Quite Possibly the Most Beautiful Drive in the U.S.

Alaskan Mountains and Water

It probably implies too much to say that leaving Anchorage, Alaska, is the best part of Anchorage, Alaska. But if you take that as a slam on Anchorage, it might be that you’ve never driven the Seward Highway out of town.

Seward to Anchorage

Sure, Anchorage didn’t strike us as a destination city. It’s mostly a functional place of recent vintage. Born less than 100 years ago as a railroad construction port, expanded during the Cold War with the introduction of Elmendorf Air Force Base and later because of nearby oil discoveries, Anchorage isn’t terribly quaint, particularly lively, or steeped in history. It does, however, have some pretty terrific Middle Eastern food (seriously, stop by hole-in-the-wall-good Falafel King when you’re in town). More strikingly, it serves as the anchor leg to what is quite possibly the most beautiful drive in the United States.

Alaskan Panorama

Now we don’t claim to be experts, but driving through the U.S. is one of the things we’ve spent most of the last four years of our lives doing. During that time we’ve traveled up the California and Oregon coast, traversed Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway, and ascended Glacier’s Going to the Sun Road. After all of that, we still think the 127-mile stretch of pavement connecting Anchorage to Seward is the most incredible we’ve ever seen.

Alaskan Mountains

It’s stunning mountain vista after stunning mountain vista, all the way through. And what sets it apart, and in our view above, other domestic alpine terrain is that many of these mountains are framed by water. Two thirds of the drive winds along the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet. It’s what a drive through the Rocky Mountains would be like if they were cleaved in half by a giant fjord.

And of course there’s Alaskan wildlife along the way. Our first-ever moose sighting occurred just fifteen minutes outside the city center in Potter Marsh.

Moose in Potter Marsh Alaska

Not bad for a day’s commute.

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13 Comments on “Quite Possibly the Most Beautiful Drive in the U.S.”

  1. michaelbencik December 2, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    My first hitchhiking experience was on this road, something like 57 denials before I got a ride. It was amazing, thanks for letting me revisit.

    Like

    • Brian December 2, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      You’re very welcome.

      Like

  2. Janice Heck December 2, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    And if you’re lucky when you drive this route, you can see white mountain goats tiptoeing through the most difficult of rocky patches on the side of the mountains. You’re luckier yet if you see them near on of the viewing spots. I lived in Homer and Soldotna, Alaska from ’83-93 and loved it.

    Like

    • Brian December 2, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      We were indeed lucky in that way. We’ll have to post a photo of that guy soon.

      Like

  3. Laura Hilger December 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Yes, it is an amazing drive. I think I’ve done in over a 100 times now and it never gets old! Thanks for sharing a piece of my home with others.

    Like

  4. Steve Strother December 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! Beautiful photos and great writing!

    Like

  5. Alisa December 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    The Explore All 50 Project is heading to Alaska this summer. Thanks for sharing this amazing drive. Hopefully it will fit into our itinerary once we get it all sorted out. Safe travels-Alisa

    Like

  6. everybodylovespretty December 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Wow, looks beautiful! Would love to check it out one day. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  7. inktramp December 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    amazing captures!

    Like

  8. rameyontheroad December 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Alaska remains as one of the expansive wild places I have yet to visit in the US. And the falafel is not too surprising… we know an Israeli who lives in the far reaches of the NW Territories, and he has a falafel stand there. Oh, the joy of a global culture! 😀 Thanks for sharing these lovely photos. Bumping AK back up the list…

    Like

  9. The Earth Beneath My Feet December 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Wow, it’s breathtaking!

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. An Honest Appraisal of Our Alaskan Travels | Everywhere Once - January 20, 2014

    […] rented a car and drove some of the most dramatic scenery we’ve ever encountered. We hired experienced ice climbers to help us summit a glacier. We dug […]

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  2. 8 Favorite Destinations, Year 4 | Everywhere Once - April 30, 2014

    […] to coast, the 127-mile stretch of road connecting Anchorage, Alaska, to Seward still struck us as the most beautiful drive we had ever done. But that really was only the half of it. Strapping on crampons and hiking up […]

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