Turnagain Arm, AK

Alaska’s Turnagain Arm is part of the Cook Inlet and boasts the second largest tidal range in North America, up to 38 feet. At low tide, large mud flats are visible. It is also one of the few places you can see a bore tide, which is a rush of seawater into a narrow inlet. Bore tide waves can be 6-10 feet tall and rush at speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour. There are about 60 bore tides around the world, but Turnagain Arm is the farthest north and the only one surrounded by mountains. We did not personally see a bore tide, although the local newspaper had a picture of surfers riding a bore tide wave from the week before, but we did get to see the drastic tide changes in this area. One of my favorite vantage points for viewing Turnagain Arm last weekend was our Bird Ridge hike.

The trail is accessible right off of the Seward Highway, which runs the length of Turnagain Arm. It is a steep climb but worth the views. The trail swings back and forth from one side of the ridge to the other, allowing us to see deeper into the Arm and back towards Cook Inlet and Anchorage. It was a really clear day, so when looking back to the Cook Inlet we could see the Alaskan Range on the far horizon. Looking out from the top of the trail, I was sure this would be the perfect place to have a pirate ship. The Arm has that feeling, like it could be a hiding place or the launching point for a surprise attack.

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