The aurora borealis, courtesy of Grant Wilson Photography (Instagram: @grant_wilson)

Literary Alaska

Literary Alaska is elusive. Tourists will need to bring their books and imaginations to discover the many ways authors and poets have been inspired to write there. The climate and terrain of Alaska make it a challenging state to chase an Author Adventure road trip, and, from a practical standpoint, it is only a seasonal choice (May-September). We expect that at least some of the state’s nearly one-to-two million visitors a year share an interest in literary travel, so we designed this trail honoring the writings of a popular poet, adventure-seeking authors, the founder of a newspaper, and environmental writers.

Click any link below for author and place information.

A. Oscar Anderson, Barry Lopez, and George Harper, Anchorage
B. Robert Service, Skagway
C. John Muir, Alexander Archipelago
D. Jack London and Robert Service, Dawson City

The Alaska Author Adventures Trail is the only road trip on our website that does not lend itself to long car drives. Most Alaskans are adept at flying or boating to their destinations as a routine way of life. Tourists, however, are best off taking ships, rail, or bus to particular destinations. Consider going to the Alexander Archipelago that John Muir described in Travels in Alaska, and plan to spend a great deal of time observing nature there (bring binoculars). Skagway is a preserved historic town worth a few hours touring time and a meal. Farther north is the Dawson City (Canada) of Jack London’s time. Ultimately, Juneau is worth a stop for its thriving activities, and Anchorage should not be missed as a focal point of Alaskan history.

The map below illustrates how to connect the destinations by road, but it’s not advisable to travel it that way due to road conditions, severe weather (off-season), and the excessive time driving would require.

“To inquire into the intricacies of a distant landscape, then, is to provoke thoughts about one’s own interior landscape, and the familiar landscapes of memory. The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves.” — Barry Lopez

Major thanks to professional photographer Grant Wilson for contributing the pic featured on this page.