Glenallen is a small town that mainly exists because it lies at the intersection of several important routes in Interior Alaska. The Glenn, Richardson, and Tok cutoff highways converge here, providing routes between Fairbanks, Valdez, the MatSu valley and Anchorage, and the Alaska Highway to the Canadian border. It is not really a destination unto itself but it is a good place to stop and fuel up and purchase supplies you may need for your journey.
You will almost certainly arrive by road. The only air access is a nearby gravel runway. By road it is about 180 mi (290 km) from Anchorage, 115 mi (185 km) from Valdez, 250 mi (400 km) from Fairbanks, and 140 mi (230 km) from Tok. It lies just outside the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and serves as a supply depot and "jumping off point" for those venturing into the park.
- Interior Alaska Bus Line, ☏ , email@example.com. Year round service on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday between Tok and Anchorage, and Tok and Fairbanks. Trips between Tok and Anchorage stop along the way at locations including Glennallen and Palmer. Trips between Tok and Fairbanks stop along the way at locations including Delta Junction. Trips depart from Tok in the morning and return to Tok in afternoon. Therefore to travel involving switching between the routes at Tok requires multiple nights stay in Tok. Be sure to reserve in advance and allow some flexibility in your schedule as buses may be rescheduled based on demand. Travel time from Tok is 3 hours, from Palmer is 3 hours, and from Anchorage is 3.75 hours.
You probably already are in a car or a bus tour, which is good because there is no local public transit. Glennallen is in the "unorganized borough" and has no local infrastructure to speak of.
The drive between Glennallen and Anchorage is stunning. You will pass through the jagged peaks of the Chugach mountains, and see the majestic St.Elias mountains in the distance. About twenty miles west of Glenallen is the road to Lake Louise, a massive freshwater lake with incredible fishing opportunities. Nearly every freshwater fish known in Alaska can be caught here, but you need a larger boat and the know-how to handle it to navigate this massive lake.
There's not much of anything to do in the town itself, but Lake Louise and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park are both short drive away. Both offer a variety of recreational opportunities.
Glennallen is the supply hub for "bush" communities in the area. There is an IGA grocery store that is surprisingly well-stocked, and ample opportunities to purchase gasoline. There are some seasonal food trucks and drive-up espresso stands as well.
Dining opportunities are somewhat limited. There are seasonal food trucks at the large gas station at the actual intersection of the two highways, and the Caribou Restaurant, which is a basic roadside diner. There are also some prepared foods at the deli counter of the grocery store.
This part of Alaska is very conservative, or at least likes to think of itself that way. There are no bars in town, but there are liquor stores just outside of town on the Glenn and Richardson highways. The fact that these stores always seem to have plenty of patronage belies the supposed disapproval of drinking in this area.
There is one hotel in Glenallen, the Caribou. It is as expensive as it is outdated and the management seems to be ok with trying to push their religious beliefs on their guests. It is recommended to search farther afield for lodging options, there are numerous lakeside resorts and cabins in the surrounding areas, and camping at a State Recreation Site at Lake Louise.
If you're here, it is probably because you are on your way to somewhere else. Stop and get lunch and gas and then carry on to where ever you were on your way to begin with.
|Routes through Glennallen|
|Anchorage ← Palmer ←||W E||→ Tok → Ends at|
|Delta Junction ← Jct ←||N S||→ Willow Creek → Valdez|