The town of Girdwood is officially part of the hectic Anchorage municipality, but feels a world away. Located 37 miles south via the Seward Highway, the original town was leveled by the 1964 earthquake. A cluster of businesses stands along the highway, providing a rest stop for travelers, but new Girdwood and the Alyeska Resort sit at the end of a three-mile access road (Alyeska Highway). This winter resort is a favorite destination for locals, package tourists, unsuspecting travelers, and the occasional backpacker who likes a quick ride to the alpine tundra in the summer.
Girdwood doesn’t have a visitors center, but you’ll find information on the Web at www.girdwoodalaska.com. In addition to the resort, the town has several restaurants, a grocery store, a post office, a library, and a laundry with showers. Both the library and the coin laundry have Internet access.
Getting to Girdwood
The Alaska Railroad (907/265-2494 or 800/544-0552, www.alaskarailroad.com) connects Girdwood with Anchorage daily in the summer, but the trains stop at a small shelter out near the Seward Highway. You’ll need to make advance reservations for a pickup in Girdwood, and only carry-on luggage is allowed.
Glacier Valley Transit (907/754-2547, www.glaciervalleytransit.com, $1) has daily bus service throughout Girdwood, with wintertime ski and snowboard racks.
Girdwood Shuttle (907/783-1900, www.girdwoodshuttle.com, May–Sept.) provides van connections between Girdwood and Anchorage or Whittier for $40 one-way. Both Homer Stage Line (907/883-3914, www.homerstageline.com) and Seward Bus Lines (907/563-0800 or 888/420-7788, www.sewardbuslines.net) will stop in Girdwood, but call ahead.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition