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Anchorage Hub of Alaska: Surrounded by some of the most spectacular wilderness in the United States, Anchorage is a first-class destination, with all the amenities you've come to expect in any "traditional" meeting place. Anchorage sits at the base of the Chugach Mountains along the coast of Cook Inlet and lies as far west as the Hawaiian Islands and as far north as Helsinki yet it boasts a mild climate. Four mountain ranges, (the Chugach, Alaska, Kenai and Talkeetna) and the warm Japanese Chugach current combine to create pleasant year-round temperatures. Spring through fall, Anchorage's climate is similar to San Francisco's spring weather; winter comparisons usually remind visitors of ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains, Canada or Europe. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport serves as the primary port of entry into Alaska's largest city. With more than 300 flights either originating or terminating here each day, reaching Anchorage via air is both comfortable, convenient and time-efficient. Visitors venturing to Anchorage can also drive from anywhere on the continent, any time of the year. The Alaska Highway, which links Alaska with Canada and the contiguous United States, is fully paved and offers services all year long. Another option is to take the Alaska Marine Highway to a nearby port such as Whittier, then take the highway or railway to Anchorage from there. See the Alaska Marine Highway section of this guide for more information or go to www.AlaskaFerry.com. The parks system within Anchorage showcases some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Virtually every aspect of Anchorage's unique past is represented in the historic, cultural or natural themes of these accessible parks. There are more than 180 miles of groomed trails in Anchorage, many of which are lighted, as well as hundreds of backcountry treks. The grand Chugach State Park embraces the south side of the Anchorage Bowl and offers backcountry access literally minutes from downtown. Kincaid Park is a cross-country skier's delight and one of only two courses certified for international competition in the United States. Hundreds of trails cross through wooded areas abundant with wildlife and vistas of the Alaska Range and Mt. Denali. Often, flying is the only way to reach backcountry areas that offer an unforgettable experience in the pristine wilderness of Alaska. Flying is so popular in Alaska that 1 in 36 residents have a pilot's license and towns without a stop sign probably have a landing strip. Even the capital city of Juneau can only be accessed by water or plane. There are many companies offering charter services for just a few hours or longer backcountry trips. From Anchorage, take a flight seeing trip to Denali National Park and circle majestic Mt. McKinley while looking down on fantastic flora and fauna below. A fly-in fishing trip is a popular way to experience an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime Alaskan thrill. On Cook Inlet, Glenn Hwy 1 and the Seward Highway; 358 miles southwest of Fairbanks; 725 miles east of Whitehorse. Population: Anchorage Municipality: 277,638 (42% of state population). Visitor Information: Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau: 524 W. Fourth Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501-2212; Phone: (907) 276-4118; Fax: (907) 278-5559; Email:info@anchorage.net; Website: www.Anchorage.net. Log Cabin and Downtown Visitor Information Center: Fourth Avenue and F Street, Anchorage, AK 99501; Phone: (907) 274-3531 (Open Daily). Anchorage Chamber of Commerce: 441 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501; Phone: (907) 272-2401. Alaska Public Lands Information Center: 605 W 4th Ave #105, Anchorage, AK 99501; Phone: (907) 271-2737.

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