Is driving the Alaska Highway on your bucket list? You might find it odd that the rugged road has been on my to-do list for several years, especially considering all this talk from me about being a travel princess. After all, camping and backpacking are just not my style, although I could go for a really nice 5th wheel. Alan, on the other hand, relishes the thought of dry camping—without me, of course.
But last August, when wildfire smoke filled the Bitterroot Valley (our Montana home turf), we started looking ahead to a “fire escape” for this year. Before long a vacation rental for a couple of weeks in British Columbia morphed into a journey on the Alaska Highway. “We’re not getting any younger” and “You never know what will happen to keep us from traveling” were our excuses to begin the planning.
This Alaska Highway trip is probably misnamed since we’ll only be driving the portion from where the Stewart-Cassiar Highway dead ends into the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse in the Yukon. Roads with names like Yellowhead, Stewart-Cassiar, Klondike, Top of the World, Tok Cutoff, Glenn and Seward are the routes that we’ll be exploring. You know how we like off-the-beaten-path travel experiences.
This road trip needed a special name, so we polled fans at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook as well as on my Facebook profile. It came down to Klondike Caravan, Yukon Ho! and North of 48. I gave Alan the honor of picking the winner and Yukon Ho! it is—thanks to Jennifer Buchanan for the suggestion. We’ve modified it to #YukonHo! to use as hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+ to make it easy for you to find our updates and photos.
The route begins from our home base near Missoula, Montana, but we’re counting Port Hardy on Vancouver Island as the real beginning of YukonHo!
Port Hardy, B.C. (2 nights): After spending one day exploring and hiking, it will be time for an early morning boarding on the Prince Rupert Ferry for what we are hoping will be a scenic ride up the inside passage to Prince Rupert. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather and lots of whale sightings.
Prince Rupert, B.C. (2 nights): Since the ferry arrives around 11:00 p.m., we’ll sleep in, explore a little and wait for the second morning to being the actual drive, which starts on the Yellowhead Highway.
Stewart, B.C./Hyder, AK (2 nights): Stewart, B.C. will be our headquarters for viewing the bears at Fish Creek (actually in Hyder) as well as exploring Bear and Salmon Glaciers.
Iskut, B.C. (2 nights): Located on the ultra-scenic Cassiar Highway, Iskut offers hiking, flight-seeing and all sorts of water adventures.
Teslin, Yukon (1 night): a stop on the Alaska Highway on the way to Whitehorse.
Whitehorse, Yukon (2 nights): Besides providing an active adventure or two, Whitehorse is one of our designated “catch up on email, wash clothes, take a deep breath before driving on” destinations.
Dawson City, Yukon (2 nights): After exploring this historic mining city, we’re planning a day trip on the Dempster Highway to the Tombstone Mountains Interpretive Center. Of course this is just going to whet Alan’s desire to return one day so that we can drive the Dempster Highway across the Arctic Circle and into the High Arctic.
Tok, Alaska (1 night): After driving the treacherous Top of the World Highway back into Alaska, we won’t have any trouble falling asleep in Tok.
Girdwood, Alaska (4 nights): Another designated catchup destination that also offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, glacier trekking and a scenic drive or two. This is our 4-day bed and breakfast respite at the end of a long road trip.
Whittier, AK to Bellingham, WA (4 nights): We’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Marine Highway on the last ferry of the season back to the U.S.
Once we’re back in the states, it’s a one-day drive to Montana headquarters.
Instead of a camper, we’ll be driving a RAM Truck. Lodging will include bed and breakfasts, lodges and sometimes whatever happens to be available. Although some of our journeys include complimentary stays, activities or transportation, YukonHo! is on our own dime. We’ll be experiencing the trip just the way you would, without any extra niceties that might be offered because we’re the publishers of a travel website for active boomers.
Want to keep up with us? Look for trip updates on the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram. And after seeing the photos on our Alaska Highway road trip Pinterest board, you’ll be inspired to plan you’re own adventure for 2014. Just follow the hashtag #YukonHo!
Read the entire collection of Alaska Highway road trip articles to plan your own trip. Boomer adventure guaranteed.
Have you driven the Alaska Highway or any of the other highways that we’ve mentioned? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.