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Seward Highway

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Basics
Length:
127 miles (204 km)
Time:
Five hours to drive or two days to enjoy the entire Byway.
Fees:
Some attractions may charge fees.

Description

Welcome to beautiful Seward Highway. Few roads in the United States can offer the diversity of scenic landscapes and unique natural features so concentrated in one area. This 127-mile road, linking Anchorage with Seward, passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The landscape varies from the muddy waters of Turnagain Arm to the icy blue glaciers that hang almost to the sea. Wildflowers and waterfalls brighten every corner of the road as it glides below rough mountains that pierce thick, heavy clouds. Only Alaska's Seward Highway can offer this particular mix created by climate, geography, and geology.

For 127 miles, this road from Anchorage to Seward winds through a land of remarkable beauty, a land of saltwater bays, frigid-blue glaciers, knife-edged ridges, and alpine valleys. From the reflective waters of Turnagain Arm, travelers rapidly ascend 1,000 feet above sea level to an alpine meadow. Within the hour, they find themselves back at sea level surrounded by fjords, having just passed through a district of rivers and lakes. This is Alaska's Seward Highway.

Seward Highway ties Alaska's metropolitan center, Anchorage, with the port of Seward on Resurrection Bay. From Anchorage to Girdwood, the highway borders Turnagain Arm and Chugach State Park. From Girdwood to Seward, it carries visitors through the Chugach National Forest. The diversity of landscape and wildlife found along the route is the hallmark of the highway corridor.

Whether you drive for pleasure or you fish, hunt, backpack, camp, or ski, Seward Highway takes you there. And it's all against the backdrop of spruce forests, wildflowers, and extraordinary wildlife. The Highway has been recognized for its natural beauty as a designated All-American Road. This is your invitation to touch Alaska in all of its splendor -- along scenic Seward Highway.

Points of Interest Along The Way

Alaska SeaLife Center (AK)

The Alaska SeaLife Center offers an unrivaled up-close and personal experience with Gulf of Alaska marine wildlife. Witness 1500 pound Steller sea lions gliding past underwater viewing windows, puffins diving in a carefully crafted naturalistic habitat, and harbor seals hauled out on rocky beaches. Alaskan king crab, sea stars, and Pacific octopus also await you, as well as a whole variety of intertidal creatures and deep sea fishes. Located in Seward, the SeaLife Center will give visitors a glimpse of Alaska wildlife.

Directions

The Alaska SeaLife Center is located at Milepost 0 of the Seward Highway in Seward, Alaska, just 125 miles from Anchorage.

Anchorage (AK)

The city of Anchorage began as a ramshackle community of railline workers living in tents. The community, settled in 1915, hasgrown and evolved into the largest city in Alaska with 260,000people.

For a look at Alaska culture, Anchorage is the place to be.Explore the Anchorage Museum of History and Art or the AlaskaNative Heritage Center for a taste of what Alaska has to offer.

Directions

At the north end of the byway.

Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge (AK)

Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge extends from Point Woronzof southeast to Potter Creek, a distance of 16 miles, but is best known for that portion located between the Old and New Seward highways called "Potter Marsh." Potter Marsh was created in 1917 with construction of the Alaska Railroad embankment. A boardwalk takes visitors to edge of the marsh where they can view several different species of bird and plant. Thousands of people stop to view wildlife at Potter Marsh each year. It is easily Anchorage's most popular wildlife haven.

Directions

The refuge is located just west of Anchorage between the old and new Seward Highways.

Chugach National Forest (AK)

The Chugach National Forest is the second largest forest in the National Forest System. Roughly the same size as the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined, the Chugach (pronounced Chew'gatch) is the most northern of National Forests, only 500 miles south of the Arctic Circle. One third of the Chugach is composed of rocks and moving ice. The remainder is a diverse and majestic tapestry of land, water, plants and animals. The mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Kenai Peninsula, the islands and glaciers of Prince William Sound, and the copious wetlands and birds of the Copper River Delta make this National Forest a mecca for adventurers.

Directions

The Chugach National Forest surrounds the Seward Highway from the town of Seward to Girdwood.

Chugach State Park (AK)

Chugach State Park is an accessible wilderness in the backyard of Anchorage. Wildlife viewing and mountain scenery are year-round pleasures and campers can choose developed campgrounds or secluded backcountry valleys. There are nearly 30 trails that will take hikers throughout the park to see some of its most enchanting views. Many visitors may want to stop at the Eagle River Nature Center for a guided tour or interpretive program. Travelers may want to explore a few of the park's 50 glaciers on their own. And for extreme adventure, try climbing a mountainside or plunging through river rapids. Whatever the case, the 495,000 acre park offers a wide variety of activities in all seasons.

Directions

The Chugach State Park borders the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood.

Girdwood (AK)

Girdwood, once known as Glacier City, was a successful goldmining community about 100 years ago. Named for one of the Irishprospectors in the area, Girdwood began to change as the 20thcentury ensued.

In the 1960's the Alyeska ski resort was developed. In spite ofthe 1964 earthquake that moved Girdwood 2 1/2 miles away,development of hotels and chair lifts continued.

Now, Girdwood is a first-class ski resort town with an Alaskanatmosphere.

Directions

At milepost 90 on the Seward Highway

Grayling Lake Trailhead (AK)

The two-mile Grayling Lake trail is an easy family hike through spruce forests and open meadows. A side trail leads to Meridian Lake. This hike provides opportunities for grayling fishing, highbush cranberry picking and nature study.

Directions

The Grayling Lake Trailhead is located 13.3 miles from Seward on the west side of the Seward Highway.

Hiking Around the Highway (AK)

See the Seward Highway from a hiker's perspective. All along thebyway, travelers will find opportunities to get out of the car andenjoy the scenery up close. Among the many places to hike, thereare 15 trail heads off of the byway itself. They include:

Directions

All along the byway.

Iditarod National Historic Trail (AK)

This National Historic Trail commemorates the run of mushers during a diphtheria epidemic in 1925. Each March, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race draws in hundreds of participants and spectators.

Directions

Look for signs.

Kenai Fjords National Park (AK)

Kenai Fjords National Park includes one of the four major icecaps in the United States, the 300-square-mile Harding Icefield andcoastal fjords. Located on the southeastern Kenai Peninsula inAlaska, the national park is a pristine and rugged land supportingmany unaltered natural environments and ecosystems. Here a rich,varied rain forest is home to tens of thousands of breeding birdsand adjoining marine waters support a multitude of sea lions, seaotters, and seals.

The most popular visitor activity at Kenai Fjords is viewing thepark from a tour boat. The boats are privately owned, and the manyoperators offer tours of varying lengths and features.

Authorized commercial guides provide camping, fishing andkayaking services. Air charters fly over the coast for flightseeing and access to the fjords. Boat tours and charters areavailable from Seward. In summer, boat tours ply the coast,observing calving glaciers, sea birds, and marine mammals.

Directions

Kenai Fjords is accessible from the town of Seward at the southern terminus of the Seward Highway.

Length:
127 miles (204 km)
Time:
Five hours to drive or two days to enjoy the entire Byway.
Main Roads:
Seward Hwy
Fees:
Some attractions may charge fees.
Customizable Directions

Formatted DirectionsMap

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