pan for gold, stand by for a quick demonstration and try your luck down at the creek for “a little color.”  Crow Creek Mine is 3 miles from Girdwood.

Fishing in Seward

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Known as the ‘Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park’ Seward is a picturesque town located 126 miles south of Anchorage.  The drive from Anchorage to Seward takes about 2.5 hours.  Activities in Seward include trophy sport fishing, glacier and wildlife cruises, hiking and more.

Alaska Saltwater Charters

Alaska Saltwater Charters is an Alaskan-owned and operated business which offers professional quality, year-round salmon fishing charters and marine adventure packages from Seward Alaska. For the salmon fishing enthusiast, they offer trolling for the mighty king salmon 52 weeks a year! Charters leave in the early morning, so plan on getting to Seward the night before your fishing trip. Some hotel suggestions include:

Holiday Inn Seward Harbor (888-465-4329)

Van Gilder Hotel (800-478-0400)

Hotel Seward (800-440-2444)

Rail & Cruise – Seward, Saturday, October 3 only

Ride the Alaska Railroad to Seward for Kenai Fjords Tours National Park Tour Cruise, or Major Marine Tours Resurrection Bay Cruise
Alaska Railroad
(800) 544-0552

Kenai Fjords Tours
(800) 478-3346

Major Marine Tours

The Alaska Railroad, a local favorite, traverses 114 miles through the stretch of wilderness spanning from Anchorage to Seward. While the route dates back to transportation necessities of the early 20th century, there’s no denying that the journey to Seward offers spectacular scenery. Then when you get to Seward breathe in the ageless spirit of Kenai Fjords National Park aboard Alaska’s newest fleet of custom catamarans and sightseeing vessels.

If you go on the Major Marine Tours cruise, you will also have time to visit the Sealife Center

Seward Sealife Center

Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center is celebrating ten years on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Visitors to this “window on the sea” have close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sea life while peeking over the shoulders of ocean scientists studying Alaska’s rich seas and diverse sea life.

For guided day tours anytime you’re in Anchorage

Salmon Berry Tours

Salmon Berry Tours is happy to assist you with creating a touring package that meets your specific interests or special requirements.  They are conveniently located downtown on 4th Avenue, across from the Log Cabin Visitors Center, so call or stop so stop by for more details and personalized service.

Through the end of September, day cruises out of Whittier are available.

Whittier is situated at the head of Passage Canal and is the gateway to the mesmerizing wilderness of Prince William Sound. This sea side village is home to an exciting array of wildlife. If you are a birder, you will enjoy their world class collection of raptors such as the Bald Eagle, Great Gray Owl, and the elusive Peregrine Falcon. Whittier boasts the largest Kittiwake bird rookery population in the North Pacific.  The mountains surrounding Whittier are host to the shy mountain goat, all manner of weasels, whistling marmots, bear, and the occasional coyote.  Marine animals include Humpback and Orca whales, sea otters, seals and sea lions.

Whittier is 58 miles south of Anchorage and getting there, you will go through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the longest (2.5 miles) highway tunnel in North America.  This is a day trip.

The 26 Glacier Cruise

Your cruise boat, the Klondike Express is the largest, fastest and most luxurious catamaran in Alaska.

This 137-foot, high-speed catamaran holds 338 passengers on three decks, two of which are enclosed and heated and there is an inside seat and table for every passenger on board. During this 5-hour cruise, the route covers 140 miles cruising through narrow passage ways, along jagged shorelines, and down glacier carved fjords. In one day, guests can see 26 glaciers, as well as an abundance of wildlife in their natural environment. Cruise face to face with towering masses of ice, so close that you can hear the glaciers move. You will see the brilliant blue hues and towering spires of alpine, piedmont and tidewater glaciers. UEDA Summit Attendees are eligible for a special rate for the cruise on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Visit for more details.

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University Economic Development Association
PO Box 97930
Pittsburgh, PA 15227

216.200.UEDA (8332)