Getting To and From Seward, Alaska

Getting to Seward, AlaskaSo, you’ve made the decision — You are coming to Seward! First of all, congrats. Seward is a beautiful small town nestled between the mountains and the ocean. On one side of town is the Kenai Fjords National Park and, on the other, is the Chugach National Forest.

The journey to get to Seward is reason enough to go. Whether you go by highway, take the train, or fly — you won’t be disappointed. Once you get there, there’s also plenty to do: hiking, biking, fishing, flying, dogsledding, and zip lining are just some of the excursions you can go out and do.

But, if you don’t want to drive, what’s the best method of transportation? First of all you have three different options: take the Seward highway via a bus, take the Alaska Railroad and go by train, or fly and go by plane or helicopter. What you choose to do is going to be largely dependent on your own personal preference.

The Seward Highway

Driving the Seward Highway never gets old. There’s plenty to please your eyes as you cruise the 126 miles from Anchorage to Seward: beautiful snow-capped mountains, flowing rivers, and fields of wildflowers will have you pulling over to take picture after picture or peering out your bus window. The Seward Highway is perhaps the most scenic highway in Alaska and is a designated scenic byway. For a great overview of the drive, check out National Geographic’s “Road Trip: Alaska’s Seward Highway.”

The benefits of taking a bus are that it is economical and fast. Travelling by bus or vehicle should take about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Construction, however, can cause delays.

Travelling down the Turnagain arm and looking out on the water at the snowcapped peaks across the bay is a true highlight. At low tide, expect to the tidal flats. Continuing along, you will eventually enter beautiful Turnagain Pass. This area is known for the impressive amounts of snow that can accumulate there during the winter. Depending on the timing of your visit, expect to see some snow there or, if later in the summer, fields of beautiful wildflowers. The highway goes by numerous lakes and the scenery is always inspiring.

Seward Express
(800) 266-8625
$65 per person
Morning Departure in Anchorage: 7:00am, 9:45am arrival
Afternoon Departure in Anchroage: 3:00pm with a 5:45pm arrival
Seward Express uses Coach Buses. It drops passengers off at either the Small Boat Harbor or the Windsong Lodge. The 7am departure is scheduled so that guests going with them can still make the later departure Glacier Cruises.

Seward Bus Line
(907) 224-3608
Normal Fare:$39.95
Tour and Sightseeing Fare: $54.95
Departs Anchorage: 9:30am, 2:00pm

The Seward Bus Line drops off at the Seward Bus Depot in downtown Seward, but with notice can drop guests off at local area hotels. These guys have great, friendly, hometown service. 

Go Purple Shuttle
(907) 644-8098
Go Purple Shuttle has great rates for large groups. Because this is more of a charter service, they offer customer departure times based on your needs. We recommend making reservations before your trip departure.

The Seward Chamber Of Commerce has put out some great resources on the Seward Highway for those who are either driving or taking a bus. It’s good information. Here are some links to ebooks they have created on the Seward Highway.

The Seward Highway Road Guide: Scenic Wonders
The Seward Highway Road Guide: Communities Along the Highway
The Seward Highway Road Guide: Recreation Opportunities
The Seward Highway Road Guide: History and Culture

The Alaska Railroad and the Historic Iditarod Trail

The Alaska Railroad offers a slow scenic train ride perfect for photographers or those who want to soak in the beauty of the Chugach National Forest. The Alaska Railroad travels down the historic Iditarod Trail, a trail that was once used by pioneers to help bring supplies that arrived by ship in Seward to the interior parts of the state. This a particularly scenic route. Along the way you will travel through beautiful mountain passes and enjoy some stunning views of glaciers. Passengers on the train are also able to look for wildlife. Bears and moose are common to see along this route, though you have to keep your eyes peeled as they can move quickly.

Alaska Railroad
(800) 544-0552
6:45am departure with an 11:05am arrival time in Seward.
$105 per person

Flying To Seward

Most people don’t fly to Seward, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Flying to Seward is quick, efficient, and is a great bang-for-the-buck, but it is still expensive. It’s definitely not an option for everyone but if you can swing the price and are short on time, it’s a great way to combine a scenic flight with traveling.

Seward Helicopter Tours
(907) 362-4354
Departures Available By Request
We are going to be the most expensive option. Helicopters are expensive to operate — but if you can get over the price tag, they are totally worth it! Helicopters are a great way to fly because they have unprecedented control. See something cool? Hover in place to snap a great photo. Think you saw a bear? Then let’s turn around. We can also change at what altitude we fly, going lower to the ground to sweep along the rivers and lakes or can go up high to cruise by the mountain peaks.

Scenic Mountain Air
(907) 288-3646

AA Seward Air Tours
(907) 362-6205

About Sarah Stokey

Sarah Stokey is a writer, blogger, dog musher, and tour operator in Seward, Alaska. In 2016 she finished the 1,000 mile dog sled race and was proudly supported by the Seward Community. Sarah is passionate about sharing her love of Seward and her sled dogs.