Travel Guide

Traveling from Anchorage to Seward

You have a number of excellent options when lining up transportation to get from Anchorage to Seward. One option is Seward Bus Line. They'll pick you up anywhere in Anchorage and drop you off at the Nauti Otter. They depart Anchorage and Seward twice a day at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. Another option is the Alaska Railroad. Scheduling is not quite as flexible as Seward Bus Lines, but the ride in an unforgettable experience.  Finally, you can simply rent a car. Anchorage has a number of rental car agencies to choose from. The drive to Seward is usually around two hours.

The drive from Anchorage to Seward is an amazing drive, and there are certain sights we want to point out along the way. We listed our favorites below. Note that Alaskan's refer to mile markers when talking about locations along roadways. For example, Anchorage starts near mile marker 120, and Seward is located at mile marker 0.

Potters Marsh

  • Mile marker 117

Leaving Anchorage, a scenic contrast unfolds. On your left, Potter Marsh, a southern tip of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, teems with birdlife. A 1,550-foot wooden boardwalk winds through the marsh, offering prime viewing spots for the diverse avian residents. From May to August, the marsh comes alive with migrating birds like gulls, Arctic terns, shorebirds, and even the occasional trumpeter swan. Meanwhile, on your right, the Cook Inlet stretches out, marking the beginning of the 50-mile Turn Again Arm.

Keep an eye out for more than just birds! In the water, look for slow movement and a v-shaped wake – these might be muskrats swimming by. These small, brownish animals poke their heads out of the water as they meander through the marsh.

Moose are also year-round residents of the marsh. May and June are particularly good times to spot them standing in the shallows, munching on fresh plants.

About halfway along the boardwalk, you'll cross Rabbit Creek. This is a great spot to see salmon spawning from May to August, depending on the species. Look for bright red chinook, coho, or humpback salmon swimming upstream.
Image may be subject to copyright

Beluga Whales, Doll Sheep, and Goats

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! If you see cars pulled over and people gazing upwards, they're likely spotting mountain goats or Dall sheep high on the mountainsides. But remember, this is a dangerous highway, so admire from designated pull-offs only.

Train tracks offer another wildlife spotting clue: A stopped train might signal whales in the Cook Inlet! Find a safe place to pull over and grab your camera. Look for the unmistakable white backs of beluga whales, the most frequent visitors to these waters.
Image may be subject to copyright

Surfing the Bore Tide

Calling all thrill-seekers! Cook Inlet is home to a unique phenomenon: the bore tide. Imagine a massive wave, several feet high, surging through the water at speeds of up to 24 miles per hour. Unlike ocean waves, this one keeps rolling for miles, offering a rare surfing experience where you can ride the wave for an extended time. But there's a catch - bore tides typically occur only after a low tide in Anchorage, so timing is key.
Image may be subject to copyright

Chainsaw Carvings and Art

  • Mile marker 100

Around mile marker 100, you will notice a large log cabin on your left. My friend owns this business and all of the sculptures you see he has created with a chainsaw. His work is amazing! Feel free to stop in and see some of his creations!
Image may be subject to copyright

Last Gas Station Until Seward

  • Mile marker 90

Fill 'er up! The Tesoro gas station at mile marker 90 is your last chance to top off your tank before reaching Seward. If you're bypassing Seward and heading straight for Homer, there's another gas station 15 miles down the Sterling Highway after you turn off the Seward Highway.
Image may be subject to copyright

Tram at Alyeska Resort

Craving a breathtaking detour? Take a scenic break at Alyeska Resort! Hop on the tram for a quick seven-minute ride to the summit of Mt. Alyeska. Brace yourself for what might be Alaska's most impressive vista. On a clear day, panoramic views unfold before you, showcasing the Turnagain Arm, two majestic mountain ranges, and a cascade of seven hanging glaciers. After soaking it all in, indulge in a celebratory drink or a delicious lunch at the mountaintop restaurant. And depending on the season, keep your eyes peeled for ripe blueberries and raspberries dotting the hillsides!
Image may be subject to copyright

Amazing Waterfall and Super Short Hike

Virgin Creek Falls is a great place to visit for a short and easy hike with a beautiful payoff. The hike is only 0.5 miles long and is considered to be very easy. Here's how to get there:

-Take a left by the gas station at Girdwood.
-Go down a few miles and take a right on Timberline Drive.
-Follow Timberline Drive to the end of the cul-de-sac. There is a small parking area here.
Image may be subject to copyright

Earthquake Aftermath

  • Mile markers 87 through 77

On March 24, 1964 (Good Friday), the world's second largest earthquake rocked Alaska with a magnitude of 9.2. For three days after the quake, almost 300 aftershocks shook Southcentral Alaska. Eighteen months passed before the aftershocks finally ceased, which numbered more than 10,000. It totally wiped out many cities in Alaska, including a large portion of Seward. About 2-10 miles pasted the gas station you will see abandoned houses on your right which have collapsed and half buried, due to the earthquake. Dead trees stand along the side of the highway, victims to the saltwater that killed them when this ground along the waters of Turnagain Arm sank.
Image may be subject to copyright

Wildlife Conservation Center

  • Mile marker 80

Spot Alaska's Wildlife at Mile 80! On your right around mile marker 80, you'll find the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a sanctuary for animals native to Alaska. For an admission fee of around $20ish per person, you can take a self-guided driving tour through the expansive park. While cruising through the park, keep your eyes peeled for bears, musk ox, moose, eagles, bison, lynx, and many more fascinating creatures!
Image may be subject to copyright

Portage Glacier

  • Mile marker 80

 A Detour to Glaciers and History: At mile marker 80, you have a chance to step back in time and witness the grandeur of Alaska's glaciers. Take a left onto Portage Glacier Road and travel for about 8 miles. This road used to lead to the town of Portage, which was destroyed by the 1964 earthquake.

Today, the area is known for the Portage Glacier Visitor Center and the majestic Portage Glacier itself. The glacier has calved, creating a stunning lake dotted with icebergs. You can explore the area on your own or take a thrilling boat tour for a closer look at the glacier.
Image may be subject to copyright

Whittier Tunnel

Approaching Whittier? Buckle Up for a Unique Tunnel Experience!

As you continue past the Portage Glacier Visitor Center, you'll embark on a journey through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. This 2.5-mile behemoth holds the title of longest highway tunnel in North America, and it's a marvel of engineering designed to withstand Alaska's harsh climate. Fun fact: it was the first tunnel built to handle -40oF temperatures and 150 mph winds!

Here's what to expect:

Shared Lane: Be prepared to share the single lane with both cars and trains traveling in opposite directions.
Ventilation Break: The tunnel needs to air out between uses, so expect short delays due to jet turbine ventilation (another first!).
Smart Design: This unique single lane stacked over the railroad track saved significant construction costs.

Planning Your Tunnel Passage:

Arrive Early: Aim to get there at least 10 minutes before the scheduled opening to avoid missing a cycle.
Enjoy the Wait: If you arrive even earlier, no worries! Park in line and take the opportunity to stretch your legs and admire the scenery.
Buffer Time: Allocate 20-30 minutes for the entire tunnel experience, including potential delays and pre-entry lines. While the actual drive takes only 10 minutes, unforeseen circumstances can arise.
Tunnel Schedule:

To Whittier: Cars depart every half hour, from 5:30 am to 10:30 pm.
From Whittier: Cars depart every hour, from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Enjoy the unique experience and safe travels to Whittier!
Image may be subject to copyright

Photo Op!

  • Mile marker 75

Entering the Kenai Peninsula in Style! Keep your eyes peeled on your right as you climb away from the breathtaking views of Turnagain Arm. You'll soon spot a designated pullout marking the official "Welcome to the Kenai Peninsula" sign. This is a perfect opportunity to snap a photo commemorating your arrival on this legendary Alaskan landscape!
Image may be subject to copyright

The Road to Hope

A Charming Detour: Hope, Alaska (Mile Marker 57)

As you continue along the Seward Highway, consider a detour to the historic town of Hope at mile marker 57. Take Hope Road for 16 miles to discover this quaint little mining town.

Hope offers a glimpse into Alaska's gold rush era, with a handful of restaurants, a bar, and a general store. In fact, if you looked across Turnagain Arm while driving from Anchorage, you might have spotted Hope nestled on the opposite shore!
Image may be subject to copyright

Cooper Landing Detour

Cooper Landing: Nature, Wildlife, and Rafting (Mile Marker 37)

As you travel along the Seward Highway, you'll approach a fork in the road near mile marker 37. Taking the exit to Homer (Sterling Highway) for about 15 miles will lead you to the charming town of Cooper Landing.

Nestled on the banks of the glacier-fed Kenai River, Cooper Landing is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Combat Fishing: Witness the thrilling spectacle of combat fishing, where experienced anglers compete to catch salmon in the Kenai River.
Image may be subject to copyright

Moose Pass

Craving a Local Flavor? As you cruise along the Seward Highway around mile marker 30, keep an eye out for the charming town of Moose Pass. This delightful stop offers a chance to support local businesses and fuel up for your Alaskan adventure.

Homey Comfort Food: The lodge in Moose Pass is a great place to grab a delicious and satisfying meal.

Mom-and-Pop Gem: Don't miss the charming mom-and-pop store on your right. Here you can find a steaming cup of coffee, unique Alaskan treats like reindeer sausage, and homemade fudge – perfect for a picnic!

Picnic Paradise: Just a short drive away from Moose Pass, you'll find Ptarmagin Campground, an ideal spot to enjoy your tasty local finds amidst the stunning Alaskan scenery.
Image may be subject to copyright

Salmon Viewing at Ptarmigan Creek

Nature's Spectacle at Ptarmigan Creek (Mile Marker 23):

Calling all nature enthusiasts! As you navigate the Seward Highway, keep your eyes peeled for Ptarmigan Creek Campground at mile marker 23. This scenic spot offers a trifecta of Alaskan delights: picnicking, salmon viewing, and berry picking (depending on the season).

A Relaxing Escape: Pull into the campground and take a right at the park by the fish viewing area. Here, you'll find a convenient and accessible viewing platform overlooking the creek.

Witness the Salmon Run: From late July to early October, sockeye salmon return to Ptarmigan Creek to spawn, making for a remarkable natural spectacle. The peak viewing window falls around mid-August.

Enjoy this delightful stopover and witness the wonders of Alaska's wildlife firsthand!
Image may be subject to copyright

Welcome to the Nauti Otter!

Heading to Nauti Otter? Here's How to Find Us!

For the Nauti Otter Inn:

-Continue straight on the Seward Highway until you reach mile marker 5.5.
-Look for a long, straight section of highway that lasts for about 4 miles.
-As the road curves, you'll see a green house on your right.
-The Nauti Otter Inn is the yellow house directly following the green one. Be sure to slow down, or you might miss it!

For the Nauti Otter Yurt Village:

-If you're aiming for the Yurt Village, keep an eye out for Stoney Creek Road on your left between mile markers 6 and 5.
-Turn left onto Stoney Creek Road.
-Take your first right turn onto Bruno Road.
-Then, make your first left turn onto Trail Road.
-You'll find the Nauti Otter Yurt Village on your right, about a quarter mile down Trail Road.

Image may be subject to copyright