The Seward Highway: Everything You Need to Know

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View of Seward Highway.

The Seward Highway is one of the highlights of many people’s Alaskan adventures. It allows travelers to experience some of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes and attractions.

However, if you plan to pack up and head to The Last Frontier, you want to ensure you’re ready for all it offers. This road is worth traveling and enjoying to the fullest.

Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about the Seward Highway. Let’s hit the road!

What Is the Seward Highway?

The Seward Highway travels 125 miles of Alaska Route 1. Over the years, it has earned a reputation as one of the most scenic drives in the United States.

Between the forests, valleys, and coastal areas, it’s easy to see why. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing mountains, fjords, and glaciers while cruising down the road?

The town of Seward became a transportation hub in the early 1900s. The port was busy shipping goods and resources all over the world. Officials realized the area needed a more reliable and efficient transportation route. Construction on Seward Highway began in the 1920s and was completed in October 1951.

Currently, it continues to serve as a major transportation hub. Locals and tourists frequently use the route and enjoy its incredible views and rugged landscapes. 

View of Seward Highway.

Where Does the Seward Highway Start and End?

The Seward Highway starts in downtown Anchorage at the southern point of 5th Avenue.

It then travels south along the eastern coastline. It passes through the Chugach National Forest and the Chugach Mountains before passing along the Turnagain Arm.

While the entire route is incredibly scenic, this section of the trail stuns the most. Mountains, forests, and tidal flats create a unique environment. After clearing Turnagain Arm, it goes deeper into the Kenai Peninsula and ends at Seward.

If you complete the entire route, you’ll see why so many people fall in love with Alaska. The scenery, landscapes, and wildlife capture your attention and can fulfill any longing for adventure.

How Long Does It Take to Drive the Seward Highway?

If you were to drive the entire 125 miles without stopping, it would take approximately two and a half hours.

However, we recommend you take your time and enjoy the journey. You can easily spend two, three, or even four days exploring the area.

As you’ll soon see, there’s lots to do along the way. You may not have another opportunity to revisit the area. So do yourself a favor and soak up as much as possible. Keep reading to see some of the most popular stops along the highway.

8 Spots Along the Seward Highway You Don’t Want to Miss

Plan your stops wisely if you want to make your trip something to remember. You don’t want to miss these eight great spots along the Seward Highway.

Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park sits just outside Anchorage and provides a wilderness playground of over half a million acres. The landscapes, rugged mountains, and crystal clear lakes create an exciting adventure.

When we say that hiking is a popular activity here, we mean it. You’ll find more than 280 miles of maintained trails within the park. You can find everything from strolls to heart-pumping climbs. 

In addition to hiking, you have camping, fishing, and opportunities to view wildlife. Moose, bears, and eagles are familiar sights throughout the park. You could easily spend a day or two alone exploring a fascinating state park.

Beluga Point

Approximately 20 miles south of Anchorage sits Beluga Point. This is a must-visit destination if you’re a nature enthusiast or want to enjoy wildlife.

It gives you your first taste of the Turnagain Arm, but most people come for the opportunity to spot beluga whales. These beautiful creatures make appearances along the coast during summer. 

The coastline provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a picnic or stop and relax. Take time to appreciate the mountains that surround the area. If you can find a quiet spot to sit for a minute or two, the tranquility of this area on the Seward Highway will melt your stress away.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is an extensive 200-acre wildlife conservation and education center.

This non-profit organization dedicates time, energy, and resources to helping orphaned, injured, and displaced animals. You’ll find brown bears, black bears, moose, musk, oxen, wolves, lynx, and more on their property.

This is your next best option if you’re striking out trying to see some of these creatures in the wild. They offer educational programs, scavenger hunts, and guided tours. If you want to learn more about the wildlife that inhabits this region, this is a great place to start. 

A bear in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center off Seward Highway.

Begich, Boggs Visitor Center

Just down the Seward Highway from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center lies the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. It stays open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and provides a great opportunity to learn about the uniqueness of Chugach National Forest.

The visitor center uses exhibits, presentations, and films to educate guests about the importance of glaciers. You’ll learn an incredible amount as you travel through the more than 17,000 square-foot space.

If you want to explore, this is the place to go. You’ll find a wealth of information about recreational opportunities in the area.

If you want to spend some time hiking, camping, or trying to catch a glimpse of wildlife, officials here can help. They’ll point you in the right direction if they can’t answer your questions.

Keep in Mind: Alaska is home to 23 national parks! See what Alaska National Parks have to offer.

Byron Glacier Trail

When finished at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, lace up your hiking boots and experience Byron Glacier Trail. This is a stroll along a well-maintained trail, especially during the summer.

If you visit early in the season, you may run into issues as the snow in the upper elevations has yet to avalanche. As a result, we recommend trying this hike only during summer.

This roughly 1.4-mile out-and-back trail finished with an up-close view of a glacier. Can it get better than that? It’s great for families and those who are relatively new to hiking. You have minimal elevation gain and remarkable views. 

View of Bryon Glacier off the Seward Highway.


Almost 40 miles from Anchorage sits the town of Girdwood. This small town has a population of approximately 1,000. However, despite not having a lot of residents, there’s still a lot to do. The thick forests, snow-capped peaks, and picture-perfect valleys attract visitors year-round.

During the winter months, tourists flock to Alyeska Resort. This premier ski resort has some of the hardest slopes and views you must see to believe. Skiers and snowboards fawn over the opportunity to slice their way down them.

While it may sound like winter is the time to visit, summer isn’t bad either. The resort offers hiking, mountain biking, and scenic tram rides to enjoy the views.

You can enjoy some of the best panoramic views of the mountains and glaciers. There’s also a large number of festivals and events that take place.

Kenai Fjords National Park

If you’re trying to check off national parks, take advantage of the opportunity to visit Kenai Fjords National Park. It lies roughly 125 miles south of Anchorage, which means it’s at the end of the Seward Highway. What better way to end such an epic adventure than to visit a National Park?

The park has a reputation for its rugged coastline, massive glaciers, and wildlife population. You can spot sea otters, seals, porpoises, and, if lucky, a humpback whale.

Many visitors sign up for boat tours and kayak excursions. This can allow for an up-close look at the glaciers and many other ice structures found within the park. Overall, it can be an unforgettable experience along the Seward Highway.

Keep in Mind: Many wonder why Alaska is even a state. Isn’t Alaska Closer to Russia? Let’s find out!

View on Kenai Fjords National Park.

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier is within Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s your chance to get up close and personal with one of the glaciers in the national park. You’ll see how the glacier has changed the landscape throughout its existence.

If you start at the Exit Glacier Nature Center, a series of trails provide opportunities for the best views of the glacier.

You’ll find everything from a one-mile hike to a heart-pounding 8-mile hike along Harding Icefield Trail. Educational signs along the paths help guests learn and appreciate what they’re seeing.

Discover the Beauty of the Seward Highway

A trip along the Seward Highway can be an unforgettable experience. Between the mountains, wildlife, and towns along the route, it’s a journey worth taking.

Again, we encourage you to take your time to appreciate how special it is. No matter what adventure you hope to experience, you can find it on the Seward Highway.

Have you driven the Seward Highway yet? 

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