Photo Credit: Brent Reynolds

Arctic Valley Road Scenic Drive

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.

Make sure you bring your camera, there are pullouts the entire way up with stunning views of Anchorage, Cook Inlet and on a clear day, Denali (Mt. McKinley).

The first mile is a straightaway past beautiful green lawns on both sides of the road, including the driving range for Moose Run Golf Course. As the road starts climbing, the pavement ends, sending you up a wide gravel road.

Within a few minutes, you will already be high enough to get a bird’s eye view of downtown Anchorage and across the Inlet to the Mat-Su Valley.

Ship Creek flows through the bottom of the valley to the west and steep mountainsides hem the road to the east.

Around mile six, there is an abandoned Nike missile site, part of Fort Richardson Military Reservation. This site is not currently open to the public, but history buffs and others still visit it.

After another mile of switchbacks and four-wheel-drive road, you’ll arrive at the top. Here you’ll find Alpenglow Ski Area, which offers miles of hiking trails and late summer berry picking.

There is a parking-fee area at the Rendezvous Peak Trailhead. This is an easy to moderate 3 to 3.5 mile hike depending on the route you take on the descent.

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Driving Guide Points

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

If peo­ple sug­gest climb­ing Flat­top, tell them you’d rather climb Ren­dezvous Peak. Flat­top is arguably Alaska’s most pop­u­lar (and there­fore, most crowd­ed) moun­tain; Ren­dezvous is far less crowd­ed and offers bet­ter views from the sum­mit. See them by hik­ing up 1,500 feet to the 4,050-foot summit.