Turnagain Arm, Seward Highway: View from Windy Corner

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One of America’s most stunning scenic highways provides the southbound route out of Anchorage.  As you take the Seward Highway out of town, you’ll be treated to miles and miles of mountain views across Turnagain Arm — a body of water that branches off of Cook Inlet. There are dozens of great spots to enjoy along this road, but on this page, I’ll talk specifically about one I discovered during my 2016 trip to Alaska: Windy Corner.

Location

The Turnagain Arm Trail runs for nearly 10 miles, running parallel to the Seward Highway.  There are several access points at various trailheads along the highway.  The Turnagain Arm Trail ends at Windy Corner, roughly at milepost 106.  You will find a turnout at the side of the road at the trailhead.

My Visit

I’m constantly looking to take a nice picture of a scenic road.  Sometimes, simply standing at the edge of the road (or in the middle of it, if traffic allows) isn’t adequate.  I need a higher vantage point to fit everything into the frame.  On my way back to Anchorage at the end of a day spent driving up and down the Seward Highway, I spotted a promising location, and I soon discovered that it had a name: Windy Corner.

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As the sign explains, this is the southern end of the Turnagain Arm Trail — a hiking trail that’s much more rewarding than it may appear on a map.  For the most part, Turnagain Arm Trail runs alongside the Seward Highway.  That might be a turn-off if it was any other highway, but here, the scenery makes it worth the effort.  I’ve only hiked small portions of it, but if the rest of it is as nice as Windy Corner, I think you’ll be quite pleased.

I parked at the side of the road and started up the trail behind this sign.  After a very short climb…

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… it was obvious that I was headed past this rocky outcropping, directly above the Seward Highway.  The actual trail bypasses the ledge, but it’s easy to walk over to the viewpoint.

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From the ledge, you’ll have a spectacular view across Turnagain Arm towards the Kenai Peninsula.  Even better…

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… is the view looking southeast, towards Girdwood and the Alyeska Resort, and the end of Turnagain Arm.

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It’s a beautiful road, and a nice railroad as well.  Those tracks run to Whittier and Seward (and in the other direction, Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks).

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Watch for some interesting plant life along the way.  This pine tree is apparently growing cheetos.

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Flowers were also blooming in late-May.

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Back down at the highway, carefully cross the road for a closer look at the railroad tracks and another interesting outcropping of rock.

Of course, Windy Corner will not be your only stop along the Seward Highway, nor should it be.

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Beluga Point is a popular stop. Here, you can cross the railroad tracks (illegally, apparently, but everyone seems to do it) and walk out onto the rocks.  From there, the views are always impressive.  This is the view looking northwest, towards the next curve in the road.

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And if you drive up to that curve, and look back, this is the view.  It’s especially beautiful in early evening.

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Further south, almost at Girdwood, you’ll find this view.  On this stretch of the highway, some power lines run alongside the road, making the view from the highway less scenic.  But, there are several turnouts that let you pass underneath the wires for an unobstructed view.

I spent more time exploring the viewpoints along Seward Highway during my 2015 trip to Alaska.  You can check out everything that I found here.

The Bottom Line

Because the Seward Highway is the only southbound road out of Anchorage, you’ll probably drive it more than once, but you won’t mind.  It’s beautiful every time.  Take the time to enjoy numerous stops along the way.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s a time-lapse look at the drive along Seward Highway around sunset:

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