Monday, May 26, 2014

Ship Creek Trail-Anchorage

We are always in search of trails to hike and paved bike paths for various recreational activities. I've known of the existence of a coastal trail along significant portions of the shore around Anchorage but until a couple months ago, never found it. When we discovered it while out for a walk in downtown Anchorage back in the beginning of April it was still covered with snow/ice. So when we found ourselves in a hotel in downtown Anchorage again this past weekend, we made a beeline for it, determined to check it out.

A gull found a perch in the middle of Ship Creek
The walking access to this bowl near the Alaska Railroad train station next to downtown Anchorage was our biggest puzzle. We could see the train station, a hotel, Ship Creek and even the paved recreational path, but couldn't quite figure out how to get down there. One way is down stairs to the Alaska Railroad depot. The other is along a back street a few blocks away. This time that back street was nearer our hotel so we headed down the steep street to the industrial section to the Ship Creek Comfort Inn where we hopped on the Ship CreekTrail heading upstream along Ship Creek.

Ship Creek at the Comfort Inn, looking downstream at the restaurant that spans the creekbed
The paved path is double the width of the bike paths on the Kenai Peninsula, with substantial fencing on both sides of the trail. We walked nearly an hour, and we crossed beautiful bridge after beautiful bridge. It was 7 p.m. on a Saturday evening and the trail was nearly deserted; we only met a couple other folks out there the whole time we were on the trail. It borders the creek on one side and an industrial park on the other, which is quite the jarring contrast.

Beautiful bridges cross Ship Creek and the railroad tracks along the Anchorage Coastal Trail
This trail is 11 miles long, starting at Kincaid Park on one end and at 2nd Avenue on the other. When the salmon run dipnetters flock here, which might partly explain why it is done up so nicely. My cousin from Eagle River said they did substantial improvements on the trail last year, which might explain these amazing bridges. We spent a bit of our walk pondering how much it must have all cost and where did they get the money.

A section of the Ship Creek Trail
Luckily the smoke from the wildfires on the Kenai Peninsula was not too bad, though that could be partly why there weren't many people out and about since the media was warning that air quality was poor. The haze in the pictures is more likely smoke than it is clouds.

We are looking forward to bringing our bikes up to Anchorage one of these trips up and taking in this entire trail. It will now be one of our "destinations" when in Anchorage!

No comments: