All highway traffic entering Alaska shares twelve miles of blacktop between Tetlin Junction and Tok. At Tok you must decide whether to proceed on to Fairbanks on the Alaska and Richardson Highways, or swing southwest towards Anchorage on the Tok Cutoff. We recommend the latter choice for several reasons. Going to Fairbanks first locks you into a counterclockwise swing, first on the Parks Highway to Anchorage, and ultimately back along the Glenn Highway and Tok Cutoff when exiting the state. Although most of the same ground is covered either way, the drive along the Cutoff is more scenic when viewed from Tok to Glennallen. This puts the Wrangell Volcanos right in front of you once you clear the pass. On clear days, the volcanos are every bit as impressive as Mt. McKinley. Likewise, we're found that the best views of Mt. McKinley are found driving north on the Parks Highway, especially early in the morning.
From Glennallen it is an easy drive to Valdez. Since Valdez is a coastal town, dreary weather is common. Stay for the sunshine, even if it means waiting a few days. It's well worth it. From Valdez take a cruise out to Columbia Glacier. We recommend the Lu-Lu Belle. Backtracking towards Glennallen, consider a side trip to McCarthy. But be sure to inquire locally if you have a large rig or are intimidated by dusty, one-lane roads that hug the mountain side. Van tours can be arranged at Kenny Lake or Chitina.
The Glenn Highway skirts the north side of the Chugach Mountains, with sweeping panoramas almost all the way to Palmer. Visit Matanuska Glacier, and take side trips to Independence Mine and along the Old Glenn Highway. Then on to Anchorage. Enjoy the shopping, many parks, local mountains and various cultural attractions. The Kenai Peninsula is nearby, and your choices of when and where to visit there might depend on your interest in fishing and clamming. But if you don't care about those activities there are still many interesting things to do and see. After the Kenai, with park bus tour reservations made, head north along the Parks Highway to Denali National Park.
From Denali it is a short jaunt to Fairbanks via the Nenana and Tanana flats. But we prefer another way. Backtrack to Cantwell and drive the 135 mile Denali Highway east across the Interior through the Alaska Range, ending up a Paxson. From there you can go north on the Richardson Highway through Isabel Pass (photo below). The pass is generally considered the most scenic in the state, but is overlooked by most visitors because it seems out of the way. It isn't, unless you opt for the counterclockwise route we mentioned above, but even if it were we'd go over and over. From Delta Junction, Fairbanks and the highways to the north can be enjoyed as a side trip, and you may consider braving the Dalton Highway all the way to the Arctic Ocean. Once you have satisfied your curiosity about Fairbanks and the Interior, head back towards Delta and exit the state for your return trip.


ALASKA ROUTES
All highway traffic entering Alaska shares twelve miles of blacktop between Tetlin Junction and Tok. At Tok you must decide whether to proceed on to Fairbanks on the Alaska and Richardson Highways, or swing southwest towards Anchorage on the Tok Cutoff. We recommend the latter choice for several reasons. Going to Fairbanks first locks you into a counterclockwise swing, first on the Parks Highway to Anchorage, and ultimately back along the Glenn Highway and Tok Cutoff when exiting the state. Although most of the same ground is covered either way, the drive along the Cutoff is more scenic when viewed from Tok to Glennallen. This puts the Wrangell Volcanos right in front of you once you clear the pass. On clear days, the volcanos are every bit as impressive as Mt. McKinley. Likewise, we're found that the best views of Mt. McKinley are found driving north on the Parks Highway, especially early in the morning.
From Glennallen it is an easy drive to Valdez. Since Valdez is a coastal town, dreary weather is common. Stay for the sunshine, even if it means waiting a few days. It's well worth it. From Valdez take a cruise out to Columbia Glacier. We recommend the Lu-Lu Belle. Backtracking towards Glennallen, consider a side trip to McCarthy. But be sure to inquire locally if you have a large rig or are intimidated by dusty, one-lane roads that hug the mountain side. Van tours can be arranged at Kenny Lake or Chitina.
The Glenn Highway skirts the north side of the Chugach Mountains, with sweeping panoramas almost all the way to Palmer. Visit Matanuska Glacier, and take side trips to Independence Mine and along the Old Glenn Highway. Then on to Anchorage. Enjoy the shopping, many parks, local mountains and various cultural attractions. The Kenai Peninsula is nearby, and your choices of when and where to visit there might depend on your interest in fishing and clamming. But if you don't care about those activities there are still many interesting things to do and see. After the Kenai, with park bus tour reservations made, head north along the Parks Highway to Denali National Park.
From Denali it is a short jaunt to Fairbanks via the Nenana and Tanana flats. But we prefer another way. Backtrack to Cantwell and drive the 135 mile Denali Highway east across the Interior through the Alaska Range, ending up a Paxson. From there you can go north on the Richardson Highway through Isabel Pass (photo below). The pass is generally considered the most scenic in the state, but is overlooked by most visitors because it seems out of the way. It isn't, unless you opt for the counterclockwise route we mentioned above, but even if it were we'd go over and over. From Delta Junction, Fairbanks and the highways to the north can be enjoyed as a side trip, and you may consider braving the Dalton Highway all the way to the Arctic Ocean. Once you have satisfied your curiosity about Fairbanks and the Interior, head back towards Delta and exit the state for your return trip.

Heading south from Paxson will bring you back to Glennallen. This stretch was once the worst in the state for frost heaves and dips. It has been completely redone, but it's still a good idea to drive this stretch at a prudent speed due to recurring frost heaves. If you don't care to drive the Denali Highway, or decide it's not in very good shape, consider visiting the Isabel Pass area as a side trip from Glennallen or Delta, and at least drive the paved east 20 miles of the Denali Highway, to Tangle Lakes. Better yet, brave sixteen extra miles of gravel to see the incredible view from Maclaren Summit (second highest in Alaska).
Of course, there are many variations on the above itinerary. We're simply passing along the one that we have decided, after twelve years, suits us best. Your own choices may be influenced by fishing plans, visits with relatives, tour reservations, desires of people you're traveling with, and other considerations. Always try to follow the best weather, and avoid the smoke. Do not get locked into a travel plan that is so rigid that you miss the best scenery because you just have to be someplace else the next day or week.
On these pages our RV park/campground sponsors are indicated with BOLD CAPITALS. If the letters are BLUE, there is a link to another site or E-mail for additional information. Mile markers in RED indicate a private campground at that location. GREEN means a public (state, federal, or municipal) campground. BLACK is used for junctions and other points of interest. Occasionally you will find a special note in yellow. Please use the services of our advertisers; their support makes this site, our maps and guide, and our annual trip possible. Because many hosts keep track of where visitors heard about their business to better allocate thieir advertising dollars, please let them know if you heard about their business here.