Trails, salmon viewing top free Anchorage events

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm •  Published: July 10, 2014
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Most tourists making a summer trip to Alaska will pass through Anchorage on their way to cruises, Denali National Park and other scenic adventures. While in Alaska's biggest city, also home to the state's largest airport, there are plenty of free things to do. Here are a few.

TONY KNOWLES COASTAL TRAIL

This is the gem of the city's extensive trail system, which boasts more than 120 miles (193 kilometers) of paved trails.

The coastal trail is accessible from many points in downtown Anchorage, and takes walkers or joggers about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) to the scenic Westchester Lagoon. However, earlier this summer a bridge collapsed near the lagoon so there's a slight detour off-trail through neighborhoods.

If you make it to the lagoon with energy to burn, the trail continues for another 9 miles (14 kilometers) to Kincaid Park. Moose sightings are more likely as you go by Earthquake Park — which offers great views of downtown Anchorage draped under the Chugach Mountains — and Point Woronzof.

SHIP CREEK

Walk a few blocks from the city's hustle and bustle and you'll find a salmon stream. Ship Creek runs along the edge of downtown Anchorage, attracting anglers who often stand shoulder-to-shoulder in, or on, the creek bed hoping to hook a salmon. You can watch from the side of the creek but several pedestrian bridges offer the best viewing.

Karen Bierman and her son, Aidan, spent some time on one bridge on July Fourth while waiting eight hours for their flight home to Houston. "It's just something to do, to get away from the airport," Bierman said. "Back in Houston, we do offshore fishing or bay fishing. This is a little bit different for us."

ALASKA TROOPERS MUSEUM

Are you a fan of the Alaska State Troopers, either the actual officers or the TV show? If so, you'll find this free museum arresting.

The official name is the Fraternal Order of Alaska State Troopers Law Enforcement Museum. It features the history of law enforcement in the state, going back to the days of the U.S. Marshal's office.

Patches representing departments from all 50 states, along with international and federal agencies, hang from the ceiling, and there's a copy of the wanted poster for Ed Krause, called Alaska's first serial killer. He was a miner and Army deserter who preyed on unattached men during the Klondike gold rush.

There's also a famous mug shot of actor Steve McQueen flashing a peace sign after his 1972 arrest for reckless driving in a Toronado in downtown Anchorage. The hard-partying actor, known for his swagger and for movies like "Bullitt" and "Papillon," was spinning the car — doing "brodies." He "was having a good time," said the museum's executive director, Laura Caperton.

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