Road Trip on All-American Road: Alaska’s Seward Highway

When comes to a road trip in the US, Seward Highway (aka All-American Road) may not be the first place that comes to mind. The Grand Canyon Loop, Pacific Coast Highway, Utah Byway for sure, but I have discovered while traveling in Southeast Alaska, that Seward Highway, linking Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, and friendly mini-town, Seward, is an appealing road trip that all visitors are encouraged to undertake.

Seward Highway takes three hours to travel, and it is a fantastic drive along the coast with mountains on one side and the ocean on the other side. On this road trip, I have stopped many times just to sightsee and take pictures. The vistas are world-class and it is a total visual feast, especially in the summer, with jagged peaks, alpine meadows, tidal water glaciers, inlets, and crystal lakes on every corner.

Seward Highway, Alaska
Seward Highway in winter, Alaska

If you plan a road trip on Seward Highway and look for some fantastic sights to explore, be sure to check out one of my favorite spots:

Turnagain Arm: About 2/3 of Seward Highway travels along the beautiful coastline of Turnagain Arm, where you can view dall sheep, beluga whales, and an eagle or two. You will also find the mountains of Chugach State Park on your left. Other than wildlife watching and stunning mountain views, Turnagain Arm experiences the biggest bore tide in the world, with a wall of water up to 10-feet high. Visit here for the schedule of the bore tide and plan your trip accordingly.

Seward Highway, Alaska Road trip

Alaska Zoo:  Located on the foothills of the Chugach Mountains, the 20-acre zoological park includes native and exotic flora with a wide array of orphaned, injured, and endangered creatures such as polar bears, brown bears, tigers, moose, eagles and so forth. The zoo is open daily year around and offers guided behind-the-scenes tours during the summer.

Alaska Zoo on Seward Highway, Alaska

Portage Glacier:  Portage Glacier is Seward Highway’s most visited place and it is inside the Chugach National Forest. As a result of the glacier retreat, Portage Glacier is not visible at the visitor center, but you can take a boat tour that gets you close to the face of the glaciers. For those flexible on time, take a few hours to hike on Portage Pass trail, where you can have a wonderful view of Portage Lake and Portage Glacier from the top.

Seward Highway, Alaska Road trip
Portage Glacier, Seward Highway, AK

Kenai Fjords National Park: Just located outside the town of Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park features coastal mountain range with more than 36 glaciers. Harding Ice-field, one of the four largest ice fields in the US, dominates the park. From Seward, you can take six hours cruise to view the abundant wildlife and tidal water glaciers inside the park. An alternative way to explore the Harding Ice Field is to hike one of the short trails from the Exit Glacier Natural Center and the parking lot, where it offers a panoramic view of the Exit Glacier. For thrill seekers, you can do an 8.2-mile hike through the Harding Icefield Trail, where it leads you right next to the icefield.

Seward Highway, Alaska Road trip

Overall, Seward Highway is a wonderful road trip and I enjoyed experiencing all the natural wonders and viewing the mammoth. My road trip ended in Seward, where I enjoyed a relaxing walk at the gorgeous waterfront under the sunset.

Seward Highway, Alaska
Seward Marina, Seward, Alaska

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Road trip on All -American Road - Alaska's Seward Highway

Read about other road trips in Alaska: 

Around Central Alaska by Rail 

From Anchorage to Valdez – Discover the Beauty of the Last Frontier 

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not get a free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska (the most popular post of all time ).

 

Julie Cao

Julie Cao is a travel blogger, travel writer, and global citizen currently living in Toronto Ontario.

26 thoughts on “Road Trip on All-American Road: Alaska’s Seward Highway

  • April 6, 2017 at 10:26 pm
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    I used to live in Cooper Landing, just off the Seward Highway, and always loved my drive to Anchorage. It really is the most beautiful stretch of road. And there were always eagles on the Snow River. Loved it!

    Reply
    • April 9, 2017 at 5:49 pm
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      Cooper landing is a beautiful place, but too bad I did not have a chance to visit during my road trip. Hope to do this road trip again and visit more places. The landscape on the road is too beautiful.

      Reply
  • April 17, 2017 at 5:13 am
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    I can’t recall the last time I went on a road trip but this post is making me want to get a tune up on my car, hop in it, and just drive anywhere!! You got to see so much of Alaska and really explore beautiful areas that it’s giving me a bit of wanderlust. Thanks for instilling that in me!

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    • May 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm
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      Hi Danielle, I am glad this post inspires you! The road trip in Alaska is really beautiful and I wish you will hop on your car and have a wonderful time exploring this beautiful state. It is really worth the trip. Thanks for your kind words.

      Reply
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  • June 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm
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    Wow! I never thought about taking a little road trip in Alaska, but now that’s all I can think about! Kind of reminds me of the Sea to Sky HWY in British Columbia, which is gorgeous! I’m hoping to head to Alaska in the next few years with my kids because I’ve never been! We’d definitely stop at the Alaska Zoo!

    Reply
    • June 2, 2017 at 2:28 pm
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      The kids will love to be in the zoo and get to know more of the wildlife. The Sea to Sky Highway is beautiful too!

      Reply
  • June 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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    Omg this looks absolutely amazing!! I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska and a road trip with those views sounds like a great way to do it. The second to last photo is such a unique sight – I love it. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • June 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm
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      Thanks Christie. Yes Kenai Fjords National Park is a great place to be to see the glaciers and ice fields. Alaska has many great and unique sites and doing road trips there is a great way to experience the beauty of the last frontier.

      Reply
  • June 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm
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    The landscape is so beautiful and it reminds me a little bit of Norway. I would always choose a less touristy road trip because of the beautiful quiet moments it offers. Sometimes it’s just you and the nature and what is more relaxing than that? I would love to go to Alaska sometimes and experience the Seward highway’s beauty.

    Reply
    • June 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm
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      Seward Highway is less touristy in winter, and the nature in Alaska is no comparison. I have never been to Norway but the landscape there are beautiful too. Nature is magic and it can make us relax and reflect.

      Reply
  • June 2, 2017 at 2:05 am
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    I love road trips on the lesser known highways. Throw in the magnificent beauty that is Alaska and you have a once in a lifetime trip. To be able to see glaciers, fjords, majestic mountains and wildlife like this must be amazing.

    Reply
    • June 2, 2017 at 2:29 pm
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      yes it is a once in a lifetime road trip I will never forget. The scenery on the road is absolutely amazing.

      Reply
  • June 2, 2017 at 9:45 am
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    We do not usually do road trips often but this is one I would love to take. I love that the zoo there takes in injured animals. Seems like there is plenty to see along the way here

    Reply
    • June 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm
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      There are a lot more to see on Seward Highway, but I was short on time so could not spend lots of time on each places. I would also love to return there someday and visit the zoo again too.

      Reply
  • June 2, 2017 at 2:03 pm
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    Alaska is such a beautiful state! I’ve never been myself yet, but every time I see photos, I make a mental note of where to go when I finally visit! I’d love to see Portage Glacier and the national park the most. That 8.2 mile hike to the ice fields sounds like an incredible adventure! Did you end up hiking it?

    Reply
    • June 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm
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      No. I went there in winter so cannot do too much in the park, but I would love to hike that 8.2 mile someday. Alaska is the best in terms of natural wonder and there is a lot to see. Hope you will get to visit someday!

      Reply
  • June 2, 2017 at 6:53 pm
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    Alaska’s Seward Highway is the thing I want to do. I am a nature lover kind of person so this is my kind of travelling. I loved those deers and Portage Glacier. Kenai Fjords National Park is also amazing. Really I have to book tickets.

    Reply
    • June 3, 2017 at 2:03 am
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      It is amazing. Make sure to do the road trip and visit glacier in summer. It is the best time.

      Reply
  • June 3, 2017 at 4:14 am
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    You’ve got some beautiful photos of your trip! I hope I get to experience a road trip like that one day! It’s so nice to hear that the zoo is being responsible and taking care of the injure me and orphaned animals and not just taking them out of a perfectly fine environment. I’m fascinated by the fact that you can see the beluga whales from a point like tournagain arm.

    Reply
    • June 3, 2017 at 4:55 am
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      Hi Dana, yes Turnagain Arm is the highlights of the trip and there are lots to see around. The Alaska zoo is very responsible and some local rare species have been taken of. It was a very good trip and wish you could make it one day.

      Reply
  • June 3, 2017 at 8:16 am
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    I have been to Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway but have not tried a road trip in Alaska yet. The Seward Highway looks picturesque based on your photos. I think any place in Alaska will never disappoint anyone. The places that you have visited are cool especially the Alaska Zoo. I would love to see “Malala” the snow leopard and other animals.

    Reply
    • June 3, 2017 at 10:01 am
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      I have been to Juneau as well but have not visited Ketchikan and Skagway. I agree that a trip in Alaska will never be disappointing – it has so much beauty and natural wonder.

      Reply
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