Photo Credit: Kennicott Mine & Ghost Town Walking Tour

Historic Park or Site

Forests filled with native totem poles. Gorgeously ornate Russian Orthodox churches. Abandoned gold rush towns. Alaska's rich history encompasses several eras and cultures, as well as countless fascinating—and sometimes downright surprising—chapters (such as the local World War II relics). Some historic sites offers tours, but others are simply points of interest that you can explore on your own. Pick a few and you can dig deep into the layered history of the 49th state.

Kenai Mountains - Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area

The United States’ 49th state boasts one of 49 National Heritage Areas across the country. The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is a treasure trove of natural, cultural, and historic riches. The Congressional designation of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm as a National Heritage Area recognizes and promotes the cohesive nature of this enduring, dynamic transportation corridor.

The National Heritage Area runs from the “Gateway City” of Seward north to Indian, and spans Whittier’s Prince William Sound port on the east to Cooper Landing on the west. Within these scenic miles is hidden a treasure trove of stories. From Native peoples to Russian fur traders, European explorers, and American gold prospectors, the quest for trade and treasures tested the limits of human endurance and inspired remarkable ingenuity.

Discover the story as you explore the KMTA National Heritage Area. Click here to access the guide, or use the filter on this page to view National Heritage Area Sites.

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Historic Park or Site

What ele­ments make a great city? When Anchorage’s fore­fa­thers land­ed at Ship Creek in 1915, those ele­ments were peo­ple, edu­ca­tion, jobs, cul­ture, cap­i­tal invest­ments, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and growth, food pro­duc­tion and sub­sis­tence, wildlife and nat­ur­al beau­ty. So these pio­neers set out to make them all a real­i­ty. Four dis­tinct neigh­bor­hoods arose to meet the call for hous­ing and land man­age­ment offices, as well as school, library, and muse­um facilities.  ...more

Downtown’s con­ve­nient grid pat­tern was set up at the same time that con­struc­tion start­ed on the Gov­ern­ment Hill neigh­bor­hood. And in 1915, downtown’s plots of land were auc­tioned off to the high­est bid­ders. Many of the build­ings from that era not only still stand, but are still named after some of the city’s found­ing fathers, remind­ing us of the sac­ri­fices they made to give a future to their bud­ding city. 

Just a 10-minute walk from down­town along the water­front, this fort was built by the U.S. Army start­ing in 1902, then pur­chased by Army vet­er­ans in 1947. The for­mer hos­pi­tal build­ing has been trans­formed into Alas­ka Indi­an Arts, where totem poles, masks, and jew­el­ry are cre­at­ed in the Tlin­git style. 

This mine played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the ear­ly set­tling of the Tur­na­gain Arm. The build­ing here are on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of his­toric places and the mine is unique because of its asso­ci­a­tion with load min­ing. Indi­an Val­ley Mine was found­ed in 1910 by a vagabond who ran away from home at the age of 12, joined the cir­cus and then final­ly trav­eled to Alas­ka dur­ing the gold rush. The Cowles fam­i­ly will tell you all about the his­to­ry of this…  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $10+

Crow Creek Mine has been in oper­a­tion since 1896, and gold is still found in its claims today! Your guides will be mem­bers of the min­ing fam­i­ly that keeps Crow Creek oper­a­tional. This is their home, so tour groups are kept small, cre­at­ing a more inti­mate envi­ron­ment and allow­ing more time for ques­tions. Try your luck at pan­ning, and keep what you find. 

This aban­doned cop­per min­ing camp is a Nation­al His­toric Land­mark Dis­trict. Estab­lished in 1903, Ken­necott Min­ing Cor­po­ra­tion oper­at­ed 5 mines in the area. Ken­necott became a bustling min­ing camp filled with min­ers and their fam­i­lies. In 1925, a geol­o­gist pre­dict­ed that the area would soon be mined out. By 1938, Ken­necott was a ghost town. 

What was it like for a fam­i­ly liv­ing in Anchor­age in 1915? The Oscar Ander­son House Muse­um, locat­ed in Elder­ber­ry Park at 5th Avenue and M Street, is the per­fect way to find out. 

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…  ...more

Site Sum­mit, locat­ed in Arc­tic Val­ley at near­ly 4,000 feet atop Mt. Gor­don Lyon, was once home to a Nike Her­cules mis­sile bat­tery, part of the Rings of Steel’ mis­sile defense sys­tem that sur­round­ed major U.S. cities from pos­si­ble Sovi­et mis­sile attacks dur­ing the Cold War.

Talk about an authen­tic pio­neer town. Time seems to have stood still on McCarthy’s Main Street, which is unpaved, only a few hun­dred yards long, and lined with clas­sic build­ings and memorabilia.Some vis­i­tors walk through McCarthy and com­plain that there’s noth­ing to do — and that’s exact­ly why folks like liv­ing here. But while you may not find much activ­i­ty, you will find a lot of his­to­ry: In the town’s hey­day there were sev­er­al hotels,…  ...more

Rail­road con­struc­tion began in Nome the sum­mer of 1900. By 1906 the track stretched 80 miles to the Kuz­itrin Riv­er. Like many oth­er res­i­dents, the world famous mush­er Leon­hard Sep­pala ran his dog team along t he tracks using a small rail­road car, called a pup­mo­bile.”

Look for the rails as the high­way cross­es over the White Pass and Yukon Route at Log Cab­in. This is also the exit point for the Chilkoot Trail, a 33-mile trek up the Chilkoot Pass. Dur­ing the Gold Rush, this was a major access route from the coast to the Yukon gold fields. This is a Nation­al His­toric Land­mark and is part of the Klondike Gold Rush Nation­al His­toric Park.

This lit­tle cab­in was orig­i­nal­ly a rest stop for the McCormick Trans­porta­tion Co.

Arriv­ing in Kake, you’ll see a large light-green ware­house built on pil­ings over the water. This is Kake’s his­toric salmon-pack­ing can­nery, which locals are work­ing to restore as both a usable space for local busi­ness­es and an his­toric attrac­tion for visitors. 

Opened in 1923 to accom­mo­date trav­el­ers on the new Alas­ka Rail­road, the small inn found fame (or noto­ri­ety) quick­ly: Pres­i­dent War­ren G. Hard­ing came for lunch, and died just a few days lat­er. Today, the hotel is com­prised of six recent­ly ren­o­vat­ed rooms as well as a bar and live music venue. You’ll hear every­thing from jazz and folk to open mic nights and seri­ous rock-n-roll. At the very least, do a walk-through to enjoy some local col­or and…  ...more

St. Peter’s Epis­co­pal Church is the old­est sur­viv­ing Protes­tant church build­ing on the Kenai Penin­su­la. It was also the loca­tion of the first pub­lic school class­room in the town of Seward, and it housed a library read­ing room begin­ning in 1929. Soon after the town of Seward was estab­lished in the sum­mer of 1903, a priest head­quar­tered in Valdez began mak­ing peri­od­ic trips to Seward to hold ser­vices in a tent. The base­ment, or undercroft,…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

This his­tor­i­cal trail through the woods between McCarthy and Ken­ni­cott was the walking/​wagon road when the rail­road was still run­ning. It’s a nice alter­na­tive to walk­ing or bik­ing up the 4.5‑mile-long road between McCarthy and Ken­ni­cott, where you’ll find more vehi­cles and dusty conditions.

Begin­ning in the sum­mer of 1899, thou­sands of men, women, and chil­dren worked shoul­der-to-shoul­der to glean trea­sure from these shores after news of Nome’s Gold­en Beach­es” rock­et­ed around the world. To this day, hearty inde­pen­dent min­ers con­tin­ue to work many area beach­es with high bankers and sluice box­es. Most find them­selves brav­ing the cold waters in wet­suits to oper­ate small, mod­ern, float­ing suc­tion dredges essen­tial­ly vacuuming  ...more

Teller Road cross­es Anvil Creek one mile below the site of the 1898 gold dis­cov­ery that trig­gered the Nome gold rush. From here you can view the wind tur­bines that form the start of Nome’s efforts to har­vest wind as an alter­na­tive ener­gy source. 

This rest area is the site of a rail­road sec­tion house. The restored house and its out­build­ings were built by the Alas­ka Rail­road to house the sec­tion fore­man and his fam­i­ly. The fore­man was respon­si­ble for main­tain­ing a 10-mile stretch of rail­road track. You’ll find an old train car and rotary plow that used by the sec­tion fore­man to clear snow off the tracks in win­ter. This is a fun stop for kids to take a look at rail­road his­to­ry and…  ...more

Like most sea­port towns, Seward had ladies of the night from the town’s begin­ning. But in 1915, with the deci­sion to start build­ing the Alas­ka Rail­road here, the town became con­cerned about the upcom­ing influx of con­struc­tion work­ers. Seward decid­ed to con­fine these ladies to a spe­cif­ic area, a place that became the town’s Red Light Dis­trict. Dur­ing pro­hi­bi­tion it was also known for its moon­shin­ing, thus the nick­name, Home­brew Alley.

This spot was once a stop on the White Pass and Yukon Route. In 1900, gold was dis­cov­ered in the area a town site was sur­veyed. Low min­er­al yield caused Robin­son to be aban­doned, but the old road­house still stands as a glimpse into Alaska’s gold rush history.

This is the site of the his­toric Fair­banks Explo­ration Com­pa­ny gold min­ing camp, estab­lished in 1925. Here you’ll find the old school house, which has been con­vert­ed into a muse­um. This area is on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places.

Memo­r­i­al Park was built in 1992 in hon­or Coast Guard and Navy per­son­nel that lost their lives dur­ing WWII.

The most cat­a­stroph­ic event in Seward’s his­to­ry took place along the shore­line here. On March 27, 1964, the largest earth­quake ever record­ed in North Amer­i­ca, and the tsunamis that fol­lowed, changed Seward’s his­to­ry forever.

Take a ride on the Yukon Route Rail­way and head east just like the min­ers of the Gold Rush days. This loco­mo­tive cut trav­el time to White­horse from sev­er­al weeks to just a few days.

Bring the spir­it of the Gold Rush to life with Alaska.org’s exclu­sive Skag­way Audio Guide, nar­rat­ed by one of Skag­ways’ favorite sons, Buck­wheat Don­ahue, a cap­ti­vat­ing sto­ry­teller, enter­tain­er, his­to­ri­an, and adventurer.

At Mile­post 49, there is a camp­ground with plen­ty of park­ing spaces avail­ble for cars and RVs. From the scenic over­look on the upper­road you can spot trum­peter swans and moose in the small lake below. This riv­er access point is the south­ern­most access point on the 400-mile Fortymile Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er System. 

Right next to the Tal­keet­na His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, this orig­i­nal trap­pers cab­in” gives you an inte­ri­or look at traps, antique tins, a wash­tub, and furs, offer­ing a sense of how these pio­neers lived. And Olé is quite the char­ac­ter: he came to Alas­ka in 1916 and worked as a log­ger, sur­vey­or, and gold min­er. His grand­kids still attend the local schools.

This dredge is locat­ed at Chick­en Gold Camp and Out­post. The dredge mined on Pedro Creek just out­side of Fair­banks from 1938 until 1959 before it was moved to Chick­en Creek and oper­at­ed between 1959 and 1967. Mike Bus­by and Bernie Karl pur­chased the dredge and moved it and oth­er min­ing equip­ment down to Chick­en in 1998 as a tourist attrac­tion. It was put on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places in 2006.

When vis­i­tors think of the Idi­tar­od Trail, they often think of Anchor­age where the race’s cer­e­mo­ni­al start takes place. But the trail actu­al­ly begins in Seward, right here. This spot is also where the town’s first set­tlers land­ed back in August 1903.

Difficulty: Difficult

If you have some seri­ous time and seri­ous ener­gy, take an adven­ture: hike the 20 miles out the Chase Trail to see what’s left of a lux­u­ry hotel built as a lay­over for the rail­road jour­ney between Seward and Fairbanks.

This road leads to Holy Trans­fig­u­ra­tion of Our Lord Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church. Here you will find a mag­nif­i­cent view of Cook Inlet, vol­ca­noes, the beach and Ninilchik Vil­lage. This is a won­der­ful pho­to oppor­tu­ni­ty when the flow­ers are in bloom.

Difficulty: Easy

At its peak, the Inde­pen­dence hard-rock gold mine was home to 206 work­ers and 16 fam­i­lies who lived high above tree line. Dig­ging and blast­ing, these work­ers recov­ered 140,000 ounces of gold before the mine shut down in the wake of World War II. There are 1.5 miles of paved walk­ways through­out the site, with infor­ma­tion­al plac­ards for a self-guid­ed tour. 

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.

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.

This high­way is named for the for­mer Alas­ka road com­mis­sion direc­tor, Cap­tain Wilds P. Richard­son. In 1903 Richard­son pre­sent­ed the need for Alas­ka roads. He impressed Con­gress with his knowl­edge of Alas­ka and his abil­i­ties as an engi­neer. The mon­u­ment here hon­ors Richard­son’s con­tri­bu­tion as the Alaska’s first great road builder.

Descrip­tion­Lo­cat­ed between the Chugach and Tal­keet­na Moun­tain ranges, The Alpine His­tor­i­cal Park pro­vides com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, as well as vis­i­tors from far or near, a look back in time to under­stand the her­itage and cul­tures of the ear­ly set­tlers of this area. The Park is a place for fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, often being used for gath­er­ings, par­ties, busi­ness events, com­mu­ni­ty pic­nics and many oth­er events, as there is no com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter in…  ...more

Trav­el­ing the Richard­son High­way south of Glen­nallen, you will pass Wil­low Lake with spec­tac­u­lar views of the lake and the Wrangell Moun­tain vol­ca­noes in the dis­tance. Read about how ancient Lake Atna once filled the area you’re dri­ving through and shaped the Cop­per Riv­er valley. 

After Finnish labor­ers com­plet­ed St. Michael’s Russ­ian Ortho­dox Cathe­dral, they asked Russ­ian author­i­ties if they could build a Luther­an church for them­selves. The Rus­sians allowed it, but only if the build­ing didn’t look like a church. That build­ing was torn down in 1888, but you can still see what it looked like: the cur­rent Luther­an church (which looks like a church) has a mod­el and pho­to of the orig­i­nal. The Luther­an Church is right across…  ...more

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. 

King Moun­tain is the next hill­side on the west side of the val­ley where it is easy to see the mul­ti­ple cuts across its slopes for much of the year. Most cuts are man­made ditch­es that once brought water to Nome’s gold fields for hydraulic min­ing operations. 

Look to the left side of the high­way and you’ll see what’s left of Gold Dredge Num­ber 3. This dredge was build in 1927 and even­tu­al­ly pro­duced $10 mil­lion in gold.

In the 1940’s more than 100 build­ings pep­pered the hill­side here, mak­ing up U.S. Army Base Fort Schwat­ka and Bat­tery 402. This coastal out­post was con­sid­ered cut­ting edge for its time. The Battery’s posi­tion high on Ulak­ta Head gave look­outs a strate­gic view and its 8‑inch, 21-ton guns boast­ed a range of 22 miles.

One of only a few struc­tures remain­ing from the orig­i­nal Russ­ian set­tle­ment, the endurance of the Russ­ian Bishop’s House reflects the ded­i­ca­tion brought to the job by the mis­sion­ary Bish­op Inno­cent Veni­aminov, its first occu­pant. Its chapel includes sev­er­al icons Inno­cent import­ed from Russia.

At this point in the dri­ve you may need some­thing to talk about.The Athabas­can peo­ple trav­eled along the cur­rent McCarthy Road cor­ri­dor to access their sum­mer hunt­ing camps in the Chugach Moun­tains. Their trails took them to prime moun­tain sheep coun­try, as well as to some of their favorite spots for har­vest­ing cop­per. One cop­per nugget tak­en from Dan Creek, almost pure and as big as a refrig­er­a­tor, now sits in a muse­um at the Uni­ver­si­ty of…  ...more

This road­stop hon­ors Lt. Bil­ly” Mitchell, con­sid­ered the father of the mod­ern air force, and show­cas­es the moun­tain named in his honor.

The bow of the sunken SS North­west­ern points to the sky in Cap­tains Bay, a fifty-foot-high sym­bol of Alaska’s role in World War II. The North­west­ern had a fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry even before Japan­ese war­planes bombed her on June 4, 1942. After trans­port­ing pas­sen­gers, troops and bananas on the East Coast, she logged more than thir­ty years in north­ern waters, car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers between South­east Alas­ka and Seattle.

When Kake’s totem pole was raised on the bluff over­look­ing the city in 1971, it was cel­e­brat­ed as the tallest sanc­tioned totem pole in the world. It is now fad­ed, and cracked at the top, but remains a sym­bol of Kake’s his­to­ry and hon­ors many traditions. 

At Mile­post 69 you will arrive at the Lost Chick­en Hill Mine, which was estab­lished in 1895. It got its name because it held a pay streak that had been lost” for many years. The area has min­ing his­to­ry that began before the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 – 98. It is now pri­vate­ly owned and mined.

Har­ry Karstens was the first ranger of Denali Nation­al Park. He arrived in ear­ly sum­mer 1921, and estab­lished his head­quar­ters on the north­west bank of Riley Creek, an ide­al spot for mon­i­tor­ing vis­i­tors using the trail lead­ing into the park. In 1925, the head­quar­ters moved to it’s cur­rent loca­tion at mile 3.4 of the Denali Park Road. 

Difficulty: Easy

Orig­i­nal­ly con­struct­ed by the Alas­ka Road Com­mis­sion in 1924 – 1925, the Sav­age cab­in and inter­pre­tive trails are now used as part of liv­ing his­to­ry pre­sen­ta­tions in the sum­mer months. Dur­ing the win­ter the cab­in become strict­ly util­i­tar­i­an by pro­vid­ing shel­ter for patrols.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Arrange a water taxi ride to this man made arch­i­pel­ago extend­ing into Sit­ka Sound, a rel­ic of decay­ing for­ti­fi­ca­tions built to defend Alas­ka from for­eign inva­sion dur­ing World War II. Dur­ing World War II, Sit­ka was the hub of mil­i­tary activ­i­ty in South­east Alas­ka, with a U.S. Naval Air Sta­tion and oth­er installations.

Cap­tain James Cook saw much of Alaska’s coast­line dur­ing his trou­bled third voy­age in search of a North­west Pas­sage. Prince William Sound, Prince of Wales Island, Nor­ton Sound, and Bris­tol Bay are just some of the places he named dur­ing his trav­els. Eng­lish Bay, on the east­ern side of Unalas­ka Island, ref­er­ences the two land­ings Cook and crew made there in 1778 (just months before his death in the Hawai­ian Islands).

Old rail­road build­ing along­side the road. 

Look for the Old Dal­ton Cache locat­ed behind the cus­toms build­ing. This lit­tle cab­in has been a road­house, a toll­house for the Dal­ton Trail and a cus­toms office. Check with the U.S. Cus­toms office before walk­ing down to the cabin.

Built in 1909-10, this two-sto­ry build­ing lat­er became asso­ci­at­ed with one of Seward’s most beloved cit­i­zens – Sol Urie. An avid Seward pro­mot­er, Sol­ly ran his bar and liquor store here.

In 1882, the U.S. Navy bom­bard­ed the small vil­lage of Angoon, result­ing in destruc­tion of homes, win­ter food stores and all but one canoe. The com­mu­ni­ty sur­vived through much hard­ship. The event is still very much a part of the col­lec­tive his­to­ry passed down through gen­er­a­tions of Angoon residents. 

Don’t miss the old trap­per’s cab­in at Byers Lake. Most Sour­doughs — that means old-time Alaskans — don’t even know it’s there. Hid­den in trees along the lakeshore trail, the old Bee­man cab­in stands as a reminder of sim­pler times. Peek in the win­dows and imag­ine liv­ing there all win­ter. Now part of Denali State Park, it’s an easy 10-minute walk from the main park­ing lot.

The strik­ing Holy Ascen­sion Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church – with its red-shin­gled roofs and green onion domes – has become an inte­gral part of the Unalas­ka sky­line over the last cen­tu­ry. It is both an odd­i­ty (archi­tec­tural­ly dif­fer­ent than any­thing else in the Aleu­tians) and a sym­bol of Russ­ian influ­ence on Aleut cul­ture and religion.

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

Although this cab­in is not acces­si­ble from the road sys­tem, it bears men­tion­ing as a Nation­al His­toric Site in the Cor­ri­dor. Har­ry A. John­son arrived in Seward in 1904 from Erie, Penn­syl­va­nia. A 30-year-old black­smith, he came north to help build the railroad. 

The end of the pave­ment, side roads in both direc­tions fol­low where the North Fork Ditch passed by. It’s not much to look at now, but for near­ly 60 years, the ditch chan­neled water from the North Klondike Riv­er to an elec­tric pow­er plant 25 km fur­ther West. It helped to pro­vide elec­tric­i­ty and water for gold dredg­ing in the Klondike. Con­struct­ed in 1909 by the Granville pow­er com­pa­ny, the hydro­elec­tric plant pro­vid­ed 10,000 hp, lat­er increased…  ...more

Just across Bonan­za Bridge, three rusty steam loco­mo­tives and some rolling stock lie sink­ing into the water-logged tun­dra. Dubbed The Last Train to Nowhere,” they are all that remain of a dream to build the most exten­sive and pros­per­ous rail sys­tem on the Seward Penin­su­la. In the ear­ly 1900s, Chica­go investors backed con­struc­tion of the Coun­cil City & Solomon Riv­er Rail­road in an effort to link the region’s major min­ing cen­ters by rail.   ...more

This turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry rel­ic harks back to Tenakee’s busier times as a hub for min­ers, log­gers and fish­er­men who hit town for a soak in the springs and a good time. It has served as every­thing from a jail, pool hall, dance hall, senior cen­ter to a bak­ery and art gallery.

Just a short, most­ly uphill, walk from down­town sits this estate that was built in 1913 for $40,000 and now hous­es Alas­ka Gov­er­nor Bill Walk­er. Along with a totem pole out­side, the 26-room build­ing has eight fire­places to keep the wet, cold win­ter at bay. There aren’t tours of the man­sion, but local bus tours made it a des­ti­na­tion dur­ing Sarah Palin’s time in office — par­tic­u­lar­ly, of course, when she was the Vice Pres­i­den­tial nominee. 

Look to the south and you’ll see a WWII era build­ing. Troops were sta­tioned at Cordova.

Step back in time and explore his­toric Skag­way using our detailed walk­ing tour.

In 1906 the chapel was built to hon­or Father Igu­men Nico­lai and Makary Ivanov. Fr. Nico­lai, Kenai’s first priest, brought small pox vac­cine, which saved the lives of hun­dreds of Dena’i­na. The chapel is on the site of the orig­i­nal 1849 church, locat­ed in the north­west cor­ner of the Russ­ian fur trad­ing post of Fort St. Nicholas.

The shales in this road cut con­tain fos­sil plant frag­ments. Please look but leave for oth­ers to enjoy. Take away only photographs.

About 75 Miles South­east of Anchorage

Locat­ed on San­ta Claus Lane, the Ter­ry Miller Memo­r­i­al Park fea­tures a pic­nic area, chil­dren’s play­ground, a spa­cious gaze­bo donat­ed by the North Pole Rotary Club and an up close view of the Alas­ka Rail­road as it pass­es by.

This old com­pa­ny owned asbestos min­ing town once was home to 500 peo­ple. The main build­ing housed the post office, gro­cery store and cafe­te­ria. The town is aban­doned but the road allows pas­sage to the his­toric ghost town of Fortymile.

Sur­prise! This bridge over the Susit­na Riv­er appears with­out warn­ing, so if you want to stop and see this huge drainage, slow down and pull off the road at either end. Alaskans call it the Big Su. We fish it, pad­dle it, and snow machine its frozen braids. Bush pilots even nav­i­gate by this riv­er. The Susit­na Riv­er winds its way over 313 miles of South­cen­tral Alas­ka; this old rail­road bridge cross­es the water on the east­ern edge of Denali…  ...more

Start at this land­mark, in the cen­ter of town, to grasp the rich­ness and depth of Sitka’s his­to­ry as the cap­i­tal of Russ­ian Amer­i­ca. The archi­tec­ture and trea­sured icons of this land­mark high­light Sitka’s long his­to­ry as a Euro­pean set­tle­ment decades before the Amer­i­can Revolution.

The town’s most rec­og­niz­able build­ing, with icon­ic blue onion-like cupo­las capped by cross­es, this cathe­dral was estab­lished in 1794. That’s the year Russ­ian monk St. Her­man arrived in Kodi­ak. A benev­o­lent force in the col­o­niza­tion and exploita­tion of the Aleuts and Alu­ti­iqs, he was known for his care of the sick and dying dur­ing West­ern-intro­duced epi­demics, as well as his pro­tec­tion of the local pop­u­la­tions. He was can­on­ized in 1970,…  ...more

Clan hous­es line Beaver Trail Road in Angoon, an area that hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. The weath­er-beat­en, wood-framed build­ings are out­ward signs of a cul­ture that has been main­tained through generations. 

Con­struc­tion of this ear­ly-1900s bridge cost a whop­ping (at the time) $1.4 mil­lion, which earned it the nick­name Mil­lion Dol­lar Bridge. But the bridge quick­ly earned its keep, allow­ing the rail­road to haul cop­per from Ken­ni­cott to the port of Cordova.

Housed in the cir­ca 1898 White Pass & Yukon Route Rail­road Depot, the his­toric Moore house and the Mas­cot Saloon. Col­lec­tions con­sist of over 200,000 archae­ol­o­gy arti­facts asso­ci­at­ed with the Klondike gold rush and 3,000 copies of his­toric pho­tographs of the gold rush peri­od. Library and 100-seat audi­to­ri­um. Guid­ed tours, inter­pre­tive pro­grams, films and per­ma­nent exhi­bi­tions. Hours May-Sep: Dai­ly 8am-6pm Admis­sion No admis­sion fee,…  ...more

Because Homer los­es so many loved ones at sea, most­ly in the com­mer­cial fish­ing busi­ness, Homer res­i­dents con­struct­ed a Sea­far­ers’ Memo­r­i­al near the end of the Spit, embla­zoned with brass plates list­ing the names of mariners lost or killed at sea.

At Mile­post 21 of Tay­lor High­way, you can stop and read about the life cycle of cari­bou and the fall and rise of the Fortymile herd. 

Vis­it the site of one of the most famous shoot­ings in ear­ly Alas­ka his­to­ry – the spot where a U.S. Deputy Mar­shal was gunned down. We’ll also meet one of Alaska’s most respect­ed lawyers and politicians.

This 1898 house was the home of Judge James Wick­er­sham, a leg­end in Alas­ka who brought civil­i­ty and law to the wild gold-rush towns of Eagle, Fair­banks, and Nome. After climb­ing Denali (Mt McKin­ley), he also helped lob­by for the cre­ation of Denali Nation­al Park, and was a force in Wash­ing­ton, where he per­suad­ed the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to build uni­ver­si­ties and rail­roads in Alas­ka while giv­ing the ter­ri­to­ry legal rights. The house was in the…  ...more

On the ocean side (not bay side) of Rugged Island you can look up on the ridge of this island and see a bright orange and white day mark­er just above an old WWII mil­i­tary look out sta­tion. Fort Bulk­ley was locat­ed on Rugged Island and this ridge was the first defense if any ene­my boats were to enter the bay.

Stop and take your pic­ture in front of the most pho­tographed build­ing in Alas­ka. In times past, it was a fra­ter­nal hall; the local chap­ter of the Broth­er­hood first met here in August 1899. (Step across the street, and you’ll notice the let­ters A.B.” and the 1899” above the door, and Camp Skag­way No. 1” on the over­hang. The orga­ni­za­tion’s sym­bol, a gold pan and nuggets, is up near the roof line. The façade, which dates from 1900, has been…  ...more

At Mile­post 43 of Tay­lor High­way, there is a nice pinic area over­look­ing the creek. 

Russ­ian sol­diers were a com­mon sight around Nome dur­ing World War II. The government’s top secret Lend-Lease pro­gram pro­vid­ed Rus­sia with crit­i­cal war mate­ri­als to aid the fight against Ger­many, and Nome was the last fuel stop for war planes head­ed West. A 1944-era hangar can be seen here today, a rel­ic from this amaz­ing effort. 

When the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary left Unalas­ka Island at the end of World War II, it also left behind build­ings and equip­ment that would become war relics and reminders of the area’s impor­tance dur­ing the Aleut­ian cam­paign, often called the For­got­ten War.” The build­ings have dete­ri­o­rat­ed over the years and some have been torn down. But his­tor­i­cal plaques mark­ing the loca­tion of sev­en World War II points of inter­est were erect­ed in 2007 to ensure  ...more

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

Char­lie Anway, one of the town’s ear­ly pio­neers who home­stead­ed the prop­er­ty, built the cab­in in 1903. Anway had a knack for gar­den­ing and even­tu­al­ly devel­oped the famous Anway straw­ber­ry — a berry so large and juicy that Haines became known as the Straw­ber­ry Cap­i­tal of Alas­ka. In 2003, the prop­er­ty was donat­ed to the Chilkat Val­ley His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety; plans are in the works to restore the cab­in and open it to visitors. 

Believe it or not, but this area used to be cov­ered by tall trees!

Difficulty: Easy

Loved by locals and trav­el­ers alike, this 182-acre state park has numer­ous trails, beach­es, and rocky view­points. For his­to­ry buffs, the trails take you past bunkers and relics from WWII out­posts in the area. You’ll also find sum­mer nat­u­ral­ist pro­grams where you can learn about ecol­o­gy as well as ocean and for­est creatures.

Alas­ka has served an impor­tant role in U.S. mil­i­tary strat­e­gy, espe­cial­ly dur­ing World War II, and the Cold War. But the mil­i­tary his­to­ry in Nome actu­al­ly start­ed even before the city was incor­po­rat­ed, when gold rush deal­ings and a pop­u­la­tion boom required some old fash­ioned law and order brought by U.S. soldiers. 

Three Scan­di­na­vians found gold in Anvil Creek in 1898 and quick­ly staked their claims. The fact that they knew lit­tle about min­ing didn’t impede their quick path toward wealth. Locals call them the Three Lucky Swedes,” and their life-sized bronze stat­ues stand in Anvil City Square, near where their lives were for­ev­er changed. 

Take a walk­ing tour through the his­toric dis­trict in Marine Park. Pick up a free map at the kiosk and just go! South Franklin Street is the main tourism dis­trict and one of the best shop­ping areas to find every­thing Alaskan, from cute and fur­ry faux crea­tures (like ice­worms) to hand­made native crafts and expen­sive fine art. To ensure authen­tic­i­ty, look for the polar bear sym­bol for goods made in Alas­ka and the Sil­ver Hand label for genuine…  ...more

Mile 43 Denali Park Rd, small cab­in is vis­i­ble down the embank­ment on the south side of the road

Look for the old out­build­ings of the Sour­dough Road­house on the banks of Sour­dough creek.

The Hope-Sun­rise His­tor­i­cal and Min­ing Muse­um exhibits pho­tographs and arti­facts of the Tur­na­gain Arm Gold Rush of 1896 and the years since.

41 Places To See Fair­banks’ Past

Hope­ful­ly this life-size bronze stat­ue is the clos­est you’ll come to a Kodi­ak brown bear. The stat­ue hon­ors Charles Mad­sen, Kodiak’s pio­neer-era bear-hunt­ing guide and one of the first reg­is­tered guides in Alaska.

This old bunker is open for explo­ration. If you make it this far on your hike, be sure to walk around the bunker and step inside to get a rough idea of how how sol­diers lived dur­ing WWII.

At Mile­post 67 Tay­lor High­way you will find the Chick­en Creek Bridge. This is the site of a dredge that was oper­at­ed by the Fair­banks Explo­ration Com­pa­ny from 1959 until 1965. In an aver­age run of the dredge, it was oper­at­ing 24 hours a day for 2 weeks. At it’s peak, one run would bring in $40,000 in gold. 

An assort­ment of homes and cab­ins dots the road for the next two miles and com­pris­es the town of Chini­ak. Orig­i­nal­ly a native Alu­ti­iq out­post, the pop­u­la­tion here explod­ed dur­ing WWII, fol­low­ing con­struc­tion of a road from Olds Riv­er. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have based oper­a­tions here, with work­ers liv­ing in Quon­set huts and mil­i­tary hous­ing. But fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the hous­ing in 1954, the res­i­dents built the town.” Elec­tri­fied in…  ...more

At Mile­post 68 Tay­lor High­way you pull off and enjoy this easy, 1.5 mile hike to an over­look above the remains of Mos­qui­to Fork Dredge. This dredge was shut down in 1938 after oper­at­ing for less than 2 seasons. 

This rail­road tun­nel was hand-cut start­ing in 1905. Nine com­pa­nies were bat­tling to take advan­tage of the short route from the coast to cop­per coun­try. Progress on the tun­nel was inter­rupt­ed and after a gun bat­tle, con­struc­tion halt­ed and the tun­nel was nev­er fin­ished. You can read about the tun­nel and these events in Rex Beach’s nov­el, The Iron Trail.

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.

The first two things vis­i­tors notice about Ken­necott are the spec­tac­u­lar views and the town itself…in that order. The com­bi­na­tion of dra­mat­ic scenery and strange min­ing town makes for a unique expe­ri­ence. Give your­self a cou­ple hours to explore and take it in.

After four years of wor­ship­ing in the Pres­by­ter­ian Chapel, Epis­co­palians final­ly had their own church in 1899, with the con­struc­tion of St. Peters-by-the-Sea. Com­plete with stained glass win­dows, mod­i­fied fly­ing but­tress­es, and wood­en pews, this small chapel is open to the pub­lic 247. The church and the adja­cent See House (1905) are both on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­tor­i­cal Places, and are large­ly the work of Bish­op Peter Trim­ble Rowe.…  ...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.

This was the orig­i­nal port and city of Valdez. The city was moved to its cur­rent loca­tion 4 miles down the road after it was dev­as­tat­ed by the 1964 Good Fri­day Earthquake.

At Mile­post 34 of Tay­lor High­way you are able to com­pare the gen­tly round­ed ridges of the Yukon-Tanana Uplands, that were to nev­er cov­ered in ice, to the rugged, glaciat­ed Alas­ka Range in the distance. 

So don’t just stroll through town — take the offi­cial tour, brought to you by long­time res­i­dent experts: Alas​ka​.org and the Anchor­age Con­ven­tion & Vis­i­tors Bureau.

His­toric site near Golovin opened by John Dex­ter where min­ers got their sup­plies and trad­ed infor­ma­tion. It’s where the Three Lucky Swedes” stocked up (on sup­plies and help) after their big gold dis­cov­ery on Anvil Creek in 1898. Also where Leon­hard Sep­pala fin­ished his long leg of the 1925 dipthe­ria serum run. This build­ing is still stand­ing in Golovin, and was report­ed­ly board­ed up as is, with all its arti­facts still inside. 

Built as a cab­in in 1896 by prospec­tor Fritz Miller as a stop over on the sled dog trail between Cir­cle City and Fair­banks. After the Steese High­way was com­plet­ed it func­tioned as a road­house until 1970. It has since burned down, how­ev­er, items from the Miller House can be found at the Muse­um in Central.

Walk through a series of his­tor­i­cal build­ings, some now occu­pied by shops and restaurants

This was the largest base on Kodi­ak Island dur­ing WWII, and the cen­ter of the Har­bor Defens­es for Kodi­ak. At the peak, some 8,000 troops were sta­tioned here. Now all that remains are some unmarked buildings.

George A. Brack­ett began build­ing Brack­ett Wag­on Road in Novem­ber of 1897 and by March of 1898, the toll road was open and spanned 10-miles up the val­ley to White Pass City. The road was very pop­u­lar with pack­ers as it was a vast improve­ment over the mis­er­able Trail of 1897. Brack­ett sold the road in June of 1898 to the rail­road for $100,000.

At Mile­post 75 Tay­lor High­way you can pull off and read the inter­pre­tive pan­els to learn more about the Fortymile gold rush. 

See His­toric Homes From Before Statehood

The U.S. and Rus­sia were allies dur­ing World War II. Alas­ka was a key exchange point for war­planes in the Lend-Lease pro­gram, which leant thou­sands of Amer­i­can-made planes to Rus­sia for use at the battlefront.

The Cop­per Riv­er and North­west­ern Rail­way used to serve the min­ers in this area in the ear­ly part of the 20th cen­tu­ry, but the trains stopped rolling in 1938, and car­go planes became the only way to get freight in and out. This 1418 mail cab­in was built in one day in 1948 by employ­ees of the Chi­ti­tu min­ing com­pa­ny. It’s held up pret­ty well over the decades — it had to be rehabbed in 1998 to replace some rot­ting logs, but it still func­tions as…  ...more

At Mile­post .7 of Tay­lor High­way you will notice dark gray sand dunes on either sides of the road. These were cre­at­ed over 10,000 years ago when strong winds car­ried loose sed­i­ments from the plains of the Tanana Riv­er and piled them against these low mountains.

Difficulty: Moderate

If you’ve spent the day in Ken­ni­cott, on the glac­i­er trail, or in the moun­tains and still can’t get enough of the out­doors, skip the shut­tle ride down the hill to McCarthy and take this nice 1.5‑hour walk. The Wag­on Trail cuts off the main road just to the right of the St. Elias Guides office.

What was it like to be an Alaskan sci­en­tist back in the 1940s? This site, on the south side of Palmer’s down­town, near Gulka­na and E. Fire­weed streets, will give you a pret­ty good idea. Back then, this two-sto­ry cement build­ing, the eight sim­ple cot­tages, and the arbore­tum were built by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Fair­banks and used by researchers study­ing how to increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in cold-weath­er crops.

Some 40 – 50 rock etch­ings, pos­si­bly 8,000 years old, can be spot­ted here above and below mean high tide. The con­cen­tra­tion of carv­ings is unmatched in Alas­ka and in few oth­er places in the world. There is some belief that the pet­ro­glyphs pre-date the Tlin­git Indi­ans of this area.

This aban­doned lodge was once a full ser­vice stop for prospec­tors dur­ing the Klondike Gold Rush. 

This is one of Alaska’s old­est orig­i­nal road­hous­es from the gold rush era. Stop in for a slice of home­made pie or a giant cin­na­mon roll and min­gle with the local min­ers, dog mush­ers, trap­pers and fishermen.

The rock cut you’re about to dri­ve through was blast­ed out in the ear­ly 1900’s when the rail­road to the cop­per mines of Ken­ni­cott was being built. The rail­road began in Cor­do­va and fol­lowed the Cop­per Riv­er to cur­rent day Chiti­na before turn­ing through the rock cut and head­ing east towards the Wrangell Moun­tains. In the 1960’s the rail­road hand­ed over the land, and lia­bil­i­ty, to the new­ly estab­lished State of Alas­ka which prompt­ly began…  ...more

If you had looked at the Seward water­front area before 1964, you would have seen fish pro­cess­ing plants, ware­hous­es, a small boat har­bor, var­i­ous plea­sure and com­mer­cial ves­sels, and huge Tex­i­co and Stan­dard Oil tanks. You would also have seen the Alas­ka Rail­road facil­i­ties and tracks which ran to the south end of town near where the Alas­ka Sea Life Cen­ter is today. That’s where steam­ers would come in to off and on load mate­ri­als. The bulk of…  ...more

As you round Cape Nome, the Cape Nome Road­house is on the shore-side of the road. Road-hous­es once flour­ished along trails around the state, pro­vid­ing food and shel­ter for win­ter trav­el­ers who often arrived by dog team or horse-drawn sleigh. The Cape Nome Road­house also served as an orphan­age after the dev­as­tat­ing epi­demics of the ear­ly 1900s and as a World War II com­mu­ni­ca­tions base. It is now a pri­vate­ly-owned camp. 

This cab­in, pos­si­bly the old­est in the Canyon Creek drainage, is a sym­bol of the area’s rich gold min­ing his­to­ry. The cab­in was built and used by the first gen­er­a­tion of Canyon Creek min­ers. North­ern Euro­pean crafts­man­ship went into the con­struc­tion of this cab­in. The cor­ner logs were dove­tailed and hand-hewn. The ridge­pole was hewn to fit the shape of the roof’s peak. Hor­i­zon­tal logs were round­ed on the out­side of the build­ing and hewn flat…  ...more

Here, Tay­lor High­way begins to descend into the val­ley of the Fortymile Riv­er. You will be able to see the intri­cate­ly fold­ed meta­mor­phic rocks exposed by the road cut. Keep an eye out for white mar­ble, quartzite, gneiss, and schist. 

The mill was built in 1908 to ease the high cost of ship­ping sil­ver ore out of the ter­ri­to­ry. Grav­i­ty pulled a line of buck­ets filled with ore down an aer­i­al tramway cable from the mine above to the mill below.

Over­grown and unmarked, this 200-year-old Russ­ian ceme­tery is still used for Russ­ian Ortho­dox parish­ioners of St. Michael’s. You’ll find stone and wood head­stones, some of which are made from the bal­lasts of old Russ­ian ships.

Nome­henge,” as some of the locals call the four tow­er­ing anten­nas on Anvil Moun­tain above Nome, oper­at­ed dur­ing the height of the Cold War to link remote parts of Alas­ka with the rest of the coun­try. These are the last of 71 White Alice struc­tures, and serve as impor­tant his­toric and geo­graph­ic land­marks in Nome.

Look east across the Susit­na Riv­er and you’ll see the old Valdez Creek gold mine in the foothills of the Clear­wa­ter Moun­tains. The mine was start­ed by the Peter Mon­a­han Par­ty in 1903, trig­ger­ing a small gold rush and an out­post set­tle­ment known as Denali. The orig­i­nal dig­gings and set­tle­ment are long gone.

A vis­it to Nome and the Seward Penin­su­la brings you to the ori­gins of the Amer­i­c­as’ indige­nous pop­u­la­tions. It was here that sev­er­al great migra­tions took place from Asia to North Amer­i­ca, across the Bering Land Bridge. The route was made pos­si­ble by low­ered sea lev­els, which exposed a land pas­sage rang­ing up to 1,000 miles wide, link­ing what is now Rus­sia to the Seward Penin­su­la of Alaska.   ...more

The Kuz­itrin Riv­er Bridge had its ori­gins in Fair­banks. It was orig­i­nal­ly named the Cush­man Street Bridge when it was built across the Chena Riv­er in the heart of down­town Fair­banks in 1917. In the 1950s the bridge was replaced with a con­crete span and the orig­i­nal met­al bridge was dis­as­sem­bled, shipped down the Chena, Tanana, and Yukon rivers and barged up the Bering Sea coast to Nome. It was hauled in sec­tions up the Nome-Tay­lor High­way and  ...more

This Russ­ian Ortho­dox church was built by and for Ser­bian min­ers and Tlin­git Indi­ans — not Rus­sians. Tlin­gits were attract­ed to the reli­gion because of the church’s accep­tance of their lan­guage and cul­ture; Protes­tant mis­sion­ar­ies attempt­ed to erase their cus­toms. Now, more than 110 years lat­er, the church con­tin­ues to serve the com­mu­ni­ty, with ser­vices sung in Eng­lish, Tlin­git, and Slavon­ic. A clas­sic Russ­ian build­ing, paint­ed in the…  ...more

This one cab­in is all that’s left of the old Tiekal Moun­tain Road­house (not to be con­fused with the Tiekal Lodge a few miles north.)

There are more than 500 archae­o­log­i­cal sites in the Tan­gle Lakes Dis­trict indi­cat­ing that ancient peo­ple lived in this area for at least 10,000 years. Some of the dens­est con­cen­tra­tions of archae­o­log­i­cal resources in the North Amer­i­can sub­arc­tic can be found here and the area is list­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places.

Here is the for­mer site of the Jack Wade Dredge. This was a pop­u­lar attrac­tion and pho­to sub­ject for high­way trav­el­ers for many years. The dredge was dis­man­tled and scraped by the BLM in 2007. BLM offi­cials said that the dete­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tion of the old dredge was a safe­ty haz­ard. T

This stout struc­ture is a re-cre­ation of the guard tow­er that once stood here, part of the fortress enclos­ing the Rus­sians dur­ing their time in Sit­ka, from 1804 to 1867. Fear­ful of the wilder­ness around them, and of Tlin­git Natives, the Rus­sians’ enclosed fort was open to out­siders only in the daytime.

This is the largest lake you will see on the Demp­ster High­way. It was named for Ernest Chap­man, a trad­er, trap­per and prospec­tor. There are many oth­er small­er lakes in the vicin­i­ty and togeth­er they sup­port a vari­ety of water­fowl and shorebirds.

Difficulty: Easy

One of the best spots to check out WWII relics, there’s a short trail from the park­ing area on the side of the road.

Difficulty: Moderate

If your trav­el group includes a WWII enthu­si­ast, a wildlife devo­tee, a bird­er, and a kid who enjoys rolling around on the tun­dra, Bunker Hill is the per­fect spot. Plus, it has the best pho­to ops, with a 360-degree view of the entire area: Cap­tains Bay, Amak­nak Island, Unalas­ka Bay and Ili­uliuk Harbor.

One of the First Road­hous­es in Alaska

This mon­u­ment is ded­i­cat­ed to Felix Pedro, a very patient Ital­ian prospec­tor who dis­cov­ered gold here in July 1902. The gold rush that fol­lowed result­ed in the found­ing of Fair­banks, Alaska’s sec­ond largest City.

The Sul­li­van Road­house His­tor­i­cal Muse­um is housed in the old­est road­house in the inte­ri­or of Alas­ka and is locat­ed in the heart of Delta Junc­tion at the End of the Alas­ka High­way. Built in 1905 by John and Flo­rence Sul­li­van, the log lodge now hous­es a muse­um that focus­es on the Valdez-Fair­banks Trail and the road­hous­es that oper­at­ed along its route. Beau­ti­ful­ly recre­at­ed rooms, as well as inter­pre­tive exhibits give our vis­i­tors a real feel…  ...more

Beyond the bridge, a long line of small build­ings hugs the coast where a U.S. Army post once stood dur­ing the ear­ly gold rush. Fort Davis was dis­man­tled in 1923 as Nome’s econ­o­my declined. The build­ings you see today are local­ly-owned hunt­ing and fish­ing sub­sis­tence camps. The Inu­pi­at used this area well before the sol­diers arrived because of diverse and abun­dant birds, fish, and mam­mals. Please do not dis­turb or trespass. 

Beyond the Pil­grim Riv­er Bridge, the road con­tin­ues uphill and offers sweep­ing views of a net­work of lakes and the mean­der­ing riv­er val­ley. North of the Pil­grim Riv­er drainage is a large hill topped with a series of gran­ite rock out­crop­pings known as Hen and Chick­ens because of its resem­blance to a small flock at cer­tain angles. A cross was placed at the sum­mit in mem­o­ry of a priest who died in a bliz­zard on his way to the orphanage.

Watch the bus­tle of the seafood indus­try and get great pho­tos of a tru­ly giant ship — the Star of Kodi­ak is 441 feet long and can hold 10,000 tons of car­go! Pro­duced as part of a five-year gov­ern­ment pro­gram dur­ing WWII, this ship was con­struct­ed in Port­land, Maine and orig­i­nal­ly named the Albert M. Boe. Launched in 1945, it had only one year as an active mil­i­tary ship and saw very lit­tle action. Part of an impro­vised effort to get Kodi­ak back…  ...more

Palmer may look like it grew organ­i­cal­ly, like any oth­er town. But it was actu­al­ly designed by the gov­ern­ment as a planned agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty. In fact, Palmer was part of FDR’s New Deal Reset­tle­ment Projects dur­ing the Great Depres­sion: More than 200 fam­i­lies vol­un­teered to move to Alas­ka to try farm­ing in the Last Frontier!

Built in the 1920s, this bridge helped prospec­tors cross the Niz­ina Riv­er and reach the gold camps at Chi­ti­tu Creek and Dan Creek. The glac­i­er-dammed lake near here caused flood­ing with some reg­u­lar­i­ty — and as result, would wash out the bridge with some regularity.

The Koyukuk Gold Rush is one of the most remote and old­est min­ing booms in Alas­ka. Word got out that gold had been found at the Koyukuk Riv­er and min­ers stam­ped­ed to the area in 1898. Today, the Koyukuk Min­ing Dis­trict is one of the largest in the Yukon Riv­er region. Both life-long and recre­ation­al min­ers still find gold in this area today.

The Wible Camp is marked by Gold Rush Cen­ten­ni­al inter­pre­tive signs at a pull-out 3.2 Miles south of the Hope Junc­tion on the Seward High­way. Look­ing east of Canyon Creek, vis­i­tors can see a straight strip of alder brush on the hill­side where min­ers dug a ditch used for hydraulic min­ing. The ditch­es were dug to col­lect and divert water into met­al pipes. The high­ly pres­sur­ized water then scoured hill­sides. Loca­tion Mile­post 59.5 Seward…  ...more

There isn’t a much left of this old min­ing town, but at one time, it was home to 250 – 300 min­ers. The town, named for prospec­tor Nels Olnes, boast­ed gen­er­al stores, lodges, hotels and mail and tele­phone ser­vice. It was even a stop on the Tanana Val­ley Railroad.

Near­ly a cen­tu­ry ago in 1903, this was the small min­ing and fish­ing town’s red-light dis­trict but today the board­walk street, propped up over Ketchikan Creek on wood­en pil­ings, teems with gift shops, muse­ums and well-pre­served homes.

Difficulty: Easy

A short boat ride to George Island brings chances to see whales and marine life along the way, fol­lowed by inver­te­brates at low tide and a love­ly walk through a beau­ti­ful tem­per­ate rain­for­est to an his­toric site that still has gun emplace­ments left over from World War II.

Across the street from the muse­um is a short path lead­ing to the old rail­road turntable used to flip the engine around so it could push the train the 4.5 remain­ing miles up to Ken­ni­cott. Look for a wood­en sign across the street point­ing the way. Two or three peo­ple can get it mov­ing again. It’s a great activ­i­ty for kids look­ing for a short but unique ride.

Dur­ing the win­ter of 1907 the A.J. Meals Co. freight­ed a 70-ton steam­boat over Mar­shall Pass from Valdez. The steam­er was car­ried piece-by-piece on horse-drawn sled to the Cop­per Riv­er, 31 miles east. The 110-foot-long ship trav­eled 170 miles of the Cop­per and Chit­na Rivers.

This is one of the spots where two sep­a­rate con­struc­tion crew met dur­ing the build­ing of the Dal­ton High­way. The high­way was built in 1974 to allow for the con­struc­tion of the Trans Alas­ka Pipeline and fin­ished in only 5 months. This high­way, orig­i­nal­ly a haul road allow­ing access to Prud­hoe Bay, opened to pub­lic trav­el in 1994.

Eight signs will guide you through the Cop­per Riv­er water­shed land­scape. See if you can vis­it all eight signs on your tour through this upriv­er basin formed by the ancient, glacial Lake Atna!

Many loca­tions around Nome are named after John Dex­ter, a min­er and busi­ness­man who opened an impor­tant ear­ly trad­ing post/​roadhouse in Golovin. Two oth­er roadhouse/​bars have also car­ried the Dex­ter name, which can get con­fus­ing for vis­i­tors. Read our descrip­tions to help sort them out.

Built between 1894 – 96, the Holy Assump­tion Ortho­dox Church is the most endur­ing exam­ple of Russ­ian cul­ture in south cen­tral Alas­ka. For the Kenaitze Indi­ans, who once com­prised a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion, this church con­sti­tut­ed a major link to west­ern cul­ture. A sim­ple, wood-frame struc­ture with clap­board sid­ing, Holy Assump­tion Church fea­tures a square two-sto­ry bell tow­er and a dis­tinc­tive crown-shaped cupo­la, both with the…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Once the admin­is­tra­tive head­quar­ters for an empire stretch­ing from Asia to Cal­i­for­nia and Hawaii, Cas­tle Hill today is lit­tle more than a grassy hill with a few inter­pre­tive signs, a mod­est stonewall, sev­er­al old can­nons, and a few flag­poles. But when you vis­it the top of this hill, you’re stand­ing on rich his­toric grounds.

World War II buffs will want to check out remain­ing World War II defen­sive for­ti­fi­ca­tions like ele­phant-steel mag­a­zines and the base-end sta­tion that over­look Sum­mer Bay and Humpy Cove.

In the 1950s, an Anchor­age fam­i­ly worked tire­less­ly at their dream of build­ing a ski resort here at the base of Gun­sight Moun­tain. They built a small chalet and erect­ed a rope tow. But financ­ing was always a prob­lem. Busi­ness did not boom. Today, the chalet is all that’s left of their efforts.

Difficulty: Easy

You won’t find any old build­ings here, but there are great inter­pre­tive signs and numer­ous hik­ing trails at this state park. And it’s an impor­tant place — the site of the first Russ­ian set­tle­ment on Bara­nof Island.

Nome’s Old St. Joe’s avoid­ed the fate of many oth­er gold rush era build­ings, which were destroyed by fire or flood. Today it is restored and list­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places. The sto­ry of Old St. Joe’s par­al­lels that of the Alaskan pio­neer spir­it: one of hard work, resource­ful­ness and a deep respect for the past. 

Thurs­day evenings are open mic night in McCarthy. It’s a great chance to rub elbows with some locals and fel­low trav­el­ers and get a taste for the neigh­bor­hood. All are wel­come! Bring your gui­tar, har­mon­i­ca, and voice – or just your eyes and ears. Occa­sion­al­ly on Fri­days and Sat­ur­days there’s a band play­ing after 8:30 p.m. Be on the look­out for spe­cial events that are free and open to the public.

Cap­tain James Cook saw much of Alaska’s coast­line dur­ing his trou­bled third voy­age in search of a North­west Pas­sage. Prince William Sound, Prince of Wales Island, Nor­ton Sound, and Bris­tol Bay are just some of the places he named dur­ing his trav­els. Eng­lish Bay, on the east­ern side of Unalas­ka Island, ref­er­ences the two land­ings Cook and crew made there in 1778 (just months before his death in the Hawai­ian Islands). 

When the U.S. Navy closed their Kodi­ak sta­tion, Fort Gree­ley, in 1972, the Coast Guard took over. This is now the country’s largest sta­tion, with almost 1,000 personnel.

Here you can see what remains of the old Fortymile Road­house. In 1959, the Fortymile Road­house served Alas­ka High­way trav­el­ers who were head­ing up the new Forty-mile and Eagle High­way, now the Tay­lor High­way, which was still under con­struc­tion with only about 20 miles of road fin­ished. The road­house offered cab­ins, meals, a gro­cery store and a garage with gas and oil. The road­house closed in 1985.

One of the last ranch­es on the island, this cat­tle com­pa­ny is run by Bill and Kathy Bur­ton, who start­ed their 20,000-acre lease in 1967. With 60 – 70 cows, 400 buf­fa­lo, 70 elk, and 14 yaks, the ranch is a place for domes­ti­cat­ed meat and guid­ed hunts. Ranch­ing was first brought to Kodi­ak by the Rus­sians, who took advan­tage of the nat­ur­al grass­lands on the green, tem­per­ate island. Amer­i­cans con­tin­ued the ranch­ing tra­di­tion, which peaked with some…  ...more

His­to­ry, fun, and mas­sive por­tions of food come togeth­er at this insti­tu­tion, which was built over 3 years start­ing in 1914. Aside from stop­ping by for a bite to eat, you can book accom­mo­da­tions at the Tal­keet­na Road­house. Choose from a vari­ety of cozy rooms in the main road­house and wake up the smell of fresh baked goods from the Kitchen in the morn­ing. Or, for a more pri­vate expe­ri­ence, book one of the cab­ins out back or the Muse­um Apartment  ...more

Stop here for a bath­room break and stretch your legs by the creek. Lit­tle creeks drain into big­ger creeks and cre­ate big­ger rivers. Learn how the waters in this small creek make their way to the Gulf of Alaska.

Home of the Delta His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety Muse­um, Rika’s Road­house at Big Delta State His­tor­i­cal Park is in a ten-acre state park on the shores of the Tanana Riv­er. The Valdez-to-Fair­banks Trail ran through here and con­tin­ued across the riv­er, aid­ed by a fer­ry. The road­house was built to accom­mo­date the trav­el­ers and is a Nation­al His­toric Site. The muse­um is a sep­a­rate build­ing behind the road­house and has dis­plays of arti­facts from the Alaskan  ...more

Min­ers worked this dredge up and down the Blue­stone Riv­er and Gold Run Creek in the ear­ly 1900s. Now it serves as a nest­ing and perch­ing site for com­mon raven. 

In 1904 a tele­phone line ran from Nome to the rail­road ter­mi­nus at Dick­son, to the min­ing camps up Big Hur­rah Creek, and on to Coun­cil. For one brief sum­mer, parcels could be mailed to any point in the U.S. and mon­ey orders sent world­wide. The Coun­cil City & Solomon Riv­er Rail­road also ran past, offer­ing min­ers a one-hour trip to the coast. Griz­zlies, moose, muskox, and rein­deer are fre­quent­ly sight­ed between the creek and East Fork  ...more

At Mile­post 35 of Tay­lor High­way you can stop at the view­ing deck. This spot offers amaz­ing views of Mount Fair­play and sur­round­ing val­leys. Take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to get out, strech your legs, and take some great pictures!

Look across the val­ley for a view of the aban­doned build­ings from an ear­ly dredg­ing oper­a­tion at Cleary Creek.

This Lev­el Park­ing area was once the site of Old Man Camp, a for­mer pipeline con­struc­tion camp. There were a total of 31 con­struc­tion camps oper­at­ing dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the Trans Alas­ka Pipeline from 19741977. These camps were tem­po­rary facil­i­ties to house the thou­sands of work­ers who build the pipeline. 

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