I assume when the average person envisions Anchorage, Alaska they picture mountains capped with snow and valleys rounded out by the glaciers that once passed through them. They may think of salmon swimming up the streams or moose wondering about. Often people find it quite surprising to learn that nestled in the forests of Anchorages Kincaid Park there rises a sand dune straight from the forest floor. However, this remnant of the Ice Age was in fact deposited by a glacier moving through the Anchorage Bowl!
The first time we set out to find the sand dune I had no clue where we were going. We had found some sketchy instructions on the internet and had decided to follow them, accompanied by a friend. These instructions took us winding through the woods and into a maze of devils club. I have a very poor sense of direction, so I am very glad that the friend I was with knew her North from her South. Otherwise we would have been lost in that devils club for quite some time.
Since this first exploration to find the sand dune I have been introduced to what I think is a much easier trail. If you are looking to find the sand dune yourself, simply park at Jodhpur trail-head in Kincaid park. Be aware, this trail-head does have a gate, so you must walk further if you go outside of gate hours. Take the trail, heading directly into the woods (see photo). Follow this trail until you run into the fence for the motocross park. Turn right and follow the fence until it takes you to the sand dune. Though it seems most people take the trail that involves lots of devils club, I prefer this simple and more direct path.
This location is so fun to visit if you have little ones. Though you don’t have direct access to water (there is a trail down to the mud flats, but I have heard it is not worth the trip), what child doesn’t love to play in the sand? Often older kids jump from the higher parts of the dunes onto lower levels. Though we have forgotten in the past, we keep meaning to bring our saucer sled when we visit to try out some sand sledding!
In addition, if you have a little one who loves things that go, there is a motor cross track located within viewing distance of the sand dune. Jasper loves to watch the racers zoom all over the track. However, if you prefer to go on a day without the noise pollution of the track, make sure to visit on a Monday or Tuesday. The motocross track is open 10:00 am – 8:30 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. In addition, if you have a little one who loves to run up and down hills, you can visit the motocross track on Mondays and Tuesdays and allow your children to explore the man-made hills on the track and climb to their hearts content as we have on multiple occasions with our Forest School class.