Allow an hour and a half for your drive to Whittier. You are coming to the most unusual town in Alaska!
You are about to take the most scenic drive in Alaska. Head south on the New Seward Highway, so the mountains are on your left as you depart Anchorage. Look for moose as you pass Potter’s Marsh, and Brown Bear in the small grassy area just past the marsh. You will parallel Turnagain Arm while driving toward the Kenai Peninsula. You can look for Beluga Whales. You can see their white backs and heads as they surface for air. Of course, there are tons of Eagles over all this, flying across the backdrop of snow capped mountains.
Often one can see Dahl’s Sheep and goats clinging to the rock cliffs on the left. Sometimes they will come right down to the road.
USE CAUTION WHEN DRIVING! There is so much to see that drivers tend to stray over the yellow line.
About 40 minutes into your drive, go past the Tesoro gas station. You are now about ten miles from the turnoff to Whittier. The turnoff is well marked, and just across the road from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, which is 48 miles from Anchorage.
Turn left and enter beautiful Portage Valley. You will parallel the river about six miles to the tunnel entrance. You stand a good chance of seeing wildlife in this glacier valley, and you can also stop at the fish viewing area on the right, where you will see Salmon spawning.
Remember the tunnel opens for 15 minutes on the half hour, so if you have an 8 am charter departure, you will want to make the 7:30 am tunnel. (You can enter the one lane tunnel between the bottom of the hour until 45 past). Tunnel fee is $13, and it covers you for both directions of travel.
Upon entering Whittier, you will see the Lazy Otter Coffee Shop on the left. This is our typical meeting spot. Sandwiches are also available, and you can pack a great lunch from here, or enjoy their breakfast items.
For parking, there are two automated dispensers – one outside the Harbor office, and one at the boat launch. Enter your license number and a credit card to pay for parking. Place the receipt in your dash.