So, your next adventure thrill is coming from Alaska? That’s a fabulous choice for a road trip escapade! Alaska “The Last Frontier” has got your wildest imaginations of what fun and remarkable memories are like. The state’s nickname didn’t come through for no reason; it’s a region full of wildlife and amazing landscape waiting to be explored. So check out our closely curated sampling of top Alaska road trip destinations now!
The chilly winters, stark mountains, and massive tracts of uninhabited land are just a couple of things that give Alaska its signature appeal. An Alaskan road trip presents stunning scenery, incredible adventures, plus lots of civilization to get your adrenaline rush.
It’s almost impossible to know exactly where to begin the escapade, but luckily, all the legwork has been done for you! Simply check out these top destinations on the Last Frontier road trip.
We have even strived to make it much easier by creating the below summary slides; Check them out now!
Alaska Highway: Road Trip Beginnings
Any Alaska road trip without cruising through this 1,387-mile highway would be considered incomplete. It is home to several top Alaska road trip destinations. If commencing at Dawson Creek, explore the scenic snow-capped summits and the remote landscapes on your way to the Delta Junction, located in southeastern Fairbanks.
Cruising via British Columbia’s Muncho Lake Provincial Park, you can make a stop and indulge yourself in some fun loaded canoeing, then spend a cozy night at Northern Rockies Lodge. A short drive after the park lies the hot springs of Liard River, which are amazing and worth exploring.
Just a short distance after entering the Yukon Territory, you will see the Continental Divide that separates the Atlantic and Pacific watersheds. The ridge runs from Alaska to South America’s tip.
For anyone into spectacular terrain and geography, this is a fun journey. You’ll also enjoy lots of fun adventures such as mountaineering, rafting, hiking and more at Kluane National Park and Reserve in Yukon. You can check-in at Kathleen Lake Lodge for a night before proceeding with your cruise deeper into Alaska. Explore the wildlife like grizzly bears and birds such as bald eagles and trumpeter swans at Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.
Plan this road trip during summer to dodge the poor weather during the winter.
If driving from Anchorage, use the Walter J. Hickel Parkway (formerly Minnesota Drive) which then joins the O’Malley Road. Next, use the on-ramp moving onto the New Seward Highway. From here, you’ll see amazing views along the way while driving along the Turnagain Arm coast.
The Cook Inlet and Chugach State Park Mountains are along this route and present some spectacular scenic views. This is where the largest bore tides occur during the afternoons around 3 pm to 8 pm. Make a stop at The Bird Point for an excellent view. Head back to the coastal highway where you’ll see the Moose Pass and most likely catch a glimpse of a moose.
Trek to Chugach National Forest lakes and enjoy harvesting of the berry bushes. Make a stop for the glacial lake scenic views of Kenia Lake and enjoy the beautiful sunset trek on Waterfront Park.
Hatcher Pass Scenic Drive: Talkeetna Mountains & More!
Hatcher Pass lies between Palmer and Willow towns, in Talkeetna Mountains. It’s among the top local favorites for a scenic drive or recreation. There, there are lots of activities to immerse yourself in; you can choose to hike the alpine tundra full of ptarmigan and wildflowers or visit Independence Mine Historical State Park.
If starting from Anchorage, you’ll need a 3-hour drive (roundtrip) to reach Hatcher Pass. Alternatively, you can use the road leading to Talkeetna, then Denali, and finally the Fairbanks, but it will be another 2 hours. If you’d like to have more scenic views of the landscape, then you might want to go for the second route.
The road is opened over the pass during summer, normally around July 4th, to allow high-clearance vehicle travelers to travel to Willow all the way. A 22-mile length of the road is gravel and can become very rough following big rains. If you’d like to dodge the dirt, you can travel to pass the top and the Independence Mine.
Here, you’ll get the chance to learn more about gold mining, take part in hiking the trails, and enjoy picnic lunch. Be on the lookout for pikas, golden eagles, falcons, and whistling marmots. On good weather during the summer, you’ll see Palmer’s Pioneer Park, Alaska Range, and Chugach Range.
Denali Park Road on Denali National Park
If there’s one place you’ll witness life in its authentic state as it has been for thousands for years without interference by humans, Denali National Park is the place. This is not an animal zoo, and the wild animals residing here carry out their affairs at their own pace and schedule. If you’re keen enough, perhaps with binoculars, you might catch a glimpse of wildlife sightings.
The park road runs a length of about 92 miles, a 5 hour drive from the national park entrance to the end of park road at Kantishna. Beyond 15 miles, private cars are not allowed, so you might want to take a ride on the park shuttle buses. Bus tours during summer commence from May 20th for the half-day tours covering 53 miles. Full-day tours covering the entire 92 miles of the park road usually start on June 8th.
Denali National Park spans an area of 6 million acres and is ranked as the third-largest in the US. The park has three divisions; a third of the park comprises ice and rock with few animals, the second third comprises boggy with few animal species in the area, and the last third of the park comprises wide river valleys and mountain passes and is where wildlife resides.
Glenn Highway: Seafood & More Attractions
This road trip begins at Anchorage 6th Avenue and cruises to the north into Glenn Highway. The highway then leads to the Eagle River Nature Center. Moving forward, take a hike on the Rodak Nature Loop for a spectacular view of the Eagle River Valley and salmon spawning.
After a tiring hike and scenery views, you might want to take a rest at Sheep Mountain Lodge where you can grab some steak and seafood lunch. Embark on your journey on Glenn Highway and make a stop at Matanuska Glacier Scenic Lookout. You can go over the rail on your right-hand side to get a closer view of the scenic gigantic blue ice sheet.
Move past the Lion’s Head and mind the cliff on the left side where mountain goats and Dall sheep crisscross the hills.
This road trip commences after a 362-mile drive between Anchorage and the Fairbanks, then moving straight into the wild scenery on the Parks Highway. This is the perfect road trip in Alaska for adventurous souls seeking a thrill of a lifetime. You get to experience the true Alaskan authenticity via the tundra and high peak mountains.
Just after leaving Anchorage, you can spare some time to explore the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Museum and learn about the history of the ancient inhabitants of Alaska. You wouldn’t want to miss the most sought-after stop on this road trip; Denali National Park where you’ll get to see the highest peak of the continent, Denali.
Parks Highway is usually open throughout all the seasons, but if planning to cruise into Denali Highway, it’s worth noting that it gets closed during winter. For a full experience of the Parks Highway road trip, you might want to plan your escapade during the summer.
This is a sort of an off-road trip, so you’re going to need to take your time while cruising through this 415-mile route which sets off at the Elliot Highway and comes to a stop at Deadhorse just near the Arctic Ocean. A bigger section of the Dalton Highway consists of gravel, making this road trip a tough challenge not to be disregarded. If traveling on a rented car, make sure you have double-checked on any restrictions about using unpaved roadways.
During your cruise, you make a stop at Coldfoot Camp for several nights. The camp’s name comes forth from the chilly arctic conditions experienced while traveling Dalton Highway. During summers you can tour the Koyukuk River and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights during winter. You’ll also come across Gates of Arctic National Park and Preserve, a true definition of the term “remote”. Before embarking on your trip, you might want to capture some really amazing scenic views of the park. Don’t spend too much time though, the remoteness of this place might not suit everyone unless you’re a guru in survival wilderness.
Upon reaching Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse, you can spend the night at the cozy Aurora Hotel sitting over the Colleen Lake. You can also make reservations for the Arctic Ocean tour; you wouldn’t want to miss out on this! You can take this road trip during summer, where you’ll see the midnight sun or during winter to get a scenic view of the Aurora Borealis.
Wrapping Up Top Alaska Road Trip Destinations
Alaska has got plenty of attractions no one would want to miss a chance to explore. Pack up enough fuel, food, drinks, emergency kit, and cash. You shouldn’t miss spare tires as well. Have your vehicle equipped with a satellite phone and CB radio as there will be no mobile phone signals. Make sure you refuel at every gas station during this trip. Due to the climate around this state, this road trip can present some tough challenges to prepare you to become a wilderness survival guru.
Now that you are abreast with top Alaska road trip destinations, have a look at some of the affordable things to do in Alaska, to make your trip pocket-friendly. You can seamlessly book the right rental property near major Alaskan attractions with Rental Trader. Our platform allows you to search, connect, and book your preferred rental properties hassle-free.