Guest Author - Dawn Engler
If a trip to Alaska has you building your own itinerary, you will more than likely fly into Anchorage. There is plenty to do in this bustling city, but once youíve rented your car or RV and are ready to hit the road, you can start out by heading north on the Glenn Highway.
The 135 mile long Glenn Highway is one of the Scenic Byways of Alaska. Following a path cut by ancient glaciers, it takes you from the hustle and bustle of Anchorage into the heart of Alaska and its wonder. The Chugiack Mountains will guide you out of Anchorage and will stay with you for this entire byway. Donít be drawn to them too quickly and miss your first stop at the Alaska Native Heritage Center only four miles up the highway. This is a must stop to get a picture of the native culture that is Alaska.
Chugiack State Park, at 500,000 acres, is the third largest state park in the United States. A great stop for camping, and hiking, or fishing along the Eagle River. A little further up the byway are more great hiking opportunities at Bear Mountain and Eklutna Lake. The Matanuska River follows much of the northern part of Glenn Highway and if you are looking for an up close and personal visit with a glacier, how about some hikes and glacier walking at the Matanuska Glacier. Are you tired yet? Spend a night or two at Sheep Mountain Lodge at mile marker 113.5. Iditarod racer Anjanette Steer and husband own this great place for you to lay your head and then after a hearty meal, they can send you on your way with more ideas for hiking, fishing, white water rafting or stay a night or two and just enjoy the views from their decks and gardens.
Continue up the highway to Knob Lake and in the spring watch an abundance of migratory birds here. On a clear day, Eureka Summit at mile marker 129.5, boasts views of Chugach Range, the Talkeetnas, the Wrangell Mountains, and the Alaska Range.
The Scenic Byway designation for the Glenn Highway ends beyond Eureka Summit, and you could clearly pack a week of touring just along this highway alone, but the road continues on into Tok and beyond via The Taylor and Top of the World Scenic Byways. You might want to allow more than just one week!