Driving the Alaska Highway is the ultimate North America road trip! In this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know before driving the Alaska Highway, based on our experience!
In 2022 our big goal was to drive from Austin, Texas to Alaska, which for us, was an over 5,000 mile journey, as we drove through the southwest, up the west coast, and through all of British Columbia and a good chunk of the Yukon Territory.
And hands down the biggest highlight of our entire journey to Alaska was driving the Alaska Highway. This scenic drive takes you through remote areas of Canada, through smaller towns and cities, and by unique attractions, with plenty of epic mountains and wildlife sightings along the way.
Watch our entire drive along the Alaska Highway, including the British Columbia portion, as well as through the Yukon Territory!
We thought that driving the Alaska Highway would be a once in a lifetime experience for us, but we loved it so much that we plan to do it many more times in our lifetime! While the long trek may scare many away from driving to Alaska, it is truly one of the best things we have ever done and we cannot recommend it enough to those who have the ability to take the time for it. The drive, while long at times, went by so quickly because the scenery was always incredible. Everyday we found ourselves being a bit sad that the drive was over.
And in this guide our goal is to share all of our tips, favorite stops, and important things to know before tackling driving the Alaska Highway. WARNING: This is a very long guide, but our goal was to make it as comprehensive as possible, so that if you only used this guide, you’d have a successful trip. We have a table of contents feature below if you’d like to skip ahead to any section.
And if you have any questions after reading this guide, feel free to email us at hello (at) adventuresofaplusk.com!
Looking for more things to do in Canada and Alaska? Check out our guides and vlogs!
- How to have an EPIC 10 Day Vancouver Island Road Trip!
- 12+ FUN Things to do in Tofino on Vancouver Island (+ 3 day itinerary)
- The BEST things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island
- Sea to Sky Highway Road Trip: The Best Stops from Vancouver to Whistler (+Itineraries!)
- 3 Days in Vancouver
- Backpacking at Garibaldi Provincial Park
- Watch our Canada vlogs and Alaska vlogs!
- All of our Alaska guides
- About the Alaska Highway
- How to get to the Alaska Highway
- When to drive the Alaska Highway
- Important things to know before driving the Alaska Highway
- What to bring to drive Alaska Highway
- Our Exact Alaska Highway Itinerary
- A complete breakdown of the Alaska Highway
- Dawson Creek, BC (Mile marker 0)
- Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, BC (Mile marker 0 to 283)
- Fort Nelson, BC (Mile marker 283)
- Fort Nelson to Stone Mountain Provincial Park, BC (Mile marker 284-371.5)
- Stone Mountain Provincial Park, BC (Mile marker 371.5 to 380.7)
- Stone Mountain Provincial Park to Muncho Lake, BC (Mile marker 380.7 to 409.2)
- Muncho Lake, BC (Mile marker 437.3)
- Muncho Lake to Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, BC (Mile marker 444.9 to 477.7)
- Liard Hot Springs, BC (Mile marker 477.7)
- Liard Hot Springs, BC to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (Mile marker 477.7 to 612.9)
- Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (Mile marker 612.9)
- Watson Lake to Teslin, YT (Mile marker 612.9 to 776.5)
- Teslin to Whitehorse, YT (Detour on the Klondike Highway)
- Whitehorse, Yukon (Mile marker 887.4)
- Whitehorse to Haines Junction and Kluane National Park, Yukon (Mile marker 887.4 to 985)
- Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon (Mile marker 985)
- Kluane National Park to the Alaska Border (Mile marker 985 to 1186.3)
- The Alaska Border (Mile marker 1186.3)
- Alaska Border to Tok, AK (Mile marker 1186.3 to 1279.2)
- Tok to Delta Junction (Mile marker 1279.2 to 1387)
About the Alaska Highway
The Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, runs 2,232 km (1,387 miles) from Dawson Creek in British Columbia, through the Yukon, and ends in Delta Junction in Alaska, before connecting with the Richardson Highway to Fairbanks.
While a popular drive for tourists looking to experience Canada and Alaska, the road was actually created to protect the United States. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, there was increasing concern about how the US could defend Alaska, which finalized the decision to create a land route between the lower 48 and Alaska.
An agreement between the US and Canada was soon made where the US would fund the cost of the road construction and maintain it through the duration of WWII, plus an additional 6 months, and then Canada would take over its portions of the road.
The construction began in March 1942 with the scouting of the route and mobilizing thousands of pieces of equipment and by June, over 10,000 American soldiers had poured into Canada. The life of a soldier working to build the road was a grueling gig. They would work 7 days a week, with sometimes 16 hour days, and battle below zero temperatures in the winter and mosquitoes and black flies in the summer, all while being fueled by subpar food and harsh living conditions.
Along with the help of 16,000 Canadian and American civilians, they completed the Alaska Highway just 8 months after construction started. While the road technically opened in November 1942, it wasn’t open to the public until 1948 and over time it has gone through many improvements to make it what it is today!
How to get to the Alaska Highway
While driving the Alaska Highway is a road trip in itself, you will also have to road trip to get to the start of the highway. The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek in British Columbia, which is on the eastern side of the province, about midway between the United States border and Yukon territory border. And to get there, you can either drive through British Columbia or through Alberta.
Through British Columbia
To get to the start of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek from Vancouver you have three options!
For those starting near Vancouver, the most westerly option is to drive Highway 97 up British Columbia. And to get to Highway 97 from Vancouver you can either drive the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99), which is what we did, or the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) to where it dead ends just north of Cache Creek.
Both routes will take about 4-4.5 hours to get to Highway 97. And from there it’s a little over 9 hours along Highway 97 to Dawson Creek.
If you’re starting more east or want to experience two provinces along the way, another route you can take is up Highway 5 up through Kamloops and then cross into Alberta, going near Jasper National Park, before taking a mix of highways to cross back into British Columbia and getting to Dawson Creek.
Vancouver, BC to Dawson Creek, BC via the Trans-Canada Highway: 13 hours (1,185 km | 736 miles)
Vancouver, BC to Dawson Creek, BC via the Sea to Sky Highway: 13 hours, 30 minutes (1,155 km | 718 miles)
Vancouver, BC to Kamloops and up through Alberta: 14 hours (1,319 km | 820 miles)
We personally recommend the Sea to Sky Highway route, as it is incredibly scenic and offers a ton to do on its own! To see some of our favorite stops along the drive, read our guide to the Sea to Sky Highway and watch us drive the Sea to Sky Highway. And for ideas of things to do once you get on Highway 97, check out this video!
Stewart- Cassiar Highway
Another way to get to Alaska is via the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, which starts along the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16), near Kitwanga, BC, and goes north to just west of Watson Lake, YT. This highway is a spectacular drive filled with tons of amazing scenery and things to do along the way, including glaciers (like Salmon Glacier pictured above!) and seeing grizzly bears!
However, our recommendation is to take the Alaska Highway on your way up to Alaska and then take the Stewart-Cassiar Highway on your way back down to the lower 48. In our opinion, doing it this way will give you the classic or nostalgic experience of driving the Alaska Highway, especially if it’s your first visit to Alaska.
Check out our guide to driving the amazing Stewart-Cassiar Highway (coming soon)!
If starting in Alberta, specifically near Calgary, the most scenic route will be to take the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) to Banff National Park, then drive the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) to Jasper National Park, before taking a mix of highways to cross back into British Columbia and getting to Dawson Creek.
We have visited Banff National Park before and driven the Icefields Parkway and it is one of the most epic drives in North America, plus offers tons of hiking and sightseeing along the way! To see some of our suggestions, check out our guide to exploring Banff National Park, which includes a 3 day itinerary!
Calgary, AB to Dawson Creek, BC: 10 hours 30 minutes (945 km | 587 miles)
When to drive the Alaska Highway
While the Alaska Highway can technically be driven year round, the highway is mostly traveled by tourists between May and September, when it’s snow free! Additionally, many businesses and attractions in this part of the world operate seasonally, so if you’re traveling outside of the months between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, you might encounter some closed businesses.
We drove the Alaska Highway the first week and a half of June and it was perfect! While one hike we wanted to do was still snowy (it didn’t stop us though…more on that later!) and some of the lakes still had some ice on them, the roads were 100% clear of any snow or ice and the crowds were pretty low. There were times that we didn’t see another vehicle for several hours and we had no issues finding campsites.
Another huge perk of driving the Alaska Highway in the summertime is how long the days are. With ample daylight, you can knock out a lot of miles and have enough time for stops along the way, without driving in the dark.
Important things to know before driving the Alaska Highway
How much time do you need to drive the Alaska Highway?
We spent 7 full days driving the Alaska Highway and it was a good amount of time to be able to experience the road’s major highlights, plus do some hikes that took a decent chunk of the day.
At almost a 23 hour drive without stops, you could hypothetically do the drive in 2 long days, but unless you’re driving the Alaska Highway purely out of necessity, the whole point of the drive, in our opinion, is to enjoy its beauty! We would suggest a minimum of 7 days to drive the highway, but closer to 10 would allow more time for hikes, shorter driving days, and rest days.
We will be listing our exact itinerary later on in this guide, plus what we’d do differently next time!
Cell Service + Internet
Cell service and internet were hands down the hardest part of this drive for us, as we work full time on our business from the road. Cell service was spotty to non-existent during much of the drive, especially in the British Columbia portions, and we found the WiFi in towns to be too slow to upload YouTube videos (but likely fine for those who do not need to do that).
Later on in this guide we will break down each section of the drive and note when we did and did not have cell service, plus information about WiFi when applicable, but below is some information on our setup and experience with connectivity on the Alaska Highway.
Our internet set up
As of 2022 when we did the Alaska Highway, we relied solely on data plans through cell phone providers to have internet on the road.
We have Verizon Wireless for our phones and were able to connect to Canadian providers for free with our plan, utilizing the same text and talk allowances (unlimited) we have back in the United States.
But for data, Verizon Wireless only gave us 0.5 GB of high speed data per day, per device (we have two cell phones, plus a Verizon hotspot device), which ran out quickly, as we rely on data for work. After the 0.5 GB was used, we could pay for an additional 0.5 GB ($5) or use the throttled speeds, which basically did not work. However, as of writing this guide in January 2023, Verizon has now increased this daily data allowance to 2 GB for Canada and Mexico.
We also have an AT&T hotspot device, but unfortunately it was not eligible for any international data, so we couldn’t use it at all. In the past when we had AT&T phones, we were able to use our phones normally in Canada, unlimited data and all.
Have Starlink? You’re in luck! As of 2023, Starlink now has coverage all the way up British Columbia and in Alaska. During our visit in 2022, Starlink only covered about halfway up British Columbia and had no coverage in Alaska, so it was not worth the investment for us.
Due to the lack of cell service and strong enough WiFi for us to work, we had to go faster than we would’ve liked through Canada. But now that Starlink is an option, we could definitely see ourselves taking this drive much more slowly, since we could work in places that were not possible before!
Although the Alaska Highway is a remote drive, we found there to be adequate services along the way, although they are spread out and it is important to prepare for them. As we break down each section of the drive further down in this guide, we will share what services are available, including fuel, water fill up and dump stations, grocery stores, and laundry. But here are some general rules and tips!
A general rule of thumb for fuel on the Alaska Highway is to never let your tank get below half full. There will be plenty of opportunities to refuel, but if you keep pressing on to look for better prices (you likely won’t find that) or thinking you’ll be fine to make it to the next stop, you may run the risk of running out of fuel.
To get an idea what fuel prices are in an area and to find fuel stations, we use the GasBuddy app. This app may not be accurate in remote areas, as it’s more user generated, but we have found that it helps with finding stations and saving money in most places around North America.
Also, keep in mind, fuel in Canada is more expensive, is sold by the liter versus the gallon, and you’ll be paying in Canadian dollars. This will likely be your biggest expense of your trip!
Something you may want to consider is bringing extra fuel. As we mentioned, there are plenty of places to refuel, but in case your vehicle has a small fuel tank, you lose track of your fuel level, or the gas station you were banking on is unexpectedly closed, it might be a good idea to carry extra fuel. We brought 2 two gallon Rotopax fuel canisters for our adventures, but never had to use them. Although, we do have a 24 gallon diesel tank and get about 20 MPG, so we can go for long distances without needing fuel.
There are a handful of towns along the way that have grocery stores, but they range in quality. As you may expect, the more remote you are, the less selection you may have and the higher the prices may be. We found the grocery stores in Dawson Creek and Whitehorse to be pretty solid, but in smaller towns like Tok (Alaska), the selection was not as great.
Depending on how long you spend on the Alaska Highway, you may have to do laundry along the way. Make sure to have cash on you, both Canadian and American, as the laundromats we went to did not take cards.
You will likely see lots of wildlife along the highway, so make sure to stay alert and slow down if you notice any near the road. During our time on the Alaska Highway we saw 17 black bears, 1 grizzly bear, 3 moose, too many bison to count, 3 caribou, 4 porcupines, 5 stone sheep, 1 elk, and quite possibly the coolest of them all…1 WOLF! We saw a wolf walking in the road (after it had tried to approach a cyclist…SCARY!) and after knowing the cyclist was okay, it was a pretty majestic moment.
One thing you may hear a lot about when heading north to Alaska are mosquitoes. However, we didn’t find them to be too bad overall. In fact, the mosquitoes were much worse for us in the Yukon Territory than they were in Alaska. This could’ve been the result of a variety of factors, like weather and the exact timeframe we visited. We also did take some precautions that may have helped, which we will share below.
We do hear that the more northern area of Alaska, like Fairbanks, has a lot of mosquitoes and we personally did experience a lot more on our way out of Alaska in Tok. But our drive on the Alaska Highway, minus near Kluane National Park in the Yukon, was relatively bug free.
The Alaska Highway is a two lane, paved road (minus construction) and from our experience in 2022, was in pretty good condition!
Some sections were perfectly paved, while others were a bit bumpy with potholes, frost heaves (explained below!), and construction. Most of these rough spots will be marked with an orange flag or cone, but not all, so stay alert!
Another thing to remember when driving in Canada is that the speed limit and distances will be in kilometers per hour instead of miles, BUT the mile markers for the Alaska Highway are listed in miles.
Because of the harsh environments, there is always at least one section of the highway under construction and these sections can be as small as a few feet or as long as many miles. Summer is when all the construction happens and we quickly learned there are two seasons in the north country…winter and construction season!
Oftentimes in these stretches that are under construction, traffic will be reduced to one lane and this can lead to long wait times, so make sure to plan for a bit of extra time than Google Maps may tell you.
You’ll want to keep these two websites, 511 Yukon and DriveBC, bookmarked so that you can check the construction and road conditions frequently. These websites provide updates on current projects, info on future projects, and some cameras.
In Canada and Alaska the extreme winter weather causes frost heaves in the road, which are like speed bumps in the middle of the highway. As you can imagine, hitting a speed bump at 60 mph will not be good for your vehicle. Frost heaves are a big reason for lots of construction. Again, stay alert and watch for these.
We personally did not find the frost heaves to be bad, but we had upgraded our suspension on our van and drove slowly, but we know some RVs find them very unenjoyable.
What type of vehicle do you need for the Alaska Highway?
Any vehicle, minus electric vehicles, will work fine on the Alaska Highway! Since the road is paved (minus construction) and there is no off roading required, it is suitable for both small cars and also large RVs. We know of people who have done the Alaska Highway with huge Class A RVs, plus tow vehicles.
We personally think this is the ultimate RV/van life road trip! By having a home on wheels, you can be super flexible in where you drive everyday and will be able to have more comfort along the way! However, you could also do this drive in a passenger vehicle and just stay in a tent or at different lodges/hotels along the way.
Crossing the border
Depending on where you’re starting your Alaska Highway journey, you will cross at least one border, so you will need your passport and to know these important things below!
As of January 2023, you no longer have to be vaccinated to enter Canada and the ArriveCan app is no longer required.
What not to bring
To be honest, it’s very confusing what you can and cannot bring. You can find the rules for the US here and the rules for Canada here.
But our rule is to try to always cross with an empty fridge. Besides firearms, meat and produce are the items they will ask about the most. We tried to have an empty fridge when we crossed into Canada and also into Alaska, so we had no issues.
But when we crossed back into the US months later, we misjudged how much we could eat beforehand and had some produce and eggs in our fridge. We declared them and our fridge had to be searched and they took a variety of items.
So to play it safe, we’d suggest bringing no produce, meat, or eggs with you. If you do have those items, make sure to declare them. You cannot get penalized for having items if you declare them (they’ll just get taken), but if you do not tell them and you get caught later, you can get fined.
Also, you are NOT allowed to bring pepper spray into Canada. It is considered a weapon. You can, however, bring bear spray. We have this bear spray and made sure to declare it when crossing.
Crossing with pets
If you’re bringing a pet, you will need to declare them at the border. You’ll also need to make sure you have a copy of their rabies vaccination and that you only bring dog food in its original packaging, which has to be less than 20 kg (44 lbs). We have never been asked for the vaccination record, but it is required to have it on hand.
For US Citizens, we highly recommend getting NEXUS, which makes crossing the border a breeze! However, you will only be able to use this crossing into Canada, as the Alaska border does not have a NEXUS line.
Where to sleep
Since this is a road trip, your lodging will likely change every night. It seems that most travelers on the Alaska Highway are RVers or van lifers, so you will stay in your home on wheels, but the location of your home will vary. There are lodges, campgrounds (for tent campers), and hotels along the way if you’re driving a car and cannot just pull over on the side of the road like we can. If you plan on staying in many hotels and motels on your journey, be sure to make reservations ahead of time so that you can ensure you have a room.
We will list recommended places to stay for each section of the drive, including free camping options, developed campgrounds, and lodges and hotels.
Curious how we find free campsites? Check out our detailed guide to free camping to learn which tools we use, rules to follow, and other tips!
What to bring to drive Alaska Highway
Tire repair kit and a spare
You’ll be driving thousands of miles and getting a flat tire or having engine trouble, especially in areas without any services or cell service, is a concern.
Make sure you pack a tire repair kit, have at least one spare tire for your trip, bring an emergency tool kit, and carry any fluids you might need to keep your vehicle running smoothly (like DEF for the diesel folks out there!).
Enough food and water
There are some places to eat and get groceries along the way, but with a long road trip like the Alaska Highway, you never know what may happen. For example, in 2022, just weeks after we got into Alaska, a washed out bridge caused part of the Alaska Highway to close, which stranded many travelers, caused three day long detours, and also limited semi trucks from delivering food to the more remote communities along the way.
With that said, it’s a good idea to carry more food (and water!) than you think you need, especially non perishable items, just in case you break down, you decide to spend more time in one area, or a bridge gets washed out.
The Milepost is known as “the bible of North Country travel” and is a large, annual travel guide to all of the routes to and in Alaska, with mile by mile descriptions and information about lodging, where to eat, things to see and do, and tons more.
Anytime you mention driving to Alaska, you will be told to buy The Milepost. Some people had told us they had it open as they drove and followed along mile by mile, but we never opened it once while driving.
In our opinion, while The Milepost is useful, it is also very overwhelming and includes much more information than we felt we needed, which caused us to spend a lot of time sifting through it for the information we wanted.
We’d still buy it again and suggest you do the same, but we personally used it more as a research tool before driving the Alaska Highway, not during. However, we are very much planned travelers, so spontaneous travelers may feel differently.
We spent many hours before driving the Alaska Highway researching things to do, checking the hours of the businesses, and making a day by day itinerary, including where to stop for fuel. And The Milepost did help us figure out stops to make and where to get fuel, but we also found many more stops by watching YouTube videos and reading blogs (like ours!). 😃
Download offline maps & documents
Since you may not have cell service for multiple days of the drive, we highly suggest downloading offline maps (both Google Maps and AllTrails maps), plus any documents you may need before you hit the road. We kept our itinerary on a Google Sheet, so we made sure to have that downloaded, plus the routes for any hikes we wanted to do.
Want to get 30% off an AllTrails+ membership? Click this link or use our code aplusk30 (you must redeem this code on the website, not the app)!
We use AllTrails+ on every single hike and it is the most helpful hiking tool out there! Some of the features we love are offline maps (so we can navigate even without cell service), wrong-turn alerts, and its 3D maps feature, so we can get a feel for trails before we hike.
We always carry our Garmin inReach Mini when we hike or backpack and it has come in handy several times on our adventures, mostly to text family (not for SOS reasons thankfully)! But it was also a useful tool for this drive! We used it daily to keep our family updated on our drive, when we didn’t have cell service.
If you’re doing any hiking, make sure to bring the appropriate hiking gear with you (see what all we take here!). We also always recommend having the 10 essentials on you, which can come in handy both for hiking or for your road trip!
You’re likely to see lots of wildlife along the highway and having binoculars is a must! Adam got these Bushnell H20 Roof Prism binoculars for his birthday in 2021 and we love them!
There is plenty of wildlife to see when driving the Alaska Highway, especially bears. While we mostly just saw black bears, which are less aggressive than grizzly bears, we know of others who encountered more grizzlies. Regardless of the bear type, we always carry bear spray in bear country, just to be safe.
As we mentioned earlier, you can purchase bear spray in the US and bring it with you over the border or you can find it at many stores along the highway.
Although we didn’t experience much of a problem with bugs and mosquitos compared to what we expected, there is a reason they joke that the state bird of Alaska is the mosquito. For our trip we bought a Thermacell and brought bug spray with DEET.
You might not think to bring your swimsuit to Alaska, but along the way you’ll want your swimsuit to dip in Liard Hot Springs, one of our absolute favorite spots along the Alaska Highway!
Podcasts and music to listen to
No road trip is complete without some groovy tunes and fun podcasts! We recommend a podcast called Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet, which is a podcast where they read negative reviews in a dramatic fashion. Make sure to download any podcasts or music for offline use!
You will definitely want to bring a camera with you on this adventure! The best camera is the one you have at the moment, but if you’re curious what cameras and gear we use, check out our gear list.
Since you’ll be crossing international borders, you’ll need your passport!
Many of the campgrounds and some businesses along the way only take cash, so make sure to have some Canadian currency on you! We will be noting the cost for many places on this guide and these prices will be in the currency of the place we are talking about.
Our Exact Alaska Highway Itinerary
Below is our exact Alaska Highway itinerary, with the hours of driving for each day noted, which we hope is a good starting point to hopefully help you figure out how to organize your days driving the Alaska Highway.
Day 1: We arrived in Dawson Creek after spending days driving up from Vancouver.
Day 2: We spent the morning in Dawson Creek and drove just past Fort Nelson to the KM 536 Rest Area. (5 hours, 40 minutes)
Day 3: We drove from the KM 536 Rest Area to Muncho Lake, with a stop on the way at Stone Mountain Provincial Park. (2 hours)
Day 4: We dove from Muncho Lake to Teslin, Yukon, stopping at Liard River Hot Springs, the Sign Post Forest, and some other sights along the way. (6 hours, 40 minutes)
Day 5: We drove from Teslin, down to Carcross, and up to Whitehorse. (2 hours)
Day 6: We spent half of the day in Whitehorse and then headed to Kluane National Park. (2 hours)
Day 7: We spent the day exploring Kluane National Park, plus had an unplanned detour to Long Ago People’s Place. (3 hours, with 2 hours being the detour)
Day 8: We made it to Alaska, ending our drive in Tok! (4.5 hours)
As you can see, only a couple days required driving over 5 hours, so overall, this was a very doable itinerary and allowed us to experience a lot of what the highway had to offer. However, when (not if!) we do the Alaska Highway again, we do hope to spend longer than 7-8 days.
Our favorite stops on the Alaska Highway
We will be diving deeper into the Alaska Highway below, but here’s a quick look at our top highlights along the drive!
- Tetsa River Lodge Cinnamon Rolls
- Stone Mountain Provincial Park
- Muncho Lake
- Liard River Hot Springs
- Watson Lake Sign Post Forest
- Carcross Desert (slight detour)
- Emerald Lake (slight detour)
- Long Ago Peoples Place
- Kluane National Park
What would we do differently?
In the future, we’d like to extend our time in the region between Stone Mountain Provincial Park and Liard Hot Springs, so that we could go on more hikes in Stone Mountain Provincial Park, as well as Muncho Lake, plus spend more time at Kluane National Park, which was a HUGE highlight for us.
We also enjoyed Whitehorse, but were able to spend more time there on the way back from Alaska, which regardless of which route you take, will be on your itinerary, so you can always save some things to do there for the way back.
A complete breakdown of the Alaska Highway
For the next and final part of this guide, we will break down the Alaska Highway by each section, with details on what to expect, amenities and services, things to do, and places to stay.
We have also created this custom Google Map above, which you can download to access on your phone, which will include the majority of the stops we are listing below.
To download this map, you will want to click the rectangle in the top right corner of the map, which will open it on your Google Maps app. However, this will not automatically populate the map on your phone anytime you have Google Maps open, so to access it again in the future, click “saved” on the bottom part of the app, then “maps”, and you should be able to see it as a saved map.
Note: This information below is all based on our visit in 2022 and we cannot guarantee that things will be the same for future years.
Dawson Creek, BC (Mile marker 0)
You have made it to Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway! Dawson Creek is the jumping off point for your grand adventure and is the best opportunity to load up on groceries, water, use a dump station, and make any last minute adjustments to your rig or get any maintenance completed.
It’s here in Dawson Creek where thousands of troops stepped off the train in 1942 to begin working on the Alaska Highway. Dawson Creek was an important town for supplies and construction of the highway and makes for an exciting first stop on the journey!
Things to do
If you have a little extra time to spend in Dawson Creek before hitting the road, here are some things to do in town.
Photograph this exciting occasion!
The #1 thing you MUST do in Dawson City is take a photo with the “World Famous Alaska Highway” sign! After over a year of dreaming about this trip, getting to stand at this sign and snap a photo was surreal!
There is also a Historical Milepost 0 marker just a quick walk away that you can snap a photo at.
Visit the Visitor Centre
We highly recommend popping into the visitor centers in the major towns along the Highway if you’re interested in getting more information, plus up to date information on the weather and road conditions ahead of you. The Visitor Centre in Dawson Creek had helpful information, plus Alaska Highway souvenirs.
Also in the Visitor Centre is the NAR Station Museum, which is accessible by donation ($5/person). This was a great place to visit to learn more about the history of Dawson Creek!
Walter Wright Pioneer Village
The Walter Wright Pioneer Village is a replica pioneer village with a general store, church, and school house that shares the history of the pioneers who settled in the Dawson Creek area. Admission is by donation!
Places to eat
During our time in Dawson Creek we grabbed breakfast and coffee at beans&barley, which is a super cool spot! Not only do they have delicious food and coffee, but they also have an indoor golf range! What a combo!
The inside is large with a rustic, yet modern design and they served the coffees in beautiful mugs on a wooden platter, which were little touches that just added to the overall vibe and presentation.
As for the food and drinks, we got an Americano and butterscotch latte, a breakfast burrito which was top notch, and the Cobb Bowl, with delicious homemade dressing.
They do offer WiFi, but if we remember correctly, it was through Telus or another Canadian provider and we had a hard time accessing it.
More places to eat in Dawson City:
Cell Service: Cell service is great in Dawson Creek!
Fuel: There are many fuel options here in town to choose from.
Water fill up and dump station: Dawson Creek has a FREE town dump station on the east side of town. There are 4 dump stations and potable water. We used this spot to fill up water and it was pretty busy, so expect a small wait. There is also a free dump station at the Mile 0 Campground.
WiFi: Free WiFi is available at the Visitor Centre and there is also a library in town!
Grocery Stores: Safeway (we went here and it was nice!), Dave’s NOFRILLS, Save-On-Foods
Laundry: GCM Wet Cleaner and Laundromat. If you stay at the Mile 0 Campground, there is laundry there as well.
Where to stay
Mile 0 Campground
We stayed at the Mile 0 Campground and it was perfect for one night right before we hit the road! This is a large campground with RV sites with full hookups, ranging from 15 to 50 amp, as well as a dry camping area. We camped in the camping area which is basically a big grassy lot where you can park or set up your tent wherever you’d like.
There is coin laundry (it was $2.50 for wash and $0.25 to dry for 12 minutes when we stayed), free hot showers, and WiFi that really only works in the main building where the laundry and showers are.
The campground is open May 1 to October 1 and we did request a spot in advance, but there appeared to be spots available, as it seems like mostly a one night stop for people.
Northern Lights RV Park
Another option in town is Northern Lights RV Park. They have RV sites with full hookups (30 and 50 amp), cabins, and tent sites. They offer laundry, WiFi, and showers.
The Holiday Inn Express is the best option hotel-wise in the area! If you don’t want to stay the night in Dawson Creek, you can also drive an hour north to Fort St. John. We will list some hotels there in the next section!
A Staybridge Suites will also be open soon and would be a great option if you want a kitchen!
Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, BC (Mile marker 0 to 283)
The first big leg of the drive, at least for us, when leaving Dawson Creek is the stretch to Fort Nelson. Along the way you’ll pass Fort St. John, another decent sized town about an hour north of Dawson Creek, and then from there to Fort Nelson you’ll experience just uninterrupted nature.
Before driving the Alaska Highway we had read that this stretch was pretty boring. And while it may not be as scenic as later parts of the drive, it was a lot more beautiful than we thought it would be!
We booked it through this section so we could knock out miles and spend more time in the areas with more things to do, but we did enjoy this stretch from the van window! It had tons of trees and some mountain views along the way.
As for driving conditions, this stretch of the Alaska Highway was very straightforward. The road is mostly straight with not many curves and one thing we loved is that the trees are set back from the road a bit, which made it feel safer with the risk of wildlife running out.
We found the Peace River District part of the drive (the majority of this section) to be very smooth, but once we entered into the Northern Rocky District, the road was a bit rougher and had more construction.
Things to do
As mentioned, there isn’t much to do along this stretch of drive. One cool thing to check out though is Kiskatinaw Provincial Park, which is a few miles off the highway. This little detour will take you on a portion of the old original Alaska Highway and the 531 foot Kiskatinaw Bridge, which is the only original timber bridge built along the Alaska Highway still in use today.
Make sure to check its status in advance though. It was closed during our visit due to landslide risk.
Cell Service: We had cell service basically this entire drive!
Fuel: There are a couple places to get fuel between Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson. Fort St. John has multiple options, plus you can find fuel at Race Trac Gas and Buckinghorse River Lodge in Pink Mountain, BC and at the Sikanni River Campground & RV Park (gas only).
Water fill up and dump station: There is a dump station with potable water in Taylor if you forgot to fill up and empty in Dawson Creek. Sikanni River Campground & RV Park
Where to stay
If you want to knock out an easy hour of the drive from Dawson Creek, you can stay in Fort St. John along this stretch. There are a handful of hotels here including:
Duhu Lake Recreation Site
This recreation site at mile marker 154.5 has 7 dry campsites next to Duhu Lake. Like most recreation sites in Canada, there is no fee and no reservations required!
Sikanni River Campground & RV Park
Located at mile marker 159.4 is the Sikanni River Campground & RV Park. They offer RV sites with hookups, cabins, as well as dry campsites. Amenities include coin operated showers, laundromat, WiFi, and a convenience store.
Buckinghorse River Lodge
The Buckinghorse River Lodge is located at mile 175, about halfway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, and has a restaurant, fuel station, motel, and campground.
Andy Bailey Regional Park
This dry campground is just a few miles south of Fort Nelson. It costs $17 CAD (cash only) per night for a site and is just a short drive off the highway and would be great if you need a quick one night stay.
On this stretch of the drive there are lots of places you can pull off for a night. Many of them are highway pull outs or rest areas. One of the best options is Loon Lake, which even has an outhouse! We suggest looking at iOverlander for other options as well.
Fort Nelson, BC (Mile marker 283)
Fort Nelson is the next major town along the Alaska Highway. It began as a fur trading post for the North West Fur Trading Co. and remained a “pioneer community” until the 1950s, when it finally gained electricity, running water, and other modern day conveniences.
This will be the largest town before making it to Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory and you’ll find most of the services and necessities you’ll need here, along with an interesting historical stop.
Things to do
Fort Nelson Heritage Museum
This museum has tons of small and large artifacts and equipment that detail the history of the Fort Nelson town and area. You’ll be able to view the vintage car collection, many of which are from the World War II era when the highway was being built, as well as loads of items from the different industries, including forestry, fire fighting, mining, trapping and hunting, and so much more. This is a great stop for families to learn about Fort Nelson and stretch your legs!
Places to eat
We didn’t eat in Fort Nelson, but Northern Spice Pizza & Donair looks yummy! There are also many popular food chains like Subway, Boston Pizza, Domino’s, A&W, and Tim Horton’s.
Cell Service: There is good cell service in Fort Nelson. Make sure to take advantage of it, as it’ll soon be gone!
Fuel: Fort Nelson has a handful of fuel options to choose from.
Water fill up and dump station: There is a free dump station next to the Visitor Center
WiFi: There is free WiFi at the Visitor Centre (open daily 8 AM to 7 PM in the summer).
Grocery Stores: IGA Fort Nelson, Save-On-Foods, Down to Earth Health Stop
Where to stay
Triple “G” Hideaway
This campground has sites with full hookups (most are 30 amp), plus coin operated laundry and shower facilities. And most importantly…ice cream!
Fort Nelson to Stone Mountain Provincial Park, BC (Mile marker 284-371.5)
From here you’ll traverse through the Rocky Mountains, yes those Rocky Mountains! This stretch of the drive is home to the Northern Rocky Mountains, which is considered by some to be the northern terminus of the longest mountain range in North America. Others argue that they actually go up into Alaska, but regardless, this stretch of the Rockies is very beautiful and is one of the best parts of the drive!
The road conditions were pretty good along this stretch of the highway with some steep inclines to navigate, winding roads, and of course the possibility of construction projects! Even though there was still lots of snow in the mountains, there was no snow or ice on the roads.
Things to do
Get cinnamon buns
Cinnamon buns are a very popular food item on the Alaska Highway. We aren’t 100% sure why and we tried researching it, but couldn’t find a solid answer. We are not mad about it though!
Some of the most highly touted cinnamon buns are said to be from the Tetsa River Lodge (Milepost 375), who claims to be the “cinnamon bun centre of the galactic cluster.” We couldn’t pass up a claim like that, so we decided for our one cinnamon bun on the drive, we’d enjoy theirs. And we are so glad we did. They were super tasty and HUGE!
We also read that these are made in small batches throughout the day so that the buns are fresh as people arrive! During our visit, they opened at 7 AM, so it’s a good spot to grab an early bite to eat and some coffee before a long day of driving.
While we only tried Tetsa River Lodge’s cinnamon buns, we made friends along the drive who tried multiple and they voted that Tetsa River Lodge had the best…so don’t miss these! But if you want some other options, here are a couple other popular spots:
Johnson’s Crossing Lodge (Milepost 836 | 930 km)
Double G Service (Muncho Lake)
Cell Service: As soon as we left mile marker 335.7 (KM 536 Rest Area) we lost cell service until Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory. For us, this was 2 days of driving without any cell service or connectivity.
At Tetsa River Lodge you can find a cafe, campground, fuel, fresh water and a dump station, and WiFi.
Fuel: If you forgot to fill up in Fort Nelson, the Tetsa River Lodge has fuel.
Water fill up and dump station: The Tetsa River Lodge has water and a dump station, but we are not 100% sure if it is open to the public.
WiFi: The Tetsa River Lodge also has WiFi in their lodge!
Grocery Stores: There are no grocery stores along this stretch.
Laundry: Tetsa River Lodge
Where to stay
We stayed at the KM 536 Rest Area our first night on the Alaska Highway and it was a good spot! It helped us get a bit past Fort Nelson and closer to the next day’s activities. It’s just a pull off on the side of the highway, but is very wide and has a safe distance from the road. And despite there being some trucks, it was a quiet night’s sleep.
The rest area is also known as Steamboat Mountain Summit and has restrooms, garbage bins, and a viewpoint to check out, if it isn’t fogged over like it was when we stayed!
Just after this rest area you will likely lose all cell service until Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. If you need to download any last minute maps or information, this is your last chance.
Another boondocking option nearby is the Muskwa River Recreation Area, about 40 minutes west of Fort Nelson.
Tetsa River Lodge
Not only do they have super popular and delicious cinnamon buns, but they also have a campground, cabins, cafe, and fuel. There are 30 RV sites with full hookups, including 15 amp power, for $30 per night and tent sites for $20. There are showers and a washroom for guests as well.
Tetsa River Regional Park Campground
The Tetsa River Regional Park is a small campground on the Tetsa River just a short drive off the highway. There are 25 dry campsites that cost $20 per night, with taxes and firewood included!
Stone Mountain Provincial Park, BC (Mile marker 371.5 to 380.7)
One of our favorite stops and portions of the drive on the Alaska Highway was Stone Mountain Provincial Park. This park is more than 25,000 hectares of mountain wilderness, rivers, and lakes, where you can camp, hike, fish, canoe or kayak, and more! And if you’re lucky, you may spot a caribou (or two or three!) while here.
Things to do
Flower Springs Lake Trail
During our time in the park we hiked the dog friendly (on-leash) Flower Springs Lake Trail, which is about 10.3 km (6.4 miles) with 318 km (1,043 feet) of elevation gain.
The trail begins from the Summit Lake Campground right on the highway and for the first part, you’ll hike along an unpaved access road and after about 1.4 miles you’ll reach the official trailhead (don’t forget to register!). From here it gets better and better!
Once getting to the official trailhead, the hike gets better and better! You go from being mostly surrounded by trees on the unpaved road to having sweeping views the entire rest of the hike!
You will cross some creeks, go over some bridges, be surrounded by mountains, and if you’re lucky, see some wildlife. We saw a caribou on the trail, plus stone sheep off in the distance, climbing on rocks.
However, one very important thing to be aware of is snow. When we hiked in early June there was still a lot of snow and ice along the trail. We knew that safety wise we were fine (no avalanche threats), so we hiked anyways, but there were moments where we postholed to our knees. While some may not enjoy that, we had a blast and it only made the hike more memorable.
Another hurdle on our hike was the weather. The day we hiked it was foggy and we weren’t very optimistic that we’d see the magnificent views this area has. We decided to hike it anyway and lucky for us as we got closer to the lake, the clouds began to part and we were treated to epic snowy mountain scenery!
Normally Flower Springs Lake has gorgeous, turquoise water, but it was iced over during our visit. However, we could tell that the color was vibrant underneath the ice. The ground was also a bit brown due to the recent snowmelt (later in the summer would be more green). But even so, it was still such a stunning hike. And the best part? We had it all to ourselves!
This hike was proof that you shouldn’t let cloudy and foggy weather stop you, because the weather in the mountains can change quickly (for better or worse!) and you may still luck out with some views!
Other trails to hike
We would love to have more time here in the future, so we can hike more trails. Some trails we’d like to check out next time are:
Baba Canyon Trail
Distance (round trip): 6.3 km | 3.9 miles
Elevation gain: 330 m | 1,085 feet
This hike takes you through a canyon, to a gorgeous, bright blue swimming hole, surrounded by mountains!
Summit Peak Trail
Distance (round trip): 7 km | 4.3 miles
Elevation gain: 744 m | 2,440 feet
This hike offers some great views of the Northern Rockies!
Kayak or canoe on Summit Lake
Next time we’d love to bring out our kayak and paddle on Summit Lake. When we were there it was still frozen over, so we had fun skimming rocks across the icy surface instead!
Cell Service: There is no cell service in or near the park.
Water fill up and dump station: Water pumps are available in the Summit Lake Campground, but there are no dump stations.
Grocery Stores: None.
Where to stay
Summit Lake Campground
The park is home to the Summit Lake Campground, which has 28 first come, first served sites at $20 per night (cash only). It is open early May to mid September and during our visit, the campground was pretty empty.
Stone Mountain Provincial Park to Muncho Lake, BC (Mile marker 380.7 to 409.2)
The BEST stretch of the Alaska Highway, in our opinion, is the drive from Stone Mountain Provincial Park to Muncho Lake. The scenery was STUNNING, with gorgeous mountains, waterfalls off the side of the road, rivers, and more. It’s everything we hoped for when driving the Alaska Highway!
Cell Service: There is no cell service.
Fuel: At the Toad River Lodge you can find most services including fuel and propane, plus tire repair, laundromat, post office, and more!
Water fill up and dump station: None.
WiFi: The Toad River Lodge has WiFi for guests, as well as for a small fee per device for others.
Grocery Stores: None, but there is a restaurant at the Toad River Lodge!
Laundry: Toad River Lodge
Where to stay
Toad River Lodge
The Toad River Lodge has an RV campground with full hookups, plus a lodge and cabins.
Poplars Motel and Campground
The Poplars Motel and Campground is another option nearby, with an RV park with full hookups, plus cabins.
Muncho Lake, BC (Mile marker 437.3)
Quite possibly the most popular and gorgeous stop on the Alaska Highway is Muncho Lake! This massive, gorgeous turquoise colored lake gets its name from the Kaska language, where “muncho” means “big lake.” And that is an accurate description! It is 7.5 miles long and a mile wide and is reported to be 730 feet deep at its deepest point!
When you leave Muncho Lake be sure to stop at the overlook on the north end of the lake. It’s an incredible view with some information boards about the lake and Kaska people.
Things to do
At Muncho Lake Provincial Park you can camp, fish, kayak, and hike. The park encompasses more than just the lake and provides habitats for tons of wildlife including caribou, moose, stone sheep, mountain goat, bear, and tons of other animals.
One of the best ways to experience the lake is on the water. There are multiple places to launch a kayak, including right from your campsite at the Muncho Lake Provincial Park campgrounds, which we HIGHLY recommend staying at, or at Northern Rockies Lodge, which has rentals too!
Stone’s Sheep Trail
The Stone’s Sheep Trail is a 6.1 km (3.8 mile) round trip hike with just under 305 km (1,000 feet) of gain up the wash of a mountain stream. This looks like a fun hike with interesting rock formations along the way, a river, and you’ll find a waterfall if you keep going a couple hundred meters past the end of the AllTrails trail. It is very rocky, so make sure you can handle a rocky trail and bring some poles!
Mineral Lick Trail
Just north of Muncho Lake is the Mineral Lick Trail, which is a short trail (1.1 km/0.7 miles) with views of the amazing rocks, mountains, and the Trout River. With all the minerals in the surrounding rocks you’ll have a good chance of seeing goats, caribou, elk, and sheep on the trail!
Cell Service: There is no cell service in the park.
Fuel: At the Northern Rockies Lodge you can find most services including fuel and just before you get to Muncho Lake you’ll find Double G Service which has fuel as well, plus postal service.
Water fill up and dump station: There is a dump station at the Northern Rockies Lodge, if you choose to stay there, plus the RV sites do have water.
WiFi: The Northern Rockies Lodge has WiFi, but we hear it is VERY slow. Double G Service also has WiFi, but we wouldn’t count on it either 😊.
Grocery Stores: Double G Service has a convenience store, cafe, and giant cinnamon buns, and there is a restaurant at the Northern Rockies Lodge.
Laundry: Northern Rockies Lodge
Where to stay
There are two campgrounds in Muncho Lake Provincial Park to choose from. Both campgrounds have water (not for filling up RVs, just to fill up bottles or pots/pans), toilets, and trash cans. And from what we saw, almost all campsites are right on Muncho Lake. If you’re in an RV, van, or tent, staying here is a MUST!
These are both first come, first served campgrounds and during our visit in early June, we had no issue getting a spot in the afternoon. We are pretty confident it wasn’t 100% full, but if you go later in the summer it likely will get busier.
You will pay the fee for the campground in cash to one of the park rangers, who will come by at night to pick up the fee and also sell firewood. We weren’t sure if they sold firewood and wanted a fire earlier than they arrived, so we bought some from the lodge down the road for $14 CAD.
Strawberry Flats Campground
This campground is on the south end of the lake and has 15 first come, first served dry campsites for $20/night. We did not stay here, but heard great things! It is very similar to the MacDonald Campground, so you could stop here first, see if you like a site, and if not, continue on!
The MacDonald Campground is located toward the north end of Muncho Lake and has 15 first come, first served dry campsites. This is the campground we stayed at (site #9) and it’s one of the best campsites we’ve ever had! Most of the campsites are set right on the water’s edge and it’s just an incredible scene.
Northern Rockies Lodge
The Northern Rockies Lodge has an RV campground, motel, hotel, and lakeshore chalets, which all range in price and are a great option if you are traveling by vehicle and need somewhere more comfortable to stay than a tent.
Double G Service
Double G Service has a motel that you can stay at as well!
Muncho Lake to Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, BC (Mile marker 444.9 to 477.7)
This stretch of the Alaska Highway leads to one of our favorite stops along the drive and while it doesn’t offer a ton to do, it does offer something pretty unique…bison!
This stretch of the highway is a common spot to see a small herd of Wood Bison. In the early 1900s, all the Wood Bison in Northern British Columbia were killed off, but in 1995 the Canadian government reintroduced a herd of 49 Wood Bison at Nordquist Lake, east of the Alaska Highway.
You now have a VERY high chance of seeing these from the road (you will 100% see evidence of them on the road…if you know what we mean! 💩)
As neat as it is to see these giant bison, be careful as you drive through the area, as they spend a lot of time near the highway and have caused many vehicle collisions. And NEVER EVER get out of your car and approach a bison. They can and will hurt you if they feel threatened.
There are no services between Muncho Lake and Liard River Hot Springs.
Liard Hot Springs, BC (Mile marker 477.7)
Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is a MUST when driving the Alaska Highway! It’s the perfect stop to rest and relax after a long journey so far and to get ready for the many miles ahead!
These hot springs are the second largest in Canada and the public portion is called the Alpha Pool, which ranges in temperatures from 42ºC to 52ºC (107ºF to 125ºF). When looking at the pool, starting to the right is the hottest temperature and then it progressively cools down as you go to the left. We thought the optimal temperature was just a shade toward the hot end from the middle. This is where lots of people tend to congregate so we weren’t the only ones!
Some logistics for visiting the hot springs
- The park opens at 7 AM and we HIGHLY recommend going early!
- There is a $5/person fee to visit during the peak season.
- Getting to the hot springs requires a short walk on a boardwalk.
- Make sure to bring bear spray! Bears DO hang out around here and there have been incidents in the past, so please carry bear spray and do not go to any areas that are prohibited. There are electric fences to keep you safe and there will be a ranger at the hot spring to monitor the pool and for bears. We didn’t see any bears!
- There are changing rooms and toilets by the hot springs, which are designed in very nice, wooden modern looking buildings.
The hot spring is a fun and relaxing experience on its own, but what made it even better was chatting with others in the pool, learning where they are from, and swapping travel stories. This was the first time on our entire Journey to Alaska that we got to chat with others who were also driving to Alaska and it was a blast to finally be with people who were on the same journey as us.
We even met a couple at the hot springs that we ended up becoming friends with and saw several times during our time in Alaska, both coincidentally and on purpose!
After soaking in the hot spring, make sure to make the super quick walk to the hanging garden to see some waterfalls!
Cell Service: There is no cell service.
Fuel: The Liard Hot Springs Lodge has fuel.
Water fill up and dump station: The Liard Hot Springs Lodge has a dump station and water, although recent reviews on Google had many people complaining that the campground was on a boil water notice and it wasn’t safe to drink in 2022.
WiFi: The Liard Hot Springs Lodge has WiFi, but it is remote and we hear it sometimes does not work.
Grocery Stores: The Liard Hot Springs Lodge has a convenience store with some grocery items for sale.
Laundry: Liard Hot Springs Lodge
Where to stay
The Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is the best campground option in the area. It has 53 sites, which cost $27 and includes the hot springs fee, but there are no hookups or dump stations. You can reserve most of them in advance, with some being first come, first served. However, it typically fills up everyday in the summer, so plan ahead!
Can’t get a site? You are not out of luck! They have an overflow parking area for RVs, which costs the same amount, but has no amenities. This isn’t ideal, but it is an option!
We did not personally stay here, as we wanted to stay at Muncho Lake instead (about 50 minutes south), but if you have the time, we’d suggest a night at Muncho Lake, plus a night here, as you will be able to access the hot springs multiple times by camping here!
Liard Hot Springs Lodge
At the Liard Hot Springs Lodge they have sites for RVs and tents, cabins, and a motel. In the campground there are showers, toilets, and a dump station. There is also a restaurant on site with a convenience store.
Liard Hot Springs, BC to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (Mile marker 477.7 to 612.9)
This is the final stretch of drive in British Columbia! You will actually hop in and out of BC and the Yukon a couple times, before reaching the official Yukon crossing right by Watson Lake.
At this point, you may be eager to get to Watson Lake and the Yukon Territory, but if you have a little bit of time, there are a couple cool stops to make along the way.
Things to do
Smith River Falls
Smith River Falls is a huge 35 m high (115 feet) and 10 m wide (33 feet) waterfall accessed by a 2.6 km (1.6 mile) one lane gravel road, which is not suitable for RVs. Once you get to the small parking area you’ll walk down some stairs to get to the river level.
There used to be a boardwalk here to give you a better view of the falls, but there was a wildfire in 2009 that caused the boardwalk to be removed. Without the boardwalk, the only way to get to the falls is to skirt along the river, which did NOT feel safe to us. So unless the boardwalk is rebuilt, we’d suggest skipping the trail and just viewing the falls from the parking area, which is still impressive!
Whirlpool Canyon/Whitewater Canyon
Whitewater Canyon is a quick stop off the highway that leads to a scenic area overlooking a swirling area of the Liard River. You’ll see tons of logs and debris floating and swirling in the river. It’s one of the best displays of just how powerful water can be!
A local we met at the Liard River Hot Springs suggested we stop at this spot and told us that years back river boats would attempt to travel through this area and depending on which slot between the rocks they’d go through, they would have a difficult time and some would capsize and be destroyed, losing all their cargo and many lives!
Cell Service: We had no cell service in this area until close to Watson Lake, YT.
Fuel: There are a couple options, including Coal River Services (gas and diesel) and Contact Creek Lodge (gas and diesel, they claim to have the best prices in the surrounding area). Contact Creek Lodge also has vehicle services, like tire services, towing, etc.
Water fill up and dump station: Both the Coal River Services and Contact Creek Lodge have water and dump.
WiFi: Coal River Services and Contact Creek Lodge also have WiFi.
Grocery Stores: Coal River Services has a convenience store if you need any small items.
Laundry: Coal River Services
Where to stay
Coal River Services
At Mile marker 513.9 is Coal River Services, formerly Coal River Lodge & RV. The lodge has been here in a couple different iterations since 1949 and is under new management who is looking to improve and upgrade the experience for travelers. They offer full hookup RV sites, tent camping, motel rooms, washrooms and laundry facilities.
The Coal River Cafe offers what they claim is the “best bison burger on the highway,” desserts, and breakfast all day.
Contact Creek Lodge
Located just across the Yukon border is the Contact Creek Lodge. They do not have a campground, but you can stay in their lodge and if you need a place just to park for the night we read that they do allow you to overnight in their parking lot. They also have a coffee shop, fuel, and a convenience store.
Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (Mile marker 612.9)
Welcome to the Yukon Territory! Growing up, we never thought we would make it to the Yukon, so seeing the huge sign welcoming us to the territory was such an exciting moment for us on this journey!
After crossing into the Yukon, you’ll be in Watson Lake, which has all the necessities you might need until Whitehorse, plus a very unique attraction!
Things to do
Sign Post Forest
One of the most unique stops, not only on the Alaska Highway, but in all of our travels is the Sign Post Forest.
The Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake was created during the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942. A U.S. soldier named Carl Lindley spent time in Watson Lake recovering from an injury and was tasked with repairing directional signposts. When completing the job, he added a sign that showed the direction and mileage to his hometown of Danville, Illinois.
Eventually others followed suit and there are now over 91,000 signs here from all over the world, ranging from city and street signs, to homemade signs, to so much more!
You are able to add your own sign and the town adds more posts as they fill up, so we decided to make our own sign to add to the collection! We struggled to find something to make the sign out of, so we got a Beware of Dog sign and flipped it over, put a big sticker of our logo, and drew our van, Kona, and some scenery. If you visit the Sign Post Forest, try to go find it (you can get some hints as to where it is in this video).
The Watson Lake Visitor Centre has hammers to borrow, nails, and paint and the Watson Lake Home Building Centre in town can sell you wood for a sign if you need one!
Check out the Visitor Centre
The staff in the visitor centre is very friendly and can help you with any questions you may have about the highway or area. Inside there are helpful brochures and maps, as well as displays about the Yukon and Alaska Highway and its construction.
Northern Lights Center
The Northern Lights Centre is the only planetarium in North America that focuses on the northern lights! It has a 100 seat domed theater that shows a 1 hour film called Yukon’s Northern Lights. The film is offered every day in the summer, with several showings throughout the day. You can also see exhibits on the science and folklore of the aurora borealis and about the Canadian Space Program.
Watson Lake Recreation Centre
Watson Lake has a recreation centre that is open to the general public. There is a fitness room, swimming pool, bowling alley and more!
Places to eat
We did not personally eat in Watson Lake, but Laurie’s Bistro & Coffeehouse, which is located in the recreation center, looks to be like the best option.
Cell Service: We had cell service in Watson lake, but it goes away very soon after leaving. Don’t worry, you will get it back! We actually found the Yukon to have much better cell service than most of the BC part of the Alaska Highway.
Fuel: There are quite a few options including AFD Cardlock, Petro Canada Cardlock, Petro-Canada, and TEMPO Tags Watson Lake (we refueled here).
Water fill up and dump station: You can fill up and empty your tanks at Downtown RV Park and Wye Lake Park (free).
WiFi: Watson Lake Visitor Centre and Watson Lake Community Library both offer WiFi.
Grocery Stores: Watson Lake Foods Ltd is the only grocery store in town.
Laundry: There is no laundry to our knowledge.
Vehicle Services: If you need any help with your rig after the long drive up BC, Eramie Trucking can help you out!
Where to stay
A Nicer Motel
Air Force Lodge
Cozy Nest Bed & Breakfast
For a free camping option there is a spot along the Liard River that has cell service!
Downtown RV Park
The Downtown RV Park is a gravel lot with RV sites with full hookups, bathrooms, showers, WiFi, and an RV wash!
Watson Lake Campground
This campground is just north of the town of Watson Lake and has 40 campsites ($20/night) with 8 of them being pull through.
One bonus item to know about in the Yukon is that most of the government campgrounds come with free firewood! This is a huge perk in our opinion, even though we didn’t use it much. Keep in mind the wood is usually in a covered bin, but it could be wet and we noticed the wood was usually not broken down for you, so you’ll need an ax to split it. We unfortunately only had a small, dull hatchet so we couldn’t take advantage of this perk very often.
Watson Lake to Teslin, YT (Mile marker 612.9 to 776.5)
Right after leaving Watson Lake you’ll be back in remote areas, with tons of nature surrounding you. The drive starts out in the trees, but opens up to epic mountain views. It was a bit rainy and foggy for us, but even so, we were able to see so many stunning views!
This part of the highway is interesting for a couple reasons. Similar to on the way to Watson Lake, you’ll pop back into BC for a bit, before getting back into the Yukon, for good this time. Also, between Rancheria and Swift River, at mile marker 699.4 you will be on the Continental Divide.
When we did this stretch, we had to book it a bit because we had already had a long day and were trying to get to a stopping point by dinnertime, but there are some things to do along the way!
Things to do
Rancheria Falls Recreation Site
There is a short trail leading to an overlook of Rancheria Falls. This is a good leg stretcher to take a break from the road! This is a day use only recreation site, so no camping is allowed.
Stop at the Continental Divide
At mile marker 699.4, you’ll be on the Continental Divide! From here, water that flows west eventually drains into the Yukon River and then finally into the Bering Sea and water that flows east eventually drains into the Mackenzie River then flowing north and draining into the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. There is a pullout here with information signs, outhouses, garbage, and a great view!
George Johnston Museum (Teslin)
The George Johnston Museum shines light on a man named George Johnston who was a Tlinget and was known for his trapping and photography. He shipped a vehicle to Teslin on a paddlewheeler, 13 years before the Alaska Highway was built, and would hunt in this car on frozen Teslin Lake in the winter.
With his camera he captured images of inland Tlinget people near the towns of Atlin and Teslin. The museum has a small entry fee ($6/adult) and here you can see George’s car, a 1928 Chevrolet, lots of trapping equipment, learn about Tlinget culture, and see other family artifacts.
Teslin Tlinget Heritage Center (Teslin)
Located on Teslin Lake, the Teslin Tlinget Heritage Center shares Tlinget culture through exhibits, traditional demonstrations, food, and knowledgeable staff. They also sometimes offer homemade bannock with berry jam. We tried this at Long Ago Peoples Place (more on that soon!) and it is a nice little treat!
Cell Service: We had pretty decent cell service in this stretch. At the Teslin Lake rest area we had 3 bars of cell service.
Fuel: There are a handful of options including the Continental Divide Lodge, Yukon Motel & Lakeshore RV Park, and Nisutlin Trading Post.
Water fill up and dump station: The Continental Divide Lodge offers water and dump for guests.
WiFi: The Teslin Public Library offers free WiFi.
Grocery Stores: The Nisutlin Trading Post has a small amount of groceries.
Laundry: The Yukon Motel & Lakeshore RV Park has laundry!
Where to stay
Teslin Rest Stop
We stayed one night at this rest area right before you get to the village of Teslin. It has a really great view of the small village and the Nisutlin Bay Bridge. It’s just a gravel lot, but there is an outhouse and we had cell service, so it was a win for us!
Morley River Recreation Site
There are 4 sites at this free recreation site, which is located in the BC portion of this drive.
Big Creek Government Campground
There are 15 sites ($20/night) with some on the river’s edge and since this is a government campground, you can expect free firewood as well.
Teslin Lake Government Campground
This campground has 27 sites (6 pull through) and a kitchen shelter. The cost is $12 per night and firewood is included!
Continental Divide Lodge
The Continental Divide Lodge offers a campground, with hookups.
Teslin to Whitehorse, YT (Detour on the Klondike Highway)
On this part of the drive you have two options. You can keep going on the Alaska Highway or detour onto Tagish Road to the Klondike Highway, which is what we did and would recommend!
To take this detour you’ll turn left (south) near Jake’s Corner onto Tagish Road (Yukon 8) then once you get to Tagish you’ll turn right (north) onto the Klondike Highway (Yukon 2) which will take you back to the Alaska Highway, with some fun stops along the way.
This detour is about 107 km (66.5 miles), whereas going the Alaska Highway from the Tagish Road turnoff to where the Klondike Highway meets back up with the Alaska Highway is only 62 km (38.5 miles). So it’s not much more driving and it really adds to the experience, in our opinion!
Note: During our visit in early June 2022, a lot of the road to Carcross was gravel, but doable in any vehicle.
Things to do
Visit the world’s smallest desert
Here is something you may not expect to see in the Yukon…a desert! The Carcross Desert is known as the smallest in the world at 1.6 km². However, we read that technically it isn’t a desert because the area receives too much precipitation and that it is really just a collection of dunes. Even so, it’s still impressive as it’s one of the few dune systems in northwestern North America!
It formed after the last ice age, when ice melted and glaciers retreated, leaving deep valleys. Massive lakes formed around the glaciers then shrank, leaving beaches in between the mountains. Wind picked up sand from those beaches and carried them to this area, which formed the dunes. In fact, sand from the nearby Bennett Lake still helps form these dunes!
There is a parking area with restrooms where you can park and get out to explore the dunes. The surrounding forested mountains add to a pretty unique and interesting landscape! We had a blast here climbing to the top of the tallest dune and seeing incredible views of the surrounding area and Bennett Lake.
Admire the views of Emerald Lake
Just ten minutes north of the Carcross Desert is Emerald Lake. This is a gorgeous lake with striking blue and green colors. There is a huge pull off (with some informative signage) that makes for the perfect spot to admire the lake, as well as have a picnic lunch in your van or RV!
Drive to Skagway!
For an even better detour, you can continue about 1.5 hours south of the Carcross Desert to Skagway, Alaska, which looks like a beautiful town. We didn’t do that this time, but it’s on the list for the future!
Places to eat
The Bistro (Carcross)
Caribou Crossing Coffee (Carcross)
Wolf’s Den Restaurant (just southeast of Whitehorse)
Cell Service: We had pretty good service from Teslin Lake to Carcross!
Fuel: A few options include Johnson’s Crossing Lodge, Jake’s Corner, and Montana Services.
Water fill up and dump station: Caribou RV Park has water and Johnson’s Crossing Lodge has a dump station.
WiFi: There is WiFi for guests of the Caribou RV Park, but we hear it’s weak.
Convenience Store: You can get some items at Johnson’s Crossing Lodge and Jake’s Corner, but if you can hold out for Whitehorse you’ll have many more options!
Laundry: Both the Johnson’s Crossing Lodge and Caribou RV Park have laundry for guests.
Where to stay
Johnson’s Crossing Lodge
Just after you cross the Teslin River you’ll find Johnson’s Crossing Lodge, which is said to be one of the original lodges on the Alaska Highway. They offer motel rooms, an RV park and campground, and a cafe. We’ve read this is one of the better places to get a really good cinnamon roll.
Squanga Lake Government Campground
This is another Yukon government campground with 16 sites and offers free firewood for $20 per night on the shore of Squanga Lake.
Marsh Lake Campground
This is another Yukon government campground with 66 sites and offers free firewood for $20 per night. It is popular on the weekends and fills up quickly.
Six Mile River Resort
The self proclaimed “Yukon’s Finest Campground” is the Six Mile River Resort. They offer cabins, a campground, and a restaurant known as the River’s Edge Dining Room. The restaurant does not operate daily so if you’re hoping for a meal here, call ahead or check their Facebook page to find out when they will offer meals.
Caribou RV Park
This highly rated RV park and campground also offers cabins to stay in. There is a restaurant, walking trails, sundeck with music, car wash, dump station, and many other amenities.
Wolf Creek Campground
This is a busy campground just south of Whitehorse. It costs $20 per night for a site. In the park there is a boardwalk to an overlook of the Yukon River.
Northern Lights Resort & Spa
This is definitely the nicest hotel option in the area! The rooms are modern and the property itself is beautiful. And if you visit during the very late summer through winter, you may get to see the Northern Lights!
Spirit Lake Motel, Restaurant and RV Park
Spirit Lake has an RV campground, motel, restaurant, and ice cream!
Whitehorse, Yukon (Mile marker 887.4)
You have made it to Whitehorse,the largest city in the Yukon!
Whitehorse is named after rapids on the Yukon River, which resembled the flowing manes of charging white horses. While the area was home to First Nations for many years, it experienced a rush of prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush and the area grew as a staging and distribution center. The area boomed again during the construction of the Alaska Highway, as one of the largest camps on the road.
Today it is the capital of the Yukon, taking the title from Dawson City in 1953. In 2021, Whitehorse’s population was 28,201 and that makes up about 70% of the entire population of the Yukon!
Things to do
Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge
One of our favorite stops in Whitehorse was Miles Canyon. This canyon is located on the Yukon River, which is the second longest river in Canada at 3,190 km (1,982 miles) long.
First Nations used the nearby area as a fishing camp, and referred to it as Kwanlin, meaning “running water through canyon.” Later on, Gold Rush prospectors called it the Grand Canyon, and used it as the main thoroughfare when traveling North during the Gold Rush. Today it has a suspension bridge you can walk across to check out the canyon as well as other trails that follow the canyon!
Yukon Visitor Centre
At the Yukon Visitor Centre you can get all the information you may need about what’s happening in Whitehorse or for the road ahead. You can also use their free WiFi and enjoy a 15 minute film about the Yukon.
Check out a local event
Whitehorse boasts several festivals and events throughout the year including the Yukon River Quest Canoe and Kayak Race (mid June), Yukon River Trail Marathon (first sunday of August), and in February Yukon Quest which is a 1,000 mile dog sled race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks. You can see the event schedule here!
Walk the Millenium Trail
We loved walking the Whitehorse Millenium Trail during our time in Whitehorse. This waterfront trail traces the mighty Yukon River and connects several parks in town. It is a 2.3 mile loop, but during our visit, part of the west side of the trail was closed due to a recent mudslide so we walked back the same way we came. It’s a lovely walk and our pup Kona very much enjoyed it!
Yukon Beringia Centre
The Yukon Beringia Centre is a natural history museum focusing on the Bering Strait, which was once a 2,000 km wide connection between Asia and North America, allowing animals and humans to travel between the two continents.
Here you can learn about this incredible landmass through exhibits and other displays. One of the most fascinating things to see here is the body of a 7 week old wolf pup named Zhùr. The permafrost in this part of the world is a great preserver of paleontological finds like this wolf pup that lived 57,000 years ago!
It costs $6 per adult and less for kids and seniors, making it an affordable activity while in the area!
Yukon Transportation Museum
The Yukon Transportation Museum provides an interesting look at the history of transportation in the rugged and remote area of the Yukon. You can see a variety of automobiles, planes, and train cars!
This museum costs $10 per adult and less for kids and seniors.
SS Klondike National Historic Site
The SS Klondike National Historic Site is a must in Whitehorse! The S.S. Klondike is a sternwheeler boat that ran freight between Whitehorse and Dawson City along the Yukon River. There were two Klondikes that ran over the years, with the first hitting the water in 1929, and it was the first sternwheeler on the Yukon River large enough to handle cargo in excess of 300 tons without having to push a barge. It originally hauled ore, but over time began to haul passengers and cargo as well.
However, the first S.S. Klondike hit a rock wall and sank in 1936 and a second S.S. Klondike was built in 1937 to resume the tasks of the first. The second is the one you see here today and she was moved here from Dawson City in 1967.
Sternwheelers were a huge part of life for people who lived in the north country in the early days and during the gold rush as they were the only connection people had to the outside world. When the sternwheelers would pull up there would be crowds of people waiting to learn all they could about the world.
You can admire the sternwheeler from the outside for free or go on a tour with Parks Canada for a small fee. We didn’t go on this tour, but we did go on others in Dawson City, Yukon and they are WELL worth the very small price.
The MacBride Museum
Located right on the banks of the Yukon River, The MacBride Museum provides an encompassing look at the history of the Yukon. It is housed in the Government Telegraph Office, built in 1900 with over 40,000 artifacts and many galleries showcasing stories from Yukon First Nations, the Klondike Gold Rush, and so much more.
This museum costs $12 per adult and less for kids and seniors.
Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre
At the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, which is free to visit, you can learn about the First Nations’ history, traditions, and culture.
The Horse of Whitehorse
Don’t forget to snap a photo with the Horse of Whitehorse! It is a bit weird to get to, but if you drive down Range Road and turn right behind the fire department, you can park there and snap a photo!
Places to eat
Whitehorse is hands down the best food city you’ll encounter when driving the Alaska Highway! Here are some of the places we tried during our time in Whitehorse that we loved!
Klondike Rib & Salmon
If you only eat at one place in Whitehorse, make it Klondike Rib & Salmon! It is housed in the two oldest buildings still in use in Whitehorse and is a very popular restaurant. They focus on northern foods, like Fresh Northern Ocean Fish, smoked meats, and wild game meats.
We tried the Klondike burger and a full rack of ribs. Both were super delicious and filling!
During our time in Whitehorse we also ate at Night Market (a spin off of Wood Street Ramen), which offers Thai inspired dishes including Pad Thai, Green Curry, and other rice and noodle dishes. We highly recommend this place and if you go be sure to get the Bucket o Belly! It is, as the name suggests, a small bucket of pork belly with chicharones drizzled in sweet chili sauce…it is heavenly!
Also, the inside has a really cool decor theme with huge murals on the walls, string lights, bamboo, and other fun decor!
Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters
We also popped into Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters one afternoon and grabbed a couple iced coffees and they hit the spot! They also offer a large variety of whole beans!
Next time we’d love to visit:
Cell Service: We had full bars of cell service in Whitehorse, but once you get a bit out of town it goes away quickly!
Fuel: There are many options for fuel to choose from in town.
Water fill up and dump station: You can find water at Integra Tire and Auto Centre (they offer water for customers with RVs and other campers), plus Tags Food and Gas. Pioneer RV Park & Campground has a dump station!
WiFi: The Whitehorse Public Library is perfect for those who work on the road and just need WiFi for surfing the web and other low data requiring work. For content creators like us, the upload speed was very slow for our YouTube video uploading needs.
Because of our need to upload videos while in town, we tried basically every place with WiFi, including Tim Hortons and Yukon Visitor Centre, but found the best WiFi to be at Starbucks. We were actually able to upload a video here in a reasonable amount of time, plus use our stars to get some free drinks!
Grocery Stores: Whitehorse has tons of options for groceries, including Walmart, Save-On Foods, Real Canadian Superstore, and Wyke’s Your Independent Grocer.
Laundry: There are a couple laundromats in town, including Norgetown Laundry & Dry Cleaners and Public Laundromat. We used the Public Laundromat on our way back from Alaska and WARNING: the dryers are extremely hot! I had it on the lowest setting and I remember folding my clothes and some of the clothes were very hot to the touch, almost burning hot. Unfortunately a few items of our clothes shrunk, melted, or were ruined in their dryers. So maybe try Norgetown instead or just air dry your clothes!
Where to stay
There are a handful of options for boondocking near Whitehorse, but only a couple we could find that had cell service and were very close to the town. If those things aren’t important to you, there are plenty more to choose from.
Gravel parking lot on Fish Lake Road
We stayed here a couple nights and it was good for one or two nights. It is basically just a parking lot, which overlooks the area (the views rock!), but it does have a bit of slope to it, so you’ll want to pick your spot carefully to navigate that. It did have cell service though! There are also trash cans, but for some reason people think it’s better to just leave their trash on the ground…please don’t do that!
Pioneer RV Park & Campground
Campground and RV park just south of town with full hookups, dump stations, laundry facilities, showers, store, high pressure RV and car wash, and more!
Hi Country RV Park
This RV park is located close to Whitehorse along the Alaska Highway and offers full hookups, showers, laundry facilities, cafe, and more.
Best Western Gold Rush Inn
Raven Inn Whitehorse
Whitehorse to Haines Junction and Kluane National Park, Yukon (Mile marker 887.4 to 985)
After leaving Whitehorse, the next stretch of the drive along the Alaska Highway will take you to Haines Junction, where you can find Kluane National Park. This stretch of the road, at least for us, was off and on gravel, but it was manageable. And the views are phenomenal!
Things to do
Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs
If you’re looking for another hot spring experience (or a more luxurious one), check out Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs, just a 13 minute drive north of the Alaska Highway after leaving Whitehorse via the Klondike Highway and Takini Hot Springs Road.
Long Ago Peoples Place
Long Ago Peoples Place is a recreation of a traditional First Nations village where Champagne and Aishihik First Nations member Harold Johnson and Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation member Meta Williams share the history and culture of the Southern Tutchone people. And it was a HUGE highlight of our drive!
During the cultural tour they walk you through the forest and teach you about the different structures, including how they were built and used throughout the year. The tour will transport you back to a time when only wood, stone, and animal parts were used for everything they needed. And the best part is that it does not feel touristy at all!
Tours can be booked ahead of time by calling them or emailing them. Our visit was a very last minute decision and they were super kind and accommodating to allow us to go on a tour, but please contact them in advance to book. It was $41.50 (during our visit) per person, which included some bannock and tea as well!
Da Kų Cultural Centre
At the Da Kų Cultural Centre you can learn about Champagne and Aishihik First Nations way of life and culture through exhibits, tours, and artifacts.
Also in the Da Kų Cultural Centre is the Kluane National Park and Reserve Visitor Centre. This is where you can get all the information you’ll need for any adventures you’re planning on in the park.
Dezadeash River Trail
The Dezadeash River Trail in Haines Junction is a great option if you’re short on time or aren’t going to Kluane National Park and Reserve. During this 3.2 km (2 mile) round trip hike you’ll get decent mountain views, walk through a forest, and walk along the river.
Places to eat
Village Bakery & Deli
Bean North Coffee Roasting Co Ltd
Cell Service: We had off and on cell service in this area, with it mostly being off
Fuel: For fuel you can stop at Otter Falls Cutoff, Haines Junction FasGas, Petro Express, and Race Trac.
Water fill up and dump station: You can find water and dump at Otter Falls Cutoff, Petro Express, and Haines Junction FasGas.
WiFi: You can get WiFi at the Village Bakery & Deli!
Grocery Stores: After leaving Whitehorse grocery stores will be hard to come by until Tok, AK. You’ll find plenty of convenience stores attached to gas stations, but only one grocery store, The Little Green Apple in Haines Junction.
Where to stay
Pine Lake Campground
This is a Yukon government campground with 42 dry sites for $20 per night. Amenities include firewood, outhouses, drinking water, and good fishing in the lake.
Otter Falls Cutoff
The Otter Falls Cutoff offers a motel and RV campground with full hookups and dump station.
FasGas RV Park
The FasGas station in Haines Junction offers an RV park with hookups during the summer.
Wanderer’s Inn Backpackers Hostel
Raven’s Rest Inn
Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon (Mile marker 985)
Kluane National Park (pronounced “clue-on-knee”) is a stunning park that covers over 20,000 square kilometers of mountain wilderness, tons of wildlife, the largest non-polar icefields in the world, and the highest peak in Canada and second highest in North America, Mount Logan at 5,959 m (19,551 ft).
It is one of the most jaw dropping sections of the Alaska Highway and is well worth spending a day or two. The park itself is both on the Alaska Highway, west of Haines Junction, as well as south of Haines Junction and we will share things to do for both of these regions below.
Things to do
Check out the Visitor Centre
The Kluane National Park and Reserve Visitor Centre is located in Haines Junction. This is a large facility where you could spend an hour or a whole day learning about the park and its history. You can check out the 3D topographic map, watch the park film, see footage of the first mountaineers climbing Mount Logan, join in interactive exhibits, speak with the friendly park staff, and more.
Kathleen Lake is a beautiful, easy to access lake with an epic mountain backdrop, where you can fish, kayak, and hike. If you only have time for one spot, this is a good one, as it’s very quick!
King’s Throne Peak
Distance (round trip): 12.7 km | 7.9 miles
Elevation: 1,373 m | 4,507 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions
At 12.7 km round trip (7.9 miles) and 1,373 meters (4,507 feet) of elevation gain, the King’s Throne Peak Trail is a beast, but don’t be discouraged by the height and distance. One great thing about this trail is that you don’t have to make it all the way to the end to have amazing views!
The beginning of the trail goes through the woods along Kathleen Lake with limited views of the water, but after about 1.4 miles you’ll begin to climb and be treated to wonderful views of the lake and mountains in the distance. The trail is VERY steep and the terrain is slick gravel, so you’ll want to have shoes with good grip.
We knew we wouldn’t make it all the way to King’s Throng during our hike, as we were still a bit early in the season and the upper part of the trail was snow covered. However, on the way to King’s Throne you’ll come across the “seat,” which is a popular spot to stop if you don’t want to go all the way to the top and is about 10 km (6 miles) round trip.
Our goal was to make it to the seat, but there was some weather rolling in and we could hear thunder in the distance, so we decided to turn around early, which we were bummed about, but even going about 3.2 km (2 miles) up the trail the views were insane!
And now we just have more reason to go back! 😃
Soldier’s Summit Trail
The Soldier’s Summit Trail is a short trail (3.5 km / 2.2 miles) that follows an old stretch of the original Alaska Highway and takes you to a viewing platform where the Alaska Highway ribbon cutting ceremony was held in 1942. At the viewing platform there are information boards with audio tracks that tell the story of the construction of the highway from different perspectives.
While the historic significance of this trail is worth visiting on its own, it also has great views of Kluane Lake and is home to the iconic red chairs that are placed within Canada’s national parks.
More trails to check out
While we can’t speak to these trails personally, some others that we were interested in hiking were:
Saint Elias Lake
Distance (round trip): 7.7 km | 4.8 miles
Elevation gain: 324 m |1,062 feet
Sheep Creek Trail
Distance (round trip): 12.9 km | 8 miles
Elevation gain: 730 m | 2,395 feet
Take a flightseeing tour over Kluane National Park or Icefield discovery
Kluane National Park is absolutely massive and almost all of it is inaccessible by foot so to get the ultimate view of it, a flightseeing tour would be epic and a bucket list experience!
There are a handful of operators who offer flightseeing tours including Kluane Glacier Air Tours Ltd.
Another life changing experience would be to go with Icefield Discovery and stay a night or more at their Glacier Camp. The experience will teach you how to travel safely on glaciers, how glaciers work, and their importance to the environment. Yes, it is pricey, but wow it would be incredible!
There are no services in Kluane National Park and Reserve and cell service was very limited, to non-existent. The closest services will be in Haines Junction, which we listed in the previous section.
Where to stay
There are many boondocking options to choose from along Kluane Lake and a couple near Kathleen Lake. Below are the two we stayed at.
Camping near river
We camped at this spot one night and it was spectacular! You can drive onto the rocks right next to the river and it feels like you’re camping on the river bed. Either direction you look up or down the river you have amazing mountain and forest views. It’s a very quiet and peaceful spot that is easy to get to!
We stayed at this spot for our final night in the Yukon. It’s located right on Kluane Lake, has amazing views of the Ruby Range mountains, and is easy to access! Kluane Lake is the largest lake in the Yukon and covers over 154 square miles.
Many people had reported seeing grizzlies here around the time we went, but we did not see any. But please keep a clean camp, keep your pets on a leash, and make noise in order to not startle any bears.
Kathleen Lake Campground
The Kathleen Lake Campground is located in Kluane National Park and Reserve and is the only established campground in the park. There are 38 campsites with drinking water taps, firewood, bear-proof storage lockers, and outhouses. Sites are $26 per night and are first come, first served. If you do plan on having a campfire, you’ll need to purchase a campfire permit for $9.25 per site per day.
Another fun accommodation in Kluane National Park are oTENTik rentals. These are a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin that looks like a glamping experience and they look super cool! When you arrive at the site your bed and campsite are already set up for you!
These are great for a small group of up to 6 people with 3 sleeping areas including 2 queen size mattresses and 1 double. Also inside is a table and chairs, wood-burning stove with wood, 2 burner propane stove (propane not included), and other amenities! There are five of these available in Kathleen Lake Campground. Reservations are highly recommended.
You can also camp in the backcountry in the park, which would be an amazing experience! You’ll need to purchase a backcountry camping permit if you’d like to pursue this option and you can learn more about the rules and requirements at the park website.
Kluane National Park to the Alaska Border (Mile marker 985 to 1186.3)
This was a very exciting part of the drive for us. After a week of driving the Alaska Highway, we left Kluane Lake bright and early to finish the drive to Alaska!
And as if the excitement of getting to Alaska wasn’t enough, we had three of our best wildlife sightings ever on this stretch of the drive. Shortly after leaving our campsite at Kluane Lake, I somehow noticed a grizzly bear off in the brush on a hillside (our first grizzly ever!). We also encountered a mama black bear and her adorable cubs right on the side of the road, but in between the two encounters was quite possibly the coolest of them all…we saw a wolf!
We noticed two cyclists in the road, one of which was off his bike, and we were a bit confused. And then we noticed a lone wolf walking in the road. The cyclist later told us that the wolf started to approach him and he got off his bike with his bear spray ready. Absolutely terrifying!
Beyond the wildlife sightings, this stretch of the road was the worst stretch of road we had in Canada on the Alaska Highway. When we drove it there were some frost heaves, but we didn’t find them to be too bad, although others may disagree.
Over the years this stretch of drive has been very challenging for construction teams. The road is built on permafrost which if that melts can cause the road to sink down, then when it refreezes it expands and causes the frost heaves and cracked pavement. The technology for repairing the road has improved so it isn’t as bad as it has been before, but there are still always repairs that need to be made and are currently being worked on so keep your eyes out for orange flags on the side of the road and slow down.
Things to do
There isn’t much to do on this stretch other than admire the mountainous and lake filled scenery and at this point you’ll most likely just want to get to Alaska since you’ll be so close!
Cell Service: There is not much cell service past Haines Junction to the Alaska border. We had just enough service after leaving Kluane Lake to get a very exciting text message from friends that their daughter was born, but it almost immediately went away and we didn’t have reliable service until Tok, Alaska.
Fuel: There are quite a few fuel options on this stretch, including FasGas (Destruction Bay), Talbot Arm Motel Fas Gas (Destruction Bay), Kluane Energy (Burwash Landing), Fas Gas Plus (Beaver Creek), and 1202 Motor Inn (Beaver Creek).
Water fill up and dump station: The Beaver Creek Visitor Centre has water and the Beaver Creek RV Park & Motel has both water and dump.
WiFi: Beaver Creek Visitor Centre
Grocery Stores: None
Laundry: Both Discovery Yukon Lodgings and Buckshot Betty’s have laundry for guests.
Where to stay
Congdon Creek Campground
This is a popular Yukon government campground with 62 first come, first served sites for $20 per night. If you are tent camping you are required to camp in one of the 20 sites within the electric fencing, which will keep you safe from bears.
Lake Creek Campground
The Lake Creek Campground is a Yukon government campground with 27 sites for $20 per night.
Snag Junction Campground is a Yukon most westerly campground and has 15 sites for $20 per night.
Mount Logan Lodge
Mount Logan Lodge is located in a gorgeous setting beneath the nearby mountains and offers a variety of really nice accommodations that range from luxury lodge rooms to outdoor experiences. They offer a variety of packages for almost anyone’s preferences.
Destruction Bay Lodge
This is a no frills RV campground and motel near Kluane Lake.
Discovery Yukon Lodgings
This establishment offers cabins, RV sites with full hookups, hot showers, tent sites, and more.
Located in Beaver Creek Buckshot Betty’s offers motel rooms, WiFi, kitchenettes, laundry facilities, and has a restaurant on site.
The Alaska Border (Mile marker 1186.3)
WELCOME TO ALASKA!!!
There are no words to express the feelings we had when we caught our first glimpse of the Welcome to Alaska sign. After 5 months of driving through the United States and up Canada, we FINALLY made it! It was an emotional moment and one we will cherish forever.
After getting your obligatory photo with the Welcome to Alaska sign, it’s time to head to US customs! This is a very simple border. During our visit, there was only one lane and one person working, so it did take a bit of time, but it went smoothly for us. The agent asked us about citrus, tomatoes, peppers, and raw chicken/meat. He didn’t care if we had pears or cooked chicken and beef, but we did see a bucket of produce that others had to leave behind.
For those of you with NEXUS, like us, you will not be able to use it here, so be prepared to wait in the regular line.
NOTE: Once you cross the Alaska border you’ll need to roll your clocks back 1 hour because the time changes to Alaska Standard Time.
Alaska Border to Tok, AK (Mile marker 1186.3 to 1279.2)
After crossing into Alaska, the rest of the drive was pretty quick for us. We were too exhausted from the many long days of driving to really stop and do anything (plus, it didn’t appear there was that much to do). The scenery on this part of the drive was a lot different than the last part of the Yukon. It’s more densely forested and boggy, with mountains in the distance.
The road on this stretch was also the worst, in our opinion. It felt like as soon as we crossed into Alaska the road was much worse. There were lots of potholes and we also got stuck in a long construction delay.
Tok will be the first little town you’ll encounter in Alaska and has most of the necessities you’ll need to restock and be ready for the road ahead. We stayed here for a few days once we got to Alaska and on our way out of Alaska, mostly to just have some amenities, but other than that, it doesn’t offer too much to see or do.
Places to eat
Need a bite to eat in Tok? Fast Eddy’s Restaurant always looked busy and Soho Thai Takeaway & Espresso Cafe looks tasty!
Cell Service: We had good cell service in Tok on both AT&T and Verizon.
Fuel: The Naabia Niign gas station on the way to Tok is a good option and said to be cheaper. Once in Tok you’ll have a plethora of fueling options, including Shell, Tesoro, Chevron, and Vitus Energy.
Water fill up and dump stations: The Chevron in Tok has a dump station and water.
WiFi: The Visitor Centre/library has WiFi, but we cannot speak to how strong it is.
Grocery Stores: Three Bears Alaska is the only grocery store in town. It is a small town grocery store with a decent selection, but much higher prices and the variety is limited. So you may need to be flexible on what you eat!
Laundry: Vitus Energy has a public laundromat, but many of the campgrounds offer laundry facilities as well.
Where to stay
Tok River State Recreation Site
The Tok River State Recreation Site is located on the Tok River east of town. There are 27 dry campsites that cost $20 a night.
Tundra RV Park
This is a large RV park with 78 sites with hookups, showers, dump station, vehicle wash, and more.
We stayed here our first few nights in Alaska. We were there in mid June and it was a very quiet campground. They have all the usual amenities like showers, laundry, a communal space for a campfire and an RV wash. Normally they have a fun pancake toss at night where you can win free breakfast, but it was unfortunately not happening during our visit.
Alaskan Stoves Campground
On our way out of Alaska we stayed here a few nights and liked it better than Sourdough Campground. It was not very busy at the end of August and they have all the usual amenities, including showers and laundry. What we also liked about it was that each site came with a grill! The price was also the cheapest in the area!
A Hyde Away Inn B&B
This bed and breakfast is pet friendly.
Fox ‘n Fireweed Cabins
Tok RV Village Campground & Cabins
Tok to Delta Junction (Mile marker 1279.2 to 1387)
HOORAY! You made it to the end of the Alaska Highway!
We ended our Alaska Highway journey in Tok, but did eventually drive the Tok to Delta Junction portion. While we did not stop and do anything along the way, we can say that this is a beautiful stretch of drive.
Cell Service: We had very limited cell service when out in this area.
Fuel: You can find fuel at the Silver Fox Roadhouse, Delta Petro-Wash, and USA Gasoline.
Water fill up and dump stations: The Delta Petro-Wash has a free dump station and water.
WiFi: The Delta Visitor Centre and Delta Community Library have WiFi, with the libraries working 24/7.
Grocery Stores: The grocery options are VERY limited out here. They used to have a store, but it appears to be closed.
Laundry: Snowed Inn has laundry for guests!
Places to eat
Big Delta Brewing Co.
Buffalo Center Drive-In (known for their buffalo burgers!)
Where to stay
Delta State Recreation Site
Located just outside of town, the Delta State Recreation Site offers 25 dry campsites.
Quartz Lake State Recreation Area
This large, popular campground is located on Quartz Lake and has 103 sites split between 2 camping areas, Lake Campground and Lost Lake Campground, both cost $15 per site.
Snowed Inn RV, Campers & Tents
This campground offers RV sites with full hookups, dump station, laundry, shower facilities, and more. They are only open seasonally May-September.
Ready to tackle the Alaska Highway?
Pin this guide to driving the Alaska Highway to help you plan!
Thank you for creating and sharing this with your readers. I watched every episode of your journey and loved every minute. You two make a great team.
Thank you so much for reading Steve!
Great travel information! Can’t wait to do this epic drive.
It’s the best! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
This is AWESOME!! Thanks so much for all the details. I love that you shared your exact google map with spots marked. This is such a great bonus. For some reason this trip just seems so daunting to me and I don’t usually have trouble planning trips. This helped make it seem doable. You two are so much fun to watch and offer entertainment mixed with such solid travel destinations. YOU ROCK!
We are so glad you found it helpful! It is a very daunting trip, we struggled too! But it is SO worth it 😍😍
Thank you for this super helpful resource. I am planning a trip to Alaska this summer and found all of your detailed information super useful. The only thing that would make it better is a printer-friendly version so I could print out the most helpful parts to bring along on the journey (unless I missed it and you already have that). Thank you again for the great YouTube videos and super helpful blog posts!
Hi Kate! We are hoping to create an eBook of this in the future, but just don’t have the bandwidth currently to make it happen. We are glad you found it helpful!