Alaska - Western Canada Journey

Day 11

Journey From Denali To Anchorage


Day 11 is mostly about driving and finding a place to stay for the night. The rain stayed with us for most of the day, with only occasional clearings. We completed the drive on Alaska Highway 3 with changing landscapes and vegetation patterns from Denali to sea level. Finding a place to stay was no easy task- we either did not like the hotel, and the ones we liked had no vacancy or charged upward of $300/night. By luck, we found a room at a small bed & breakfast that turned out to be our favorite B&B of all time!

Day Journal

Our day started like many others - early, preparing and eating breakfast in light drizzle then packing up to go. I happened to look down as I stepped over a curb and found a drop of dew centered itself on a lupine leaf, creating a perfect diamond. I mused about the fact that we drove thousands of miles to this place, then traveled almost 2 hundreds miles in the park in search of beautiful sceneries, and yet I also found a pure and beautiful image right under my feet without any effort.

Susitna RiverThe drive to Anchorage was wet. The change in landscape and vegetation was interesting. The landscape changed from mountain driving with waterfalls coming down from the sky as the mountains were covered with cloud, to flatter terrain as we left Denali Borough, and eventually to sea level flat section near Anchorage but with distant view of majestic mountains and glaciers. Trees at higher elevation seemed dwafted by inclement weather, and probably due to the permafrost layer underneath. As we got to lower elevations, the vegetation became more lush green, more diversed, and conifers were quite a bit taller than those we had seen earlier.

Towns along the Highway 3 were typically small, with few conveniences. Only when we reached Wassala, practically at the outskirt of Anchorage that we found a medium sized city with all sorts of stores, hotels, and car dealerships.

Anchorage Visitor CenterOur first stop in Anchorage was to look for a visitor center. We found one right in the middle of town. Folks there were quite friendly and helpful. We inquired about places to stay, things to see and do, and places to eat.

Our quest for a place to stay was not easy. Most places were booked up in the middle of the summer. One hotel chain that I was a frequent member could scrounge up a place for me as a favor at over $300/night. Since our travel style was mostly out sightseeing and only back at the hotel late at night for an early departure, I found that more than I wish to pay.Camai Bed & Breakfast So out come the AAA tour book for a random search. There we found a Bed & Breakfast called Camai B&B which happened to have one room at quite reasonable price. So we booked at drove to the place, which was beyond the center of town in a residential neighborhood. The outside of the B&B was fairly typical, but the garden was beautifully kept. Our room was separate from the main house and had its own kitchen and sitting area beside the bedroom. The decoration and furnishings were quite good. Basically there was nothing to complain about. Our host Caroline was quite charming and helpful. She even booked a table for us at a nice downtown restaurant. We simply loved this place.

The day ended with a drive around downtown, a shopping spree, and a relaxing dinner.

Photos & videos of the journey from Denali to Anchorage are posted here as part of the Fairbanks-Denali-Anchorage road trip.

Photos & videos from Anchorage are posted here

Roads and Weather

The roads were mostly in good condition. There were some major road works going on, some for expansion. At one place, we were held up for some 30 minutes. We finished driving Alaska Highway 3, and drove on Highway 1 to Anchorage. For a distance of roughly 240 miles from Denali to Anchorage, it took us about 5 hours driving time, averaging just under 50 MPH. With only 4 major highways, we'd now gone on 2 of them. The weather was wet most of the way. This took away our chance to see Mount McKinley for the last time from the south side - one that would give the best view per a local we met.


Anchorage Tourist Website provides lots of useful information about all things tourists would want to know. I could only attest to the Alaskan Native Heritage Center and Alaska Museum as being great places to visit.

Camai Bed & Breakfast website provides information about the B&B and availability.