Seeing the Alyeska Aerial Tram

The Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska is approximately 45 miles south of Anchorage. During the summer months, you can plan a half-day hike or mountain bike up the mountain and then ride back down for free. And the other half of the day can be getting a dental check-up at Huffman Family Dentistry. In any season, the views are magnificent and worth the admission for a round trip.

In the winter, the tram hauls skiers to the top to enjoy 76 trails over 1,610 skiable acres. In the summer the engines are slowed down to give guests more time to take in the sights. In five to seven minutes, you will ascend 2,300 feet to the top of Mt. Alyeska and see absolutely breathtaking scenery on the way to the upper tram terminal.

On the way up you will get a panoramic view of the Turnagain Arm, a gulf waterway that stretches 45 miles. The Seward Highway follows the southern edge through one of the most dramatic stretches of coastal highway in the world, past the Chugach State Park, the northernmost of several of Alaska’s coastal mountain ranges.

Don’t forget to look down at the wildlife that roams the region. Keep your eyes out for a moose or a bear.

Once you finish your ascent, you can take in the brilliant sights from the observation deck where you will enjoy what Conde Nast Traveller rated as the “best view of any U.S. ski resort.”

At the top, stop for lunch at the Bore Tide Deli and Bar with its comfortable casual design and amazing views of the Turnagain, the Chugach Range, and Girdwood’s seven glaciers. Have a signature cocktail at the bar, or refuel with a sandwich, soup, or salad.

For a fine dining experience, Seven Glaciers offers a AAA Four Diamond restaurant with an award-winning wine list and a menu that features local seafood and game. Try the Chef’s Tasting Menu to try a few bites of the menu’s best. The atmosphere is elegant, and you will need a reservation.

The Roundhouse Museum, which started as a day lodge with a chairlift, highlights the region’s skiing and outdoor culture. Built-in 1960 by 11 residents of Girdwood, the octagonal building sits on top of a ridge 2,280 feet up. The restaurant and lounge came later as it became a mountaintop gathering place. In 2003 the Roundhouse was placed on the National Historic Register to recognize the importance of the skiing culture and Alaska’s other many outdoor activities.

The tram was built in 1980 by Von Roll Tramways, Inc. of Switzerland. Each car has a capacity of 60 people, with a winter maximum of 800 guests per hour. The two cars work together as counterweights, with one going up as the other descends. The maximum speed is 26 miles per hour and spans 3,869 feet. That’s over a mile of ascent.

Monday through Wednesday the Alyeska Tram runs from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30; Thursday through Sunday it runs until 9:00 for night skiing. The tram also runs for guests of Seven Glaciers that had reservations beyond scheduled times. After the tram adventure, right around the corner is Turnagain Trail with beautiful views.