Alaska Highway road trip planner for boomer travelers
Updated 04.29.2019: Is a road trip to Alaska on your boomer bucket list? From our experience, it’s one big beautiful, adventure-filled trip that we’ll be repeating.
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No matter how you plan to drive the Alaska Highway, you’re in for an unforgettable road trip. And our articles on Alaska Highway travel will help.
Create your itinerary after reading about our tips. You’ll also find articles on the destinations in Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon that Alan and I (and our guest writers) have experienced.
Come back often as My Itchy Travel Feet continues to publish first-person reports on traveling the Alaska Highway and beyond. Be sure to subscribe to the My Itchy Travel Feet Weekly Broadcast to be the first to know!
Alaska Highway travel tips
There are so many ways to plan an Alaska road trip. You can drive the official Alcan Highway beginning in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ending 1,390 miles later at Delta Junction, Alaska.
Another option is to mix it up. We did just that by combining ferry rides, an Alaska Marine Highway cruise, scenic roads in British Columbia and the Yukon, with the Alaska Highway.
Through the years, My Itchy Travel Feet readers have asked many questions about this Alaska bucket list experience. You might have the same ones. And if you don’t find the information that you need, contact us and we’ll try to find the answer for you.
Our number #1 tip for an Alaska Highway trip? Bring along the latest edition of The Milepost.
When is the best time to drive the Alaska Highway? While summer is the most popular season for road trips to Alaska, we prefer early September, specifically to avoid most of mosquito season. And fall—early to mid September in Alaska—is a beautiful time to see the state, the fireweed is especially beautiful.
Which is the best route to drive in Alaska? As I’ve mentioned, there are plenty of choices when choosing an Alaskan road trip itinerary, you don’t have to drive the highway straight through. However some purists wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s your choice.
The Golden Circle is next on our want-to-do-list (it’s happening for us in September 2019). Alan’s travel feet are itching to drive The Dalton and The Dempster. Of course, when we do, you’ll find the information on this page.
Why did you pick this itinerary? Alan and I are attracted to big landscapes and unique journeys, which is why we opted to skip beginning this boomer adventure at Dawson Creek in the prairie of country of BC. Instead, we chose to officially start in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island (we don’t count driving from Montana to Vancouver as part of the official trip).
Arriving back to the U.S. via the Alaska Marine Highway allowed us to relax for a couple of days while taking in the beauty of the Inside Passage. Alan appreciated that someone else was doing the driving. It’s a great addition to any Alaska adventure.
Of course the route that we created meant skipping sections of the Alaska Highway. Next time, we’ll include the portion of the Alcan that travels through Kluane National Park, Muncho Lake and Liard Hot Springs.
How did you choose where to stay on the Alaska Highway? Although Alan and I don’t travel by RV, it’s certainly the best way to explore Alaska and Canada’s far north. Lodging is a challenge but we managed to find acceptable places to stay in Alaska (and reserved ahead).
Our favorite Alaska Highway destinations
Alaskan Highway Itinerary
The route began from our home base near Missoula, Montana, but we count Port Hardy on Vancouver Island as the real beginning of the trip. Along the way, we took a side trip to Hyder, AK, to see bears, drove the Cassiar Highway, took another side trip to Dawson City, experienced the Top of the World Highway and admired fall beauty on the Glenn Highway before spending a couple of nights at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Returning by the Alaska Marine Highway turned out to be an excellent choice. Click on: Alaskan Highway Itinerary to read more details about our route.
Riding the Prince Rupert Ferry
For Alaska Highway roadtrippers looking for a bit of a change from the usual routes, consider starting your trip on the water by taking the Prince Rupert Ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. This day-long journey is a beautiful ride and a great introduction to your road trip. And this route offers easy access to Cassiar Highway. Read more about Riding the Prince Rupert Ferry to see if the experience would make a good addition to your Alaska trip.
Watching for Bears at Fish Creek
Anyone looking for a good bear-spotting area in Alaska should make their way to at Fish Creek in Hyder, Alaska from July to early September. This is salmon spawning season and a strategic platform lets you watch the bears stalk their daily meals. It was the wildlife watching highlight of our trip to Alaska. Make this side trip happen by driving the Cassiar Highway. Click on Watching for Bears at Fish Creek to learn more about our experience.
Tips for Driving the Cassiar Highway
We’re so glad that we included the Cassiar Highway in our Alaska travel plans. First of all, it provided access to a side trip to see the bears at Fish Creek. But the drive also took us to northern British Columbia for isolation, scenery and an in-the-middle-of-nowhere vibe. We’ll return one day to explore some of the beautiful Canadian national parks located near Dease Lake. In the meantime, check out our Tips for Driving the Cassiar Highway. I predict you’ll be adding this scenic BC highway to your itinerary.
If you’re looking for Alaska travel advice, start at our Alaska Travel Planner page for the online sources, books, guides and products that we use and recommend.
Include Dawson City on Your Alaska Highway Road Trip
Dawson City became part of our boomer travel plans when we decided to drive Top of the World Highway. Alan and I detoured off the Alaska Highway at Whitehorse to drive up to Canada’s Yukon Territory and the start of this famous drive. Besides gold mining fame, Dawson City made a good two-night stopover. Read all about our experience exploring Dawson City on our Alaska Highway Road Trip.
Driving on Top of the World
On a misty, September morning, our Ram truck climbs Yukon Highway 9—also called Top of the World Highway—after crossing the Yukon River on the George Black Ferry out of Dawson City. After reading about this road, Alan knew we had to drive it. I’m so glad that he insisted. After reading Driving on Top of the World you’re going to want to drive it, too!
Beautiful Downtown Chicken
Traveling down Alaska’s Top of the World highway, between Taylor Highway and 40 Mile Valley, you’ll discover the community of Chicken, the ONLY place to stop. Luckily, there are several business that do it all—food, lodging and fuel. Click on Beautiful Downtown Chicken to learn more about our experience in this unique Alaskan town.
Luxury at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge
It’s always nice to relax in a little bit of luxury after long days of road travel in Alaska. Alan and I found the perfect (and romantic) respite at Luxury in Alaska at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge . Wish we’d had even more time to explore the area. Next trip for sure.
Standing in the Fireweed
While Alaska is known for its incredible wildlife such as black bears, reindeer and caribou, we were delighted to see most of Alaska’s stunning landscape to be covered with bright fireweed wherever we went, but especially on the Taylor Highway. Read more by clicking on on Standing in the Fireweed.
Fall on the Glenn Highway
When Alan and I planned our Alaska Highway road trip, we weren’t thinking about fall color. But that’s exactly what we found in the first week of September while driving the Glenn Highway. The drive has inspired us to return to Alaska for another fall trip. Soon. Read more about Fall on the Glenn Highway.
The Milepost: Your Companion For North Country Travel
For anyone considering driving the roads in Alaska, British Columbia or the Yukon, a copy of the Milepost is essential. Click on: The Milepost: Your Companion For North Country Travel to read our review and why we keep a current copy in our vehicle when traveling in Alaska.
Alaska Highway Photos
Would you rather look at photos of the Alaska Highway? Travel visually through Alaska with us. Click on: Alaska Highway Photos to see some of our best Alaskan moments divided by each week of the trip (4 weeks total).
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