Thursday Field Trips




Alpine Bryophyte and Lichen Communities of the Chugach Mountains

Trip Leader(s): James Walton and Martin Hutten, National Park Service

9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Fee:  $100.00 - includes continental breakfast, boxed lunch, water bottle, and permits

Flattop is Alaska’s most popular peak and the quickest way to access the alpine environment from Anchorage. On clear days, Flattop offers spectacular panoramic views of Denali and the Alaska Range, Cook Inlet, and the majestic volcanoes of the Aleutian Range. The trailhead is located at Glen Alps, a 20-minute drive from downtown Anchorage, and the aptly named mountain summit is reached by following a well-maintained 2.4 km (1.5 mile) system of trails.

The hike begins at treeline but soon ventures into graminoid meadow, low ericaceous shrub, and herbaceous tundra. At higher elevations, rocky outcrops and talus slopes offer even more habitat to explore. Geologically the area is a chaotic mix of morainal and colluvial deposits, principally from weakly metamorophosed siltstone, sandstone, greywacke, arkose, conglomerate sandstone, and greenstones commonly associated with chert and argillite. This trip is a great opportunity to explore a diversity of nonvascular taxa that occur across southcentral Alaska alpine environments.

Hiking will be easy to moderate/difficult at higher elevations. Sturdy footwear, bug protection, 2L of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing for changing weather are recommended.

Alaska Wildlife Tour

Trip Leader: Annie Ronsse

12:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Fee:  $85.00 - includes snacks, water bottle, and admission fee
Special Add-on  - an additional $210.00 (limited to 10 people)

This is your chance to view migratory birds, salmon, beluga whales, bears, musk oxen, and other Alaska wildlife…oh my! Start with a guided walk at Potters Marsh, in Anchorage, with excellent habitat for over 130 migratory bird species, spawning salmon, and a variety of mammals. A wooden boardwalk provides a 0.5-mile trail showcasing a marsh ecosystem. Continue with a drive south for scenic views of mountains and the lush Chugach National Forest along the Turnagain Arm. A short stop (time and weather dependent) at Bird Point offers scenery of the tidal mudflats and a chance to see harbor seals, beluga whales, and the bore tide. The bore tide can be up to 40 ft tall and is one of the biggest in the world.

The last stop is at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center at 2:00 pm for a tour of wildlife. The wildlife center is a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research, and quality animal care. A small group (limited to 10, $125/person) will have a private 90-minute tour (A Walk on the Wild Side) where your personal guide will walk with you through the Center, offer history and personal stories of their resident animals. You’ll have the chance to be up-close and personal with a porcupine and/or have the chance to feed one additional animal. Others can explore the park at their own pace by walking 1.5-mile dirt and paved looped road. Everyone will end with a Bears Business program at 3:45 pm, where the Center will do a 1-hour education program focused on bear feeding and presentation on diet, environment, survival, adaptations of bears.

The bus ride is one hour from Anchorage to Wildlife Center. Please bring weather-appropriate clothing. A food truck is usually available on-site at the Wildlife Center. The weather can be clear and sunny to rainy. All walking areas are flat. Participants must abide by Wildlife Center rules while on-premises, please see their website for additional information. Masks required as of 5 Dec 2021.


Saturday, July 30 - Optional trip in conjunction with the Workshop

In Pursuit of Comps

Trip Leader: Mauricio Bonifacino de León

9:00 pm- 4:00 pm
Fee:  $80.00 - includes lunch and water bottle

Join us on a 9-mile trail (roundtrip) that will take us deep into the Alaskan Mountains to explore the amazing wilderness in search of Compositae, AKA Comps.

Taking advantage of Alaska’s summer-long days, we will hike the Reed Lakes Trail to witness the beauty of the North to the future state. 

In pursuit of Comps, we will stop at nothing to find the rare and the amazing, while feasting at the common and abundant.