Kodiak, Alaska, the second largest island in the United States, has only about 87 miles of road. A national wildlife refuge that was established to protect the famous Kodiak brown bear dominates a large chunk of the island, but there is still lots to explore in the areas accessible with a car.

Here are five stops worth seeing to get you started on a Kodiak, Alaska, road trip.

Pillar Mountain

The mountain top is a short drive from the city of Kodiak and has excellent views. Follow the 2.2 mile gravel road until it dead ends by the wind turbines. The drive offers incredible island and ocean views. From the top, you’ll be able to see town, surrounding mountains, and the winding coast.

The wind turbines help power Kodiak’s homes and businesses. Since 2014, Kodiak has gotten almost all of its electric power from renewable wind and hydro sources.

If you feel like stretching your legs instead of driving, there’s also a 2.5 mile trail that hikers can take to the top of Pillar Mountain.

White Sands Beach

Rezanof-Monashka Bay Road on Kodiak Alaska
Rezanof-Monashka Bay Road leads to White Sands Beach. Photo by Serine Reeves.

Follow Rezanof-Monashka Bay Road north from the city of Kodiak about 11 miles to reach this beautiful beach.

Take a pit stop at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park to discover part of the island’s history. The park is about four miles outside of town on the scenic Miller Point. The park has a military history museum, hiking trails, and WWII-era gun emplacements that make it well worth a stop.

Continue north and take another quick stop at Pillar Beach, a beautiful black sand beach that will juxtapose your final destination.

Rezanof-Monashka Bay Road ends at a large turnaround parking area. A short trail leads to White Sands Beach, which is ideal for picnics and general beach lounging. Fish from shore for Dolly Varden, pink salmon and coho salmon.

Twin Creeks Beach

Driving to Twin Creeks Beach will take you down scenic Chiniak Highway. About 30 miles south of town, turn left at the junction to continue toward Chiniak. Horses and cattle roam freely in this area so drive carefully. Horses will sometimes come right up to the car window as if expecting a treat. About a mile past the junction pavement ends and the road is gravel to the end.

Take a break at milepost 35.6 to check out Brookers Lagoon. This is a great place to glass for waterfowl, eagles, and shorebirds.

Twin Creeks Beach is at milepost 39.5. The beach has dark sand and rolling breakers. It’s a great spot for exploring tide pools and spotting sea otters. Three WWII bunkers are nestled in the cliffs above the beach.

Just a few miles past the beach the state road maintenance ends. Driving to this point offers views of Chiniak Point and a hike up to a WWII bunker on a bluff that offers great views.

Chiniak Point
Chiniak Point can be seen from Milepost 42 near the end of the Chiniak Highway. Photo by Serine Reeves.

Fossil Cliffs

Turning right at the junction and heading in the opposite direction of Chiniak will take you down Pasagshak Bay Road. The road passes through Kodiak Cattle Co. grazing land, so keep an eye out for cattle and bison, which will sometimes block the road.

About 15 miles past the junction is Fossil Beach. A road leads down to the shoreline, but unless you’re positive the rig you’re driving can make it back up it’s advised to park at the top and walk down. A little over a mile past the stop for Fossil Beach the road ends at the cliffs, where fossils can be viewed in the cliffs along the water at low tide.

Anton Larson Bay

Drive north from near the airport to cover the last stretch of road on Kodiak, Alaska. The road is just shy of 12 miles and gravel for most of the trip.

Buskin Valley Winter Recreation area is a popular stop on this drive for sledding, skiing, and snowboarding the snowy months. During summer, stretch your legs on the trail to the top of Pyramid Mountain.

The road ends at scenic Anton Larsen Bay. Stroll on the beach, watch floatplanes, or hike to a waterfall.

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