Photo Credit: Nome-Teller Highway Scenic Drive

Scenic Drives

A leisurely drive at your own pace through some of the world’s most beautiful scenery—is it any wonder that driving tops many peoples’ lists of favorite Alaskan activities? Wherever you go, wilderness surrounds you: mountains loom large, animals show themselves, and small towns appear like mirages. And whenever you like, you can explore a side road, make discoveries, and linger for as long as you like.

Anchorage is a great base for scenic day drives—it’s easy to rent a car here, and iconic sites are easily accessible. Take off on the legendary Parks Highway, with views of Denali (Mt. McKinley); meander on the Seward Highway, enjoying coastal views; or set off down the Glenn Highway to witness the Matanuska Glacier. Each has its own detours, and each detour has its own stories. So take the wheel and create some stories of your own.

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Scenic Drives

Southcentral & Interior Alaska

Roadside glaciers, scenic valleys, coastal views and more

In the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains between the towns of Wil­low and Palmer, Hatch­er Pass is a local favorite for recre­ation or a scenic dri­ve. Hike in alpine tun­dra dot­ted with wild­flow­ers and ptarmi­gan, ski fresh, deep pow­der, or vis­it Inde­pen­dence Mine His­tor­i­cal State Park.

It’s 92 miles and about 5 hours from the park entrance to Kan­tish­na, the end of the Park Road. Pri­vate vehi­cles aren’t per­mit­ted after Mile 15, so you’ll need to take either the hop-on, hop-off park shut­tle bus or one of the tour bus­es. This road is only open in the sum­mer months between May and ear­ly Sep­tem­ber. Dates vary depend­ing on annu­al snowfall.

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

The scenic, essen­tial 323-mile-long Parks High­way con­nects Anchor­age and Fair­banks, thread­ing its way past some of Alaska’s most icon­ic Alaskan areas, includ­ing Denali Nation­al Park and Mt. McKin­ley. But we’ll take you far beyond what you can see from the road. We’ll also show you some of the hid­den gems you wouldn’t find on your own, like an old trapper’s cab­in that offers a glimpse into Alaska’s past. We’ll let you in on cool trails to…  ...more

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.

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.

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.

Not many tourists dri­ve down Nash Road, which is one of the rea­sons why it’s spe­cial. A few miles down the road, you’ll find a marked entrance to a sec­tion of the Idi­tar­od Trail, which makes for great walk­ing in the sum­mer and cross-coun­try ski­ing in the winter.

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.

This 18-mile-long loop grav­el road is the pre­mier wildlife-view­ing area on the Kenai Penin­su­la, and you’ll get spec­tac­u­lar views of lakes and glac­i­ers. Don’t for­get to stop and explore all the nature and wildlife around you!

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

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Kodiak View All

Access to beaches, mountains, state parks, and historic sites

Head­ing south­west out of town and then curv­ing towards the north, this rel­a­tive­ly short road offers access to salmon streams, wildlife habi­tat, hik­ing, win­ter recre­ation, the Coast Guard golf course, and a pro­tect­ed bay that’s great for sea kayak­ing and beachcombing.

The short­est road out of town, Rezanof Dri­ve becomes Monash­ka Bay Road and runs north­west of Kodi­ak for 12 miles. On this dri­ve, you’ll get great views of the Spe­cif­ic coast, hik­ing trails, tide pools, a white-sand beach, and a museum.

A 17 mile one-way jaunt from Chini­ak High­way, this road was com­plet­ed along­side the devel­op­ment of the Alas­ka Aero­space Cor­po­ra­tion launch site, which is at the end of the road. In addi­tion to access­ing the pri­vate site, the paved road offers recre­ation­al­ists and trav­el­ers access to great fish­ing beach­es and rivers, surf spots, state parks, and scenic views of alpine pass­es and ocean. There’s also a pri­vate ranch here, where semi-domesticated  ...more

A curvy road fol­low­ing the shore­line south from town, this 42-mile high­way will take you past the U.S. Coast Guard Sta­tion, salmon streams, long ocean inlets, and exposed surf beaches.

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Nome View All

Less than 150 miles from the Arctic Circle, there are no trees, so you can see forever

The Nome – Teller Road brings you with­in 55 miles of Rus­sia, and is as close as you can dri­ve to the Bering Strait Land Bridge. The road trav­els 73 miles north­west and takes about 2 hours one-way with­out stops. You end at Teller, an authen­tic Inu­pi­at vil­lage of few­er than 300 peo­ple who sur­vive on a sub­sis­tence lifestyle.

When locals want to see trees, they head north on The Nome — Tay­lor Road (also called Beam Rd. or Kougarok Rd.) The 85-mile grav­el road runs north-south and takes 2 hours one-way with­out stops. The route winds past many old min­ing claims, the pop­u­lar Salmon Lake, and offers a side trip to his­toric Pil­grim Hot Springs.

Nome — Coun­cil Road spans 72 miles (East) and takes 2 hours one-way with­out stops. For spec­tac­u­lar bird­ing, sweep­ing coastal views, and the famous Last Train to Nowhere,” explore the Nome — Coun­cil Road. Addi­tion­al high­lights include the Safe­ty Road­house, which is the last stop on the Idi­tar­od Sled Dog Race, and the small com­mu­ni­ty of Coun­cil, which boast­ed a pop­u­la­tion of 15,000 in its heydey.

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