Seward Highway

The 127 mile/204 km Seward Highway has been designated a National Forest Scenic Byway. It connects the cities of Anchorage and Seward traveling past salt water bays, ice-blue glaciers, and alpine valleys. The first 50 miles of the highway twists and turns along the base of the Chugach Mountains, and the shore of Turnagain Arm. The 37-foot tides of Turnagain Arm are exceeded only by those in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy. The waters racing out of the inlet expose miles of mud flats and when they return, frequently create 6-foot bore tides.
Just past the turn-off for Portage Glacier, you will enter the Kenai Peninsula Borough – over 25,000 square miles of scenic park lands, glaciers, rivers, and unique communities. Here it is easy to try your luck at hooking a world record king salmon or a giant halibut, photograph a Russian church, or view sea lions & whales on a scenic cruise, all on the same day!

The Alaska Railroad parallels the Seward Highway to Portage, where it has a branch line to Whittier Alaska (port for the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System). The Alaska Railroad also serves Seward, which was the original starting point of the Alaska Railroad. 37 miles north of Seward, the Seward Highway connects with the Sterling Highway which travels southwest to the end of the Kenai Peninsula and accesses the towns of Soldotna, Kenai, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, and Homer.

When you reach Seward, at the end of the highway, you will be met with stunning scenery from this small coastal community. It is known as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and a number of local tour companies will share with you the stunning natural scenery and amazing wildlife found in the park. Visit Kenai Fjords Tours or Major Marine Tours to book an unforgetable adventure.

You’ll get updates on road conditions and construction at http://511.alaska.gov

Warning: The mudflats along the coast from Anchorage to Portage (Turnagain Arm) exhibit quicksand-like conditions. It is extremely dangerous to walk on the beach or mudflats in this area.

For a complete list of Things to do in Alaska, visit our Things To Do section. For information on places to camp, 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.

Seward Highway Driving Highlights

Alyeska Resort and Tram (In Girdwood at Mile 90)

The Tram at Alyeska Resort is short ride to a viewing deck at 2300 ft. With breathtaking panoramic views of mountains, hanging glaciers and an abundance of wildlife.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (at Mile 79)

AWCC is a non-profit sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education and research. The sanctuary maintains over 200 acres of spacious habitats for resident animals to feel at home displaying their natural wild behavior as education ambassadors for their species. It is common for visitors to see brown bears swimming, moose strutting, wood bison roaming, muskox playing, wolves posing, porcupines climbing, and more!

Hope Alaska (Mile 56)

At mile 56, take the 16 mile road to Hope and discover one of Alaska’s oldest gold rush towns.

Exit Glacier (Mile 3.5)

Turn on Herman Leirer Road (Also known as Exit Glacier Road). Drive 8.4 miles to Exit Glacier, which is the only part of the Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by car. You can also stay near Exit Glacier at the Seward KOA Campground.

How long is the drive from Anchorage to Seward

The drive from Anchorage to Seward is 127 miles but It’s actually only 118 miles to reach the southern outskirts of Anchorage. the last 9 miles of the Seward Highway double as one of the main traffic arteries of the city of Anchorage.

Is the Seward Highway Paved

Yes the Seward Highway is Paved the entire way. There are also plenty of passing lanes in both directions, making it one of the easiest highways in Alaska to drive. It has wide paved shoulders for most of the way as well.

What is the best way to get from Seward to Anchorage?

The two most common ways to get from Seward to Anchorage are by car or on the Alaska Railroad. Many visitors arrive in Seward by cruise ship and decide to travel to Anchorage and Denali National Park. The drive is easy and if you don’t have your own vehicle, you can rent from Hertz in Seward. They offer one way rentals between Seward and Anchorage.

The Alaska Railroad is also very easy way to get from Seward to Anchorage. The train leaves everyday during the summer. The train parallels the Seward Highway at times, but also takes a slightly different route that offers spectacular scenery. You can stop in Portage and take the train to Whittier or Spencer Glacier.

Is Seward worth visiting?

Yes, absolutely Seward Alaska is worth visiting. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Alaska. It is also the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. You can hike on a glacier, at Exit Glacier, which is a very Alaskan activity.

Can I get from Seward to Anchorage without a car?

Yes, the Alaska Railroad is a great way to get from Seward to Anchorage if you don’t want to drive

Seward Highway Map

The map of the Seward Highway shows the abundant recreation areas along the highway. Between Anchorage and Girdwood there are dozens of scenic viewpoints overlooking Turnagain Arm. At Girdwood, you can take the short side trip up to the Alyeska Resort and Aerial Tram. 

Only 11 miles further south on the Seward Highway is Portage Recreation Area. This is also where you will find the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, one of the best opportunities to view wildlife in Alaska.

At Portage, you can turn off the Highway and and drive to Whittier via two tunnels. The Whittier tunnel is the 2nd longest in North America.

After Portage and Whittier, the next worthwhile side trip is the road to Hope at mile 56. Hope is a former gold rush town and existed even before Anchorage was founded. The Hope road is also where you will find Chugach Outdoor Center, a premier rafting company sure to give you a thrill.

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