Alaska Excursions

Alaska Excursions

A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.

Iditarod 41

Photos and stories from the last great race.

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Memorable Moose Pass

Mark Wedekind takes a break at Bench Lake during a ride over Johnson Pass on the Kenai Peninsula. Johnson Pass is a classic southcentral Alaska mountain bike ride. The route's end points are on the Seward Highway, one at Trail Lake, near Moose Pass, the other, south of Turnagain Pass.

Mark Wedekind takes a break at Bench Lake during a ride over Johnson Pass on the Kenai Peninsula. Johnson Pass is a classic southcentral Alaska mountain bike ride. The route's end points are on the Seward Highway, one at Trail Lake, near Moose Pass, the other, south of Turnagain Pass.

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GO WILD: Chugach, summer solstice fest are big attractions.

For the quintessential Alaska experience of awe-inspiring mountains, limpid blue lakes and a grocery store that claims if they don't have it, "you don't need it," Moose Pass should not be overlooked.

Moose Pass, named for its abundance of moose during its early days as part of the original Iditarod Trail, is steeped in history. Buildings hark back to the early 1900s, while a 10-foot waterwheel with a sharpening stone carries a sign reading, "Moose Pass is a peaceful little town. If you have an axe to grind, do it here."

Lodging, stores, restaurants and other essential services can all be found in this small community of 200 residents, 30 miles north of Seward and 100 miles south of Anchorage. The town serves as a portal to trails, camping areas, fishing and year-round outdoor recreation. Three miles to the north, the Johnson Pass Trail offers hikers more than 20 miles of alpine experience dating to Iditarod Trail days.

Lakes dot the area around the town, providing ample camping opportunities as well as extraordinary vistas. Visitors can take float planes from the lakes to many of the Chugach National Forest cabins, as well as to enjoy recreational sight-seeing in this dramatic section of the Kenai Peninsula.

Among the highlights of Moose Pass entertainment is the annual Summer Solstice Festival, a feature of the town for two decades. Food, music and entertainment are all part of this well-attended event, which is celebrated for two days around June 21, the longest day of the year.

Attractions

Estes Family Waterwheel

This 10-foot waterwheel is next to the town's grocery store off the Seward Highway. The Estes family first installed a Pelton wheel in 1927 to run a sawmill. In 1980, the 10-foot-high waterwheel was installed, along with a sharpening stone, as a replica of the one built in the 1920s. Axes and knives still can be sharpened on the wheel.

Where: Next to Estes Brothers Grocery, Mile 29.5 Seward Highway

When: Open year-round

Cost: Free

Phone: 907-288-3151

Chugach National Forest

Moose Pass is surrounded by the Chugach National Forest and its numerous campgrounds, trails and recreational opportunities. The Trail River Campground to the south of Moose Pass provides stunning views of Kenai Lake, while trails leading to Crescent Lake and Lost Lake are nearby. Consult the Chugach National Forest website for information about area trails and recreation areas.

Where: Moose Pass

When: Year-round, depending on conditions

Cost: Various fees for camping

Phone: 907- 224-3374

Web: fs.usda.gov/chugach/

Events

Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival

The Summer Solstice Festival in Moose Pass serves not just as fun for the whole family but can be used as a base for all sorts of Alaska summertime activities. Vendors and performers offer music, food and games during the festival, which helps support local nonprofit organizations like the library and fire department.

Where: Seward Highway throughout Moose Pass

When: June 19-20

Cost: Fundraiser: Varies with events and vendors

Web: http://www.moosepass.net/solstice.html

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