Richardson Highway

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Richardson Highway

The Richardson Highway is Alaska’s oldest highway and is the only highway that connects Fairbanks to Valdez. Valdez  is mile 0 of the Richardson Highway and Fairbanks is mile 364. The drive will take you through the spectacular and narrow Keystone Canyon and across the Thompson Pass where you will find Worthington Glacier, one of the few glaciers in the world that you can drive to. From Valdez to Delta Junction there are many opportunities to view the Alaska pipeline, which parallels the highway. Summits along the route are high, with the Thompson Pass peaking at 2,805 ft.

In 1898 a trail was pushed from Valdez to Eagle in the Interior of Alaska. Residents had requested money from Congress to improve the trail but by the time approval came through, the gold production in the Eagle area had declined. The funds were used instead to improve the Fairbanks portion because of the Felix Pedro find in Fairbanks. Stampeders left the Valdez to Eagle trail near the Gakona River and followed the river to its headwaters. Here they joined the Castner trail which paralleled the Gulkana river to its source and then across the Alaska Range. They then traveled down the Delta and Tanana Rivers to Fairbanks. Major Wilds P. Richardson worked to upgrade the trail to a wagon road in 1910 after the Fairbanks gold rush. It was made suitable for vehicles in the 1920s and paved in 1957.

For a complete list of Things to do in Alaska, visit our Things To Do section. For information on RV & tent camping, visit our section on camping in Alaska. To determine when you should plan your trip to Alaska, visit our page on the best time to visit Alaska. Finally, many visitors to the north want to experience the Northern Lights, so we’ve put together  a page of detailed information on how and when to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

Valdez Copper Center Wrangell-St Elias Glennallen Delta Junction Fairbanks