Driving in Alaska allows you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Scenic views of towering mountains and sparkling glaciers and waterways are abundant along Alaska’s highways, as well as up-close encounters with wildlife like sheep, eagles and moose — right from the road. Many popular destinations and visitor attractions in Alaska are primarily accessible by highway, including Denali National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and more. The state may be big, but it's simple to navigate by road. Driving yourself gives you the freedom to get off the beaten track, take your time, and discover more of Alaska's remote towns, trails, and attractions.
Car and RV rentals are available in most Alaska cities. Services like gas, food, campsites and other lodging are plentiful along main highways. Many of these roadways are recognized for remarkable scenic, historical and cultural qualities by the National Scenic Byways program. Alaska also has two All-American Roads, the highest level of federal recognition available. The first is the Seward Highway, stretching from Anchorage to Seward in Southcentral Alaska. The second is the entire route of the Alaska Marine Highway System, the state ferry system and the only marine route in the National Scenic Byways program. The Alaska Marine Highway allows travelers to bring cars and RVs onboard for easy access to other port communities and regions.
If you’re interested in driving your own car or RV to Alaska you can drive from the Lower 48 through Canada on the Alaska Highway. This scenic drive takes several days and is a great add-on to your Alaska road trip adventure if you have the time.
There are a variety of resources for travelers who choose to see Alaska by road. The Milepost, a comprehensive, mile-by-mile guide to Alaska’s highways, includes maps and detailed information on services and attractions along the way. For updates on road conditions and public access restrictions, consult the State of Alaska Department of Transportation website.
Be prepared for icy and snowy conditions when driving in winter. Studded tires are allowed from September 15 – May 1. Keep your headlights on, take it slow, and be sure to leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Alaska’s major highways and roads are maintained in winter but some of the more remote roads are not.