Being born on Elmendorf Air Force Base (now called Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson or JBER for short), and then raised in Wasilla since age 12, I have ‘local’ knowledge of many simple adventures that can be done in a day.
Whether you live here or are vacationing in the area, one day trip that we recommend is a day hike to Thunderbird Falls. T-Bird Falls is a relatively easy walking trail (there were several little kiddos on the trail with us) that careens through the lush foliage of the Chugach State Park and leads to the rushing water of the falls. The trail itself is about a mile and a half long and can be completed as fast as you want or as leisurely as you choose.
The trail is wider than a four wheeler so there is room for many people on the trail at a time. There are a few wooden observation decks and benches along the way for viewing the gorge, the birch forest and the rocky cliffs. One such viewing station overlooks the 200 foot falls and has some built in bench seating to enjoy a picnic if you are so inclined (hence the leisurely part above).
Bear are common in the area and we did see sign (bear scat) on the trail. It is always a good idea to travel in numbers, carry protection and make noises while on the trails.
To get to Thunderbird Falls, take the Eklutna Exit off the Glenn Highway (about mile 25.5) and then follow the signs. The trail head and parking is about .3 miles to the trail head.
There is a bathroom station at the trail head for convenience.
Be aware of wildlife. Be ‘Bear Aware’ at all times!
There are private residences that tuck up to the trail. How cool is that?
Always lock your vehicles, parking lots are often targets for thieves (no matter where you go).
Don’t tangle with the Devils Club-although it is pretty and easy to take pictures of with large leaves, it has loads of sharp thorns.
All pics are property of and copyrighted by Alaska Dream Makers.
Jacque & Larry