For some, exploring Alaska on foot or by bike is the ultimate dream. For others, a stunningly beautiful mountainous drive through the twists and turns of the Alaska landscape is the perfect form of exploration. Hatcher Pass, one of Alaska’s most highly regarded scenic drives, presents travelers with the kind of automotive adventure they seek.
With summer just on the horizon in Alaska, now is the perfect time to benefit from the opening of Hatcher Pass. Situated in the Talkeetna Mountains between the towns of Willow and Palmer, Hatcher Pass is a local favorite for recreation as well as the infamous scenic drive. For those looking to get in a little on-foot exploring, Hatcher Pass boasts many hiking trails for quick daytime hikes or overnight explorations. The Independence Mine Historical State Park is also close by where you will find hiking options for travelers of all ages and levels of experience.
How to get there
From Anchorage, Hatcher Pass is a 3-hour round-trip drive. It’s conveniently located along the route from Anchorage to Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks. Taking the scenic Hatcher Pass detour adds about two hours to the total trek, but it’s well worth it to visitors waiting to take in the breathtaking Alaskan scenery from the comfort of a rental vehicle.
Though you can go see the pass right now during Alaskan spring weather, it’s worth noting that around July 4th weekend, the road opens directly over the pass, providing travelers with high-clearance vehicles the ability to travel all the way to Willow. It’s a gravel road that is 22-miles long, and caution is advised if heavy rain has fallen.
If dirt roads aren’t for you, travel to the top of the pass and Independence Mine nearby for a chance to learn about gold mining, hiking opportunities, and a scenic lunch at 4,000 feet.
As always, to ensure your Alaskan exploration is both fun and safe, consider our stabilized 4X4 and Jeep rentals that can handle the adventurous and extreme terrain of the Last Frontier.