One Tank Trip for Alaska Camping

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July 11, 2010

Alaska one tank trip mapThis One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory.

When we think of Alaska, our first impulse might be to shiver at the very thought of a vacation in this icy wonderland. While it’s true that the Land of the Midnight Sun contains some of the most rugged, challenging, and chilly terrain to be found anywhere on the face of the earth, it also has a warm, welcoming charm – like its people – that make it an ideal spot for a unique and unforgettable getaway. Whether you like ice fishing, hunting, or maybe it’s a glacier cruise you’re looking for, you’ll find everything you want and more in this exotic land.

The fishing village of Homer is the jumping off point for this one tank trip adventure. This quaint little town is situated on Alaska’s west coast, and is considered the Halibut Capital of the World, which was proved when someone once caught a halibut that weighed over 450 pounds right here. Travelers from all points make Homer their main destination, hoping to catch not only the halibut, but also some of the best salmon to be found anywhere. You’ll find no shortage of charter services to take you into the best waters for fishing. Who knows, you might just catch the one that sets the new record!

Just 20 miles up Highway 1, you’ll find Anchor Point, which is a prime spot to go eagle watching. A quick side trip 9 miles to the east via N. Fork Road takes you to Nikolaevsk, an old Russian village. Be sure and drop by the colorful Samovar Café and Gift Shop for some unique, flavorful Russian cuisine. Proprietor Nina Fefelov makes an incredible cup of fireweed tea, which – like the rest of her tasty dishes – she says is prepared with the secret ingredient; “love.”

Return to Anchor Point and head north on Highway 1 for 60 miles. Take the Kenai Spur Highway into Kenai, which is where some of Alaska’s true adventure awaits. This is where you come to wrap yourself in the majesty and rugged beauty of Alaska camping. Set up camp in Kenai and stretch out; fishing, hunting, glacier hikes, and bear sightings are only some of the activities to keep you entertained, and the bracing clarity of the air isn’t something that can be written about. You have to experience it for yourself.

Next stop, Seward. Return to Highway 1 and continue east for 57 miles, then take the AK-9-S for the remaining 35 miles to Seward. If you’re looking for some awe-inspiring views of glacier activity, you’ve found the right spot. Seward looks out over Resurrection Bay, and Harding Icefield, which measures a mammoth 700 square miles, and is comprised of glaciers that constantly drop icebergs into the sea. If you fancy a closer look, you’ll want to charter a glacier cruise that’ll get you close enough to where you feel like you could touch them.

Enjoy the scenery as you retrace your route back to Highway 1. Once you’re there, continue east on AK-1 for 40 miles to Whittier. The College Fiord is a popular spot for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and seeking out scenic views for Alaska camping. From Whittier, drive east on the Alaska Marine Highway until you come to the ferry dock, where you’ll take the ferry the rest of the way to Valdez. This leg of your journey spans about 90 miles and offers some truly spectacular views, much of which are enjoyed from inside the spacious warmth of the ferry boat.

On arrival in Valdez, you’ll find as many as five separate glaciers awaiting you. Activities in Valdez vary depending on when you visit. In wintertime you can snowmobile across the glaciers’ surface, while summertime affords you the opportunity to take a guided tour across these gargantuan chunks of ice. If you’re looking for local animal life, the surrounding waters are teeming with otters and Humpback whales that call this neck of the woods home.

Glennallen lies 117 miles north on the AK-4. During this part of the trip, you’ll witness some of the most awe-inspiring scenery, including majestic mountains and all kinds of animal species going about their routines. Have your camera ready, because you never know when that once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity will present itself.

On arrival in Glennallen, you’ll find a wealth of places to pull over and make camp, or maybe you’ll want to warm your chilly bones at any of the bed-and-breakfast inns. Whatever your choice, this charming town is the perfect place to end this one tank trip by having a warm beverage and congratulating yourself on having braved the rugged wonders of our 49th state.

See a list of Woodall’s Recommended Alaska RV Campgrounds.

Planning an Alaska camping trip? Don’t miss these other great routes on one tank of fuel:
2009 Alaska One Tank Trip
2008 Alaska One Tank Trip

For a complete list of one tank trips visit

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