So you’re headed to the port at Seward from Anchorage to start your Alaska Cruise of the Inside Passage. But don’t miss this incredible Alaskan wilderness and stunning snow capped mountain landscapes along the way. Exit Glacier is the perfect opportunity to get up close to these beautiful Alaskan glaciers, and is only a short detour from the Seward highway.

seward highway drive for alaska cruise departing from seward

The journey along the Seward highway will normally only take 2.5 hours, but there are some truly fantastic landscapes to enjoy along the way. Join me as I take you along the Seward highway with stops at the Alyeska Resort, Portage Glacier, Whittier, Exit Glacier and Seward.

Here is a short 3 day itinerary and route map;

 ActivityDriving*Accommodation
Day 1Alyeska Resort1 hrAlyeska Resort
Day 2Portage Glacier, Whittier, Hope, Seward Highway2 hr 30Summit Lake Lodge
Day 3Exit Glacier & Transfer to Seward Port1hr 30
Export as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSS
Alaska: Anchorage to Seward

loading map - please wait...

Anchorage International Airport: 61.174170, -149.996110
Portage Glacier: 60.753121, -148.791275
Whittier: 60.776596, -148.693771
Railroad Tunnel: 60.786317, -148.781662
Portage Glacier Viewpoint Walk: 60.770981, -148.736515
Summit Lake Lodge: 60.641432, -149.498188
Hope: 60.919045, -149.644432
Exit Glacier: 60.186940, -149.633446
Alyeska Resort: 60.959168, -149.109685
Begich Boggs Visitor Center: 60.784348, -148.840971
Seward: 60.112415, -149.414462

 

Alyeska Resort

Alyeska Resort Alaska along the seward highway. For the alaksa cruise along the inside passage.

A popular winter Ski Resort and the sates largest, it’s only an hour away from Anchorage.During the summer months this is a great base for a stop-over and exploring the region on the way to Seward Alaska. A destination in it’s own right, the Alyseska Resort, boasts the Seven Glaciers Restaurant, situated at the top of the mountain. It’s a short cable car ride away and complimentary ride for guests!

Alyeska Resort Alaska along the seward highway. For the alaksa cruise along the inside passage.

With beautiful views across the Chugach mountain range this is the perfect way to start or finish your Alaska cruise experience.

Portage Glacier

Next stop along the Seward Highway, is the town of Portage and the impressive Portage Glacier. But to get that awe-inspiring view of the Glacier you’ll have to either take a scenic boat ride across the Portage Lake from Begich Boggs Visitor Center, or take a walk to the Portage Viewpoint from Whittier. Either option will bring you into view with these stunning rivers of Ice and their myriad of geological features; like the Moraine, which are dark striped deposits of rock which travel down the Glacier like a conveyor belt.

Hiking in Alaska to the Portage Glacier from Whittier along the seward highway from Anchorage to Seward

To access the Portage Glacier viewpoint, you will first need to drive through the Portage Glacier Railroad tunnel, which links Portage with Whittier. Impressively this is the longest highway tunnel in North America (at 2.5 miles). The walk is uphill to the Portage Glacier viewpoint (see map) but only takes about half an hour to reach. Beware of Bears in this area of Alaska and make sure you know the correct procedure to fend off a Bear; Stand your grand and do not run away!!

Alaska railroad trail in the tunnel between Portage and Whittier Glacier access road. Seward highway.

The tunnel shares both a railroad and highway, meaning that either trains or cars can only use it at the same time. This will leave motorists with a wait at either end of the tunnel as you await the train to pass through. It’s an impressive drive through the tunnel to Whittier, so ensure you leave enough time to fit it on your itinerary.

Lonely Planet Alaska (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet, Brendan Sainsbury, Greg Benchwick, Catherine Bodry - Publisher: Lonely Planet - Edition no. 11 (04/17/2015) - Paperback: 440 pages
£19.24

Summit Lake

Continuing your navigation along the Seward highway I can highly recommend a stay at the Summit Lake Lodge. A family run property with cosy log cabins adjacent to the tranquil Summit Lake. Bounded by snow capped mountains and evergreen forests this is a beautiful Alaskan landscape. If time permits consider the detour to Hope, where a meandering road leads to this quaint village on the coast.

Summit lake lodge alongside the Summit Lake on Seward Highway Alaska cruise

The benefit of staying at the Summit Lake Lodge is the proximity to the Exit Glacier, which allows enough time to explore whilst still arriving at the Seward cruise terminal in time for your afternoon check-in.

Exit Glacier

Exit glacier along the seward highway at the Harding Icefield. Road trip anchorage to Seward for an alaska cruise departing from Serward.

The beautiful, but sadly receding Exit Glacier is the perfect visual indicator of climate change. And the rate of recession is accelerating. President Obama even visited Exit Glacier during his historic trip to Alaska in September 2015 to highlight the plight of Exit Glacier’s demise.

Exit glacier along the seward highway at the Harding Icefield. Road trip anchorage to Seward for an alaska cruise departing from Serward.

The Exit Glacier is easily accessed from the visitor centre car park with a short walking trail which leads to this impressive viewpoint (Pictured above), when I visited in May 2015. The walking trail navigates through pristine woodland and a small uphill section leads to the viewing area. You want to allow one hour each way for this walk.

Exit glacier along the seward highway at the Harding Icefield. Road trip anchorage to Seward for an alaska cruise departing from Serward.

This view down from Exit Glacier shows the extent of the recent recession of the Exit Glacier and the valley floor left behind.

Summary of the Anchorage to Seward Itinerary

 ActivityDriving*Accommodation
Day 1Alyeska Resort1 hrAlyeska Resort
Day 2Portage Glacier, Whittier, Hope, Seward Highway2 hr 30Summit Lake Lodge
Day 3Exit Glacier & Transfer to Seward Port1hr 30

Read about taking an Alaska Cruise through the Inside Passage.

Lonely Planet Alaska (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet, Brendan Sainsbury, Greg Benchwick, Catherine Bodry - Publisher: Lonely Planet - Edition no. 11 (04/17/2015) - Paperback: 440 pages
£19.24

 

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ABOUT PILOT MARK

Want to travel the World?

Join me on a journey across all 7 continents as I fly around the world as an Airline Pilot. Let me inspire and inform you about Flying and Travel around the World.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MARK

FOLLOW BY EMAIL

Get my FREE Travel Packing Checklist by subscribing to email!