Aerial view of the Denali Highway in Alaska during summer.

7 Most Scenic Road Trips to Take in Alaska

With its wide stretches of untamed wilderness, breathtaking glaciers, and stunning mountain ranges, Alaska, the second last state to join the United States, draws adventurous hearts. There is no better way to see the unmatched beauty of this extraordinary state than by taking a beautiful road trip. Everywhere visitors look as they travel across Alaska's landscape, from the glistening coastal panoramas to the towering peaks that pierce the sky, they will see the magnificence of nature. These road journeys will take visitors to a place where time stands still, and the beauty of the natural world commands attention. Discover the pristine lakes, flowing rivers, and wide tundras that define Alaska's amazing landscapes, and be ready to embark on an adventure that will leave anyone breathless. These picturesque Alaskan road excursions guarantee an amazing experience that will leave a lasting impression on nature enthusiasts, wildlife fanatics, and relaxation seekers alike.

Seward Highway

Aerial view of Seward Highway at Turnagain Arm, Alaska
Seward Highway at Turnagain Arm, Alaska.

The Seward Highway, which stretches 127 miles from Anchorage to Seward, offers a captivating coastline trip to drive and appreciate year-round. Visitors can spot wildlife along the Turnagain Arm, take in the snow-capped peaks of the Chugach Mountains, and pull over to capture the beauty of the fjords and glaciers. Stretch your legs by walking along the Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk and have a picnic at Mchugh Creek along the way, with the whole trip taking less than three hours for short stops. Don't pass up the opportunity to tour Seward, a little town famous for its lovely harbor and proximity to Resurrection Bay and the glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park. Visitors enjoy giving their legs a stretch and walking along the Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk.

Dalton Highway

Aerial View of the Dalton Highway during the Alaska Summer
Aerial view of the Dalton Highway.

Take the Dalton Highway for an exciting and secluded adventure that is hot, cold, and everything in between. Along this highway, visitors can stay the night at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, where visitors can also find the Aurora ice museum, an amazing start, end, or stop along Dalton Highway.  For those starting in Fairbanks, this 414-mile path meanders its way up north to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean. Visitors can explore the huge tundra, take in the hypnotic Northern Lights, and be in awe of the magnificent Brooks Range. Watch out for any wild animal interactions, such as caribou, moose, or even grizzly bears, as they can be unpredictable.

Glenn Highway

The Glenn Highway in Alaska looking west towards Lions Head and the Chugach Mountains
Glenn Highway in Alaska looking west towards Lions Head and the Chugach Mountains.

As you travel the Glenn Highway, you will come across the breathtaking Matanuska Valley. Between Glennallen and Anchorage, there is a 179-mile scenic road that provides magnificent views of the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains. Stop and marvel at the enormous Matanuska Glacier along the way. Visitors never regret stopping over at Palmer's charming village to explore and engage in thrilling outdoor pursuits like hiking, fishing, and animal viewing in this breathtaking area. History buffs can check out the Eklutna Historical Park and see the colorful Spirit Houses built over gravesites. Visit Mirror Lake or Beach Lake and try out some paddleboarding along the calm waters, or stop in at the Thunderbird Falls Trail for a picnic and to stretch your legs.

Denali Highway

Aerial View of the Denali Highway in Alaska in the summer
Overlooking the Denali Highway.

The Denali Highway is a 135-mile gravel route that connects Paxson and Cantwell, allowing travelers to experience Alaska's real wildness. This path provides unmatched vistas of glaciers, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes with breathtaking views of the peaks of the Alaska Range. Visitors can take in the peace and quiet of this isolated and picturesque journey with their cameras at the ready, for sightings of Dall sheep. Denali National Park is a must-see stop with plenty to do, such as hiking trails, wildlife spotting, truck tours, white water rafting, and zipline courses. For easy and peaceful exercise, try out the 10-mile loop wrapping around Swede Lake, which is also connected to more trails for those who want the extra challenge.

McCarthy Road

Wrangell Mountains from the McCarthy Road, Alaska
Wrangell Mountains from the McCarthy Road, Alaska.

Venture into the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park on the McCarthy Road. This 60-mile gravel road, with an average driving time of 2 hours each way, takes you from Chitina to the historic mining town of McCarthy. Traverse stunning landscapes, including the Root Glacier and the impressive Wrangell Mountains. Start out in Chitina, take time to explore the once-busy stopover for train lines, and test out the busy fishing harbor. Explore the preserved ghost town of Kennecott, where visitors can learn about the area's mining history and marvel at its remarkable architecture. For wilderness enthusiasts, end the route at Jumbo Creek campground to be fully immersed in Alaskan nature and ruminate over the journey. This campground has no amenities and is only accessible by foot.

Haines Highway

Beautiful view of Haines city near Glacier Bay, Alaska, USA
Haines City near Glacier Bay, Alaska.

The Haines Highway, which connects Haines, Alaska, with Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, provides stunning mountain views and glimpses of wildlife. The starting point of Haines is a great place to stay or spend the day exploring the local museum distillery and checking out the Alaskan Marine Highway. This 148-mile route passes through the Chilkat Valley, which is well-known for having a large population of bald eagles. Consider taking a side trip to see Canada's magnificent Kluane National Park and Reserve while also taking in the breathtaking landscapes of the Chilkat River and Coastal Range. At the end of the trail, for those who love to camp, the Million Dollar Falls Campground has plenty of hiking trails with epic sights to take in.

Top of the World Highway

Top of the World Highway, Alaska, empty highway
Top of the World Highway, Alaska.

Travel the Top of the World Highway for a truly exceptional road adventure. The 79-mile route from Tok, Alaska, to Dawson City, Yukon, is filled with scenic opportunities to take in between the neighboring countries. Visitors will appreciate views of the magnificent landscapes of the Yukon River and the area's immense wilderness as they travel the isolated and difficult terrain. Enjoy the sensation of being on top of the world while learning about the history of the Klondike Gold Rush. Since the Top of the World Highway has more difficult roads and terrain to navigate, it is easier to explore during the warmer months; however, there are still plenty of activities offered year-round.

Each highway in Alaska has its own distinct charm and natural treasures to discover, from the coastal wonders of the Seward Highway to the distant adventures of the Dalton Highway. These road journeys provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience, whether you are mesmerized by glaciers, enamored by mountain ranges, or fascinated by wildlife encounters. Alaska's picturesque road excursions beckon you to set off on an experience filled with breathtaking beauty. Fill up the car with petrol, grab a camera, and get ready for breathtaking mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and an abundance of wildlife on Alaska's most beautiful highway excursions. As you travel across Alaska, prepare to make lifelong experiences.


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