The route between Anchorage and Seward is 126.5 miles to be exact, and will take approx. 2.5 hours to drive and will traverse between two main highways, AK-1 S and State Hwy 9. This Alaskan route is not only straightforward but scenic too.
Driving between Anchorage and Seward starts with a beautiful ocean coast drive along AK-1 S and if the journey starts early in the morning, or mid-morning depending on the time of year, you’ll see a spectacular sunrise across the glaciers.
To the south, the small town of Hope can be seen.
The drive between Anchorage and Seward is not only one of the most beautiful drives in Alaska, but has many stop-off points, walking routes, lakes, and even hiking routes for the adventurous.
In this article, we’ll cover the exact driving route between Anchorage and Seward, as well as 8 of the best places to stop and either admire the scenery or explore the local area on foot.
Driving Route Between Anchorage and Seward
This can depend on which way you are traveling, but we will assume a driving route from Anchorage to Seward.
If your route is the opposite way, then simply reverse the following directions.
Starting from Anchorage Log Cabin Visitor Centre in downtown head east along 4th Avenue and turn right into Gambell Street.
Continue south along Gambell Street, which merges into highway AK-1 S for a total of 88 miles.
At Moose Pass continue straight ahead on to Hwy 9 South. Do not take the right verge and continue on AK-1 S as this will continue on down to Homer.
Continue south on Hwy 9 for a further 36 miles until you reach the town of Seward.
8 Amazing Scenic Stops driving between Anchorage and Seward
There are so many places to stop and admire the scenery along this route an entire book or website could be devoted to it.
Instead, having explored and driven this route a number of times, we will take a look at the best 8 scenic stops along the route and where you can explore the surrounding Alaskan wilderness.
1. Beluga Point
The first stop on our route is just outside Anchorage and around 30mins from the starting location.
Beluga Point has a handy pullover area off the main highway to park.
It is, as the name suggests, an area to watch Beluga whales in their natural habitat.
The view across the water to the neighboring mountain terrain is also worthy of a photo if the Beluga whales are elusive on your stopover.
2. Rainbow Trailhead
The next stop off point is literally 1-2 miles from Beluga Point and is recommended for the very adventurous.
The Rainbow Trailhead is a steep hike but offers inspiring views across the water and on to the glacier mountain range.
There is a small car park on the left-hand side to use whilst you enjoy as much of the hike as you can.
3. Falls Creek
Falls Creek and the Falls Creek Trail is considered to be one of the best stop-off points along the Anchorage to Seward drive.
It has a few small waterfalls along the route, and if you make it to the top an incredible glacier sight is your reward.
This though isn’t so much of a stop-off point as a full-blown hike and trail, which will take on average 6 hours to get to the summit and back down again. Water is essential.
4. Bird Point
Birds Point, around 20 minutes past Falls Creek, is a beautiful easy trail with ample parking and a gently sloping walkway to enjoy the lake and mountain peak backdrop.
This is a quick stop-off point, not much walking is required.
Have cameras at the ready for this one and look out for the Beluga whale sculpture nearby!
5. Chugach National Forest Sign
The layby where the Chugach National Forest sign is located has a beautiful scenic view across the waters and to the mountain ranges on both the north and south sides.
A photo including the sign is also a nice touch to include.
This is a short stop off along the route, but one worth seeing.
6. Twentymile River Bridge
Just before the bridge crossing the start of the Twentymile River there is a small car park (called Seward Hwy Parking on Google Maps) but here is a good photo spot of as the glacier mountains across the river dip down into a range before climbing steeply back up along its route.
Another short stop off this but one for the photo and memory bank.
7. Welcome to Kenai Sign
If sign spotting and photo taking are your thing then a quick pullover at the Welcome to Kenai sign can see you add to your collection.
The sign is welcome to the Kenai Peninsula, where the Kenai Fjord National Park resides.
8. Tern Lake Pullover
Just after you head straight onto Hwy 9 you will want to turn right back on to AK-1 and into Tern Lake Pullover.
This is another beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic or simply admire the wildlife with a lake foreground and mountain terrain backdrop.
No trails or hikes, so just a short stop off before continuing the route.
Tips for Driving Anchorage to Seward
Both the main highways, 1 and 9, are large purpose-built highways suitable for all types of vehicles.
Of course, Alaska is cold, so the right precautions need to be taken in bad weather conditions.
Snow can and does fall often during the autumn and winter months, and storms can roll in at a moment’s notice sometimes.
It is best to fill up your tank with gas before leaving either Anchorage or Seward, and as with all routes in remote regions it is best to take food, water, blankets, first aid kit, warm clothes as well as a fully charged power bank to recharge a cell phone if required.