Photos from Seward, Alaska

by | Jul 4, 2014 | 28 comments

Photos from Seward, Alaska

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I took this shot about 100 yards from our camp and describes our time in Seward. Breaking storms! We finally got some good weather in Seward!

I took this shot about 100 yards from our camp and describes our time in Seward. Breaking storms! We finally got some good weather in Seward!

I’ve already told you about our camp at Hope so in this post I’ll tell you about our camp in Seward. My main goal in going to Seward was to take the short hike back to the Exit Glacier which is a small finger of the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Fjords NP. To find a campsite I searched through the Milepost around Seward and easily found one on mile 3.7 of the Seward Highway (Seward is mile 0). Fortunately, there are several designated campsites along Herman Leirer Rd. Because it’s the road you take to Exit Glacier, it’s well marked and easy to spot; just look for the sign to Exit Glacier.
This is our camp on the river gravel bar looking west toward Exit Glacier (it's just around the corner out of sight). I believe that if you can get access, you can always camp on a gravel bar. There was no water anywhere near us so it's safe and easy driving.

This is our camp on the river gravel bar looking west toward Exit Glacier (it’s just around the corner out of sight). I believe that if you can get access, you can always camp on a gravel bar. There was no water anywhere near us so it’s safe and easy driving.

Along the way there is a section with many designated campsites that are free and available on first-come-first-serve basis. As we drove along all the ones we would have wanted were already taken and I began to worry, but then we came to one with 2 very large boulders blocking it. Since we were running out of options, we stopped to look at it. They boulders had been placed in exactly the right way to leave room for a car or RV to get around them. I have pictures of it at the bottom of the post.
I took this from the river looking east about 100 yards from our camp.

I took this from the river looking east about 100 yards from our camp.

It turns out that it was access to the gravel bar along the river. We walked a 30 feet out to the gravel bar and looked up and down and saw 2-3 people out camped on it and also found a sign saying it was part of the free campsites and listing the rules—one of which was there was an 8 day stay limit. We weren’t going to be there that long so we decided to stay there so we set up camp.
From our camp looking north. I'm using a wide angle to get the whole mountain in. It was huge and beautiful!

From our camp looking north. I’m using a wide angle to get the whole mountain in. It was huge and beautiful! The path to the road was the dark spot in front of us on the left side of the picture.

Most of the rivers in Alaska are glacial and broad wide gravel riverbeds like this one are very common. Over the millennia the river will wander back and forth across the valley turning it all into a gravel bar with numerous channels, most of them now dry. With reasonable caution you can easily drive almost any vehicle on one of these and while we were there we saw several cars searching for a campsite all around it till they found the one they wanted. If you are near Seward, this is THE place to camp! There are beautiful mountains on both sides of the river and at both ends of the valley. Without any doubt, this was the prettiest camp I’ve ever had! The first four pictures in the post are looking at the 4 directions from our camp
This is the mountain directly to the south of us.

This is the mountain directly to the south of us.

Unfortunately we didn’t have internet so we wound up driving into Seward to get it. I need a pretty fast signal with all the photo uploads I do so I ended up going into the Starbucks at the Safeway there to use their WIFI. It worked out fine.
We liked our campsite so much we ended up staying there for 6 nights. The first few were waiting out the rain and then we got lucky and the weather improved and we got some pretty nice days. On one of those we went back and did the hike to Exit glacier. I’ve been to Seward probably a hundred times in my life and yet I’d never seen Exit Glacier before.
Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier

Sometimes that’s the problem with being a local, you never really see your home area. For example, I asked my son if he wanted to a take a flight-seeing trip over Mt. McKinley with me and his answer was, “Why would I; I can go out and see it on any clear day.” And that has always been my thinking as well.” I’ve seen thousands of glaciers, why would I go out of my way to see this one?” This whole trip is basically to do all the “touristy” things I’ve left undone.
Wide shot of Exit Glacier.

Wide shot of Exit Glacier. The great majority of rivers in Alaska are glacial fed. Follow them back and you sill find a glacier. This water is about 33 degrees F. Minutes ago it was ice.

We hiked Exit Glacier and I must admit it was a disappointment. It’s always been a small glacier but recently it has shrunk so much it’s pretty unimpressive. But it’s an easy hike so I didn’t mind. There is a much longer and much more difficult hike to an overview of the Harding Icefield I would have loved to do, but I honestly thought it would do damage to my knee and I am in such poor shape it would have been very difficult.
The town of Seward is tightly squeezed between the mountains and the ocean. I think it is a gorgeous little town! A must-see for any Alaska visit.

The town of Seward is tightly squeezed between the mountains and the ocean. I think it is a gorgeous little town! A must-see for any Alaska visit.

Of course, I’m including some scenery shots of around our camp and the roads around Seward. This time though I’m including some shots of the town of Seward itself because it is one of the prettiest towns I’ve ever been in. If you want camping in town there is an abundance of camping right on the water–check out the pictures. The city also has a free dump and water across from the campgrounds on the water.
map to my best guess of the campsite.

Map to my best guess of the campsite.

The town of Seward owns the coastline inside the town and they've turned the whole thing into an RV park. You can park your rigs nose right into the ocean looking across the bay to big, beautiful mountains. There are also plenty of tent sites.

The town of Seward owns the coastline inside the town and they’ve turned the whole thing into an RV park. You can park your rigs nose right into the ocean looking across the bay to big, beautiful mountains. There are also plenty of tent sites.

They also put in plenty of parks for every bodies use. I took this shot from one of the cities parks.

They also put in plenty of parks for every bodies use. I took this shot from one of the cities parks.

This is an area for tent camping right on the coast.

This is an area for tent camping right on the coast.

sew-rvs-use
Camping rates for 2014.

Camping rates for 2014.

This is looking from the road toward the gravel bar. Enough room for a bus or RV if you go slow. But a long rig could high-center or drag it's tail in the dips. You may not be able to go very far.

This is looking from the road toward the gravel bar. Enough room for a bus or RV if you go slow. But a long rig could high-center or drag it’s tail in the dips. You may not be able to go very far.

This is looking out at the road from the gravel bar. Because its a gravel bar there is no chance of getting stuck. But there are some dips you have to work around or avoid. Even a car can go for miles on it though.

This is looking out at the road from the gravel bar. Because its a gravel bar there is no chance of getting stuck. But there are some dips you have to work around or avoid. Even a car can go for miles on it though.

Previous Photos from Leadville Colorado
Next Photos From the Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA

28 Comments

  1. Omar Storm

    Bob,
    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Omar Storm in Bay Area

    • Bob

      Thanks Omar!
      Bob

  2. Karen

    What a gorgeous day – hope you have a lot more before you have to leave! Thanks for the photographs. Gravel bar campsites have the greatest scenery!

    • Bob

      Thanks Karen! I really liked camping there.Plus, we had next to no mosquitoes!
      Bob

  3. Calvin R

    The mountains are gorgeous, and so are the pictures. Thanks for giving the clear information about camping, too. I understand that people visit Alaska by bicycle, and it’s possible I might do that. However, I’ll have to decide whether to take on the roads, the bears, and the cold even in June.

    • Bob

      Calvin, all those things are very real problems along the Alaska Highway. Riding a bike up it would be a stunning accomplishment as far as I am concerned.
      Bob

  4. Charlene Swankie

    When I kayaked Alaska last year, we launched in a larger boat from near the Campground in your photos and took it out to near the Holgate Glacier and put in there to kayak. On the way back to harbor, I spread my husband’s ashes in the water. He was born in Palmer and raised in Seward. His mother had a restrauant there. Fun seeing your great photos.

    • Bob

      I’m sure that was a great trip for you Charlene, even through the sadness. I’m so glad you got to do it through all your hard work and perseverance!
      Bob

  5. Openspaceman

    Bob_
    The fourth picture down looks a little bit/lot like your in Jurassic Park.

    • Bob

      Openspaceman, sometimes it feels like it!
      Bob

    • Bob

      No, most gravel bars in Alaska are very wide, this one was about 1/2 mile wide and the river was at least 100 yards away. It could never have reached us.
      Bob

  6. sam

    Bob,
    Thanks for sharing your trip and pictures.
    What did your fuel cost to get from the Lower 48 into Anchorage? I know BC fuel costs aren`t cheap.

    • Bob

      Sam, we haven’t figured it all out yet but Judy did a rough estimate when we got to Alaska and we were both surprised how low it was. We have over 6000 miles so far and will be over 10,000 by the time we get back to Arizona.
      From Jackson Wyoming and driving a lot around Alaska we’ve spent $1200 in gas and probably 5000 miles. We’re splitting it two ways so that’s only $600 each. So far that is less than airfare would have been, plus if we flew we had to have paid for a rental car and lodging.
      Bob

    • Bob

      Steve, you gotta admit though, that is a spectacular view for camping! We didn’t consider paying it but only because I know how to find something free. Many people just don’t know they have an option.
      Bob

  7. Mitch

    Very nice pics Bob…I like following your trip home and hope you have a wonderful time. Maybe our paths will cross when you get back to the lower 48. Keep posting them pics…

    • Bob

      Thanks Mitch! My plans for summer and fall are pretty up in the air, but for sure I will be in Arizona for the RTR in January and in AZ for the rest of the winter.
      Bob

  8. l

    Enjoy your posts and would of loved to have gone along.
    I have time to read and am rereading backcountry bear basics:the definitive guide to…..
    There is a percentage and explanation he gives on bears charging and stories….if you get within their space….I do not mean to insult you , as you two are the ones that were able to make that trip and afford it and are free to do so….however, I feel that I should say something ….
    re: proximity and bear space
    Hope to read many more of your posts…

    • Bob

      You’re right to be concerned about proximity to bears and normally we would be much too close. But this is a National Park and they set the rules and here they are different than anywhere else. It is a totally unique experience. More to come in my next post.
      Bob

  9. Carol

    Bob,
    Thanks to you and your incredibly informative site I’ve been able to convince my better half that full-time RVing is not only possible but preferable to house living. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I’ve also read thru your e-book TWICE! We still have several years left here on the crowded east coast before we can leave, but we now have a definite plan and will be able to take early retirement to do it. Also, wanted to say how lovely your tribute to Homer. Best wishes to you.

    • Bob

      Carol, I love getting letters like yours saying I may have played a small role in inspiring you to seek out your best life! Don’t let anything stand in the way of following your dreams!
      Homer deserved much more than my feeble efforts gave to him!
      Bob

  10. Jim

    Bob,
    I discovered your website a month ago and read the articles with great interest. It is thrilling that you are traveling in my state! I camped in the waterfront campground at the end of the road in Seward. It is a delightful spot. I love your pictures. Those of us who live here don’t always have the time to enjoy what we got – but you remind us of the opportunities.
    I also love the Top of the World Highway to Dawson and then south to White Horse and Skagway. There is a lot of history there.
    Jim

    • Bob

      Thanks Jim, I lived in Alaska for 45 years and while I drove most places you could drive, I never really explored it. Enjoy it to it’s fullest while you are there.
      Bob

  11. Eileen

    I just found your site and am thrilled that there are actually people who think just like me! I have told friends regarding living in an RV and traveling cross country….and of course they think I’m crazy. No imagination. You have inspired confidence and I’m going ahead with my plans to live in an RV. Started downsizing already. Thank you for those beautiful photos. Even though I have already driven to a lot of the lower 48 places and camped in remote places I now know there are places I know I want to visit in Alaska. Thanks for the inspiration along with the awesome photos!

    • Bob

      I’m very glad to have helped inspire you Eileen!! There is another blog I suggest you follow and that’s RVSue and crew. Find it here:
      http://rvsueandcrew.net/
      Bob

  12. gordy

    i was born and raised in alaska, i’m now 100% disabled vet and live in jacksonville florida. i have thought about living up there in the summer and here in florida in the winter.

    • Bob

      gordy, my mom retired to Florida and for a long time she spent every summer at home in Anchorage. But it was very expensive and finally she got to the point that the long trip up and back just got too hard for her, so now she only goes up for special occasions.
      If you can afford it, it’s the best possible life!
      Bob

Table of Contents

28 Comments

  1. Omar Storm

    Bob,
    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Omar Storm in Bay Area

    • Bob

      Thanks Omar!
      Bob

  2. Karen

    What a gorgeous day – hope you have a lot more before you have to leave! Thanks for the photographs. Gravel bar campsites have the greatest scenery!

    • Bob

      Thanks Karen! I really liked camping there.Plus, we had next to no mosquitoes!
      Bob

  3. Calvin R

    The mountains are gorgeous, and so are the pictures. Thanks for giving the clear information about camping, too. I understand that people visit Alaska by bicycle, and it’s possible I might do that. However, I’ll have to decide whether to take on the roads, the bears, and the cold even in June.

    • Bob

      Calvin, all those things are very real problems along the Alaska Highway. Riding a bike up it would be a stunning accomplishment as far as I am concerned.
      Bob

  4. Charlene Swankie

    When I kayaked Alaska last year, we launched in a larger boat from near the Campground in your photos and took it out to near the Holgate Glacier and put in there to kayak. On the way back to harbor, I spread my husband’s ashes in the water. He was born in Palmer and raised in Seward. His mother had a restrauant there. Fun seeing your great photos.

    • Bob

      I’m sure that was a great trip for you Charlene, even through the sadness. I’m so glad you got to do it through all your hard work and perseverance!
      Bob

  5. Openspaceman

    Bob_
    The fourth picture down looks a little bit/lot like your in Jurassic Park.

    • Bob

      Openspaceman, sometimes it feels like it!
      Bob

    • Bob

      No, most gravel bars in Alaska are very wide, this one was about 1/2 mile wide and the river was at least 100 yards away. It could never have reached us.
      Bob

  6. sam

    Bob,
    Thanks for sharing your trip and pictures.
    What did your fuel cost to get from the Lower 48 into Anchorage? I know BC fuel costs aren`t cheap.

    • Bob

      Sam, we haven’t figured it all out yet but Judy did a rough estimate when we got to Alaska and we were both surprised how low it was. We have over 6000 miles so far and will be over 10,000 by the time we get back to Arizona.
      From Jackson Wyoming and driving a lot around Alaska we’ve spent $1200 in gas and probably 5000 miles. We’re splitting it two ways so that’s only $600 each. So far that is less than airfare would have been, plus if we flew we had to have paid for a rental car and lodging.
      Bob

    • Bob

      Steve, you gotta admit though, that is a spectacular view for camping! We didn’t consider paying it but only because I know how to find something free. Many people just don’t know they have an option.
      Bob

  7. Mitch

    Very nice pics Bob…I like following your trip home and hope you have a wonderful time. Maybe our paths will cross when you get back to the lower 48. Keep posting them pics…

    • Bob

      Thanks Mitch! My plans for summer and fall are pretty up in the air, but for sure I will be in Arizona for the RTR in January and in AZ for the rest of the winter.
      Bob

  8. l

    Enjoy your posts and would of loved to have gone along.
    I have time to read and am rereading backcountry bear basics:the definitive guide to…..
    There is a percentage and explanation he gives on bears charging and stories….if you get within their space….I do not mean to insult you , as you two are the ones that were able to make that trip and afford it and are free to do so….however, I feel that I should say something ….
    re: proximity and bear space
    Hope to read many more of your posts…

    • Bob

      You’re right to be concerned about proximity to bears and normally we would be much too close. But this is a National Park and they set the rules and here they are different than anywhere else. It is a totally unique experience. More to come in my next post.
      Bob

  9. Carol

    Bob,
    Thanks to you and your incredibly informative site I’ve been able to convince my better half that full-time RVing is not only possible but preferable to house living. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I’ve also read thru your e-book TWICE! We still have several years left here on the crowded east coast before we can leave, but we now have a definite plan and will be able to take early retirement to do it. Also, wanted to say how lovely your tribute to Homer. Best wishes to you.

    • Bob

      Carol, I love getting letters like yours saying I may have played a small role in inspiring you to seek out your best life! Don’t let anything stand in the way of following your dreams!
      Homer deserved much more than my feeble efforts gave to him!
      Bob

  10. Jim

    Bob,
    I discovered your website a month ago and read the articles with great interest. It is thrilling that you are traveling in my state! I camped in the waterfront campground at the end of the road in Seward. It is a delightful spot. I love your pictures. Those of us who live here don’t always have the time to enjoy what we got – but you remind us of the opportunities.
    I also love the Top of the World Highway to Dawson and then south to White Horse and Skagway. There is a lot of history there.
    Jim

    • Bob

      Thanks Jim, I lived in Alaska for 45 years and while I drove most places you could drive, I never really explored it. Enjoy it to it’s fullest while you are there.
      Bob

  11. Eileen

    I just found your site and am thrilled that there are actually people who think just like me! I have told friends regarding living in an RV and traveling cross country….and of course they think I’m crazy. No imagination. You have inspired confidence and I’m going ahead with my plans to live in an RV. Started downsizing already. Thank you for those beautiful photos. Even though I have already driven to a lot of the lower 48 places and camped in remote places I now know there are places I know I want to visit in Alaska. Thanks for the inspiration along with the awesome photos!

    • Bob

      I’m very glad to have helped inspire you Eileen!! There is another blog I suggest you follow and that’s RVSue and crew. Find it here:
      http://rvsueandcrew.net/
      Bob

  12. gordy

    i was born and raised in alaska, i’m now 100% disabled vet and live in jacksonville florida. i have thought about living up there in the summer and here in florida in the winter.

    • Bob

      gordy, my mom retired to Florida and for a long time she spent every summer at home in Anchorage. But it was very expensive and finally she got to the point that the long trip up and back just got too hard for her, so now she only goes up for special occasions.
      If you can afford it, it’s the best possible life!
      Bob