Richardson Highway

Connects: Valdez to Fairbanks, AK
Route#: Alaska 4
Length: 366 miles
Road Surface: Paved
Season: Open all year
Highest Pass: Isabel Pass, elev. 3,280 feet
Maps (2 detailed pdf files available):
Valdez, Ak to Delta Junction, AK
Delta Junction, AK to Fairbanks, AK

The Richardson Highway is a very scenic route, offering magnificent views of the Chugach Mountains and Alaska Range, and some of the best glacier viewing in Alaska. The Richardson is a wide paved highway in fair to good condition, with some sections of frost heaves and patched pavement.

Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Highway. (Sharon Nault Photo)

The Richardson Highway junctions with the Edgerton Highway; the Glenn Highway; the Tok Cut-Off; the Denali Highway; the Alaska Highway; the Parks Highway; and the Steese Expressway/Steese Highway.

This route offers good views of the trans-Alaska pipeline. The trans-Alaska pipeline carries oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to the pipeline terminus at Port Valdez.

The Richardson Highway was Alaska’s first road, known to gold seekers in 1898 as the Valdez to Eagle Trail. Gold stampeders started up the trail again in 1902, this time headed for Fairbanks, site of a big gold strike. The Valdez to Fairbanks trail became an important route to the Interior, and in 1910 the trail was upgraded to a wagon road under the direction of Gen. Wilds P. Richardson, first president of the Alaska Road Commission. The ARC updated the road to automobile standards in the 1920s; it was hard-surfaced in 1957.

The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from New Valdez (NV), Valdez (V), and Fairbanks (F) shown.

NV 0 F 366 Downtown VALDEZ (pop. 4,011); all services.
NV 3.4 F 362.6 Acres Kwik Trip gas station, deli, market, laundromat. Turnoff for Valdez airport and VS Helicopter Tours and Valdez Glacier campground.
NV 4 F 362 Milepost 0 of the Richardson Highway at Old Valdez Townsite. Miles from Valdez (V) northbound now reflect physical mileposts. 4 miles from downtown Valdez
V 2.8 F 359.2 Junction with Dayville Road; fishing, scenic views, camping.
V 24.1 F 337.9 Blueberry Lake State Recreation Site; camping.
V 25.9 F 336.1 Thompson Pass, elev. 2,678 feet.
V 29 F 333 Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site: day-use.
V 45.6 F 316.4 Lodge, tavern and heli-camp.
V 79 F 283 Tonsina River Lodge, Russian restaurant, lodging, RV park, bar.
V 79.5 F 282.5 Squirrel Creek State Recreation Site, camping.
V 82.2 F 279.8 Pippin Lake Bed and Breakfast.
V 82.5 F 279.5 Junction with the Edgerton Highway to Chitina and McCarthy Road; Wellwood Center B & B phone 907-822-3418 at Mile 5.7, Kenny Lake Mercantile & RV Park phone 907-822-3313 (gas, groceries, RV park) at Mile 7.2 Edgerton Highway.
V 100.2 F 261.8 Turnoff for historic COPPER CENTER (pop. 282) on  Old Richardson Highway loop; fishing and raft trips at Alaska River Wrangellers.  The historic Copper Center Lodge here was destroyed by fire in May 2012 and is replaced by Old Town Copper Center Inn & Restaurant with gas, grocery and liquor store.
V 101.6 F 260.4 Turnoff for Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge; food and lodging.
V 106.8 F 255.2 Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Visitor Center has indoor geographic and natural history displays. The Ahtna Cultural Center located in the visitor center complex has a fish wheel on display (see photo) and indoor Native history and cultural displays.
V 111 F 251 Tazlina River Trading Post phone 907-822-3277; groceries, gas, fishing licenses, groceries.
V 115 F 247 Junction with Glenn HighwayGLENNALLEN (pop. 454); all services. The Hub of Alaska (24-hours daily with groceries, gas, diesel) and Copper Valley Visitor Information.
V 118 F 244 Dry Creek State Recreation Site campground.
V 128.5 F 233.5 Junction with Tok Cutoff at Gakona Junction; Copper River Salmon Charters.
V 129.4 F 232.6 Sailor’s Pit; Sailors Campground Ahtna Inc. camping and Gulkana River access.
V 132 F 230 Private campground.
V 147.5 F 214.5 Sourdough Creek BLM Campground.
V 147.7 F 214.3 Historic Sourdough Roadhouse; closed in 2016, current status unknown.
V 170 F 192 Meier’s Lake Roadhouse has gas, diesel, dining, lodging and dry camping; phone 907-822-5131 or email.
V 175 F 187 Paxson Lake BLM Campground.
V 185.5 F 176.5 PAXSON (pop. 44) at junction with the Denali Highway. Paxson Lodge, closed in 2016, current status unknown.
V 185.6 F 176.4 Denali Highway Cabins and Paxson Alpine Tours; lodging, float trips, kayak rentals, birding tours. Mile 0.2 on the Denali Highway.
V 195 F 167 Summit Lake, elev. 3,210 feet.
V 197.7 F 164.3 Isabel Pass, elev. 3,280 feet.
V 200.4 F 161.6 Fielding Lake State Recreation Area; camping.
V 227.4 F 134.6 Historic Black Rapids Roadhouse adjacent modern Lodge at Black Rapids.
V 238 F 124 Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site, camping.
V 243.5 F 118.5 Pipeline Viewpoint (see photo).
V 261.1 F 100.9 FORT GREELY, restricted area.
V 265.2 F 96.8 Alaska House Restaurant, phone 907-895-9880, email.
V 265.3 F 96.7 Delta Petro-Wash; 24-hour gas station, deli, convenience store, dump station.
V 265.6 F 96.4 The Calico Cow quilting shop.
V 265.7 F 96.3 The Alaskan Steakhouse & Motel to the west has lodging and dining. Buffalo Center Drive-in phone 907-895-4055 to the east is adjacent Sullivan Roadhouse Museum.
V 265.8 F 96.2  Delta Junction Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center to the west, phone 907-895-5068.
V 266 F 96 Junction with Alaska Highway at DELTA JUNCTION (pop. 984); all services. Attractions: End of the Alaska Highway monument (pictured here), Sullivan Roadhouse Historical Museum.
V 266.1 F 95.9 Buffalo Center Service phone 907-895-4067 with pay at pump gas and diesel, convenience store, RV dump station, propane.
V 266.2 F 95.8 Kelly’s Alaska Country Inn.
V 267 F 95 Delta State Recreation Site campground.
V 270.3 F 91.7 Alaska 7 Motel.
V 272 F 90 Big Delta (pop. 484).
V 275 F 87  Rika’s Roadhouse Cafe and Gifts (phone 907-895-4201) is located at the historic roadhouse (pictured here), which has displays andhistoric buildings, 24-hour RV parking. Gas station with diesel across from the roadhouse turn-off.
V 275.5 F 86.5 Tanana River/Pipeline Crossing.
V 277.7 F 84.3 Quartz Lake State Recreation Area; camping.
V 293.5 F 69.5 Tenderfoot Pottery.
V 305.2 F 56.8 Birch Lake State Recreation Site; camping.
V 315 F 47 “C” Lazy Moose RV Park & Gift Shop, phone 907-488-8141.
V 321.5 F 40.5 Harding Lake State Recreation Area; camping.
V 322.2 F 39.8 SALCHA (pop. 1,048): food, lodging.
V 323.1 F 38.9 Salcha River State Recreation Site; camping.
V 328.3 F 33.7 Gas and convenience store.
V 332.3 F 29.7 The Knotty Shop; gifts, wildlife display, ice cream, burl art work.
V 341.3 F 20.7 EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE (pop. 2,867).
V 343.6 F 18.4 Bathing Beauty Pond, picnic area and stocked with rainbow.
V 346.6 F 15.4 Chena Lakes Recreation Area; camping, fishing, swimming and access to Moose Creek Dam Bikeway.
V 349 F 13 NORTH POLE (pop. 2,138); all services. Visitor information. Attractions: Santa Claus House KJNP radio/TV sod-roofed complex. Lodging at Hotel North Pole and North Pole Cabins.
V 356.6 F 5.4 Camping at the Riverview RV Park on Badger Road.