The bold face numbers in the highway description are mileages on the Richardson Highway which runs from Valdez to Fairbanks. Valdez mile 0, Fairbanks mile 364/km 586.
The Richardson was Alaska’s first highway. It began as a pack trail in the late 1800’s with branches to Eagle and Fairbanks. The 364 miles of this paved highway constitute one of the state’s most scenic routes. Near Valdez, the highway winds along the turbulent Lowe River in Keystone Canyon. The sheer canyon walls contain countless waterfalls and interesting rock formations.
Leaving the canyon the highway climbs to the
Thompson Pass and Worthington Glacier. The Richardson is the access highway to the Wrangell St. Elias National Park the largest park in North America. There are several communities along the way: Copper Center, a gold rush town, Glennallen, the trading center of the area and Delta Junction which marks the true end of the Alaska Highway. The Richardson Highway carries on to Fairbanks.
From Delta Junction to Valdez, the trans-Alaska pipeline parallels the route.
mile 349.5/km 562.5 Badger Road is a 12 mile loop which rejoins the Richardson Highway at mile 357.
Glacier along the Richardson Hwy
Beautiful view along the highway
mile 346.7/km 557.9 Laurance Road. Chena Lake Recreation Area. 86 camp sites with bathrooms and dump station. Boat launch and picnic area, designated swimming area and rental of canoes, kayaks and row boats. Volleyball and basketball courts and playground. Chena Lake is stocked with salmon, rainbow trout, arctic char and grayling. 907-488-1655
mile 346/km 556.8 Chena Flood Channel.
mile 344.7/km 554.7 Moose Creek.
mile 343.5/km 552.8 Moose Creek Road
mile 341/km 548.8 Eielson Air Force Base. Built in 1943. Named for Carl Ben Eielson, famous Alaskan bush pilot.
mile 332.3/km 534.8 The Knotty Shop. A truly unique gift shop and museum.
mile 327.7/km 527.3 Little Salcha River.
mile 325.5/km 523.8 Community of Salcha.
mile 324.8/km 522.7 Munsons Slough and parking at south end of bridge.
mile 324.5/km 522.2 Parking.
mile 323.3/km 520 Salcha River State Recreation Site. 130 sites, boat launch, picnic area, toilets and water. Fishing for grayling and king salmon is good in the Salcha River. Fee area.
mile 322.2/km 518.5 Salcha River Lodge.
mile 321.5/km 517.4 Harding Lake State Recreation Area is a highly developed recreation area 45 miles
southeast of Fairbanks (1.5-mile side road to campground on north side of Harding Lake) off the Richardson Highway. Harding Lake, is one of the few natural lakes near Fairbanks that can be reached by road, it is a
favorite spot to swim, boat and fish. There are 90 camp sites for vehicles, a walk-in group camping area, toilets, water and dump station. There is also a large picnic and beach area with dressing rooms, a baseball
field, volleyball court, horseshoe pits and campfire area.
Resident ranger. Pike and lake trout. Harding Lake was a brief stopover for Will Rogers & Wiley Post on their ill-fated flight to Barrow, Alaska. Be sure to bring along your mosquito repellent!
mile 313/km 503.7 Parking.
mile 310/km 498.9 Parking.
mile 306/km 492.4 Rest area beside Birch Lake. Toilets.
mile 305.2/km 491.1 Birch Lake State Recreation Site is reached by
turning north onto the gravel road for 1/4 mile. 17 camp sites, picnic area, toilets, swimming. Boat launch, excellent rainbow and trout fishing (boat recommended).
mile 304.3/km 489.7 Parking.
mile 298.2/km 479.9 Parking.
mile 297.6/km 479 Scenic view, parking on west side of highway. Access road to Tanana River.
mile 296.5/km 477.2 Parking with view of Tanana River.
mile 295.3/km 475.2 Banner Creek, historic placer gold stream.
mile 294/km 473.1 Parking.
mile 289.7/km 466.2 Parking.
mile 288/km 463.5 Scenic view.
mile 286.7/km 461.4 Shaw Creek.
Large parking area and boat launch
good early spring and fall grayling fishing. Picnic table. View of Mt. Deborah (12,339 ft.) to the west, Mt. Hayes (13,832 ft.) to the southwest and Mt. Hess (11,940 ft.) between the two former peaks. All are a part of the Alaska Range which spans southcentral Alaska in a sweeping 600-mile arc.
mile 280.4/km 451.2 Parking.
mile 277.8/km 446.9 Quartz Lake State Recreation Area, access via 3-mile side road. 87 camp sites, Facilities include two boat launches, a handicap accessible fishing dock, picnic sites, a picnic shelter, swimming area, beach volleyball court, water, and toilets.. Stocked with rainbow, trout and cohoe. Boat recommended. Fee area. There are 12 camp sites at Lost Lake. Facilities include picnic area, water and toilets. Lost Lake
is not stocked but its small picnic area is a favorite spot for those who want to enjoy the area's scenery and wildlife.
mile 275.4/km 443.2 Big Delta Bridge and Trans-Alaska Pipeline
Bridge elevated 40 ft. above the Tanana River, this 1200-ft. bridge is the second
longest on the route. (The longest crosses the Yukon River north of Fairbanks). Good view of the Alaska Range to the south. Large parking area at east end of bridge.
mile 275/km 442.5 Tanana Trading Post and Big Delta State Historical Park
mile 275/km 442.5 Rika’s Roadhouse. The Valdez-to-Fairbanks trail brought travelers to the banks of the Tanana River, where they crossed by ferry. John Hajdukovich, a Yugoslavian entrepreneur, bought the land along with a fur trading post in 1909 making the Roadhouse over 100 years old.
The two-story roadhouse, built of logs became a year-round oasis for hunters, trappers, prospectors and travelers as well as local Athabascans and homesteaders. However, John had many other interests, including the responsibility of US Game Commissioner. Sitting still and running a roadhouse did not appeal to him so he simply asked guests to make themselves at home and leave some money on the table. He ran it in this way until 1918, when finally a dependable, hard-working Swede named Rika Wallen was hired to take over.
Learn more of this fascinating story by visiting the Roadhouse, refresh yourself at the Restaurant and enjoy the gift shop. Free admission to the park! Dump station available. 907-895-4201
mile 270.3/km 435 (1426.3) Alaska 7 Motel Comfort at a comfortable price; large clean rooms, private baths, satellite TV, refrigerator, courtesy coffee. 907-895-4848
ile 268.3/km 431.8 Clearwater State Recreation Site on Jack Warren Road, 11 miles km on
good road. Campground has 17 camp sites, picnic area, tables, toilets, water and boat launch. You can continue on this road 8.5 miles to the Alaska Highway mile 1415/km 2277.