The Glenn Highway (Alaska Route 1) extends 190 miles from Anchorage east to Glennallen. The highway was named for Captain Edwin Glenn, leader of an 1898 U.S. Army expedition to find a route to the Klondike gold fields. The highway was paved in the 1950s. The view along the highway is beautiful, with the Talkeetna Mountains to the north and Chugach Mountains to the south (shown above). Perhaps the most recognizable landmark along the way is the Matanuska Glacier.
The Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. It’s immense: 27 miles long and 4 miles wide.
The Matanuska Glacier is on public land, but visitors must pay $20 each to cross private land to reach the glacier. Guided tours on top of the glacier are also available. After having seen so many glaciers recently, we decided to forgo the $40 and just view the glacier from a distance.
The 250-mile-long Chugach Mountain Range runs the entire length of the Glenn Highway.
Here is one of many alpine glaciers we could see from the highway.
Sheep are often visible on the slopes of the colorful Sheep Mountain. In the 1930s, a trapper known as the “Man from Sheep Mountain” was concerned that the Glenn Highway would bring hunters into the area and decimate the sheep population. He successfully lobbied the Alaska government to close Sheep mountain and its surrounding area to sheep hunting.
Though we were still dozens of miles from Wrangell-St. Elias National park, we could already see Mt. Blackburn. At 16,390 feet high, Mt. Blackburn is an old shield volcano built almost entirely from lava flows. It’s the highest mountain in the park and the second highest volcano in the United States.