What you’ll find at the end of the road in Kodiak, Alaska

You can actually drive to the end of several roads in Kodiak, Alaska

You can actually drive to the end of several roads in Kodiak, Alaska

In college there was a moment when I turned to a few of my friends and asked if they wanted to go out the road that weekend. I was met with blank stares and utter confusion.

That’s when I realized “going out the road” was phrase only understood in certain places. For me, that place was my hometown, Kodiak, Alaska. Going out the road is the equivalent of going for a drive but the difference is how limited your drive is. We only have so much road in Kodiak so “going out the road” is fairly specific.

If you start in downtown, you can drive about 20 minutes north toward Ft. Abercrombie and then on to the end of that road to Monashka Beach, which is about another 15 minutes away. Monashka, or White Sands as we locals call it, was a favorite place for pallet parties when I was in high school. Ah, Alaska.

One super cool thing about this drive is you can see the “John Wayne.” I didn’t get a picture of it on this trip as the brush has grown over it, but usually you can spot this local treasure which has been painted on the rock wall as you drive out to Monashka. I think the drawing has been there for around 20 years, maybe longer.

You can also go the other direction “out the road” which after about 20 minutes or so will lead you to an intersection, or the Kodiak crossroads as I like to think of it.

Cross roads in Kodiak, Alaska

This is what you will see as you head south from downtown. The picture of the crossroads in the beginning of this post is taken from the porch of this restaurant.

Besides the Kodiak Launch Complex sign (more about that later), there really isn’t any other signage. But this is the moment you must choose your path…

You can go straight which will lead you to the Olds River Inn — a pretty cute fairly new restaurant with a killer crab dip.

You can go left, which will take you to Chiniak. I love going that direction because there is a little diner called Road’s End. I have so many great childhood memories of being there with my family, eating hamburgers and playing the jukebox.

As a kid, I used to think Road’s End was so far away. Now I know it’s really only 40 miles from downtown. It still takes a while to drive though because the roads are fairly curvy. And when I was a kid the roads weren’t paved, so you had to pull over pretty often to let the dust settle so you could see the road.

If you go right, you will end up at Fossil Beach, another one of my favorite places. Fossil Beach is gorgeous, especially on a nice day, and true to its name, you can hunt for fossils (mostly shells) on the beach.

As for the Launch Complex — a very weird missile launch area was built in 1998 only a few miles away from Fossil Beach. I don’t know too much about it but they apparently do launch missiles a few times a year. You can read more about it here.

Two weekends ago when I was home my family decided to take a right and head that way. This is what greeted us:

Fossil Beach, Kodiak, Alaska

Waves crashing at Fossil Beach, Kodiak, AK.

Fossil Beach, Kodiak, Alaska

I’ve always loved the piles of driftwood out here.

Fossil Beach, Kodiak, Alaska


View of one of the launch buildings from Fossil Beach

View of one of the launch buildings from Fossil Beach

Seriously — gorgeous! Days like this make me wonder why I ever left this beautiful island…

On our way back home, we stopped by the Olds River Inn for beers and appetizers. This place knows its audience.

Sign at the Olds River Inn

We passed a few other sights on our way home:

Deer, Kodiak, Alaska

Sometimes Island, Kodiak, Alaska

Sometimes Island, Kodiak, Alaska

An old shipwreck near Sometimes Island

An old shipwreck near Sometimes Island

And for kicks we took a few pictures at the missile launch site. Twenty photos later, we noticed this sign and hightailed it out of there. No one is confiscating my camera!
Missile Launch notice, Kodiak, AK

12 thoughts on “What you’ll find at the end of the road in Kodiak, Alaska

    • It really is! Unless it’s rainy and foggy like it is 90% of the time there. I had to keep reminding myself “It’s not always like this…it’s not always like this.” A sunny day in Kodiak can make you forget months of terrible weather.

  1. I never heard “out the road” before! I love reading these colloquialisms and your post showed how it made sense. It’s obviously such a beautiful and quirky place!

    • It’s beautiful! I am so lucky to have grown up there, even if I didn’t appreciate it as a kid. After this post, I’m also realizing “out the road” is very definitely a Kodiak thing. It’s certainly makes sense there and everyone on the island knows what it means — which is pretty fun. =)

  2. The landscape looks absolutely unique and beautiful. I love most of the photos you’ve shared.And the flowers look beautiful too!

  3. Sigh. We’ve got the drought in California. And fires. Today is the Fourth of July, and there is another heat wave (100+++) coming in next week. Kodiak, take me away!!!

  4. Pingback: Day II on Vashon: Hiking, beaches and a lighthouse | Attempts in Domesticity

  5. As a lower 48er yearning for something..anything different as a younger man in college – for the summers I would go to Kodiak and spend my summers salmon seining and long lining. Fell in love the island. Came back 3 seasons total, and never missed a chance to get out to Roads End. Thank you for posting!

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