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.
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 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.
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.
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.