Independence Mine State Historical Park

Independence Mine State Historical Park
Location: Palmer, Alaska
Length of visit: 2 hours
Major draws: Scenic views, historic buildings
Strenuosity: 2 out of 10
Cost/Fees: $5 per vehicle day use (additional cost for tour)
Additional considerations: Steep road to Hatcher Pass, most buildings inaccessible without paid tour
Description: This self-guided tour of the gold mining facilities is well-signed and offers great photography opportunities in this scenic ghost town north of Anchorage.

Worthington Glacier

Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site
Location: north of Valdez, Alaska
Length of visit: 1 hour
Major draws: Scenic views, a glacier you can touch
Strenuosity: 3 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: There is not a maintained trail to the edge of the glacier
Description: Since 2004, Scott has returned three times to Worthington Glacier to witness its recession higher up the mountain. It is located near Thompson Pass, one of the snowiest spots in Alaska.

Valdez, Alaska

Valdez, Alaska
Location: Valdez, Alaska
Length of visit: half day to multiple days
Major draws: Scenic views, wildlife, spawning salmon
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: All those fish attract black bears
Description: Pink salmon return in the millions to the hatchery in scenic Valdez near the terminus of the 800-mile long Alyeska Oil Pipeline.