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Adventure Town: Girdwood, Alaska

Plan a long weekend getaway with our Girdwood adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat.

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Hiking to the top of the tram on Mount Alyeska above Girdwood, Alaska

Pop. 1,588
GPS: 60°56'33N 149°9'59W

Alyeska Resort's $20 million revamp has put adjacent Girdwood on the map with the four-star skier set. But savvy adventurers know skiing is just the beginning here. This bump-in-the-road town borders the half-million-acre Chugach State Park—home to countless glaciers, epic rafting, salmon fishing, mountaineering, cross-country skiing, and even windsurfing on Cook Inlet's narrow Turnagain Arm.


Rafting is a must-do in Girdwood, and the three-canyon Sixmile River is the best place to start. Beginners can take on its first two canyons ($95) or attempt the Class IVs and Vs of the third canyon ($139;


Try the beef tenderloin and blue cheese potato cake, followed by some Alaskan bread pudding (blueberries and white chocolate, covered in warm bourbon sauce) with a “Pom-pagne” (pomegranate juice and champagne) at Jack Sprat (


Alta House Vacations provides a private village cabin for two all the way to a chateau for the family. Staying here will allow easy access to Mt. Alyeska (doubles from $125;

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