Photo Credit: Turnagain Arm, Potter Marsh

Anchorage Scenic Day Drives

The vibrant city of Anchorage puts you within easy striking distance of countless scenic drives that take you past rugged coastline, ancient glaciers, and the snow-capped Chugach Mountains. Drive to the iconic Matanuska Glacier in just a couple hours, or take an hour and travel down Turnagain Arm to soak in the stunning views. Or enjoy the scenery close to the city—and possibly even get a glimpse of Mt. Denali—by driving up Arctic Valley Road (4WD/AWD recommended). If you’re driving to Alaska or renting a car here, you won’t want to miss the scenic drives below.

Scenic Drives

The Seward High­way hugs the dra­mat­ic shore­lines of Tur­na­gain Arm. One of the most beau­ti­ful stretch­es of high­way in America

Portage Val­ley south­east of Anchor­age at the head of Tur­na­gain Arm offers so many poten­tial adven­tures that you might have to tow a trail­er loaded with gear to sam­ple them all. What will you find here? Bik­ing, hik­ing, pic­nick­ing, fish­ing, pad­dling, wildlife view­ing, poten­tial ice­berg sight­ings — plus a nat­ur­al his­to­ry vis­i­tor cen­ter packed with inter­ac­tive dis­plays about the ecosys­tem of the val­ley and Prince William Sound. It’s like an outdoor  ...more

To enjoy a scenic dri­ve just a few min­utes from down­town Anchor­age, head north to mile 6.1 on the Glenn High­way. From here, you can head up the steep and wind­ing, Arc­tic Val­ley Road. The dri­ve itself is only 45 min­utes, but once you get there, you’ll want to spend more time pho­tograph­ing and exploring.

To explore the road less trav­eled, take the Old Glenn High­way to Palmer, a back road that feels like old Alas­ka. This 19-mile coun­try road cuts through the heart of Alaska’s farm­land and is a scenic, qui­et alter­na­tive between Anchor­age and Palmer. The road access­es state parks and recre­ation areas, pet­ting zoos, and hik­ing trails and pass­es through pic­turesque ter­rain: pas­toral coun­try­side beneath the Chugach Moun­tains and Pio­neer Peak. The…  ...more

Dri­ving north from Anchor­age isn’t as instant­ly dra­mat­ic as going south, but with­in an hour you’re immersed in stop-and-shoot scenery. The Glenn High­way runs north­east to agri­cul­tur­al Palmer, then twists east along the Matanus­ka Riv­er Val­ley, sand­wiched between coastal and inte­ri­or mountains.

Under an hour from Anchor­age, this 22-mile dri­ve takes you away from Alaska’s towns and cities, and into Chugach State Park. The road is smooth with twists and turns, and runs along­side Eklut­na Riv­er, and the beau­ti­ful and glacial Eklut­na Lake. You can also see Twin Peaks over the trees.

The dri­ve from Anchor­age to the sea­side com­mu­ni­ty of Seward begins with two hours of spec­tac­u­lar views as you pass between the dra­mat­ic shore­lines of Tur­na­gain Arm and the jut­ting peaks of the Chugach Mountains.

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