Directly to the east of Anchorage, the massive 495,000 acre Chugach State Park is a mecca of outdoor recreation. The rugged terrain here, with its lakes, glaciers, and ocean shoreline is unparalleled in beauty, making it a prime destination for trail runners looking for a challenge.
One popular route in Chugach is the Turnagain Arm Trail, which curls along the waterfront of the Turnagain Arm for 9.5 miles. Not only are the views here great, the southern exposure of the trail makes it one of the first to melt come spring. To shorten the run, you can start and end at any of the four trailheads along the way: Potter, McHugh Creek, Rainbow, or Windy Corner. From Potter to McHugh is 3.4 miles, from McHugh to Rainbow is 4.2 miles, and the final stretch from Rainbow to Windy Corner is 1.9 miles. Note this trail is rolling hills, with a longer hill section between miles 2-4.