|Margaret Tyler has called Girdwood home for many years and one of the things that she has noticed over that time is that her sphere of reality can sometimes encompass just a small corner of this funky, fun town on the southern edge of the municipality of Anchorage.|
“I realize I can pretty much get everything I need and do everything I need to and not really leave the downtown area,” said Tyler, who works for Girdwood Parks and Recreation and has watched her little hamlet home thrive over the years. “We are very pedestrian friendly, which is what we want.”
Indeed Girdwood is a place unlike any other in Alaska. Sure, it has its wintertime niche with the obviously excellent skiing surrounding the community and propping up its economy. Travelers the world over flock to Alyeska Resort each winter to experience Alaska skiing, snowboarding and heliskiing with Girdwood as their base.
But come summer, Girdwood blossoms as a destination for mountain bikers, hikers, vacationers and those who just want to relax in a chill town with a distinct personality.
“One of the main themes of Girdwood is it is a pedestrian-friendly community,” Tyler said. “You are encouraged to get out of your car and explore. You see people walking all over the place. They don’t need a car here, and they can slow down and take a look around.”
Tyler is right – for there is so much to see and do in Girdwood, but it is easily missed if you simply drive through town.
“We recently renovated the tennis courts and now we are working on the skatepark,” Tyler said. “And work on the Beaver Pond (mountain biking) Trail is done and it’s now a Class III trail. … We are always working on the Iditarod Trail … there is so much to be done there and it’s done in so many steps, it feels like we’re building a cathedral.”
Whether hiking the trails around Girdwood or venturing further into the valley for a more extended outing (see our stories on the nearby Trail of Blue Ice and Whistle Stop trail connections), you are sure to make indelible memories. There is nothing like picking blueberries from the open ski slopes surrounding town, or a trek into the ever-popular Winner Creek Trail, which takes you into some of the most lush and green forest in southcentral Alaska.
With Tyler’s advice in mind, we suggest a Girdwood getaway – but make sure to pack hiking boots, running shoes and your biking cleats. Throw in a pair of Birkenstocks for after all that outdoor activity and relax by a fire pit with a cold brew and view. This town practically forces you to unwind, what with its smiling people and their laidback attitudes. Who wouldn’t want to stay for a day or four – or more?
Visit the Girdwood Facebook Page, take a drive 30 miles south of Anchorage and explore this funky little town with big, friendly character.
Trail-building project connects popular sites along the Alaska Railroad Next Post:
Cruising the Trail of Blue Ice