Not long after you cross into Alaska, you’ll see Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. This is one of Alaska’s most important bird sanctuaries, with more than 116 species stopping during the short summer season to feed. A visitor center provides information on the area’s natural habitat.
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Tok is the first community you’ll reach in Alaska after crossing the Alaska-Canada border near Beaver Creek, Yukon. From here, highways head north, west and south, and a comprehensive visitor information center provides brochures and trip-planning assistance no matter where your travels take you.
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The town of Gakona and its highway neighbor, Gakona Junction, sit at the confluence of the Copper and Gakona rivers. This is a great place to go fishing for the famed Copper River red salmon. The historic Gakona Lodge is a great place to explore the area’s history.
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Just south of Glennallen along the Richardson Highway, the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Visitor Center invites you to experience the nation’s largest national park. At 13.2 million acres, the park is larger than the country of Switzerland, and together with three other U.S. and Canadian parks – Kluane National Park, Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park and Glacier Bay National Park – makes up the largest chunk of protected land in the world. The park sits east of the highway and is home to some of North America’s tallest mountains.
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Near the top of Thompson Pass on the Richardson Highway, Worthington Glacier spills out of the mountains and nearly reaches the roadway. Parking and picnic areas make this an absolutely breathtaking backdrop for photos or a lunch break.
Valdez sits on the waters of Prince William Sound and the drive from Tok west to Glennallen and then south to Valdez is easily one of the most scenic in Alaska. Before you descend Thompson Pass on the way into Valdez, be sure to stop at Worthington Glacier State Recreational Site at the top of the pass, one of Alaska’s famous drive-up glaciers.
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