Immediately outside of Anchorage is the Potter Marsh, a large boardwalk area over the marshy wetlands along the ocean, where travelers can pull over and watch the wildlife of ducks, birds, and moose. Almost each time we passes through the area a moose was munching on the aquatic plant life along the highway.
There are numerous opportunities to get out an hike, so add time in to try a steep ascent of one of the many trails directly off the Seward Highway. (Give yourself plenty of time and bring extra water. Hikes in Alaska are not measured in distance, but rather steepness. Most people in the lower 48 are simply not used to the style of trail in Alaska, and especially not immediately after a long day of travel to get there.) The Turnagain Arm Trail parallels the highway and then various peaks and passes take you up and out of the valley floors.
We recommend Rainbow Peak or Crow’s Pass.
You will then pass through the Chugach Mountains and wind through spruce forests, marshes and wetlands, and river crossings. The scenery doesn’t get any better than this! We recommend taking a side drive to Portage Lake and the Portage Glacier. This will only take you 30 extra minutes, but Portage Lake is a brilliant milky blue and offers epic photography with the glacier in the background. You could also continue on through the tunnel to Whittier and the Prince William Sound, but this will cost you $30 and takes some coordinating of timing to hit the schedule correctly.
At the junction of the Seward Highway and the Sterling HIghway at Cooper Landing, take time to drive over and see the Kenai Lake. There is a large parking lot overlooking another Wetland to view wildlife and get pictures of the mountains. Driving on south, you will wind through my favorite section of the highway: Moose Pass. On a sunny day, the waters of Upper and Lower Trail Lake and the overlook of the Kenai Lake shines blue and reflects tremendous mountain vistas. Don’t count only any places to stop and eat, but there are numerous trailheads, parking lots, and portapots for recreational users if needed as you pass through. We enjoyed a secluded hike to Vagt Lake that was an easy 4 miles
Finally, you will begin your descent down to Seward and arrive a a small port city with a quaint Main Street with shopping, a lively boardwalk at the dock, and a small Sea Life Center for the kids. If you have time, go out the gravel road to Lowell Point for better views of Resurrection Bay. There is a quick hike to a public beach as well if you have time and need to stretch your legs. Seward also offers a visit to the Exit Glacier, steep hikes up Marathon Mountain, or a difficult hike to the Harding Ice Fields to keep you busy.
This was an amazing area to drive, loaded full of activities along the way!