Why This Trip?
This loop itinerary includes spectacular scenery everywhere, and a wide variety of landscapes. You'll head inland to Palmer/Wasilla, drive south to the glacier-filled seaside town of Valdez, and then embark on an incredible ferry ride before exploring more great mountain scenery around Girdwood.
Arrive in Anchorage - Day in Palmer / Wasilla
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Pick up your rental car in Anchorage for the 45-mile drive to the Palmer/Wasilla area. Along the way, make a stop to see some cool creatures. At the Musk Ox Farm, you can check out one of the Arctic's oldest living species, the musk ox; around 80 of them live here. And at the Reindeer Farm, you'll have the chance to pet a reindeer!
Scenic Drive from Palmer / Wasilla to Valdez
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Today you'll drive through gorgeous scenery on your way to the seaside town of Valdez—a 250-mile trip that would take close to 5 hours nonstop. Plan for longer, though, as you'll be find some beautiful distractions along the way. Stop off at the mammoth Matanuska Glacier, one of Alaska's few roadside glaciers. Get right up to it and take a guided hike on the ice. Closer to Valdez, check out Worthington Glacier, which you can take in from a viewing platform; or get a different perspective on it by doing a two-mile hike.
Day and Overnight in Valdez
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This town is sitatuated spectacularly on shimmering waters and surrounded by mountains, with wildlife and glaciers galore. So get out there! Take a day cruise out to see those glaciers and look for sea otters, puffins, whales, and bald eagles. Or grab a paddle and take a kayaking tour to explore icebergs and even paddle into a glacial cave.
Drive from Valdez to Girdwood
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Today you'll enjoy another spectacular boat ride—this one aboard a ferry (with your car) to Whittier. It'll take around six hours, during which you can kick back and take in the scenery as you look for wildlife. Once you arrive in Whittier, it's a quick, 40-minute drive to Girdwood—a place with a world-class ski resort but also lots to do year-round.
Morning in Girdwood - Drive to Anchorage
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If you have time this morning, do an activity here. Visit the 1898-era Crow Creek Mine, where you can pan for your own gold; go for a hike; or ride the Alyeska Resort Aerial Tramway for a spectacular panoramic view! Then make the 40-mile drive back to Anchorage; ; if there's time, stop by the 200-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you'll get an up-close view of some of the state's unique creatures.