Road Trip: Seward Highway in Alaska
Presenter, The Weather Network
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 12:30 PM -
If you’re looking for a road trip to escape and get away from it all then there is no better place to venture to than the Seward Highway in Alaska. Throughout your travels your visual senses will not be bombarded with billboard littered highways, service stations and big box stores. Instead, you’ll be heading on a tranquil adventure where you can cast your eyes on breathtaking scenery, wildlife and truly have your own four wheels connected with nature.
This road trip starts in the municipality of Anchorage and ends in the city of Seward. The route itself is around 200 kilometers long and could easily take you three hours to drive. The beauty and tranquility of the area is something you don’t want to rush through so it’s best to plan for a long weekend to do the drive and stop to rest your head at a couple of the resorts or lodges along the way. The first 15 kilometers of the drive out of Anchorage is a major route with a four lane divided highway. As you travel south of Anchorage, the road narrows down to a paved 2 lane highway. This is a drive where you’ll start and end at the ocean, with incredible mountains, glaciers, trails and lakes to enjoy in between. There are some stops you should be sure to include in your itinerary.
Chugach State Park: This is the third largest state park in the United States. This is the ideal stop for those that love recreational activities like horseback riding, fishing, hunting, hiking and so much more. Eagles, moose, grizzly bears and wolves all call this park home. There are more than 50 glaciers you can explore within the park.
Girdwood: This ski resort town offers some lodging opportunities. Throughout the winter months this is the ideal location to hit the slopes on Mount Alyeska. The summer months will delight outdoor enthusiasts with the chance to go hiking, fishing and rafting. Girdwood is also home to the northernmost rainforest in the world.
Turnagain Pass: This mountain pass is the highest point along the Seward Highway. This is a recreation area within the Chugach National Forest and is quite popular with snowmobilers. This is also the forecasting area for the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Centre.
Kenai Lake: Beyond Turnagain pass you’ll pass through a plethora of postcard quality scenery. You’ll see majestic mountains all folding into each other. Sparkling lakes also line the route such as the zigzagging Kenai Lake that is incredibly popular for fishing. There are also quite a few lodges to rest your head and areas to camp.
Seward: Enjoy world class fishing or take a day cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward is also at the head of Resurrection Bay, where you can enjoy views of jagged mountains and if you’re lucky spot marine life in their natural habitat.
When to Travel:
The summer months are by far the best time to travel along the Seward Highway. Through May to mid-October Salmon fishing is in high demand. This is also the time of year for doing some whale watching along the shorelines. One of the greatest myths of Alaskan travel is that it is always cool in the summer. The official state of Alaska tourism site emphasizes that temperatures during the summer months range from around 15 to 25 degrees with the early mornings and evenings on the cooler side. For summer travel you’ll want to pack options ideal for layering in addition to good walking shoes and a windbreaker or jacket.
The winter months do offer some great opportunities for recreational activities like skiing and snowmobiling. It is extremely important to be aware of the avalanche risk. It is not uncommon for avalanches to close parts of the highway for short periods throughout the winter months. Be sure to pack appropriately with a variety of warm clothing including a good winter coat. Keep in mind that if you do decide to do this road trip in the winter months that you will be working with less hours of daylight. The months of December and January only see 6 hours of daylight.
Have you ever traveled on the Seward Highway? Is it on your bucket list? Remember when planning your road trip to take along the Beat the Traffic app available on iTunes and Google Play.
BEAT THE TRAFFIC: How will your commute be affected? Rely on Beat the Traffic for real-time traffic updates that matter to you. Visit www.beatthetraffic.com and download the app on iTunes or Google Play and get there sooner!