We didn’t started our drive from Anchorage to Seward, instead we started from Talkeetna, two hours north of Anchorage. Talkeetna is a cute little town best known for the starting point to many expeditions and excursions to Denali. Talkeetna is situated on the confluence of 3 rivers, making it a popular destination for salmon fishing. Before we arrived to Talkeetna, many people insisted that we must try a restaurant called West Rib. We were unaware that we would be so close to a restaurant that was featured on Man Vs Food. After a long day of hiking, biking, and driving, I knew I was not in the mood for the infamous Seward Folly’s Burger – which is their 5 pound burger featured on the Travel Channel. Instead I ordered the Caribou Chilli, which was absolutely delightful. I always encourage my readers to try something new on every trip. Since I have never had caribou before, this was another check off the bucketlist for me.
Anchorage was only about 115 miles South of Talkeetna. Since the highway runs through downtown Anchorage, expect to take a little longer to drive through Anchorage. Once you’ve passed downtown Anchorage, this is where the scenic drive begins. You start winding along between the sea cliffs and the ocean, adjacent to the railroad tracks. It was a bit overcast when we were there, but that definitely added a dramatic effect to all the photos we took. Every twist and turn you make, gives you a different perspective of Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Mountains. There are many viewpoints and lookout, so make sure to stop at some of the pullouts.
Moose Pass (Mile 14):
Because we were headed to Seward for the Kenai boat tour at 11:45am, we didn’t stop until we reached the Moose Pass area. I made note of every stop we wanted to make by plotting a point on the GPS map I used to navigate. This really helped us keep track of exactly where we wanted to stop at on our way back towards Anchorage. Moose Pass is a quiet little town with only a few stores. When you get to Moose Pass, keep your eye on the left. There are a few businesses, and a tiny dirt road that leads you to an amazing view of the Upper Trail Lake. The dirt road appears to be leading you into a private residence, through some thick bushes. Once you get around the bush you’ll see an amazing view of the seaplanes along the docks.
Seward (Mile Marker 0):
After4 hours of driving, we finally arrived at Seward. Our first stop was Resurrection Bay. Take Seward Highway to the end of the road. On Railway Avenue make a left. You”ll pass the Alaskan SeaLife Center and make your immediate right. There is a small parking lot there, where you can check out Resurrection Bay. If you walk further down Railway Avenue, you’ll see that you’re on mile marker Zero. Grab a seat on one of many benches, and watch for wildlife. You’ll see plenty of fishing boats and kayaks at Resurrection Bay. If you’re lucky you may even get to see humpback whales, orcas, seals, and sea lions. We didn’t spend enough time here to be able to encounter any sea life. We headed to check into our boat tour, and grabbed a quick bite to eat while at the bakery across the street from the Kenai Boat Tours. After our boat tour we enjoyed a nice dinner at a waterfront restaurant, Chinooks.
Kenai Fjord National Park:
If you’re in Seward you must take a boat tour to see the Kenai Fjord. The sea life we have witnessed on this boat tour alone, makes this trip a memorable one. We were fortune enough to see sea otters, sea lions, orcas, humpback whales, bald eagles, an albatross, and many other bird species. We also watched the Alalik Glacier, which was extremely active when we arrived. Giant chunks of falling ice glacier rumbled across the waters, reminding us how small we really are. A little closer to the action, and would would’ve been crushed by the 1 ton iceberg. The Aialik Glacier is only accessible by boat or by plane. The best view of it, of course, is by boat. We highly recommend taking the 6 hour tour from Seward Port, which includes a Caesar wrap with a vegetarian option. You can also opt for the 8.5 hour tour which allows you to see more of the Kenai Fjord National Park. Make sure to dress warm. We were the only ones sitting outside enjoying the best views of the Kenai Peninsula. Everyone else sat inside due to the extreme cold and the constant mist. After the boat tour and dinner, we headed back towards Anchorage.
1.) Top Left: “Jumping Whale” – As we watched this majestic creature from a distance, he jumped out of the water unexpectedly. The captain explained that this was a indeed a rare sight. 30 seconds later, he jumped out again. Everyone watched intensely hoping for a third jump. Within a minute he jumped out of the water for the third and final time. The captain was shocked. He explained that it was very unusual behavior for a whale to fully jump out of the water as it did. And for it to jump out three times, he had never witnessed anything like it.
2.) Top Right: “Double Eagle” – It’s normally pretty hard to get a good shot of an Eagle. Especially when you’re only using a point and shoot camera. We were lucky enough to spot these right before we got back to Resurrection Bay.
3.) Bottom Left: “Aialik Glacier vs Vessel” – Not sure if you can spot the 2 tiny tour boats on the left side of the frame. The vessel are 95′ in length, just to give you some perspective of how massive this glacier is. Words and photos can not explain the beauty and magnitude of this glacier. The blue hue you see is extremely faint here compared to the blue you witness in real life
Primrose (between mile 17-18)
Photographer’s who are looking for a prime spot for landscaping shots, be on the look out for this spot along the highway. Keep your eyes on the right side between mile marker 17-18. There is a small pullout and wooden bridge where you can set up your tripod for shots of pink wildflowers, beautiful mountains, green trees, and a pond full of thousands of lily pads. This pullout is easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled.
Summit Lake (mile 43-45.5)
Summit Lake is another photographer’s paradise. The reflection from Summit lake of the mountainous terrain is unreal. With low cloud coverage, and extremely lush scenery, Summit Lake is a must stop for all. Near the 45.5 mile marker is Summit Lake Lodge. If you can spend some time there, this is highly recommended.
Bird Point (mile 96):
If you would like to see some beluga whales, than I would suggest spending some time at Bird Point. Although we didn’t see any, there are signs everywhere displaying interesting facts about the particular Beluga Whales that travel to the Turnagain Arm. At Bird Point, there will be wooden stairs that takes you to two lookouts. Both lookouts have trees that obstruct your views of Turnagain Arms. For better views of Turnagain Arms, skip this spot and turn on the pullouts along the Seward Highway. At the second lookout, there is a free viewing telescope where you can try to spot the beluga whales with. If you’re not interested in spotting the Beluga Whales, than I would skip this viewpoint altogether.
Bird Creek (Mile 101):
If you’re looking to spot some Salmon, check out Bird Creek. If you’re lucky, you might see a sea lion chasing a school of salmon into the mouth of the river. This creek is known as the fisherman’s paradise.