The day was a complete contrast to the previous day, with very cloudy skies and looking as if it might rain. The first part of the road from Glennallen covered the same road we had travelled the day before but this time you would not have known that the Wrangell Mountains were there!
The road follows the route of the original gold rush stampeders between Valdez and Fairbanks, The modern road also is close at times to the trans-Alaska pipeline which carries oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to the pipeline terminus at Port Valdez.
Despite the rain the road was an interesting to drive as the road went alongside rivers and creeks, through mountain passes, traveled close to glaciers and passed through the Keystone Canyon.
Our first major stop on the road was at the Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site. Here we were able to take a short trail to the viewpoint for the Worthington Glacier and Lake. The glacier starts on Girls Mountain (6,134 feet) and used to calve into a small lake at its base, but it has been retreating over the past decades.
From the glacier we then climbed to the Thompson Pass (2,678 feet). Here gold shipments and even an entire riverboat, dragged piece by piece, were hauled over the pass by early gold miners with horses in the winter. Thompson pass is also considered to have the most extreme snowfall in Alaska with record measurement of 974.5 inches in the 1952-53 season. Snow poles along the highway mark the road edge for the snow plows.
After coming over the pass we got great views of the Chugach Mountains and the glacier rivers below.
We then descended into the Keystone Canyon and stopped to admire the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horsetail Falls cascading down the rock walls of the canyon. Shortly after exiting the canyon we arrived in the town of Valdez and it started to rain!