Alaska is such a huge and magnificent state that it’s hard to wrap your head around seeing everything during your vacation. Luckily, there is a loop drive that will hit a lot of the sights and adventures that are part of a dream trip to Alaska. Let ABC Motorhome give you some ideas for planning your Alaskan road trip.
DAY ONE – Fly in to Anchorage, Pick up your RV
This is the day you will arrive in Anchorage and pick up your RV rental. All of your linens and cooking utensils will be stocked in the RV, but you will need to get your food shopping organized. Anchorage has many grocery store options including Carrs/Safeway, Fred Meyers, Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club.
Hotel rooms in Anchorage during the peak summer months will be in high demand. Booking early will help you get the best deals and ensure that reservations are available.
Spend any free time in town walking around the downtown area or taking in one of the many local hiking options.
DAY TWO – Drive to Delta Junction (338 miles, 6 hours)
This is the longest driving day of the loop and will take you past some stunning scenery not as often traveled by tourists. Just north of Eagle River you will veer eastward toward Palmer on the Glenn Highway. Moose and mountains are some of the sites you will see on this first section of the drive. The road parallels the Matanuska River valley and about 60 miles past Palmer, you will reach the turn off for the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation area. This is one of the most accessible glaciers on the road system. Continuing along the highway, you will begin seeing the peaks of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
At the interchange, you will switch from the Glenn Highway to the Richardson Highway that started as a trail during the 1898 gold rush. This road parallels the Alaska Pipeline and offers two crossings where you can stop and touch this modern wonder. Continue on to Delta Junction to rest up for the night.
DAY THREE & FOUR – Drive to Fairbanks (96 miles, 2 hours)
About 8 miles in to your drive today, you’ll reach the town of Big Delta and the Rika’s Roadhouse State Historical Park. This 10-acre park that was a historic gathering place for trappers, miners, and riverboat traffic features a period roadhouse, a fur rooms, and a restaurant.
Just south of Fairbanks you’ll enter the town of North Pole which proclaims itself as the town where the spirit of Christmas lives year round. A stop at the Santa Claus house is a must and you can mail letters and postcards from here to get an authentic North Pole postmark.
Fairbanks is the second largest city in the state and has many restaurants and historic sites to visit. The community also offers many activities for outdoor enthusiasts. A visit to the Alaska Museum of the North and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum can give you some great info on this interior community and the history of the state. Pioneer Park features historic buildings, food, entertainment, picnic sites, playgrounds, mini golf, and train rides.
DAY FIVE & SIX – Denali National Park (124 miles, 2 hours)
Heading south out of Fairbanks you will be on the Parks Highway which will take you past Denali National Park and Preserve. There will be frequent opportunities to stop and take pictures, so don’t rush. The actual driving time is short, but you should plan to take the whole day really appreciating the natural wonders around you.
Starting in Healy, there will be more development and retail opportunities. Just past this community, you will descend into the Nenana River Canyon that offers great opportunities for white water rafting.
Use your second day to enter the National Park site. Go through the park entrance to the Wilderness Access Center to obtain shuttle bus tickets and camping permits. Continuing on you will reach the Murie Science and Learning Center and the Park Kennels. You will be able to continue down the road for a total of 15 miles that will offer you unprecedented views and frequent wildlife viewings.
DAY SEVEN – Drive to Anchorage (238 miles, 4 hours)
Heading back towards Anchorage on the Parks Highway will give a different view of the interior landscapes. A great place to stop for a break is the community of Talkeetna. It is 14 miles off the main highway, but well worth the trip. There are several historic buildings and great food and drink available.
After leaving Talkeetna, you will be traveling south through the Matanuska-Susitna Valley via the towns of Willow and Houston. This area is best known for its many fishing spots on lakes and rivers.
You’ll end the day back in Anchorage. Take some time to explore the many great dining and entertainment options in Alaska’s largest city.
DAY EIGHT & NINE – Drive to Seward (140 miles, 3 hours)
The first 90 miles south of Anchorage will take you along the scenic Turnagain Arm past the ski town of Girdwood. Keep your eyes peeled for sheep, beluga whales, windsurfers, and rock climbers. You will also pass the turn off for Portage Glacier and the Whittier Tunnel. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a great stopping place to see all of the animals you haven’t yet run across in your travels.
Seward is a lovely seaside town with access to the Kenai Fjords National Park, Exit Glacier, and the Alaska SeaLife Center. It is the original start of the Iditarod Trail and was once the main community for Southcentral Alaska. Spend the next day exploring the little town and taking in the natural beauty. A cruise on Resurrection Bay is also a fantastic chance to see whales and otters.
DAY TEN – Drive back to Anchorage, Return your RV
Drive back to Anchorage and return you RV on this last day of your Alaskan adventure. Take all the wonderful memories and photos home to share with your friends and family. And start planning your next ABC Motorhome adventure in our great state.