Everyone In Alaska Should Take This Underappreciated Scenic Drive
No matter where you drive in Alaska, the landscape will stun you. With views of mountains, glaciers, and amazing wildlife from the seat of your car, you can see some of the best America has to offer just driving around our state. But this scenic drive in Alaska is one that you won’t want to miss. Filled with hanging glaciers, traveling through the snowiest mountain pass in the state, and giving you endless stunning vistas, it’s no surprise it’s been named a National Scenic Byway.
The Richardson Highway is a 368-mile road connecting Valdez in the south, to Fairbanks in the north.
It’s also known as Alaska Route #4, and it travels some of the most intensely beautiful scenery in the state. So beautiful, in fact, that both its northern and southern segments have been named National Scenic Byways.
The road was originally built as a gold rush trail from Valdez to Eagle in 1898.
It was developed into a wagon road in 1910 and paved in 1957. The road makes for one of the most scenic trips in the state of Alaska, but many people miss it when they travel on the more popular Parks Highway on their way up to Fairbanks.
You’ll pass by countless waterfalls in Keystone Canyon, travel through many mountain passes, including Thompson and Isabel Pass, and drive through incredible scenery.
It will take you through some of the most diverse and interesting scenery you’ll find in our beautiful state. And you will most likely see wildlife along the road. Moose, bears, bald eagles, and even large herds of caribou are frequently spotted from this amazing road!
On your way up to Thompson Pass, you’ll drive by one of the most famous sites on the road, Worthington Glacier.
There are many recreational areas for you to enjoy along this drive. You’ll find many amazing hikes, gorgeous picnic areas, campsites, outhouses, and more to make your trip more comfortable.
The highway is beautiful in every season, and is drivable all year long.
Thompson Pass, sitting at 2,805 feet, gets an average snowfall of 500" per year. Be sure you have good snow or studded tires, and drive carefully if there’s a blizzard or snow storm if you’re traveling it during the winter season.
This year, if you’re looking to explore the state of Alaska a little closer, consider a road trip on this stunning highway.
There’s plenty of lodges, inns, campgrounds, and even roadside pullouts to park in for the evening. The trip can be as luxurious or as rustic as you’d like. Or you could make a sprint of it, and drive it all in one day for one very long road trip!
Whether you’re heading south to Valdez, or north to Fairbanks, the Richardson Highway is the way to travel.
Bring some loved ones and make it a trip that you won’t forget. A trip along this National Scenic Byway should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Have you ever traveled this scenic drive in Alaska? Is it your favorite National Scenic Byway in the state? Is there one you like more? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking for another incredible drive during the autumn season,
If There’s One Scenic Drive You Take In Alaska This Fall, Make It This One.
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Richardson Highway, Richardson Hwy, Salcha, AK, USA