Glenn Highway and Anchorage Side Trip

Sutton, Alaska

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Paved highway from Anchorage to Glennallen; 189 miles (304 kilometers). The Glenn Highway runs eastward from Anchorage, passing through the Matanuska Valley on its way to the Copper River basin. The highway follows a trail that was blazed in 1898 by Lieutenant Joseph Castner and his guide, mountain man H. H. Hicks. Castner’s superior, Captain Edwin F. Glenn, took the lion’s share of the credit for the expedition even though he was absent during most of it. A railway line was built through the lower reaches of the Matanuska Valley in 1916, but the land to the east remained a hostile wilderness. The eastern portions of the Glenn Highway existed as a pack trail through the 1930s. It was not until World War II that it was upgraded to a highway to link Elmendorf Air Force Base with the rest of the Alaska highway system. The route follows the Border Ranges Fault, which defines the northern edge of the Chugach terrane. The modern highway is paved, and highlights include views of the glaciers that descend from the Chugach Mountains and vistas of the Wrangell volcanoes, clad eternally in snow. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more.

Glenn Highway and Anchorage Side Trip Professional Review and Guide

"Paved highway from Anchorage to Glennallen; 189 miles (304 kilometers). The Glenn Highway runs eastward from Anchorage, passing through the Matanuska Valley on its way to the Copper River basin. The highway follows a trail that was blazed in 1898 by Lieutenant Joseph Castner and his guide, mountain man H. H. Hicks. Castner’s superior, Captain Edwin F. Glenn, took the lion’s share of the credit for the expedition even though he was absent during most of it. A railway line was built through the lower reaches of the Matanuska Valley in 1916, but the land to the east remained a hostile wilderness.

The eastern portions of the Glenn Highway existed as a pack trail through the 1930s. It was not until World War II that it was upgraded to a highway to link Elmendorf Air Force Base with the rest of the Alaska highway system. The route follows the Border Ranges Fault, which defines the northern edge of the Chugach terrane. The modern highway is paved, and highlights include views of the glaciers that descend from the Chugach Mountains and vistas of the Wrangell volcanoes, clad eternally in snow. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more."

Activity Type: Scenic Drives
Nearby City: Sutton
Distance: 189
Season: Best late spring through fall
Local Contacts: Wrangell - St. Elias National Park; Chugach State Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Glenn Highway and Anchorage Side Trip

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May 2018