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Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

By Theconstantrambler

Our latest update on our Florida to Alaska road trip takes us through the remainder of Alaska’s Interior on a route going from Fairbanks to Anchorage and the coastal city of Valdez. We weren’t originally planning on spending so much time in Alaska but the combination of it’s immense size, beauty, exotic location, and so many things to do, made us stay for as long as we could. We covered 1000 miles over 6 days and had such an amazing time that we’ve added Alaska to one of the places we would consider living!

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Our Road Trip Route Through Alaska’s Interior!

Upon our arrival back in Fairbanks, after finishing our excursion along the Dalton Highway, we decided to treat ourselves to some fine dining. We had dual cause to celebrate as it was our 9 year wedding anniversary and we had just completed the pivotal point of our trip. We had asked some locals what they recommended and found an obscure, yet fantastic, restaurant in the town of Fox (just 10 Miles North of Fairbanks) called the Turtle Club. The menu is very basic, serving mainly various cuts of prime beef and some seafood, but the food and service was amazing! The atmosphere also suited a nice romantic dinner. It’s definitely a must visit place if you’re in Northern Alaska for a few days.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

The following morning we began our trek south and set our sights on Anchorage, AK. We were once again completely wowed by all the changes in the landscape due to all the mountains in the area. The drive takes you up and down many mountains and into beautiful valleys carved by receded glaciers and rivers. One of my favorites was this pass over the Tanana River. The driving conditions in Alaska can change pretty drastically from day to day, so I recommend checking road conditions along your route regularly before you set off on your trip.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Bridge over the Tanana River

Our trips route also took us along Denali National Park and gave us a beautiful view of Mt. McKinley. We were hoping to visit the park on this trip, but the majority of the park can only be accessed by tours which shut down over the winter due to road maintenance issues. We didn’t mind though as it will give us an excuse to come back soon :-)

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

We arrived in Anchorage early in the evening and checked in to our hotel. The following day we decided to play tourist in the downtown area.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez
Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Running around like idiots left us searching for a snack. We found just what we needed at Cake Studio in downtown. We had a great cup of Alaska roasted coffee and shared this delightful Pumpkin Cheesecake tart.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

It tasted even better than it looks :-)

After our snack we decided to attend a local Christmas themed craft show that was being held at the convention center downtown. It was a bit odd seing all the Christmas Decor up in October, but it was a great chance to see some local arts and crafts. Once we wrapped up the craft show, we were ready for lunch and stumbled into a great Irish bar called McGinley’s. They had a good mix of local brews and Irish favorites on tap. You must try the Hot Corned Beef sandwich and their Irish Chili while you’re there.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

The following day we continued our trek through Alaska’s Interior and began driving towards our only stop along the coast in a town called Valdez. We took the Glenn Highway East an ran into more breathtaking scenery when we travelled through the Palmer area.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

As if that wasn’t enough, we were completely floored when we came to the Manatuska Glacier! You can see the glacier right off the highway as you head east and have some great opportunities to stop and photograph it.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Our route then took us South along the Richardson Highway. The highway runs along and through the Wrangell Mountain range which gave us another opportunity to do some glacier watching before we crossed through Thompsons Pass and into Valdez. You can pull right off the highway and into a viewing area for the Worthington Glacier. It’s definitely worth the stop as you can get a few hundred feet away from the glacier and really appreciate it.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Once we crossed through the pass we entered Valdez.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

We heard that there was a large population of Bald Eagles in the area, but were shocked to see how many of them were readily visible while driving into the meandering road into the town of Valdez itself.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

There are also a couple of great waterfalls to see along the way in. Make sure to stop and take in the beauty of Bridal Veil Falls. If you come in the winter you get a real treat and get to see them frozen!

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

We were so taken by the beauty of the area we decided to take hike in the morning along the Mineral Creek trail. You can drive through a portion of the trail and then you have to get out and hike the rest. We drove a bit, until the GTI couldn’t make it any more and then hiked up the road. We were treated with another great waterfall that was frozen in time.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

One of the things on our to do list in Valdez was seeing the end of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. After our hike we took a scenic drive along Dayville road and arrived at the end of the line. Once upon a time, you could walk right up to the end, but after September 11th, you now have to view it from a distance for security reasons. We had seen the beginning in Deadhorse, so it was cool to see the end.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

After hiking and touring the city we wrapped up our evening with some truly Alaskan Fair at Alaska’s Halibut House.

Road Trip Update: Alaska’s Interior Route from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Valdez

After having a great time in Valdez, and the rest of Alaska, it was time for us to take one final drive the following morning  that brought us full circle in Alaska. We went North along the Richardson Highway and along the Tok Cutoff and back to our lodging at the Mooseberry Inn B&B.

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Turtle Club Fox Alaska
Mt. McKinley Denali Park Alaska

Lauren with Bear in Anchorage
It tasted even better than it looks :-)
It tasted even better than it looks :-)

Kenin Being a tourist in downtown Anchorage
River Runs  along Glenn Highway near Palmer Alaska

River along Glenn Highway near Palmer Alaska
Matanuska Glacier near Palmer Alaska

Worthington Glacier Along Richardson Highway Near Thompsons Pass
Welcome to Valdez Alaska

Bald Eagle in Valdez Alaska
Bridal Falls in Valdez Alaska

Waterfall Along Mineral creek trail Valdez Alaska
Valdez Alaska from Above

DSCN1914
Alaska Halibut House Valdez Alaska

End of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Valdez Alaska
fairbanks_to_anchorage_to_valdez_to_tok

Hot Corned Beef and Chili
Train Bridge in Denali Park

Alaska's Denali Park border
Kenin and Lauren ready to go

Statue in Downtown Anchorage AK
Cake Studio Downtown Anchorage Alaska

4th Avenue theater Anchorage Alaska
Totem Pole in downtown Anchorage AK

Freezing River
Info Sign on Wrangell Mountains

Wrangell Mountain Range
Wrangell Mountain Range
Worthington Glacier in Valdez AK
Worthington Glacier in Valdez AK

Totem Pole in Valdez AK
Totem Pole in Valdez AK
Wall art in Valdez AK
Wall art in Valdez AK

Mountains surrounding Valdez AK
Mountains surrounding Valdez AK
Oil operations in Valdez Alaska
Oil operations in Valdez Alaska

Ice forming detail Valdez AK
Waterfall beginning to freeze

Kenin ready for a hike in Valdez AK
Kenin ready for a hike in Valdez AK
Lauren ready for a hike in Valdez AK

Entering Thompson Pass to Valdez AK
Entering Thompson Pass to Valdez AK
Bridge over the Tanana River
Bridge over the Tanana River


 


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