Quick: what’s the longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America? It’s the Anderson Memorial Tunnel, and you’ll drive through it on the scenic and historic drive to Whittier. The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is a place whose valleys and mountains, communities and people tell the larger story of a wild place and a rugged frontier. This audio guide gives you the inside scoop on its fascinating history. You’ll meet bigger-than-life historical characters like Alaska Nellie (as well as a few ghosts), see the original Iditarod trail, and learn about the creation of the Alaska Railroad. We’ll give you a taste of Gold Rush history and pioneer days, as well as a look at the native Alaskans who can truly call this area home. And of course we’ll tell you all about the forces of nature that have sculpted the sublimely beautiful landscape.

Show Map

Points of Interest

KMTA National Heritage Area Guide

The 1964 Earth­quake dev­as­tat­ed trans­porta­tion routes from Anchor­age to Seward. A dar­ing res­cue of the rail bridge over Twen­ty-Mile Creek helped keep the line open in the days fol­low­ing the quake.

The area of Whit­ti­er has long served as pas­sage between Prince William Sound and Tur­na­gain Arm. The Alas­ka Engi­neer­ing Expe­di­tion envi­sioned a rail line out to this large­ly unset­tled area back in 1914, but it was the U.S. Army that made Whit­ti­er where and what it is.

The Sug­pi­aq are mar­itime peo­ple of south and south­west Alas­ka, adept at uti­liz­ing water-based resources and han­dling intense coastal weath­er. The name Sug­pi­aq comes from the word Suq,” mean­ing real peo­ple.” Alu­ti­iq, the Sug­pi­aq term for the Russ­ian name Aleut” has been adopt­ed by many con­tem­po­rary Native peo­ple of this diverse her­itage; both terms are com­mon­ly used today. The Sug­pi­aq who inhab­it the out­er coast­line of the Kenai Peninsula…  ...more

Glac­i­ers are formed when more snow accu­mu­lates than melts through the sea­sons. The weight of the snow cre­ates pres­sure that turns snowflakes into dense, rivers of ice that shape the land.

Whit­ti­er was built as a deep­wa­ter port and rail­road ter­mi­nus to trans­port fuel and sup­plies dur­ing World War II. Come inside the Anchor Inn where a small but fas­ci­nat­ing muse­um gives a glimpse of Whit­tier’s inter­est­ing history.

Trails were estab­lished by prospec­tors trav­el­ing through the Tur­na­gain Pass area. The Ingram Creek trail fol­lowed the creek from Tur­na­gain Arm up to Tur­na­gain Pass. After the pass, the trail fol­lowed Gran­ite Creek to Sixmile Creek, which then led prospec­tors to Sun­rise and Hope.

Palmer Creek and the road that fol­lows it were named after George Palmer, who in 1894 first dis­cov­ered gold on its banks. The creek was the site of ear­ly plac­er min­ing and lat­er lode min­ing. Evi­dence of the his­toric Lucky Strike and Hir­shey mines, as well as the Swet­mann camp, can be found along trails that lead to Palmer Lakes. Sev­er­al hik­ing trails are acces­si­ble from the Palmer Creek Road. 

Oper­at­ed by the non-prof­it Alas­ka Moun­tain and Wilder­ness Huts Asso­ci­a­tion, Man­i­to­ba Cab­in is intend­ed to pro­mote wilder­ness expe­ri­ence and cama­raderie in the spir­it of Euro­pean-style trekking huts. While very pop­u­lar among back­coun­try skiers dur­ing win­ter week­ends, the facil­i­ty often has open­ings dur­ing week­days. Dur­ing the sum­mer, you might have the entire place to yourself.

The Kenaitze Indi­an Tribe’s Dena’ina ances­tors, rec­og­niz­ing the abun­dance of the place called Yagha­nen, the good land,” set­tled along the banks of its rivers and Tikaht­nu (Cook Inlet). In the past sev­er­al years, one loca­tion the Kenaitze Tribe has focused on is Sqi­lant­nu, mean­ing the gro­cery store,” locat­ed in the area now called Coop­er Land­ing. Today, Kenaitze Indi­an Tribe part­ners with the Chugach Nation­al For­est to pre­serve, pro­tect and  ...more

The Jesse Lee Home for Chil­dren is the sec­ond of three child wel­fare insti­tu­tions in Alas­ka to bear the name. The first was estab­lished at Unalas­ka in the Aleut­ian Islands in 1890. The home was moved to Seward on Res­ur­rec­tion Bay in 1926. Fol­low­ing dam­age to the home in the 1964 earth­quake, the Jesse Lee Home was relo­cat­ed to its present loca­tion in Anchor­age in 1965.

The local his­to­ry muse­um, oper­at­ed in part­ner­ship with the Res­ur­rec­tion Bay His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, is sit­u­at­ed on the first floor. The library, locat­ed on the sec­ond floor, offers com­put­er with inter­net access, youth pro­grams, and preschool sto­ry time for no cost. 

Seg­ments of the trail near Seward (Nash Road) and Gird­wood (Alyeska) can be hiked dur­ing summer.