Our northern climate makes a long, dark, snowy winter inevitable. Shutting things down and hibernating until spring can be tempting -or- we can embrace our climate and make it easier and more enjoyable to be active outdoors. Anchorage Park Foundation is working with partners to launch a winter city strategy to celebrate our season of snow. Winter recreation is an opportunity to improve livability, community health, and economic value to our city. With more people actively using our parks and trails the city feels more inviting, vibrant, and attractive to both residents and tourists.
Top Sledding Hills
Anchorage is full of sledding hills all across town that are the perfect places to put down a sled and build up some speed. From kid-friendly hills to longer, steeper slopes, local sledding hills come in a variety of shapes, lengths, inclines and altitudes, and there are more than enough runs to keep thrill-seekers busy all winter long. Service High School and Kincaid Park are some of the most popular spots. Visit the top sledding hills in Anchorage.
Westchester Lagoon downtown offers the classic city ice skating experience with warming barrels and recently maintained skating path. Anchorage Parks & Recreation also monitors ice thickness and maintains skating zones at Cheney Lake, Cuddy Family Midtown Skate Pond, and Goose Lake. Other other Anchorage city ice rinks include Chanshtnu Muldoon Park, Cuddy Family Midtown Skating Oval, Delaney Park, Tikishla Park, and the Bonnie Cusack rinks. Always use extreme caution on lakes and rivers. Check out winter ice conditions last updated by Anchorage Parks & Recreation.
Cross Country Skiing
Anchorage has hundreds of miles of groomed and lit trails, perfect for cross country skiers of all ages and abilities. Beginners will find plenty of flat areas along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and Chester Creek Trails with several access points from parks across the city. Check trail conditions and grooming status in the Winter Ice & Trail Conditions report updated weekly by Anchorage Parks & Rec. Kincaid Park is the crown jewel of cross country skiing in Anchorage with 60 kilometers of trails winding through 1,400 acres of parkland. Visit the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage for trail conditions, maps, learn to ski programs, races and more. Download the Nordic Pulse Skier Apps for grooming status, trail conditions, and use geolocation to navigate trails.
Winter biking, either on fat tire bikes or with studded tires, has exploded in popularity. The ability to float across snow or ice opens up a winter wonderland to cyclists of all abilities. Our vast network of urban and backcountry trails make Anchorage a great place for winter biking. Additionally, Chugach State Park has several trails open for winter biking.
Alpine skiers and snowboarders have several choices for alpine skiing all within 45 minutes of Anchorage. Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage is our local nonprofit ski hill and summer bike park where families learn to shred together. Learn to ski/snowboard programs, camps and clinics, equipment rental, and a terrain park make Hilltop a winter recreation destination and local hangout.
Explore the 86 playgrounds in Anchorage all year long. Even in winter, playgrounds are a great gathering place for getting fresh air and burning some energy. Find a new play space for your family with a detailed map of all 86 playgrounds in Anchorage! The map highlights playground features, park amenities, driving directions, and location on our trail system.
Winter Trail Etiquette and Safety Tips
When the winter conditions are good in Anchorage, we get out! Whether you’re walking the dog, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or winter biking, you will encounter other adventurers on the trail. Before hitting the trail consider checking snow conditions, research winter trail usage (some trails in Far North Bicentennial Park are mushing only in winter), pay attention to signage to avoid going the wrong way on a trail, and be respectful of others, stay out of tracks if you are not skiing. Read more about winter recreation etiquette.
Winter Festivals and Events
Anchorage is full of fun outdoor community events that help us stay active and connected throughout the winter. The Winter Solstice Festival and Westchester Lagoon Family Skate, and many others listed under Community Events are worth putting on the calendar.