Driving To Alaska [Complete Guide Based On Our Experience]

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Dreaming of driving to Alaska?

Imagine embarking on a journey through the wilderness, encircled by stunning landscapes teeming with moose and the occasional grizzly bear, embracing total freedom and experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.

But is it safe?

Concerns about safety naturally arise. Embarking on a lengthy drive to the Last Frontier, surrounded by wildlife, raises questions. What if the gas runs out, the car breaks down, or encounters with wildlife become too close for comfort?

First, take a moment to breathe.

Let me show you just how incredibly fantastic - and safe! - this road trip can truly be! We drove to Alaska from Los Angeles - and back! - in the summer of 2017. It was:


The experience of a lifetime - for real.

And I want you to take that awesome road trip, too! So, in this post, I'm going to share with you everything that I've learned about the ultimate road trip - to Alaska and back.

I learned by doing tons of research AND by taking the trip ourselves. If you're new to this blog and wondering who we are, check out this page.


This post is long. I'm going to talk about a lot of things. We'll start with an overview of the routes to Alaska (via Canada), then talk about the dangers of driving to Alaska and how to avoid (or mitigate them).

That would include information about the type of vehicle you need, cell coverage, and, yes... bear safety.

I'm also going to walk you through the technical stuff like passports and costs. Finally, we'll talk about possible itineraries for driving to Alaska from various points of origin in the Lower 48.

Oh, and I'll share our drive-lapse videos and photos, too!

Whew! Sounds like a lot to take in? It is!

But then again, if you're going to take the ultimate road trip to Alaska, you need to know what you're doing (and exercise your patience muscles, too - this is going to be a long road trip, so you better be able to take in reading a long blog post 😉 ).

Alaska Route 3 aka George Parks Highway and Alaska landscape aerial view in fall with the morning sun light, at the south of Denali State Park at Susitna North, Alaska AK, USA.

Driving Through Canada (You Have To If You Want To Reach Alaska By Land)

Yes, I know, this is pretty obvious. You have to look at the map to see that there's this HUGE chunk of Canada between the Lower 48 states and Alaska.

There's a whole lot of Canada between Alaska and the Lower 48
There's a whole lot of Canada between Alaska and the Lower 48

Depending on where you're driving from in the US, you could end up spending most of your trip in Canada.

It really is that big.

Your route is bound to take you through the Canadian province of British Columbia as well as the Yukon (which isn't a province per se but a Canadian territory).

At this point, you may be wondering:

Where Does The Route Go Through In Canada?

These days, drivers have two options:

  • The Alaska Highway via Dawson Creek.
  • The Stewart-Cassiar Highway via Prince George.

A detailed highlight of the road from Anchorage, Alaska to Washington DC

As you can see, the Stewart-Cassiar joins the Alaska Highway as you're leaving British Columbia and entering the Yukon.


You can choose one of the two routes between the southern Canada-US border and the Yukon Territory. Once in the Yukon, the roads converge into one.

The Alaska Highway

This is the main route from the Lower 48 into Alaska.

Some technical information:

  • The Highway begins at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ends at Delta Junction, Alaska.
  • Length: 1,387 miles
  • The Alaskan Highway is paved in its entirety and open all year long.

The Alaska Highway is legendary. Let me tell you the story of this Highway in a nutshell. Feel free to skip the short history lesson in the colored blocks below.

Let's go back in time to the early 1940s. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US was at war with Japan, putting Alaska under threat. Alaska is a faraway state that is unreachable by land.

That's a problem when you have a war going on and you need to mobilize forces. What do you do? You make a road. Fast. The problem? There's this other large country right where you need your road to go.

So, the Americans passed along a request to the Canadians, asking for their permission to get their army into Canada and start paving the road.

The U.S. and Canada had been discussing the construction of a road to Alaska since before the war, recognizing its strategic importance. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the urgency increased.

Both governments quickly agreed to the project, and thousands of U.S. troops arrived in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to begin work on one of World War II's most ambitious construction projects. The agreement included a stipulation that the Canadian portion of the highway would be turned over to Canada six months after the end of the war.

Building a road through northern Canada was a huge challenge. This was truly a heroic feat, as the Army Corps of Engineers worked between March and October 1942 to complete a road all the way between British Columbia and Alaska.

History lesson over.

Today, the Alaska Highway is an established road paved all along the route. Driving the Alcan is still the ultimate road trip in North America, for its sheer length and the fact that it goes through a mostly empty country.

Here's a timelapse (or drivelapse) we shot of a section of the road between Junction 37 and Whitehorse.

This is a short sample - about two minutes long. No sound. You can get a good gauge of the excellent road conditions on the Alcan, traffic density, and how quickly the weather keeps changing on a summer day (this was taken on August 12th).

Should You Drive The Stewart-Cassiar Highway On Your Way To Alaska?

The traditional route to Alaska was along the entire Alaska Highway, from Dawson Creek in British Columbia to Alaska. In the map above, that's the route on the right.

The Stewart-Cassiar route on the left is relatively new. Also known as Highway 37, the Dease Lake Highway, and the Stikine Highway, this road was established in the 1970s and was not paved in its entirety until recent years.

How about now?

We drove the Stewart-Cassiar Highway in the summer of 2018. It was fully paved but also fairly narrow and curvy in parts. Please take a look at this short drive-lapse we made while driving the Stewart-Cassiar to Alaska.

I included clips that show you how difficult it is to bypass other vehicles. Also, note the last section in the video where we had to drive on gravel. That actually happens on both roads occasionally - but clearly, this one is a narrower road.

If you're considering driving to Alaska via Highway 37, here are my pros and cons.

Pros Of Driving The Stewart-Cassiar Highway To Alaska

  • This route is a little bit shorter, saving you 120 miles (or 210 kilometers).
  • The route takes you through a different and beautiful part of Canada. In terms of scenery, expect to see more mountains and green forests.
  • You can take a short detour from the road to watch some bears in Hyder.
    To whet your appetite, here's a short clip from our visit to Hyder:

Cons Of Driving The Stewart-Cassiar Highway To Alaska

  • The road is generally narrower (compared to the Alaska Highway) and has no shoulder in some parts.
  • It can be harder to take over slow vehicles.

So, what's the bottom line?

Both roads are worth traveling through. We did exactly that last summer and enjoyed it both ways. The Cassiar is a gorgeous area, and I'm not sorry, but we took the road less driven.

That said, having visited once, I'm pretty sure our future drives to Alaska will be via the Alaska Highway just because it's easier to drive and is probably a bit safer in that sense.

Which brings me to the next topic.

Is Driving To Alaska Dangerous?

Traveling through a vast wilderness with no cell coverage, surrounded by wildlife and the elements...

Isn't this a dangerous road trip?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, this is an adventure. We are road trip veterans (including traveling coast-to-coast three times via various routes). Driving to Alaska was by far the wildest of our road trips.

There were risks along the way, yes, but we knew what we were going (or driving) into. We were as prepared as we could be without going overboard with unnecessary measures.

I want to help you be prepared and feel relaxed.

This is what this blog post is all about. So, let's talk about the risks you could be facing while on the road and how to avoid or mitigate those risks.

Road by Horse Tail falls under the rain near Valdez, Alaska

The Dangers Of The Road Itself

Whether you follow the Stewart-Cassiar Highway or the Alcan all through, these roads need to be treated with respect. Both are fully paved and generally are kept in very good condition.

When we were driving in August, we only encountered the famous frost heaves and potholes along a short section of the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse. But they were massive.

Driving earlier in the season, you're likely to come across more road issues. The harsh winter in these areas takes its toll on the asphalt, and road repair takes time.

There is also the danger of animals on the road.

Many road sections are generally empty, with vehicles passing by sporadically, once every few minutes. That means animals - including large ones - see no problem with feeding on grass near the road or even getting on the road.

This is even more of a problem during cool days when the road can be warmer than the surrounding areas.

Moose by the side of the road
Moose by the side of the road - this is how you want to see them

The real scary part?

Realizing that if anything were to happen - you're on your own. There is no way for anyone to call 911. There is no cell coverage and no phones by the side of the road.

You'll have to wait for the next driver to see what happened and then drive on to look for help. And the nearest hospital could easily be a 10-hour drive from where you are. Crazy, I know.

What can you do? I've put together a list of tips based on our own experience and that of other travelers.

Safety Tips For Driving To Alaska

The Seward Highway curves beneath cloudy skies as it passes by snow-covered mountains at the edge of an ocean inlet, Driving to Alaska: The Complete Guide (Based on our experience)

  1. Stay alert - don't be lulled into a false sense of security just because you don't see other vehicles on the road. If you're getting tired, pull over and do what you need to freshen up.
  2. Slow down when you don't have a good line of sight. If there's a moose on the road around the next curve, will you be able to press the brake on time? If the answer is in the negative, then slow down.
  3. We found that the Canadians were really good at marking the large potholes by placing little flags on both sides of the road. When you see those flags - slow down and watch for potholes.
  4. Avoid driving in the dark. That's when the road is truly empty, and large animals are more likely to be on the road, enjoying the warmth of the asphalt. Dawn and Dusk are also riskier, so keep your eyes on the sides of the road and slow down. People really do hit moose in these areas. Often.
  5. Watch the weather forecast, especially if you're driving in spring or fall. There can be fresh snowfall on the highway as late as May and as early as late September. And if temperatures drop under the freezing point at night, the roads could be icy as well.
  6. Just drive safely. Don't pass the vehicle in front of you unless it's safe to do so, even if it's a slow RV.


The main risk with this road trip is that of an accident on the road. Whether due to animals, the weather, potholes, or just getting too tired and sleepy.

Now that we've covered road accidents let's talk about the other challenges - and potential dangers - of driving to Alaska.

There Is No Cell Coverage On The Way To Alaska.

At least, there is none along long stretches of the road north of Prince George or Dawson Creek. We couldn't get a signal in many of the small settlements along the way either.

We used AT&T with a plan that included Canada, so that may have had something to do with that. They say that T-Mobile is better for when you're in Canada. Either way, don't count on reception, especially not data reception, while on the Alaska Highway.

This changes once you cross the border to Alaska, by the way.

We picked a signal pretty much as soon as we crossed into Alaska. We had coverage as good as - and sometimes better than - what we had in most US states.

Pole dancing Black Bear along Alaska highway near Watson lake, Yukon, Canada

So What If Your Car Breaks Down?

There are services along the road (at least during the summer months). If your car breaks down, you'll have to hitch a ride with another motorist and get to the nearest town.

You should be able to find a mechanic there who could drive you back to your vehicle and either fix or tow it into their garage. It probably won't be cheap because of the distance. Depending on how reliable your car is, you may consider budgeting for an emergency like that.

Unlike past years, you don’t need two or more spare tires to survive this road trip. One would be enough. Most new vehicle models have an extra tire. If that’s the case, you don’t have to bother looking for another full-size spare.

Is Personal Protection Necessary?

When planning a road trip through remote areas, such as the journey from the Lower 48 to Alaska, travelers often consider various means of personal protection, given the wilderness and wildlife encounters expected along the way.

The question of whether to carry items for self-defense arises, particularly for those unfamiliar with the rugged terrain and potential wildlife encounters in these regions.

In the context of this journey, it's important to understand that while personal safety is paramount, the need for protective devices is not universally necessary.

The preparation for such a trip involves not just packing and planning routes but also considering the legal and practical aspects of carrying any form of protection across international borders, specifically through Canada, which serves as a significant portion of the route to Alaska. Here's a link to the Canadian guide relevant to this topic.

Do I Need Bear Spray?

This is a reasonable question.

During our road trip to Alaska and back, we encountered numerous bears, most of which were Grizzly (or Brown Bears as they are called in Alaska). Some of these bear sightings were not just from the roadside.

We visited certain locations specifically to observe bears, such as Hyder and Haines.

The bears spotted alongside the road were completely harmless, of course. There is no risk to you when viewing a bear from inside your vehicle. However, there is some potential risk to the bear itself.

Let me explain.

I read an article in a local newspaper in Whitehorse (the capital of the Yukon) about their bear problem. It was late August, and the local authorities had already shot over 50 bears dead because these bears had ventured into people's backyards.

Once a bear loses its fear of humans and starts seeking food in residential areas, there is a real danger of a bear encounter escalating into an attack. Consequently, these bears must be put down to prevent them from harming someone.

What does that have to do with you?

According to the article, part of the problem stemmed from tourists getting too close to bears. Upon spotting a bear by the roadside, people would not only stop to observe but also get out of their vehicles and gradually approach the bear to capture better photographs.

This behavior contributes to the bear becoming accustomed to human presence. Such bears would be more likely to venture into local neighborhoods in search of food, having lost their natural fear of humans.

Back to the bear spray.

During our Alaska trip, we visited Haines, AK, one of the reasons being to observe bears feeding on salmon in Chilkoot Lake. And we did indeed witness this.

At one point, a young Grizzly appeared on the bank across from us. For 15 minutes, that bear was jumping from one small island to another, catching and devouring large, fat salmon, occasionally pausing to eat its prey.

The bear continued island hopping and eventually ended up on our side of the river. It then proceeded to catch fish along the bank, moving towards us. At one point, the bear was less than 20 feet away, happily occupied with searching for fish in the water.

The bear then lifted its face, looked at us (I swear it seemed surprised!), and then continued fishing, passing right by us.

This was the most exciting and memorable bear-viewing experience we ever had.

And it was also scary.

I was glad to have bear spray with me, and for the first and only time during our travels across North America, I actually took it out of its belt pouch. Here's the video so you can see for yourself just how close that bear got to us.

Now, the bear didn't attack, and all was well. Would the bear spray have helped us in case of an attack? It's hard to say. We do know how to use it and have gone through several bear safety lectures. Still, it was a scary situation.

So, I'm not saying you should get bear spray, but I'm also not saying you shouldn't. I think, at the very least, it helped me feel more secure.

Tip: You can carry bear spray across the border between Canada and the US, but it must be labeled as bear spray.

What Kind Of Vehicle Do You Need To Drive To And From Alaska?

Virtually ANY vehicle in good condition can make the journey to Alaska. You could drive around in a sedan without any issues, as the roads are suitable for such vehicles.

During our trip, we rented an SUV, and if we were to go again, we would probably opt for an SUV or a truck. This preference isn't because 4WD is necessary but because having a heavier vehicle can be advantageous in the following scenarios:

  • You encounter an animal on the road (if you were to hit a moose, for instance, it would be better to be in a heavy-duty truck with a substantial grille).
  • There is snow or ice on the road (4WD can provide added traction in such conditions).

While a sedan is certainly capable of making the trip, a larger and heavier vehicle can offer additional safety and peace of mind, particularly when dealing with potential wildlife encounters or adverse weather conditions along the way.

Is Driving To Alaska Hard?

The driving itself is not overly difficult, but the journey is mostly long and awesome.

While some sections of the road are winding and narrow - especially the part where you're crossing the Canadian Rocky Mountains - it's not any more challenging than typical mountain driving in the western regions.

The Alaska Highway in Kluane National Park
The Alaska Highway in Kluane National Park

In fact, certain stretches are surprisingly easy to navigate. The roads are well-paved, with more than one lane and very little traffic. During these portions, you can engage cruise control and remain alert for any animals that may cross the road.

The real challenge lies in the sheer distance you'll be covering rather than the driving itself. However, the journey is incredibly scenic and awe-inspiring, making the long stretches of driving more than worthwhile.

While the winding mountain roads require attentiveness, overall, the driving conditions are manageable for an experienced driver, allowing you to focus on enjoying the breathtaking landscapes along the way to Alaska.

When Is A Good Time Of The Year To Drive To Alaska?

As mentioned earlier, the Alaska Highway is open throughout the year, which means you could technically drive to Alaska even in wintertime if necessary.

However, I would advise against attempting the drive during winter months, especially if you lack experience with extreme winter driving conditions.

Winter driving to Alaska is not for the faint of heart or those unfamiliar with such challenges. While the road is regularly cleared of snow, if you happen to be caught in a blizzard, you'll have to pull over and wait for hours – possibly longer – for the snow-plowing vehicles to arrive before you can follow them very slowly to the next town.

And the situation can become even more precarious:

Let's say your vehicle breaks down on the road. During summertime, while inconvenient and costly, someone will eventually come along, and you won't be in any actual danger.

In winter, however, a breakdown can become a life-threatening situation. Without a way to keep warm while waiting for rescue, which could take an extended period, a simple car problem can potentially turn deadly.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you plan your drive to Alaska during the warmer summer months when the weather is more predictable, and assistance is more readily available should any issues arise along the way.

What Do You Need For Your Trip?

Driving to Alaska is an extensive, long road trip.

There are approximately 3,000 miles between Los Angeles and the Alaskan border, and more like 4,000 miles if you're aiming for Fairbanks or Anchorage (which you likely will be, as there's not much point in just reaching the border and turning back).

Here's the perspective:

The iconic coast-to-coast road trip from Los Angeles to New York City is about 2,700 miles. Driving to Alaska from most locations in the contiguous United States can be nearly double that distance.

So, as mentioned, it's a lengthy road trip, and you should pack accordingly.

How Many Days Does It Take To Drive From Los Angeles To Alaska?

Our journey from Los Angeles to Fairbanks took us three weeks, but we made some scenic detours and stopped frequently for sightseeing.

According to Google Maps, the total driving time is approximately 60 hours. If you were to drive 10 hours a day, you could potentially cover the distance in a week (allowing for some stops).

The duration clearly affects your packing requirements. You'll need to bring enough clothes, medications, and everything else necessary for an extended time away from home.

If you plan to travel to Alaska for a while and then drive back, as we did, the packing demands increase further.

Our entire road trip lasted nine weeks:

  • Three weeks for the drive to Alaska
  • Three weeks spent in Alaska
  • Three weeks for the return drive

Your packing list should include everything you'll need for the length of your stay, keeping in mind that there will be days when you won't have access to a pharmacy or even a store larger than a gas station convenience store.


Once in Whitehorse in the Yukon, you can purchase any necessary supplies. The same applies once you reach Alaska. However, it's important to be prepared for the remote stretches along the way.

Do You Need A Passport?

Canada is a different country. When you cross the border, you are, in fact, crossing an international border. In my experience, both American and Canadian border authorities take their jobs very seriously. All vehicles are stopped for questioning, and you need to present proper documentation.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, Americans entering Canada need to present one of the following:

  • A passport book (i.e., a regular passport that gets stamped at international airports).
  • A passport card - a valid passport document without pages, which Americans can use when crossing into Canada, Mexico, and a few other destinations, but it is not accepted for international air travel.
  • A Nexus card - a special "trusted traveler" card that can be used to enter Canada.

If you're not a U.S. citizen, you'll need a passport to enter Canada or the U.S., so it's essential to have your passports on hand whenever you cross the border - which could happen more frequently than you might expect.

What do I mean by this?

There are several points along the route where you could be crossing between Canada and the U.S. For example, on our trip, we crossed the border at these points:

  1. Entry into Canada in Montana
  2. Entry into US territory at Hyder, AK
  3. Back in Canada at Stewart, BC
  4. Entry into Alaska from the Yukon
  5. Back in Canada
  6. Entry into Alaska again to visit Haines
  7. Back in Canada
  8. Finally, re-entry back into the U.S.

That's a total of 8 border crossings.

Do You Need Gas Cans For Extra Gas, Another Spare Tire, Or Motor Repair Equipment?

No, you don't need these items.

A few decades ago, people used to carry all of these along with them. The road conditions were rougher back then, and there were fewer services along the route.

These days, it won't take you longer than 200 miles to find another gas station on any stretch of the road to Alaska. Just be sensible and refuel when you hit the mid-tank mark, and you should be fine.

What Wildlife Will I See On The Way To Alaska?

Oh yes, let's discuss the exciting aspects! Remember, this is meant to be a FUN road trip.

You are bound to encounter wildlife along the route. The animals we spotted included:

  • Moose
  • Wood bison
  • Black bear
  • Brown (Grizzly) bear
  • Dall sheep (from a distance in Kluane National Park)

The optimal times for animal sightings are early morning and late afternoon. However, please exercise utmost caution, as animals can unexpectedly jump onto the road.

I once narrowly avoided hitting a deer in Idaho, so I understand how swiftly a large animal can surprise you by leaping onto the road from seemingly nowhere. This experience has made me extra vigilant.

In the northern regions, we're dealing with larger animals like moose, which is even more alarming. In fact, while driving along the Glenn Highway in Alaska, a vehicle in front of us collided with a moose, killing the animal instantly.

Fortunately for the humans involved, it was a young female moose, and the driver managed to swerve in such a way that only the animal's head struck the vehicle.

The humans were also fortunate to be in a large Ford truck. Even so, the impact of the moose's head alone on this sizable truck caused extensive damage.

The result of hitting a moose

The entire windshield was shattered, one mirror was torn off, and the side of the vehicle sustained damage. The bottom line?

Be cautious so that you can observe animals safely without risking a collision.

How Much Does Driving To Alaska Actually Cost?

Planning a road trip to Alaska involves understanding the costs, which can be significant. This includes expenses for both reaching Alaska and the return journey.

Gasoline prices are higher in Canada, particularly in remote areas of northern British Columbia and the Yukon. Travelers should budget for fuel costs to be 25-50% higher than usual. Considering the trip can cover 3000-4000 miles each way, gas expenses will accumulate.

Here it is: How much does a trip to Alaska cost (along with 11 proven money-saving tips!)

Accommodation is another major cost. Prices vary, but on the route to Alaska, expect to pay around $100-$120 per night for a family of four sharing a room. In Alaska, especially close to popular spots like Denali National Park, hotel rates can range from $150-$250 per night.

For detailed insights on expenses and tips for saving money on your Alaska road trip, it's best to consult up-to-date travel guides and resources. These can provide the latest information on accommodation and gas prices, helping you budget more effectively for your trip.

Where To Stay Along The Way?

When planning overnight stops on your road trip to Alaska, you'll mainly find two types of accommodations:

  1. Towns: Such as Whitehorse, Watson Lake, or Fort Nelson. These are small communities, with Whitehorse being the largest, housing fewer than 30,000 people. They offer various accommodations, including motels and RV campgrounds, with some chain motels providing amenities like WiFi.
  2. Small Hamlets: These are essentially service hubs around a gas station, offering basic lodging options. Accommodations here are more traditional motels, meant for a night's stay without the frills of chain motels. Don't expect modern amenities like gyms, pools, or even WiFi.

Pricing for accommodations varies. In Whitehorse, for example, room rates for four start at around $140, making it slightly pricier than other locations. However, in most towns and hamlets, finding more affordable options is generally possible.

This leads to the following considerations:

Should You Book Your Room In Advance?

Booking accommodations in advance for a trip to Alaska? In Alaska itself, it's a definite yes. Early booking is advised due to high demand and rising prices. Securing your stay ahead of time can lead to significant savings.

In Alaska, distances between locations are manageable, and good cell service facilitates easy planning and adjustments to your itinerary.

However, the situation differs for the journey towards Alaska. Many smaller lodgings along the way may not have an online presence or easy internet access, making advance online bookings less feasible.

These establishments typically expect travelers to arrive without prior reservations, especially late in the afternoon and often have rooms available.

Two main reasons suggest why reservations might not be ideal for this part of the trip:

  1. Predicting Daily Travel Distance: It's challenging to estimate how far you'll drive each day, making fixed reservations potentially restrictive. Lack of cell service further complicates the ability to cancel or change bookings, potentially forcing you to stop too early or drive longer than safe or comfortable to reach a pre-booked location.
  2. Flexibility: On the journey to Alaska, adopting a more flexible approach, such as planning potential stops without making firm reservations (except in key locations like Whitehorse for longer stays), allows for greater spontaneity and adaptation to the day's progress.

It's crucial to research and note potential overnight stops, ensuring awareness of options along your route. This strategy avoids being caught in long stretches without a clear destination for the night.

As part of route planning, consider resources like The Milepost, which can offer invaluable guidance on accommodations and stops throughout Alaska, enhancing your travel planning.

For those spending time in Alaska, exploring resources on budget-friendly and feature-specific accommodations, such as hotels with pools in Anchorage or affordable options in Fairbanks, can also enhance your stay in the state.

Just a quick shoutout first to two posts about accommodations in Alaska itself: Cheap(ish) hotels in Fairbanks and Anchorage hotels with pools. Assuming you'll be spending time in Alaska itself, I thought they might come in handy.

Considering whether to invest in The Milepost for your drive to Alaska?

The Milepost isn't just any book; it's an essential travel companion for those journeying to and from Alaska. It's often referred to as the "bible" for Alaska-bound travelers, providing exhaustive details on every road leading to the state.

View on Amazon

The question of whether to purchase The Milepost, especially considering the move towards digital reading platforms, may arise. With the vast amount of information available online and the convenience of e-readers, the utility of a large, physical travel guide could seem outdated.

Despite these considerations, the decision to buy The Milepost proved invaluable. Its comprehensive coverage of routes, including the Alaska Highway and the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, became indispensable in areas without cell service or internet access.

The guide allowed for efficient planning, offering up-to-date details on stops for meals, grocery shopping, and overnight lodging with remarkable accuracy.

It's crucial to ensure you have the most recent edition, as it is updated annually by a dedicated team to maintain its accuracy and relevance.

An unexpected yet delightful benefit of The Milepost was its ability to entertain and educate during long stretches of driving without internet access. Reading aloud from the guide not only helped pass the time but also provided an educational experience reminiscent of browsing an offline Wikipedia.

In summary, acquiring The Milepost can significantly enhance your Alaska road trip experience, providing reliable information and serving as an engaging travel companion.

Alaska Road Trip Itineraries

Wow, this is a lengthy post. I hope you've made it this far. Now comes the exciting part (at least for me).

Having road-tripped across the US (45 states and counting!), I'm going to suggest itineraries for driving to Alaska from four main locations in the US:

  1. Seattle
  2. Los Angeles
  3. New York City
  4. Miami (yes, Miami!)

This is a section where you can absolutely skip ahead, depending on your starting point for driving to Alaska.

What I'm about to propose are itineraries from your point of origin to the beginning of the Alaska Highway. Once on the Alaska Highway, the route is essentially the same, so that I won't go into detail there. However, I recommend reading my post about what to see and do along the Alaska Highway.

There, you'll find not only a list of places to visit along the road but also our trip report detailing what we did while driving the Alcan (Alaska-Canadian Highway) in 2017. These routes all end at Delta Junction, AK, where the Alaska Highway terminates. From there, you can choose whether to visit Fairbanks or explore Anchorage and the surrounding area first.

Here's the deal:

These itineraries are highly flexible. I'm assuming that your goal is to travel to Alaska and enjoy the road trip experience. This means you'll be passing through some pretty awesome places en route without giving them nearly enough time – if any at all.

That doesn't mean I think this is the right way to appreciate these areas – far from it. If you have the time and inclination, by all means, make longer stops and spend more time enjoying the places along the way.

These itineraries are basically suggested routes that you can elaborate on to create your own unique Alaska Road Trip.

Driving To Alaska From Seattle

Seattle is the largest American city, and it is nearest to the border with British Columbia. If you're flying in from overseas and wish to focus on a road trip from the Lower 48 to Alaska, Seattle should be your point of origin. Fly into SeaTac airport and rent a vehicle there to start your journey.

Now, from Seattle, you can opt to drive the Stewart-Cassiar Highway on your way to the Yukon territory. In this case, your route will look like this:

A detailed road route from Seattle to Yukon, Alaska via Stewart-Cassiar highway

My suggested itinerary would be (each item represents one day):

  1. Drive to Hope, British Columbia (3-4 hours) and visit the Othello Tunnels. Take it easy on this day as you have your first border crossing here.
  2. Drive to Prince George (8-9 hours) and visit Hell's Gate on the way there.
  3. Continue on your way and stop at Smithers to hike to Twin Falls. Then, see the Moricetown Canyon viewpoint further down Highway 16. It's beautiful, and if you arrive in August – like we did – you'll get to see lots of salmon there. By this point, your daily driving time would be 5-6 hours. Depending on whether you hike or not, you can either spend the night at New Hazelton or push on all the way to Stewart, your next destination. Driving from Prince George to Stewart in a day would mean 9-10 hours of driving.
  4. Arrive at Stewart and see the bears at Hyder. Spend the night in Stewart and take your time with the bears. They usually show up early in the morning and then again in the late afternoon, so give it time and be patient.
  5. Get back on Highway 37 and keep driving north. You can stop on the way at Dease Lake (a great little grocery store!) and Jade City (basically a large store selling local jade). Finally, you'll reach Junction 37, which is where you join the Alaska Highway. You can find accommodation in the hamlet of Nugget City, which would give you a total of 11-12 driving hours for this day.
  6. Drive west on the Alcan. Rancheria Falls makes for a lovely stop, as does the town of Teslin (we really enjoyed the local George Johnston museum!). Then, continue driving to the capital of the Yukon - Whitehorse. Whitehorse is well worth stopping for at least one full day. We spent four days here and were never bored. Here's a list of things to do in Whitehorse.
  7. This day is dedicated to driving through – and visiting – Kluane National Park in Canada. The scenery is stunning, and you should include a short hike or two. Please stop at the Visitor Center at Haines Junction, where they can help you make the most of your time in the park. Even so, you can definitely make it all the way into Alaska on this day. Total driving time to Delta Junction from Whitehorse is 9-10 hours. Alternatively, you could stay overnight at Tok, AK, if you prefer to stop earlier.

Alternate Routes From Seattle To Alaska

If you're only driving one way and prefer to take the Alaska Highway, you can definitely do so. It doesn't even add too much additional driving time.

Basically, follow the previous itinerary to Prince George and then keep heading north all the way to Dawson Creek. Here's a quick overview of that itinerary:

  1. Hope BC
  2. Prince George
  3. Dawson Creek
  4. Fort Nelson
  5. Waston Lake
  6. Whitehorse
  7. Delta Junction, AK

For more information on these stops, see my post on what to see and do along the Alaska Highway.

Driving to Alaska from Los Angeles

If you're coming from LA, you have two options:

  • Drive up the coast to get to Seattle and then follow the itinerary detailed above for driving to Alaska from Seattle.
  • Head out east and go up the Rocky Mountains ridge.

We did both during our last trip. We drove up north via the Rockies and then returned via the coast.

Driving Up The Coast

The shortest route is via the I-5. This is the main highway connecting the west coast states. It's easy to drive fast, and you actually get some very nice scenery in northern California and southern Oregon.

Total driving time is 18-20 hours, so you should be able to complete this section within a couple of days.

If you have more time, you can choose an alternative – and far more scenic – route.

You could take the mountain route, taking in Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Lassen National Park, Crater Lake, Bend, and the northern Cascades, including Rainier National Park.

Your total driving time will be in the 30-hour range, but with so much to see and do, you should give this route a minimum of one week, preferably even longer.

Your other alternative route is to stick to the coastline. Drive Highway 1 all the way from California, through Monterey, San Francisco, and then the gorgeous section of the road north of San Francisco to Fort Bragg.

There, you'll join the 101 for a tour of the Redwood National Park area and the magnificent Oregon coast. You could even visit the Olympic National Park on your way. This would take you at least 40 hours of driving time (not just because of the distance but also because of slower driving on the narrow, curvy roads).

Take a minimum of one week – preferably two – to cover this route (and that's just for reaching Seattle!).

Driving Through The Rockies

Driving from Los Angeles to the starting point of the Alaska Highway doesn't have to be through Seattle or the coast. In fact, the shortest route is quite special, too, taking you through the vast open spaces of Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana.

A detailed road route from Los Angeles to Dawson Creek, Alaska

That's what we did in August 2017, and it was a pretty awesome route. I loved how these areas have so much wide-open space. It's a great prelude to the wilderness that surrounds the Alaska Highway.

Driving straight from LA to Dawson Creek takes roughly 35 hours (Google Maps tends to underestimate, so I always add 10% to their estimates). Again, this route has some awesome places you could easily spend several days visiting each.

You could take small detours to drive through Yellowstone National Park and even the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

And if you have just a couple of days to spare, do just that! Of course, once in Canada, you'll be going through the Canadian Rockies - totally worth adding a few more days to your trip.

Our stop at the Canadian Rockies was totally worth it!
Our stop at the Canadian Rockies was totally worth it!

Our stop at the Canadian Rockies was absolutely worth it!

If you take these detours, your driving time alone will come to almost 50 hours.

This is what your trip will look like:

That's why writing a skeleton itinerary for this route is really hard for me. So, I've added suggestions for spending extra days in more than one location along the way. Give yourself ample time.

While you could technically do this in 4-5 days, you should really give it at least one full week. 10 days to two weeks would be fantastic.

Here's an overview of the itinerary:

  1. Los Angeles to Salt Lake City (Yes, Las Vegas is on the way so you can break this into two days for an evening in Vegas).
  2. Drive to Jackson, Wyoming, and visit the Grand Tetons National Park (which is close to town). If you enjoy hiking, you could definitely add a day here. In fact, you could even without hiking...
  3. Yellowstone National Park - At the very least, drive through the park, stop to see Old Faithful erupt, drive through Hyden Valley, and take a look at Yellowstone Canyon. See this post for the top 10 things to see in Yellowstone. Definitely add a day or two here if you can.
  4. Drive from Yellowstone to the eastern side of Glacier National Park. If you have time, drive into the Mani Glacier area when you arrive. Check the roadside for bears - lots of them in this park! More on what to do in Glacier National Park. If you enjoy hiking, definitely add a day to take a long hike in the Mani Glacier area.
  5. Drive the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier and continue to Canada via Kootenay National Park. You could make it all the way to Banff today or spend more time in Glacier and stop earlier.
  6. Banff National Park - definitely worth adding a couple of days here! Read about the four natural wonders in Banff if you don't believe me. Or you could keep on driving along the amazing Icefields Parkway to Jasper.
  7. Jasper National Park is well worth another couple of days' stops. (I did say this was a problem route, but it was way too beautiful!)
  8. Finish the drive from Jasper to Dawson Creek. You'll be leaving the mountains for the plains, making for an easier (if not as pretty) drive.

Driving to Alaska from New York City (Or Chicago)

Well, you're in for a long drive! It's totally doable, though. I'm going to assume that you're not interested in sightseeing out east. Places like Gettysburg or Cuyahoga Valley National Park are easily accessible at any other time. You're heading west.

That's why I'm assuming that if you're starting from NYC, you'll take the I-80/I-90 route to Chicago.

What's next, though?

The shortest route between NYC and Dawson Creek - the starting point of the Alaska Highway - will take you through the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

A detailed road route from New York City to Dawson creek, Alaska

You're basically driving from one major American city to another, all the way to North Dakota, and then crossing over to Canada, where your route takes you through two local Canadian cities - Saskatoon and Edmonton - directly to Dawson Creek.

It's a total of 45-50 hours of driving, so you should be able to cover the distance in 3-5 days and get on the Alaska Highway.

Perfectly reasonable.

However, if you have an additional week and want to make the most of your time in the west, I would suggest taking the longer route and driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and then Glacier National Park.

You're going to add six hours of driving time to your road trip, but you'll gain access to several awesome places of interest:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is well worth a day's visit, and so few people visit it. That's where we saw not only bison but also more than one herd of wild mustang horses! Glacier National Park is probably the most beautiful of all American national parks.

Check out my post about the park and see our photos to judge for yourself. And then you have the amazing Canadian Rockies. If you've never been to these places and you're embarking on your ultimate once-in-a-lifetime road trip to Alaska and back from New York, I say add a week and visit them too.

This is what your itinerary might look like:

  1. Drive from NYC to Cleveland
  2. Cleveland to Madison, WI
  3. Madison to Bismark, ND (You can choose to do these three days at a slower pace and stop at other locations)
  4. Visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park for the day and stay in nearby Medora, or keep driving west for a bit longer.
  5. Arrive at the Mani Glacier area in Glacier National Park (great spot to stop for one additional full day if you can and do some hiking)
  6. Drive the Going to the Sun Road and do some hiking in the Logan Pass area - end the day at Whitefish or make the border crossing into Canada.
  7. Drive through Kootenay National Park in Canada and arrive at Banff (another great spot to take an additional full day for Banff National Park)
  8. Drive the Icefields Highway to Jasper and visit Jasper National Park (Yes, red again - take another day to appreciate Jasper NP if you can).
  9. Continue from Jasper to Dawson Creek

So we're talking at least nine days for this route of driving to Alaska from New York. If you can make it a couple of weeks, you'll be able to slow down more often and appreciate the stunning places you'll be visiting.

Driving To Alaska From Florida (Yes, Florida!)

Wow, you do realize you'll be driving the entire stretch of the map? It's probably the longest possible road trip in North America.

I would absolutely do this! And I hope to do it actually, someday, when we get our RV. I hear Florida is a great state to buy them, and we're definitely returning to Alaska.

If you make a beeline to Dawson Creek from Miami, that's only about 55 hours of driving (remember that you still have another 30+ hours drive to Anchorage!)

Since I'm not entirely sure there's anyone as adventurous as us out there, I won't be adding a detailed itinerary here. I'll say that if you've never been out west, make your route go through Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Canadian Rockies. That's going to add about 10 additional hours to your driving time, but it will be so worth it.

Show Of Hands, Who's Still Reading?

This is officially the longest post I have ever written in my life.

I wonder who's still reading. Leave me a comment if you are 😉

Seriously, leave me a comment and let me know if this helped and if you have any other questions about Driving to Alaska. I always reply to comments and would love to share more information based on our vast experience road-tripping across the US and Canada - including driving to Alaska and back.

It's taken me several days to write this post, so if you could lend me a hand in getting it out there, I would really appreciate it. Share it on Facebook or Pinterest, or if you're a travel blogger, mention it on your blog.

Oh, and before you head out, check my 37 road-tripping tips (based on more than a year and a half of amazing road trips in the US and Canada!

Driving to Alaska: How to survive the trip and actually have TONS of fun!

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  1. Yes, still readingLOL! Loved the blog. Planning to make this trip in May 2024. Once in a lifetime trip. NC to out west and then up to Alaska, then back east to Maine by August before returning to NC. The information you gave us is just amazing. Thank you. I am a CC Holder and I need more information about crossing Canada and BC with a fire arm. Butch and Ruth

    • I read til the end. This is perfect! We took an 8 week trip out west from North Carolina in our RV in 2022. We have family in Alaska and we’ve actually talked about making this drive one day. Your experience is very helpful, thank you. And I hope you make it to Florida. The Keys is definitely one of my favorite destinations. Wishing you and your family traveling mercies 🙏🏼
      Lisa Pruitt
      Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  2. Thank you for writing this. I found it extremely interesting! I’m afraid we will never drive to Alaska, although we have dreamed about this. Good luck to everyone else and enjoy your trip. We have been as far north as Jasper N.P., Canada. We drove from Southern CA through Grand Tetons N.P., Yellowstone N.P., Glacier N.P. and into Canada. We have made this trip on four different occasions and we do not get tired of it! There is so much beauty! We spent four weeks on our trip last summer (2022). We love Yoho N.P, Banff N.P. and Jasper N.P. Those Canadian Rockies are something else!!! We hope to go again next summer (2024).

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your post! I am a skimmer and I read every word! Thank you for that. Btw i am from Palm Beach, 35 minutes north of Miami, and I would totally love to do that drive too!! RV of course, especially with kids. I scrolled getting my hopes up and was a little bummed to not see the Miami itinerary but I knew it wouldn’t be there, that is way too much work! Your route advice through the west is helpful enough!
    Happy journeys!

  4. We are planning a trip up the Alaskan Highway this June from Alberta through Dawson Creek up to at least Delta Junction as we covered Alaska from Anchorage to Fairbanks to Delta Junction previously. I just got finished reading your blog and am impressed with the information that you put in it. It must have been a long process but one that a lot of people will use. I know we will use it on our trip as we will be coming back through B.C. on the Stewart Cassiar highway.
    My wife and I have driven in every state of the united States including Hawaii and Alaska but not the Alaskan Highway. We intend to remedy that this year.
    Thanks for the blog and the information.

  5. I haven´t read that much since highschool LOL. Thanks for all the tips and routes and checkpoints and experiences you share in this post. Im from Mexico City and Im driving my motorcycle all the way to Prudhoe bay starting on summer. Hope to come back and have the energy to write and share as you did.

    Thanks again for sharing

  6. Yes, I’m still reading. Just beginning the planning for this trip from Maryland to Anchorage. Thank you for all of the good intel. What a huge help and is getting me amped up for this trip!

    Lorin T

  7. Not too sure if you still read these comments as it’s 2023. We are headed up that way in July. Plan on spending four weeks or so in Canada and Alaska. Entering at Idaho, going to Fairbanks along with many stops you suggested, driving down to Anchorage then catching the ferry back down. Thanks for all the info!!!!!

  8. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this all together, so very appreciated!! I read through the whole thing as my boyfriend and I will be heading up to AK in February for a travel physical therapy contract I’ve driven across country but never through Canada, so these tips/resources were awesome. Definitely will be reading some other links you’ve provided. Thanks again!

  9. Great article and so helpful! My wife and I, and our 15-year-old pug Cecil, are planning on driving to Anchorage from Mesa, Az. We have friends living in the area and are planning a fishing trip in June 2023. We were worried about such a long trip pulling a fifth-wheel trailer on a road with few services, but after reading your post, we feel confident we can make the trip. Definitely going to buy the latest version of the Milepost before we leave.
    Thank you for the great info and keep up the good work!

  10. Yes, it is the longest post I ever read, but it is also the best one (and I have been reading and searching for months now). Thank you so much for taking the time to put it together. I still have much more reading to do with all the links you provided. I will be heading to Alaska this coming June through the Stewart-Cassiar Highway and coming back through The Alaska Highway. I left October 2nd the State of NY for a year of travel with my car (Mazda CX-5). I converted my car into a mini camper and combined camping and Airbnb. It would be greatly appreciated if, by any chance, we can have a phone conversion? I am still a bit intimidated by this part of my journey.

    • Hi Gila,
      Sounds like quite the adventure! I’m not sure how much we can help considering it’s been a few years since our trip, but I’ll reach out to you via email

  11. Thanks for the blog. Very helpful for me. My wife and I are driving our rv from ga to Alaska in 2023. Our only time limits are weather. Definitely want to check out the sights you mentioned. Can’t wait.

  12. Just got back from Land & Cruise for 13 days to Alaska. Now want to plan my road trip.
    Really appreciate the time and effort you put into this blog
    Glynn T

  13. Great Post, My Wife wants to see Whales in Alaska, part of her bucket list. Thought it would be great to drive there, do you have any info on the best place to see whales in Alaska? Please don’t say the ocean, I already knew that. I heard it was Juneau, but can’t confirm.

  14. Great find and easy read, thank you for the time and great detail. Going from Miami and was excited only to read and well atleast the tips will be extremely helpful. Leaving this comment before going to see if maybe you posted since then and you’ve now made the trip from Miami, yes Miami to Alaska. Thank you again.

  15. Great information! I found this on Pinterest. I’m heading there summer of 2023 from Sacramento. (Heading to Europe 2022). I have a nissan p/u 4×4 but will be taking the trip starting June. One question I have which you may have answered; are there any rest areas/stops on the alcan?

  16. I actually drove from Alaska to Texas a couple of years ago. It was a GREAT trip. Since I have two dogs and didn’t know if I could stay in a hotel every night (pet policy), bought a tent and we camped the whole way. Slept in rest areas or campgrounds. Canadians were great. Every morning I was brought a full breakfast. Guess they felt sorry for a 65 year old lady with dogs. Canadian terrain was beautiful!!! It is well worth the long driving time. Can’t remember exactly how long it took, maybe 8 or 9 days,

  17. Hi Anne, what a fantastic & informational read! I love, love it!
    We just purchased a trailer & planning on a 6 month trip to AK from Los Angeles in the next year or 2. I saved your article on my home page so we can read your tips when the time comes. Thank you for sharing & safe travels to you & your family!

  18. HELLO

    • Hi Juanita,
      I’m so glad you found this guide helpful! Just be mindful that we took the trip back in 2017. The general advice should still hold true, but any specifics, including budget estimates, you should probably follow up on to make sure they hold. And of course, there are covid regulations now to take into account as you travel into Canada.
      I do hope you’ll get to do this! It’s an awesome road trip!

  19. Thank you for taking multiple days to gather all your info and thoughts to write it all out for us!
    It’s been a dream of mine to move to Alaska since my first brutal summer in the South.
    Now that the sweet spawn are baby adults spreading their wings, Mama is making plans to high tail it outta here before everyone finishes school, gets married, and sweet grandies start showing up.
    Hubs and I are flying to Anchorage in June for what I call “our reconnaissance trip” because we are making plans to move there the following year (June 2022) after much planning and preparing in the time between.
    I’m sending this fantastic source to him to read over. I appreciate your candidacy and details. They will soothe his frazzled nerves.😊
    We’re Oklahomans so I’ve read up on the transportation of all our various types of firearms.
    It’s the house cats that have to make the very long trip that I’m concerned about…I’m open for any and all suggestions you and your readers may have. (Finding new homes for them is out of the question for Hubs. They are extremely attached to him and follow him like dogs.)
    I have not looked into flying them to us once we are settled. Maybe that’s a possibility if they could be sedated?
    I will look into it as I would not want to take any chances harm could come to them.
    Thank you again for your super post.

    • Hi Sam,
      What an exciting move! As for the kitties, it’s definitely a concern, but I think that for them flying would be better than having to join you guys in the vehicle. You can ask for suggestions at TheCatSite.com’s forums. I’m sure the members there will have some ideas.

  20. I really appreciate your post as I have been on several road trips to and from Alaska in my day. Originally my parents drove our family of seven at the time from Pensacola FL to Anchorage in December 1960. We went via NC and RI visiting grandparents briefly before the long cross-Canada trip in January. Six years later we did almost the same trip in reverse crossing Canada and visiting the grandparents again only after NC we continued across the SE states all the way to San Antonio TX. That trip was just short or 7000 miles. I have since driven the Alcan Hwy twice myself the last time being 1977. It was always beautiful, adventurous and exciting. Thanks for your blog and reminding me of those good times.

  21. I plan to drive a Toyota Sienna Mini Van in the next two or 3 years for a summer trip from Central CA to Alaska. As I plan to remove the center seats in favor of a mattress, is it unheard of to sleep in a car some nights? Seems like a convenience and cost savings with hotel stays every other or 3rd night for showers, conveniences, etc. Thanks

    • Hi Tom,
      Not an expert on this, but as far as I know, sleeping in your car isn’t always legal. Some towns/counties/states may not allow it. That isn’t to say that people aren’t doing just that, but that you should be prepared to either research each location, or for being asked by the police to move your car at 2am.

  22. Hi Anne, Read your post with some sweet memories. I have been to AK 4 times, driving three. The first time was by motorcycle. We did the Ultimate Coast-to-Coast. Key West, FL to Dead Horse, AK. Your description of the AlCan was spot on. I could add that usually there was no high test gas available in rural CA or AK. If your vehicle needs high test, you can bring bottles of octane booster with you. The only time I reserved a room was in Coldfoot and Dead Horse above the Arctic Circle where lodging was truly limited. I really enjoyed the opportunity to relive my trip. 16,000 miles in 5 weeks!

    • Hi Dale,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Dale! Key West to Dead Horse sounds amazing. Hopefully, we’ll get to do that too someday!

  23. You did an awesome job on this post! Thank you! We have been to Alaska twice and are going again to take a friend. Unfortunately, she does not have nearly enough time to drive it. But one day WE would like to do that! So this is wonderful and I will be saving this spot. Thank you again for sharing such wonderful tips and instructions and ideas.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      So glad you liked the post! I really hope we’ll be driving up and back again someday. We had 2022 in our sights, but our family plans have changed due to covid-19 situation, so we’ll see when that will happen.

      • Thank you!!!!

        After pandemic restrictions ends, we are planning to drive to Fairbanks.

        Thanks for taking time to let others your experience.

        • Thanks, Helson! I hope we can put the pandemic behind us soon enough and that you’ll have a fantastic trip to Fairbanks!

    • Hi great info. I am taking my daughter to school in Fairbanks in august an was looking for things to see along the way. We are leaving from Denver and so were looking for routes. Her Father is worried about her disappearing ( were divorced so guess I don’t count.) Some I am doing so research . I have already ordered the Mill post and am getting excited. Thanks again for the info.

        • We really appreciate the information you have provided in this blog. I’ll be ready your others regarding driving to Alaska as we are planning our trip for this year. Probably head out from our home in New Mexico mid-late May pulling our 5th wheel trailer. Really looking forward to the trip and your blog makes it sound like we are in for a real treat around each bend in the road.

  24. This was an awesome read! I’m spending my quarantine time daydreaming about future trips, and this definitely kept the inspiration alive. Thank you for sharing this amazing information! Someday, I hope to drive from my little Manhattan apartment all the way to Alaska. 🙂

    • That’s awesome, Heather. I think it’s great to plan future trips now. Makes it easier to keep sane while in lockdown.

      • Thank you so much for this very informative post. I am flying to anchorage with my daughter. We are picking up my other daughter and the three of us are driving her car with her two dogs back to Michigan’s upper peninsula.

  25. This post has been very helpful! We have family in Alaska (Anchorage area) and we plan on driving there next summer (2021) and spending a month or so with them (they’ve invited us), then driving back to Kentucky. My husband would only have enough vacation time to drive one-way with us, spend 7-10 days there, then fly the other way. Which would mean that I would be doing most of the driving one way while my 20 yo daughter would be with me to help drive as well. Is this crazy? I do worry about the safety aspect of me, my daughter, and 15 yo son taking on this adventure. The kids have grown up doing long road trips with us (we’ve driven out West several times) and we did Amtrak to Seattle last year. But nothing of this magnitude. I’m still debating on how best to approach this. I’ve read this entire post, now I’ll go check out your links. Thanks again!

    • Hi Jeana and thanks for stopping by!
      Sounds like a good plan to me. The driving itself was very easy, so with two drivers, I think you should be ok. I have to say, we’ve never felt unsafe while traveling there. The “scariest” thing was the fact that you have no cell reception in some areas. What you could do to offset that is to invest in a satellite phone. I would wait a year, to see what kind of technologies are available by then. Good luck!

      • Loved this article. Thanks so much. Hoping to make the drive in June of this year. Camping along the way and using it as a great opportunity to social distance for the summer. Thoughts on pulling a pop up camper the whole way? Also, I’ve heard lots of people find a pull off and just camp anywhere they can find. Did you see alot of that on your travels?

    • Very helpful. Planning on going from Florida to Homer. Wonderful info. Now all we need is for the border to open.

  26. Super helpful information! We are moving to Alaska this summer and will absolutely utilize your itineraries! Thank you so much!

  27. Enjoyed reading about your trip, it has helped a bunch for our plans (driving July 2020, leaving from KC). After reading several blogs I haven’t noticed anyone mention health insurance while traveling through Canada. Did you purchase a short term plan for your trip?

    • Hi Jo,
      Great question! Since we’re not American, we always travel to North America with full travel insurance. Our plan covered us for the US and for Canada as well. Past experience has shown us that it’s particularly important when on US soil 😉 According to this blog, visitors aren’t eligible to free medical care in Canada, so if this is something you have in the US, you probably need travel insurance.

  28. I loved this post! This summer I drove from Washington DC to Seattle with a friend and it was so amazing–we passed through tons of national parks including Tetons and Yellowstone! I really want to go to Alaska soon and we joked about driving there from Seattle–but now from reading this it definitely seems like a real possibility! Thank you for all the helpful info 🙂

    • Hi Cami,
      DC to Seattle sounds like a fantastic road trip! We had four coast-to-coast road trips so far and they were all amazing. I’m so glad you’re considering driving to Alaska! I’m sure you’ll enjoy that very much!

  29. Read it all Anne.. Flying into Seattle out of Boston and heading to Denali with my 18 year old son May 30th. Looking at renting a car for almost 3 weeks.. I have a feeling my son will fly home from anchorage after we do Denali.. two weeks is about his breaking point. I’ll drive the rental back to Seattle.. the one way drop charge is $1200.. Great ino. Will stop in Banff and Jasper.. Been to Banff before..just beautiful! Too early for the salmon run so no watching the bears feed I am guessing.. But I am sure we will see out fair share in Denali. Thanks again!

    • I’m sure you’ll have a great time, Jon! I would make reservations ahead of time for the Canadian Rockies. When we were last there (September), it was really super crowded and we couldn’t find a place to stay in Jasper.

    • Enjoyed the post very much. 50 years ago in June we drove from MacDill AFB, Tampa Florida to Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage Alaska. God willing we plan on driving the highway this June however not going to start in Florida.

  30. Read the whole thing! Really liked the read and made me want to make the drive even more. I’ve been to 49 states and only have Alaska left! Thank you for taking the time to write this and for sharing your stories and videos! That bear was SO close!!

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for your feedback! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and I hope that you complete your list of all 50 states soon! And yes, that bear was close!

  31. Of all the articles I’ve come across thus far, this is the most detailed yet – very nice and well worth reading. We did the drive from Washington to the Kenai Peninsula during the summer of 2017 as well, and intend to do so this summer. The Liard Hot Springs and Sign Post Forest were a couple of our highlights besides the variety of wildlife.
    Thank you for helping other prospective travelers in this regard.

    • Hi Don,
      So glad you enjoyed the post. How awesome that you’ll get to drive there again! We hope to be doing the same in the summer of 2021 or 2022.

  32. Hi Anne! This post was a great read! I am sending this along to my boyfriend to hopefully calm his nerves about driving to Alaska. I’m a travel nurse, been traveling about 5 years now and was in Alaska 4 years ago (flew and rented a car when I got there). Today I found out that I will be going back from March to September and this time I’m definitely driving. Unfortunately we will only have 8-9 days to drive there but I can’t wait!! Thanks for the great read and the tips!!!

    • Hi Macie,
      What an interesting job you have! I think driving up there in March is going to be interesting – watch out for the mud, possible snow and potholes. Stay safe and enjoy the adventure!

  33. We are going from Central Florida to Fairbanks. What route do you suggest, Anne?
    We are going over the summer. Thank you for your post. It is the best one I read so far on driving to Alaska!

    • Hi Eliana,
      Cool road trip! The route would largely depend on several things –
      1. Where you’ve already been in the US and Canada
      2. Your timing for leaving Florida
      3. How long do you have for sightseeing along the way?
      You mentioned summer, so I’ll assume you won’t be leaving before April. April-May (and to some extent even June) could be too early for some high elevation areas up north.
      The shortest route will take you via Tennessee, Minnesota, and Saskatchewan, before joining the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek. The more scenic route IMO will be to drive to Yellowstone National Park, and then go up the Rockies via Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies. It would mean more driving time, including mountain driving (could be an issue early in the season, or if you’re RV’ing).
      There are countless other options, of course. It really depends on the three factors I mentioned above. Have fun and stay safe!

  34. Thanks for the info. I have had this on my bucket list for a long time, Now it seems even more doable and I need to find someone to ride along with me.

    • Hi Monica,
      This is one road trip where having someone along with you for the drive is both helpful and safer than going solo. I hope you find an awesome trip partner soon!

  35. Thanks for all of your work in putting this together. Looking at retirement in the RV shortly, and I threw Alaska out to my Wife as a Bucket-List Item of places to go. A yes came in a blink of the Eye with absolutely no hesitation.

    • That’s awesome, David! We’re looking at the RV retirement option as well. Who knows, we may meet someday in a campground en route to Alaska!

  36. We are leaving Fort Myers Fl end of March 2020, thru New England, after catching the Cherry Blossoms in DC, To Quebec, visit family, across Canada to Alaska, return thru Colorado areas on sout getting back home Around October. So I read all the way and a big THANK YOU for all the helpful insights😊

  37. As a retired teacher with my RN wife living in Southeastern CT we have been camping vagabonds since the early 70’s from tear-drop campers to canvas and recently with a folding Rockwood Hardside A-Frame we have criss-crossed the USA multiple times and are now looking forward to a 50th Anniversary “Adventure of a Lifetime” We are planning a 6 month road trip out west and up through Canada to Alaska. Your fascinating blog has be very inspiring and helpful on so many levels. Thanks for the effort you put into writing it and to the insight it contains.

  38. Thanks for taking the time to share this information. I am planning on doing this trip this coming year. This was a great start to my research.
    Thank You

  39. Thank you for this article! I want to drive from Seattle (home) to Alaska. My husband thought the roads to Alaska were dirt roads in the major part. Is it very expensive to rent a car?

  40. WOW! What an article! Thanks for sharing! I have been looking for a travel trip for a family of four. I’ll start planning for next year’s summer from Dallas, TX to AK.

  41. I’m moving from Tampa, Fl to Alaska next august! We’re camping in the bed of our Toyota Tacoma. With a 3 year old and a dog! 😬
    So many great tips! Especially the Milepost. Definitely gotta get myself one! 😈 Thanks for sharing!

  42. Hi Anne,
    I enjoyed reading “Driving To Alaska’. Lots of good advice for the uninitiated. My wife and I made the trip in 2013. We are planning another in 2020. In 2013 we caravanned with friends, unfortunately they can’t make it this time. We are hoping to assemble a 2, 3, or 4 rig group for the 2020 trip. Safety is our main concern. If you and your family, or any of your readers are interested in a spring and summer 3 month or so trip in 2020, we would enjoy hearing from you/them.
    Thank You.

    • Hi Dave,
      So glad you enjoyed the post! 2022 or 2023 might be in the stars for us for an RV drive to Alaska but 2020 is probably too soon. Hopefully, someone else will see this and get in touch.

  43. I am actually planning to drive to Alaska from Palm Beach County Florida in a Class C RV and would love to have the trip plan you suggest. I have from Mid December to make it to Alaska in June and spend June July & August before heading back to warmer easier driving. Any Suggestions? Marilyn Ocean

    • Sounds fantastic, Marilyn! I’m sure you’re going to have a blast! For an RV, I would suggest getting the boondocking apps because I hear that’s a great option in Alaska.

  44. I realize that the focus of this piece was on driving to Alaska, but we are considering taking the Alaska Marine Highway and loading our small fiberglass camper on the ferry and going one way via the Inside Passage to Whittier and then driving back via the Alcan. Any thought on this plan from anyone who has done it would be very much welcomed.


    • Hi Russell,
      Hopefully, someone who did will chime in. I do think it’s a great plan. We did look into it before our trip but the cost for a family of four + vehicle was too high for us. Good luck – I’m sure it’ll be awesome!

  45. Excellent article. As having driven the Alcan several years ago I can attest to its accuracy. In fact, leaving from Ventura next week to do it again. First time in an SUV with my wife, this time towing our trailer with a friend (My wife would rather baby sit grandkids). I am glad to see that there is far less gravel on the Stewart/Cassiar than when we went. Then about 100 miles. We plan blasting up I-15 to Helena then Calgary and Edmonton. I travel this route a lot since we have a house in MT. After Whitehorse we plan on hitting Dawson City, Chicken, Fairbanks, Denali (reservations at Teklanika River Campground) and then back on the Stewart Cassiar to our house in MT. Again excellent article.

    • So glad you liked it, Mike! Fantastic road trip ahead of you again, next week. I’m totally jealous! Stay safe and enjoy your trip!

  46. I enjoyed reading your post and I have bookmarked it. We are the crazy ones that will be doing Florida (Orlando) to Alaska. We hope to make the trek summer of 2020. Our winter project 2019 will be converting a van into our custom RV. Nothing fancy but everything we need. We have tent camped Southwest US many times and Alaska has been our bucket list for sometime. Our ultimate goal is a 3 to 4 month trip, no hurry just enjoy as much as possible. I will re-read this post again many times before our trip.
    Thanks again

    • That sounds super cool, Brent! I’m so glad the post helped! Would love to hear from you after your return – safe travels!

    • Hello! I will also be making the trek from Florida (Saint Augustine) to Alaska during May of 2020. A friend and I are moving to Anchorage and have decided to make the trip with a truck. I would love to chat with you @Brent about your plans and any research you’ve found helpful about making that drive! Please feel free to email me, [email protected]. Thanks!

      PS. Thank you Anne Moss for the post!! Super informative.

  47. June – August 1982…I drove 17,000 miles by myself in a Ford Granada, visited 23 states, 3 provinces of Canada & Mexico…By far my best experience was driving to Alaska, I entered Canada via Montana….A Milestone is a must…I had a CB radio, no sell phones back then…Road said paved – their idea & mine differed greatly…lol….gravel road with craters for potholes plus BIG chunks of gravel…NEVER drove @ night, besides animals – no signage back then to warn of twists & turns – this was deeper into Canada…I did see wild horses, got out of car to take photos – you didn’t have to worry about traffic – could drive for miles & meet no one…also semis with trailers turned over in ditches…I always topped off my tank @ EVERY gas station…what a hardy bunch of folks running a business on big generators out in the middle of nowhere – some stayed open year around…in the event of an emergency, unless a helicopter can fly in – you are no doubt doomed…I either slept in my car, a two person tent – in a campground or sprung for a room…your WONDERFUL article brought back so many memories !!! I flew to Alaska in 1989, still fantastic but nothing can compare to driving !!! @ 67, I wouldn’t try it alone now tho…lol…ps…I have completed the biggest item on my bucket list – have done extensive traveling to all 50 states…

  48. I really enjoyed your blog on your journey . My wife and I are planning this trip for next summer from Salem Oregon so the Seattle route. We are going in a Class C RV and my question to you is were there plenty of camping spots along the way. We are self contained so not worried about power just sewer once a week or so. Thanks again for your narrative about your trip.
    We will take the western route up and then the east rout when we come back. Retired now so we will finally take our time and enjoy the animals and flowers.

    • Hi Darrell,
      We haven’t looked for camping spots specifically, but I do know that many RV’ers make the journey to Alaska and back every year. We shared the road with some huge rigs, on both routes. I am certain there are dumping stations and campsites at least every 4-5 hours of driving time. I would suggest getting the Milepost for your trip, as it will provide you with all the info you’ll need regarding dumping, fuel and camping sites. Good luck!

  49. THANK YOU for this absolutely incredible post, the links, the videos…I read it all. I live in Oregon but have made many trips across the US due to marrying a man from Maryland, so the other routes interested me! Loooong road trips are in my blood now! Driving the Al-Can Hwy is a bucket list dream for me. My hope is to accomplish it when I retire. So I am researching and planning now. I am printing this out, putting Mile Post on my Amazon Christmas wish list and someone’s camper-van idea in a comment sounds like a perfect idea! Thank you for all your time spent on this…excellent work! Now to find your blog!!!!! Karen in Oregon!

    • So glad you liked the post, Karen! Thanks for leaving me a comment. And if you’re interested in RV’ing, do check out another site that I have: VEHQ.com for more information on RV life.

  50. Well, I am totally crazy. I live in Miami, Florida and I plan to drive ro Fairbanks. My dream trip. I have done many, many road trips, but this one would be the ultimate. I got so exvited when you mentioned Miami in your blog, but you didn’t pist an itinerary. Do you have one that you can share?

    • Hi Isora,
      We originally wanted to do just that – cross the US across what must be the longest possible path! I think it all depends on how long you have for the drive. If you want to spend most of your time in the Yukon and Alaska, then I guess the shortest route that Google Maps suggests would be it (via North Dakota). If you have time to spare, I would take the scenic route via Denver, Yellowstone and then up the Canadian Rockies – here’s a link to the route in Google Maps. It adds not only driving time but also time you’ll need to do sightseeing along the way. I would say, at least an additional week to your itinerary altogether. Have a great trip!

      • Hi Anne,
        Thanks so much for the post!! I read the whole thing…well written.

        I am a adventurous type of a person as well.
        However my trip from Denver to Anchorage will be for a position with a new company. So I have options, but the one I am leaning on the most is to drive a uhaul with a trailer to carry my SUV! Strange probably, but I want go carry my belongings that I just can’t part with and a newer vehicle that I prefer not to add extra miles. With that being said, Do you have any suggestions for someone who will be driving by themselves with towing a vehicle behind a uhaul? I will be leaving Denver Co towards Wyoming, Montana, Canada then final destination Anchorage Alaska

        • Hi Brenda,
          The only thing I would suggest is learning as much as you can about safe towing. You need to figure out the weight of your SUV, the hitch and overall payload, and make sure that you’re getting the right tow vehicle for the job and get the right tongue weight for the hitch as well. I would also look into prices, once you know what kind of tow vehicle you need. It could very well be that the depreciation in value for your SUV from those added miles won’t be that costly compared to the towing option.
          I have another site that’s dedicated to RV’s and has quite a lot of information about towing travel trailers. Check that out as a lot of that advice pertains to towing any type of trailer. Good luck and safe travels!

        • Brenda Edwards:

          According to me , your best option is to drive yourself in a UHaul and send your Newer SUV via a car transporter service .

  51. This is a great source of information and so glad that I came across it. I am planning on heading up to alaska in October 2019 from cape cod ma. My goal is to be back in the lower 48 by thanksgiving (probably san francisco). And then start another trip throughout the western states trying to cover as many IKON ski areas that I can. I’ll be coming back to this post as I prepare for the trip. Once question — i will be bringing two dogs with me. Do you have anhy info on what I need to have regarding paperwork. Hopefully there is not a quarantine period. Regards Thom

  52. Just returned from Alaska. Drove from Virgina, through Portal ND to get into Canada, and onto Alaska. Saw your post after I returned. Your article is well written, and spot on with your information! I recommend those that are adventurous try the drive it was well worth it!!! Took us 6 days to get to Anchorage area… but we were enjoying the sights… we did come across some major road construction that required one to wait (20 minutes) for pilot cars, and about 20 miles from the Alaska border there was a fire on both sides of the highway, there were pilot cars to follow to help people get through the thick smoke. Anyone scared of heights might have an issue with Hatcher Pass, my advice would be remember the speed limit is safe for the road and there are pull offs. The drive is incredible and well worth it!!

  53. My husband and I are planning this road trip from Chicago in August of 2020. Your blog is amazing! Thank you for posting it!

  54. Thank you so much for this. It was very helpful. My mom and I are leaving July 5th, from Sequim and going to Fairbanks. I am the navigator and now I am sure we will be on the right roads. Happy travels.

  55. What a well written and fully informative post. Read it to the end. Thank you for sharing. Leaving in a couple of weeks to do a month in Alaska. As we haven’t been sure if this year or in 2020 it is a short sighted plan…but here we go. Taking our jeep and doing motels and as such not a lot of long term plans or reservations. What kind of issues do you see with just grabbing a motel here and there without long term reservation plans. Thanks and if you do write a book about your trips please include.me in a buyer’s list.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Charlie!
      I think you’ll have no issues finding accommodation along the way. The exception would be places like Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. If at all possible, tour them during the day and plan on staying in the towns before and after the parks. Also, once in Alaska, accommodation tends to be pricier. That’s where finding cheap places a long while in advance can help. I’m sure you’ll find places there without a problem, but it could be expensive. I have a post about the cost of traveling to Alaska which discusses that in more detail.

  56. Thank you for taking the time to share all this information. Loved the bear video!. We are heading up from Colorado for just over a month in July. We are going up the Cassiar and are looking forward to Banff and Jasper and all the other parks on the way to Alaska. We are taking the ferry back to Bellingham to add to our adventure. We have done lots of traveling, but this one is special–it is our 40th anniversary trip. Any secrets you discovered in the parks would be appreciated. I also agree 100% that Glacier and Yellowstone wonderful!

    • Hi Kristy,
      You’re going to have a fantastic trip! My tips about all of the parks up until (and including) the Jasper area is to book your accommodation in advance and be prepared for everything to be super busy. That would mean parking down the road from some places like Johnston Canyon or areas in Yellowstone and walking for half a mile sometimes until you reach the spot itself. For places like Lake Louise or Lake Morraine, try and get there as early as you can to beat the crowds or be prepared to take the rather expensive bus shuttle.
      There are hidden gems in all parks that aren’t as crowded but you’d have to hike for about an hour to get there. That’s why they’re not as busy. If you’re up for that, a couple of places that we’ve tried and enjoyed were Silverton Falls and Sherbrooke Lake. You can use Google Maps to see where the trails begin.
      Have fun!

  57. Sure read to the very last word! Such enjoyable big help. For us it sure is one in a life time adventure , specially for me that soon I will run into, incredibly well preserved, eighties. My friend and professional driver is as enthusiastic as me. We come all the way from Spain and have a month to get from Chicago to Alaska. We will miss so much!!!
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  58. Hi, Anne! During the past 5 years, we have been traveling twice each year across the US from our home in South Carolina, and have visited every state, sometimes multiple times. We’ve also driven across the entire length of Canada, with the exception of British Columbia, which we will see this summer. The eastern part of Canada was our favorite! We enjoyed your blog and are planning our own trip of a lifetime to Alaska the first of July. That is the last state we have not yet visited. We plan to be gone about 2 1/2 months. Thanks for sharing your Alaskan experiences and traveling tips!

    • Thank you for sharing that, Jerry and Karen! We still need to get to the eastern part of Canada ourselves, so I’m thrilled to read your opinion. It’s great to have something to look forward to in future adventures!

  59. Hello!
    We loved reading your trip details- you should write/sell a book! Thank you so much for taking all the time to post.We have driven to Alaska in a camper twice ( from Iowa) but have not taken the Cassiar Highway. We will be going May 11. Our big question, and it looks like you will be able to answer candidly, where do you think we will see more wildlife- Cassiar or Alaskan Highway?

    • Hi Beth,
      So glad you enjoyed the post! I am actually toying with the idea of writing an e-book about the experience. Sounds like you could write your own book too!

      To answer your question –
      Driving the Cassiar later in the season (maybe on your way back?) you can stop at Hyder. From mid-July till September, if you stop for a full day and spend either early morning or late, you’re pretty much guaranteed great bear viewing. They’re still closed in May though I thought I’d mention it in case you’re considering driving back later in the summer.

      Other than that, animal sightings require some luck! We’ve seen roadside bears on the Cassiar and on the section of the Alaskan Highway that’s further up north from Whitehorse (i.e. the one both roads merge into). We’ve seen the wood bison on the Alaskan Highway and I understand they’re pretty much a regular feature there. We didn’t actually see moose on either route – only in Alaska itself. So, overall, I don’t think one road offers more animal sightings than the other. I would definitely check road conditions on the Cassiar Highway before making the final decision. I have a feeling they may be slower to fix that road when spring hits, just because the Alaska Highway is the commercial route for trucks. Good luck!

    • Yes, I kept reading though given that we are coming from northern California I skipped the irrelevant parts like Miami routes. Very thorough and well thought out. Thank you for the effort! The lack of cellphone coverage will scare the dickens out of my wife. She just revealed that while we were driving through New Hampshire from Vermont to Maine, she got scared as evening was coming on, the road was lonely, and we had no service (plus got mildly lost after missing a turn). On the upside, I’m guessing there is very little way to get lost on that highway!

      • Hi Michael,

        Navigating the route is definitely easy. I can relate to your wife’s concern. We’ve traveled through many long and lonely stretches of roads in the US without cell reception though. The overall distance is longer across the Alcan but there’s actually more traffic than you’d be seeing on some roads in Montana, North Dakota or Nevada.
        I hope you make the trip – enjoy the adventure and stay safe!

  60. Can you give an idea of how mountainous these two routes are? I will be driving a Honda Odyssey and towing a small camper trailer. Steep climbs and descents would be a problem for my rig.

    • Hi David,
      There are a couple of passes along the Alaska Highway, mostly where you’re going through the Canadian Rockies. I Googled it and looks like you’ll need to traverse these two –
      Summit Pass (el. 1,305 m or 4,281 ft)
      Muncho Lake Pass (el. 1,095 m or 3,593 ft)
      There were sections of the road with inclines on both routes, I remember as much, but nothing too dramatic in terms of the West (we’ve driven pretty much through all the big mountain passes in previous trips). However, we traveled in an SUV and without towing anything so that probably was super easy on our vehicle. I’m not sure what the towing capacity for a Honda Odyssey is or what your trailer weighs so I can’t say if these would be an issue for you. I hope this helps.

  61. Hi, Thanks for your article and info. I just bought a bus, lol, 1979 MCI. Question, it weighs about 38,000 lbs. Did you notice any LOW bridges or weight limits on the ones you saw ? I have a concealed carry permit, would canada accept that ? Cape Cod to Alaska is in the playbook. Thanks again for your nice details

    • Hi John,
      Wow, sounds like quite the adventure! Huge trucks frequently go on the Alaska Highway, so I doubt you’ll have any issue with bridges. I’m no expert on weapons but from what I’ve Googled concealed weapons are not allowed in Canada in general, so my guess is you can’t conceal the weapon. From what I’m reading, you can take your gun through Canada but there are forms to be filled in at the border crossings. Maybe look for gun owner forums and ask there?

    • We did a brief trip into Canada a few years ago with family members who both have CCWs. Rather than fuss with the handguns, we left them back in the US and just did day trips across the boarder. The relatives said Canada was more accepting of long guns than hand guns and so they didn’t want to fuss with it. We were traveling in a motor home at the time, so just unhooked the towable and used that.

  62. Amazingly Helpful. Been planning to FLY to Alaska, but both Hubby and I shrugged and ughed at that. Your BLOG put our love for road trips in perspective making it real and doAble to get to ALASKA. THanks a TON
    WanderLust love from MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP 2021

    • Hi Pat! You really made my day with your comment! So glad you’re going to be driving to Alaska – stay safe and have tons of fun!

  63. You have given a great account of every possible “adventure”, good and bad, for the journey. After reading your post I feel like I have made the trip. We plan to fly to British Columbia from VA, rent an RV and take the Highway. Tossed around the idea of a cruise but don’t want to be that confined to an itinerary, we’re more freelancers. Thanks so much for the advice and safe travels.

    • Hi Helen, thanks so much for leaving me such a kind comment! So glad this helps and safe travels to you too! By the way, I have a new blog about RV’s here. I wrote about renting RV’s there as well. RV’ing is next on our list of things to do (planning on buying a 5th wheel at some point), so I’m researching the topic in depth.

  64. Great website and info. Planning to go summer 2020, after retirement. Talking this up, I’ve got 3 vehicles now going…2 I can depend on, and a neighbor that’s a little hard to pin down. Other truck camper owner is my college buddy now living in the Bay Area, we are originally from Maine.
    your blog is informative and inspiring, Thank You !

    • Hi Gene,
      Sounds like a cool adventure! IMO, as long as you’re not going during winter, you shouldn’t have a problem driving without company in tow. But having friends along is more fun, for sure.

  65. We are in the beginning stages of even “thinking” about driving to Alaska when we came upon your blog. Thanks for this. We too, want to travel with our dog; however, will have to research Canada’s restrictions/requirements prior to. We know Denali allows pets, but not on any trails, just the roads and bike paths. I am still researching pet friendly hotels in the area. We are also contemplating taking our travel trailer with us…Thanks for this blog as I now know there IS a Highway that is open year-round to Alaska, I didn’t know this before.

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Yup, the Alaska Highway is open year-round, but it could get blocked by snow in winter time. I talked to a friend who used to live in Fort Nelson and he said they plow the road within hours. Definitely not a good situation to be stuck in if you’re in a car though, especially at night. I imagine a travel trailer, stocked up with enough fuel for the generator would be ok though. Would need a four-season rig too, just for the added insulation as these areas are so cold during winter!
      Good luck with your trip – sounds like you’ll be going on a real adventure!

  66. Thank you for all the great information, tips & pics. We must be crazier (or as crazy?!?!?) – we plan to drive from Daytona Beach, FL to Alaska this year. We will be camping in a 5th wheel the entire time. Yes – crazy!

    • I think it’s an awesome plan! That’s actually my retirement plan – to buy a 5th wheel in the US and travel all over, possibly from Florida to Alaska too! Enjoy your travels!

  67. Yes..I read the whole article. Even viewed the videos. Very interesting and useful. My goal is to travel to Alaska the Spring/Summer of 2019. I’m in the process of purchasing a new truck (my Silverado has over 310,000 miles) and putting in a slide-in camper. As my plans are for camping, fishing and gold panning in Alaska. I need to research more info regarding camping through Canada. You didn’t get into it much. Also, I’m bringing my dog, so will read up on requirements for crossing the border with a pet. Otherwise, I’m preparing for the trip a lone with my dog. I want to be around to enjoy the northern lights too and I’ve heard they’re better at certain times of the year. I have all the time I’ll ever need….Alaska is my final state to visit. (Can’t drive to HI so I’ll never go) Thanks for all the useful information. Alaska tourism sent me some great maps and information on places to visit. The GPAA has gold claims where I can camp and pan. I’ll check out a gun show to purchase a handgun. My CC permit covers me in Alaska. I’m totally ready for my best adventure yet. Pen and paper and camera ready.

    • Hi Phyllis, I’m hoping to do the trip myself, but READ UP on PETS. Many years ago I was hoping to travel to Canada with my dog, and the information I got was that he would have to spend several days in quarantine at the border. It just wasn’t doable on the schedule I needed to keep (and I was only going to Toronto from New England). I eventually gave up on that trip. I’m actually going to try leaving Colorado in early spring, maybe taking some risks weather-wise.

    • The description of the road as one with few services makes me think we should upgrade our tow vehicle (04 Suburban with 220K on it) before attempting the trip, just in case. It’s been a mechanical superstar the last 15 years, but for that long of a haul with so few services, we’d be better off to make this summer our Florida drive rather than try to replace a dead tow vehicle in Canada. Alaska might have to wait one more year.

      • The Suburban is a great vehicle but I agree, I too would prefer a newer ride for this kind of trip.

  68. Ball park, how much would you budget from Portland Oregon to alaska for my daughter and I. We toad trip a lot. This would be a dream vacation. Would you ferry back? Thank you for this information.

    • Hi Catherine,
      It really depends on how long the trip will be and what you plan on doing in Alaska. The ferry is pretty expensive when you board with a car but it’s not a bad option, allowing you to rest and take a break from all the driving.
      This really is ball park, but I would say $150 for each day you intend to spend on the way + $200 for each day in Alaska (accommodation is expensive there). There are ways to bring the prices down though, depending on how far in advance you can plan this. I’ve posted about the cost of a trip to Alaska here. The post includes my tips for bringing those costs down.

  69. Yup, read the whole post. Excellent info for what has become my dream road trip/vacation. Unlikely I will ever get the wife on board, but a guy can dream! For me this reeks of the perfect trip for my brother and I to conquer before we are too old to make it.

    Thanks for sharing your story and insights. Best of luck on your future travels.

    • I have a similar situation. My wife is on board then not, then on board then not. This has been my dream since high school (turning 71 in March). Did make it up there in 2010 and 2017 by flying to Anchorage for short visits. But, the draw of driving is and always will be there. Looking into taking ferry from Prince Rupert to Haines to reduce some driving and stress on my wife. I have a Grand Caravan that I want to fix up for making the trip. Good luck on making the trip.

    • So glad you liked it, Kelley! When we started planning our trip, I actually thought about doing this from Florida and back 😀 We’ve visited 45 US states so far and still haven’t been to Florida, and I thought it would be cool to get both Florida and Alaska into the same road trip 😀 Ended up doing it from California and saving Florida for a separate trip, possibly in 2019!

  70. Thank you for your excellent blog post. We are planning to drive from Sacramento, CA to Alaska summer of 2020 and your post has given me lots of great ideas.

    • Great article. Researching drive out of deep concern for family member who has a half baked plan to move his family to Alaska. He is in his probably early to mid 30’s has 6 small kids and a wife and not lots of money. He bought plane tickets for his wife and youngest child to Anchorage where my son lives with his sister and their child in a 3 bedroom rental. He didn’t ask them prior to if they could stay or let them know of this crazy ” plan”. He then intends to drive up alone with the other 5 small kids from OKC in Aug or Sept and get a job in Homer at a canning factory. As my son pointed out, that’s seasonal work and they are not hiring anyone this year. He has no assured employment or housing and I have no idea what type of vehicle he drives or its condition. Being a fairly seasoned traveler myself, a planner, and an outdoorswoman, you can understand my concern. I would never consider this trip without another adult, let alone with 5 small kids in tow. He doesn’t want his family back home to be told of his plans. I feel a moral obligation to inform them so they could at least offer to care for the kids until, if ever, he attains the means to transport them there with greater safety. My son, a programmer, with the backup of homeowners in Anchorage, spent 3 years planning, saving and gaining employment before making this move. He responsibly went alone and then sent for his family after he was settled. This may be the longest response I’ve ever written so I hope you read it and weigh in with your advice. Thanks so much. Adrienne Daily

      • Hi Addrienne,
        I do share your concerns. This is not an easy trip to make, for sure. I hope your relative will choose a reliable large vehicle for the trip and will keep safe. Why not send him a link to this post too?

  71. Loved the article – my sister and I are planning a trip in June 2019 so we’re prepping now. I’m a teacher and she’s retired, so we don’t really have a time limit. Driving to Alaska has always been a bucket list trip for us, and we’re not getting any younger! Last year I spent 2 weeks in India, so I think I can handle it! Plus, I like to drive.

  72. We (hubby, 6 year old, and dog) are planning a 4 week rv trip from Illinois to Alaska next summer (July 2019). We are very excited and I’m having fun researching! Your post was very helpful!

    • Hi Jen,
      I guess 4 weeks is one-way? I bet you’re going to have a wonderful time! I can’t wait to do the same in an RV too.

  73. Read to the end. Only skipped the from and to of NY, FL and LA. We are planning a camping road trip with another couple (two vehicles-van conversion and truck camper) the summer of 2019. I found your blog very interesting, smart and informative. Thanks for all the time and attention you devoted to this. We are very excited to visit Alaska and have already started researching. We did a van camping trip through British Columbia and Alberta a few years back. Breathtaking scenery!! Thanks. 6/2018

    • Oh, you’re going to have such a wonderful trip! I’m researching into RV’ing too, seems like so much fun and since you can basically legally boondock in most places in Alaska, I have a feeling it can really lower the cost too.

    • My Name is Paul Corrado yup I read this and wI’ll reread it I’m leaving next week after final inspections I’m doing on my car. I’m going alone unfortunately because none of my friends have the guts to do this in a plane let alone a CAR but I love roadtrips and I LOVE TO DRIVE. Your post is amazing and I learned alot about the trip to alaska I’m leaving from LOS ANGELES San Fernando valley Area. I realize the amount of time I’ll need to see alot but I won’t get all of it this time I KNOW one thing I’ll learn about this trip and even plan a better one in the not so distant future. But if I can just see from the road between here and Alaska the natural beauty of the world I’m happy just to stay on the road and drive through it. Thanks again for the article

      • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Paul! I’m so glad you found the post helpful! If you have any questions whatsoever about driving to Alaska, just let me know. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic road trip!

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