Anchorage to Eklutna

Surrounded by both ocean and mountains, Anchorage is an exhilarating combination of backwoods and big city.

1. Alaska Native Heritage Center
Created by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Native Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving native culture and educating the public.

2. Chugach State Park
A half-million acres makes the Chugach State Park the third largest state park in America.

3. Eagle River Nature Center
One of the best places to check out wildlife is the Eagle River Nature Center.

Eagle River
Originally settled by homesteaders, Eagle River is now a bustling city complete with shopping and restaurants.

Camping, backpacking and fishing are all popular pastimes in Chugiak.

4. Thunderbird Falls (Mile 25.2)
Thunderbird Falls provides exceptional photo opportunities. The trail to the viewing platform is open year-round.

Dedicated to preserving the Native history that surrounds it, Eklutna is a community that prides itself on maintaining ties with its past.

5. Mat-Su Visitors Center (Mile 41.0)
A great stop just north of the intersection of the Parks and Glenn Highway.

The Glenn Highway Scenic Byway starts in downtown Anchorage at 6th Avenue and Gamble Street. This section of the Byway showcases the natural wonders of glacially carved pathways next to more urban settings. The highway winds through the city streets and on to the outskirts of town, and the Chugach Mountains form a spectacular backdrop.

Outside of Anchorage, the more rustic side of Alaska begins to emerge, with lush vegetation and few dwellings. Mile 6 provides access to Arctic Valley Road and Alpenglow Ski Resort, popular both for winter sports and summer hiking.

Just before the Eagle River exit at Mile 13, Eagle River itself is visible from the highway. This river runs through Chugach State Park and is partially glacier-fed. The town of Eagle River sits on the right of the highway, and the areas of Chugiak and Peter's Creek are another 8 miles down the highway (all still part of the municipality of Anchorage).

Just past the Peter's Creek exit, Mirror Lake is located at Mile 23.6. It is just visible from the highway, and is a kettle lake formed by receding glaciers. Bear Mountain, a popular hiking spot for local residents, can be seen in the distance.

Continuing along, the highway opens up and changes from being surrounded by trees to flatlands. At the edge of this is Thunderbird Falls. Located at Mile 25, the falls and Eklutna River gorge are cut in Mesozoic rock, more evidence of the glacier paths carved so long ago.

The Native Village of Eklutna is at Mile 26 of the Glenn. Travelers can explore the village itself, which provides guided tours and information on native history. Eklutna Lake can be accessed here also, sitting another 10 miles back on the road and offering camping facilities, hiking and fishing.

This section of the Glenn Highway provides an example of natural landscapes amidst modern towns. As the Eklutna Flats unfold on the Glenn, visions of the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains create a breathtaking panorama, and the Byway continues its way north.

America's Byways