Over twelve years and $150 million went into the completion of this route, which extends through Alaska’s most rugged terrain. Yet this highway is an excellent year-round road. Alaska’s Route 3 penetrates a wilderness wonderland and connects the state’s two largest population centers; Anchorage and Fairbanks. It is 358 miles long and mostly parallels the Alaska Railroad. There is constant upgrading going on and you may encounter construction just north of Wasilla and Denali National Park.
The Parks Highway borders world famous Denali National Park and on a clear day you will see Denali (Mt. McKinley), the nation’s tallest peak at 20,320 ft. There are excellent views of Denali on a clear day from the highway. Viewpoints at mile 134.5 and mile 163 are excellent stopping points. At mile 104 there is a good view of the three tallest peaks in the Alaska Range: Foraker, Hunter and McKinley, left to right. Along the way you will find the communities of Wasilla, Houston, Willow, Talkeetna, Denali, Healy and Nenana.
mile 6.5 Northbound exit to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Arctic Valley Road. Arctic Valley Ski Area is 7.5 miles on a steep
road not recommended for large RV's.
mile 7 Southbound exit to Ft. Richardson and Arctic Valley Road.
Mt. McKinley in the distance
Mt. McKinley viewpoint
mile 12 Eagle
River Campground, take Hiland Road/Eagle River Loop Exit. Access via 1.4 mile side road. 57 camp sites, with picnic tables, fire pits, water, flush toilets and dump station. Overflow camping area of 10 sites. Fee area. Campground Host. Recreation: Fishing, whitewater rafting. Short hiking trails. Special Note: One-half of the campsites are available by reservation - call 907-694-7982 or online at www.lifetimeadventures.net
mile 13/km 20.9 Bridge over Eagle River.
mile 13.6 Exit to the twin communities of Chugiak-Eagle River.
Since 1930, when the first homestead (300 acres) was hewn out of the wilderness, the area has grown into a sizeable community. A rodeo is staged here each summer, and winter sports activities include sled dog and snowmobile racing.
mile 15.3 Exit for Old Glenn Highway and North Eagle River.
mile 16.3 Fire Lake.
mile 17.5 South
Birchwood Loop Road. Exit to Chugiak-Eagle River and Fire Lake.
mile 20.7 North Birchwood Loop Road exits
both sides of highway. East to Chugiak or the Old Glenn Highway south to Eagle River.
mile 21 Bridge over Peters Creek.
mile 21.6 South Peters Creek exits both sides of highway, visitor facilities.
mile 22.6 North Peters Creek exits both sides of highway.
mile 24.5 Southbound exit for Mirror Lake Municipal Park.
mile 25.2 Thunderbird Falls exit for northbound traffic only and access to Eklutna Road. Thunderbird Falls is about a 1 mile hike from the highway. The trail to the falls goes through private property down to a picnic area.
mile 25.6 Eklutna River.
mile 26 Overpass with exits on both sides of highway to Eklutna and Thunderbird Falls. Head east on Eklutna Road for
10 miles/16 km to Eklutna Lake Recreation Area in Chugach State Park. The campground has 50 camp sites, picnic shelters, toilets, water, and hiking trails. Fee area. Eklutna Lake is the largest lake in Chugach State
Park with good fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow. Short hike to Eklutna glacier at far end of canyon-watch for falling rock and debris near glacier, this is a dangerous area. Do not climb on the glacier without
proper equipment, knowledge, and companions.
Eklutna Historical Park. Twenty-six miles from Anchorage, is the historical location of the Dena'ina Athabaskan people. Dating back to 1650, this site has tiny buildings called "Spirit Houses" atop the graves of many generations of deceased. Next door, the Heritage House Museum is filled with photographs and craft displays portraying the native lifestyle and Russian influence. The oldest building in the greater Anchorage area (dated back to 1830) is the St. Nicholas Church, located in this park. Admission fee. Eklutna Historical Park is open to the public 8am-6pm daily Memorial Day-Labor Day. There
is plenty of free parking and public facilities within the park for visitors. 907 696-2828 or 688-6026.
mile 29.5 Old Glenn Highway.
mile 29.9 In the next mile, 3 bridges cross the Knik River.
mile 30.6 Knik River Public Use Access. Reflections Lake trail with boardwalk over wetlands.
mile 35.5 Mat-Su Visitor Center operated by Mat-Su CVB, is open from mid-May through mid-September. Its hours of operation are 8:30am to 6:30pm. It is located at Mile 35.5 Parks Highway, take the Trunk Road exit off the Parks Highway, take the first exit out of the traffic-circle and follow the signs. Information on activities, events, lodging services, tours, and more is available at the Center. 907-746-5000
mile 39.3 Seward Meridian Road, Meridian Center Mall and Walmart.
mile 40.9 Cottonwood Creek Mall.
mile 41.5 Junction of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.
mile 41.7 Newcomb Wasilla Lake Park, a very nice picnic area on the shores of Wasilla Lake. George Parks Monument.
mile 42.2 Junction with Knik-Goose Bay Road. Wasilla. Access to Hatcher Pass via Main Street, which becomes Wasilla Fishhook Road.
mile 43.7 Best Western Lake Lucille Inn. The Valley’s premier hotel and has been recently renovated. Located on Lake Lucille with breathtaking views of the Chugach Range; only 45 miles from Anchorage. They have banquet and meeting facilities, fitness room with hot tub and sauna, free Wi-fi and complimentary deluxe continental breakfast. Turn left (when northbound) on Hallea Rd (Lucas Rd when turning right). 1-800-897-1776
mile 47 The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry was founded as the Air Progress Museum in Anchorage in 1967 as part of the statewide Alaska Purchase Centennial. After a disastrous fire in 1973, the museum languished for a number of years before it was reborn under its present name.
The museum contains a variety of vehicles, tools, and equipment used by the early pioneers of Alaska, as well as more recent airplanes, railroad cars, boats, automobiles, fire trucks, military
weapons, trucks, farm equipment, and other materials.
Museum of Alaska is open May 1st The museum is open seven days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm through September 30.
mile 52.2 Meadowood Mall west of highway.
mile 52.2 Junction with Big Lake Road leads to Big Lake Recreation area, one of the major recreational areas for Southcentral Alaska, and is easily accessible by highway. Turn West at mile 52 on the Parks Highway, and drive 3.6 miles to Fishers Y. Keep to the left and you will come to East Lake Mall. Groceries, pizza, liquor store. From Fishers Y, paved and unpaved roads lead to Big Lake, Beaver Lake, Rocky Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and numerous campgrounds. The lakes are connected by dredged waterways. Fishing is good for rainbow, lake trout, Dolly Varden, burbot, and landlocked salmon. If you're piloting your own plane, Big Lake has a good airstrip and is only a short flight from Anchorage. Most area resorts provide land and/or water taxi service. Motor and sailboats are for hire at the recreational marinas and resorts. Guide services are also available.