If you’re up for some high adventure in the wilds of Alaska, then an Anchorage to Valdez road trip can satisfy your craving for excitement. Multiple awesome national parks are within driving or flying distance of your route, including some of the purest wilderness in America. There are also several interesting state parks near your route; mountains, lakes, forests, and even an old mine await you. Much of Alaska is remote, but there are still some great tourist attractions and cities to explore on your Anchorage to Valdez RV road trip.
Kenai Fjords National Park
You can reach Kenai Fjords National Park by driving two hours and 20 minutes south of Anchorage. If you want to see some amazing glaciers on your road trip from Anchorage to Valdez, then you’ll love exploring some of the 40 glaciers in the 700-square-mile Harding Ice Field. There’s more here than ice and snow, though, as you can also take in forests, shorelines, lakes, and more. As with most Alaskan national parks, you can set off on your own off-trail backpacking or mountaineering adventure here.
Lake Clark National Park
Lake Clark National Park is one of two national parks on your road trip itinerary from Anchorage to Valdez that require you to fly in due to a lack of roads. You can fly to Lake Clark from Anchorage; you could also travel roughly two hours from Seward to Kenai and catch an air taxi after exploring Kenai Fjords. This park is a true wilderness; in fact, there’s only one set of established trails in the entire park. Many visitors prefer to hire a guide capable of showing them the best parts of this stunning wilderness that’s over 4 million acres large. Volcanoes, glaciers, lakes, forests, and more await you at this incredible park that’s full of stellar hiking, biking, boating, and fishing opportunities.
Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park is another amazing national park that can only be reached by plane due to its remote location. You can fly in from Anchorage or some of the surrounding towns; you may also be able to catch a boat if the timing is right. This active volcanic area is home to Mount Katmai as well as the Land of Ten Thousand Smokes, so there’s plenty to see here. If you visit in-season, you might get to see some of the many brown bears that live at Katmai. Boating and fishing are also popular here; after all, the nearest town is called King Salmon for a reason. You can also check out the prehistoric sites in the park that contain evidence of human habitation going back 9,000 years.
Denali National Park
You can easily reach Denali National Park by driving three hours and 20 minutes north of Palmer. Denali is North America’s tallest mountain, so it’s well worth exploring on your road trip from Anchorage to Valdez. You can go mountaineering on Denali itself, but you can also experience the 6 million acres of this park in other ways. Multiple trails and roads are available for hiking and biking, and guided bus tours can add another dimension to your visit. This park is home to a sled dog kennel, so you may be able to meet the dogs or even watch them in action. Unlike the more remote national parks, Denali has multiple RV-friendly campsites, so you can park your RV and then explore this stunning park.
Wrangell St. Elias National Park
The entrance to Wrangell St. Elias National Park is just 45 minutes off of your route. This is America’s biggest national park, so it’s a must-add to your road trip itinerary from Anchorage to Valdez. It's a staggering 13.2 million acres large, so you could explore this place for weeks on end and never run out of adventures. There are some outstanding maintained trails here, but as is usually the case with Alaskan national parks, you can also strike out on your own rugged off-road adventure. There are plenty of great places to boat, raft, and fish as well due to the multiple rivers in the park.
Chugach State Park
You don’t have to go too far from Anchorage in order to reach lovely Chugach State Park as its entrance is a mere 20 minutes to the south. This park is more than 495,000 acres large, so there’s plenty for you to do in this park that’s home to part of the Chugach Mountains as well as Eklutna Lake and Eagle River. Multiple trails provide excellent venues for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and skijoring.
Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area
Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area is just a minute off of your route, so how could you pass up the opportunity to visit this great Alaskan park on your road trip from Anchorage to Valdez? Matanuska, Canoe, Long, and Irene Lakes provide fabulous places to fish and boat. Multiple trails give you plenty of room for hiking, biking, and riding.
Denali State Park
Since you drive through Denali State Park in order to get to Denali National Park, putting it on your road trip itinerary from Anchorage to Valdez is a no-brainer. The park’s entrance is an hour and 40 minutes from Gateway, and there are multiple RV-friendly campgrounds inside this park. Plenty of trails give you the ability to explore some of this park’s 325,000-plus acres via guided or self-guided hikes. Salmon, trout, whitefish, grayling, and more abound in the park’s streams, so this is a great place to drop a line.
Independence Mine State Historical Park
If you want to learn more about the fascinating history of gold mining in Alaska, then you should drive 30 minutes from Farm Loop so you can visit Independence Mine State Historical Park. Independence Mine’s peak was actually in the 1940s rather than the late 1800s, but you can still learn much about the realities of living and working in a mining camp.
Lake Louise State Recreation Area
Half an hour north of Mendeltna is the beautiful Lake Louise State Recreation Area. Lake Louise itself is ideal for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. This is also a great place to see the Northern Lights, as well as moose, sheep, bears, lynxes, and more. Other fun activities include skiing, skating, berry picking, hiking, and biking.
Eklutna Historical Park
Eklutna Historical Park is just one minute off of your route as it travels through Chugiak. At this site, you can see spirit houses built by the Athabaskan Native peoples, as well as Old Saint Nicholas Church, which was built sometime in the 1800s. New Saint Nicholas Church is also here; it was built in 1962 and still functions as a church today.
Alaska Skydive Center
If you’re looking for an extreme adventure to add to your road trip itinerary from Anchorage to Valdez, then you should visit the Alaska Skydive Center, which is just three minutes off your route in Palmer. Here, you can choose from multiple skydiving options that will let you take in the scenery in this region in a unique way.
The Musk Ox Farm
The Musk Ox Farm is one minute off of your route as it goes through Farm Loop. This picturesque farm houses more than 80 musk oxen that you can see when you visit. You can participate in a guided tour that will teach you about this farm and its human and animal inhabitants.
Alpine Historical Park
You can find Alpine Historical Park just a minute from Sutton-Alpine. This park contains a museum with exhibits that explain the history of this interesting area. You’ll be able to learn about the ancient Athabascan culture, the coal boom the area experienced in the 1920s, and the Glenn Highway’s construction.
Nova Alaska Guides
If you want to explore both the Matanuska River and the Matanuska Glacier, then you should book an adventure tour through Nova Alaska Guides. This business was the first to offer rafting tours of the river and hiking and ice-climbing tours of the glacier, so you can trust them to give you an unforgettable experience.
Eagle River, Alaska
Right up the road in Chugiak, you can check out Eklutna Village Historic Park and Ladybug Rock. There are a few dump stations nearby.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Anchorage to Valdez, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Anchorage or Valdez.