Turnagain Arm, Alaska

Spectacular Turnagain Arm, or God Was Showing Off When He Made This Place

Alaska, Photo Essay, Photography

Seward Highway Map

There aren’t many roads in Alaska, but the roads that exist are nothing short of spectacular. Driving a car in the Great Land is an exhilarating experience as each bend offers views of majestic peaks, huge lakes, rushing rivers and, as a bonus, quirky Alaskana.

Every road in Alaska would be worthy of a spot on a link bait Buzzfeed-style “28 Most Scenic Drives in America” article, but one road in particular is a true standout, a superstar among all-stars, like Kevin Durant and LeBron James. That road is the Seward Highway, in particular the stretch from Anchorage to Portage.

Igloo Hotel Alaska

The defunct Igloo Hotel in Alaska, one of the state’s many roadside oddities.

The drive from Anchorage to Portage follows the base of steep cliffs that rise almost vertically from Turnagain arm, a silty inlet that has the 2nd highest tides in the world. It is a winding drive and trying to watch the scenery without veering into oncoming traffic or flying off the road and into the sea is a real challenge. Luckily there are numerous turnouts and trailheads along the way for photo ops and hiking.

For me, I first fell in love with Alaska on this road. Nine years ago I got my CDL and each day I drove a bus along the Seward Highway. I needed to log 40 hours of drive time with a trainer and we took this scenic route every day. It seemed like stealing to get paid for it.

“God was showing off when he made this place,” said Clark my driving trainer as we drove down the glorious road one morning. It was hard to argue with that.

Seward Highway Photo Gallery

Below is a photo gallery from March after hiking out to Portage Glacier. Click on any photo to open a slideshow view.


What are your favorite roads in Alaska?

What are your favorite drives anywhere?

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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~ planetbell1@gmail.com

16 thoughts on “Spectacular Turnagain Arm, or God Was Showing Off When He Made This Place”

  1. Wow… absolutely stunning place … lakes, snow clad mountains… perfect place for some one loves photography 🙂

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. Jeff these are brilliant photos. Just stunning.
    As far as favorite drives i would say the Banff to Jasper route has to be one of the world’s most scenic.

  3. Adventures in Kevin's World says:

    Every spring, driving to Seward for a weekend away and/or whale watching tour, I found myself saying “very soon I will spend a full day shooting photos on this road.” Never did it though. Damnit. I’m glad you got some good shots.

    • I hear you about the whole day thing. I took these on two separate evenings with perfectly calm weather. Can you believe how placid the water is?

  4. Jeff, that is truly a spectacular road and slideshow. Beautiful! I love “quirky Alaskana” – particularly the igloo hotel. And second highest tide – wow – we thought SSI was high but you’ve got us beat. Do you know where the highest tide is? ~Terri

    • The highest tide is in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. I am not sure why there are different tides at different places, seems very strange.

      I could do, and probably will do, an entire series on quirky Alaska stuff.

  5. Breathtaking photos! Yep, God sure made a masterpiece again in this part of the world!

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