Driving to Alaska: The Complete Guide (Based on our experience)

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

Fantasizing about driving out there into the wilderness, surrounded by majestically wild scenery dotted with moose and the occasional Grizzly? Totally free and having the best time of your life?

But is it safe?

After all, that's dozens of hours of driving time literally to the Last Frontier. With moose and Grizzly all around you! What if you run out of gas? What if your car breaks down? What if a giant brown bear eats you?

Ok, let's take a deep breath.

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. Learned by doing tons of research AND by taking the trip ourselves. And if you're new to this blog and wonder 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 drivelapse 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 😉 ).

Take a look at the table of contents and then grab a coffee and we'll begin. (Not sure if you have time right now? Bookmark this page so you can return to it later.)

Driving through Canada (You have to if you want to reach Alaska by land)

Yes, I know, this is pretty obvious. You just 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. I'm even going to use a different color font to help you skip.

Let's go back in time to the early 1940's. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US is now at war with Japan which puts Alaska under threat. Alaska is a faraway state, 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 Canadians took their time debating the issue, so the US just went into Canada and began the works. Basically, by the time Canada said yes, the road had been under construction for several weeks.

Building a road through northern Canada is 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 also 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 1970's 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 at parts. Take a look at this short drivelapse 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 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 for some bear watching 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?

If you ask me, both roads are worth traveling through. We did exactly that last summer and enjoyed both ways. The Cassiar is a gorgeous area and I'm not sorry 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.

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 or 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. No cell coverage, 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 in 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.

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 vehicle 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.

Do I need a gun?

No, you don't.

If you're an American driving from the Lower 48 to Alaska, you can bring your gun along and use it in Alaska. There's some red tape involved and fees to be paid too. Here's a link to the Canadian guide about bringing firearms across the border into Canada.

Do I need bear spray?

Good question.

We saw dozens of bears during our road trip to Alaska and back, most of them are Grizzly (or Brown Bear as they call them in Alaska). Not all of them were by the road. Some were in locations that we came to specifically to see the bear (namely, Hyder and Haines).

The ones that were by the side of the road were totally harmless, of course. There is no risk to you in viewing a bear from within your vehicle. There is some risk to the bear though.

Let me explain.

I was reading an article in a local newspaper in Whitehorse (capital of the Yukon) about their bear problem. It was late August and the local authorities had already shot over 50 bears dead because said bears got into people's backyards. Once a bear loses its fear of humans and begins looking for food where people live, there's a real danger of an encounter turning into a bear attack. So, these bears must be put down before they end up hurting someone.

What does that have to do with you?

According to the article, part of the problem was with tourists who were getting too close to the bear. Seeing a bear by the roadside, people not only stop to look but also get out of the vehicle and gradually get closer to the bear to get better photos. That's how the bear becomes used to the presence of humans. That bear would be more likely to get into local neighborhoods to forage, having lost its natural fear of humans.

Back to the bear spray.

We visited Haines, AK, during our own Alaska trip. One of the reasons for going there was to see bear feeding off salmon in at Chilkoot Lake. And we did.

At some point, a young Grizzly appeared on the bank across from us. For 15 minutes, that bear was jumping from one small island to another, taking out big fat salmon and stopping occasionally to munch on his prey. He kept island hopping and finally ended on our side of the river. He then proceeded to catch fish along the bank, moving towards us. At some point, he was under 20 feet away, happily keeping himself busy looking for fish in the water. He then lifted his face, looked at us (I swear he looked surprised!) and then moved on fishing and got past us.

This was the most exciting 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 in our travels across North America, I actually took it out of the 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? Who knows. We do know how to use it and have gone through several bear safety lectures. Still scary.

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. Don't bring pepper spray that's intended to be used on humans.

What kind of vehicle do you need to drive to and in Alaska?

Virtually ANY vehicle (as long as it's in good condition) can make it to Alaska. You could drive around in a sedan, not a problem. The roads are good enough for that.

Having said that, we rented an SUV and if and when we go again, it'll probably be an SUV or a truck. Not because you absolutely need 4WD but because having a heavier vehicle can help in the following scenarios -

  • You run into an animal on the road (if you hit a moose, you want to be in a heavy duty truck with a large grille!)
  • There's snow or ice on the road (4WD can really help there too, providing you with added traction).

Is driving to Alaska hard?

It's mostly long. And awesome.

The driving itself isn't too difficult. Some sections of the road are winding and narrow - especially the part where you're crossing the Canadian Rocky mountains - but it's not any more difficult than any mountain driving in the west.

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

In fact, some sections are surprisingly easy to drive. Well paved with more than one lane and very little traffic. Just switch to cruise control and stay alert for animals crossing the road.

When is a good time of the year to drive to Alaska?

As I mentioned earlier, the Alaska Highway is open throughout the year. If you absolutely have to, you could drive to Alaska in wintertime too.

I would advise against it though. Winter driving to Alaska is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. Yes, the road is regularly cleared of snow but if you happen to be caught on the road when a blizzard hits, you'll have to pull over and wait for hours - possibly longer - for the snow plowing vehicles to show up. Then you'll have to follow them very slowly all the way to the next town.

And it gets worse:

Let's say your car breaks down on the road. During summertime, you'll waste several hours and several hundreds of dollars but someone will come along and you won't be in any actual danger. Winter? That's an entirely different story. That's when a problem with your car can be deadly if you don't have a way to keep warm through the night while waiting for your rescue mission.

What do you need for your trip?

Driving to Alaska is a long road trip.

There are 3,000 miles between Los Angeles and the border with Alaska. More like 4000 if you shoot for Fairbanks or Anchorage (and you will be - not much point in hitting the border and then returning).

Here's the deal:

Los Angeles to New York City - the ultimate coast-to-coast road trip - that's about 2,7000 miles. Driving to Alaska from most locations in the US can be almost double that distance.

So, like I said, it's a long road trip and you should pack accordingly.

How many days does it take to drive from Los Angeles to Alaska?

It's taken us three weeks to cover the distance between Los Angeles and Fairbanks but we did take some scenic detours and stopped for sightseeing quite often. Total driving time according to Google Maps is 60 hours. If you were to drive 10 hours a day, you could make the distance in a week (allowing for some stops).

And that clearly affects your packing. You need to take clothes, medications, and everything that you would need for a long while away from home. If - like us - you want to travel to Alaska for a while and then drive back - it all adds up.

Our road trip lasted a total of nine weeks:

  • Three weeks on the way to Alaska
  • Three weeks in Alaska
  • Three weeks on the way back.

Your packing list should include everything that you need for the length of your stay and keep in mind that there will be days where you won't be able to access a pharmacy or even a store larger than a gas station store.

This is what the back of our rented Nissan Pathfinder looked like while we were driving to Alaska: -

Once in Whitehorse in the Yukon, you can buy whatever you need. Clearly, you can do the same in Alaska. Keep in mind that prices go up the further up north you are, so it's best to buy clothes, shoes etc in the Lower 48 and arrive prepared.

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 police take their jobs very seriously. All vehicles are stopped for questioning and you need to present your papers.

According to the US 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 - which is a valid passport only without pages in it. Americans can use that when crossing to Canada, Mexico, and a few other destinations but not for international air travel.
  • A Nexus card - a special "trusted travelers" card that can be used for entering Canada.

If you're not a US citizen, you'll need a passport to enter Canada or the US, so basically have your passports on hand whenever you cross the border - which could happen more often than you think.

What do I mean?

There are several points along the route where you could be crossing between Canada and the US. 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 into 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, entry back into the US

That's 8 border crossings.

Do you need jerrycans of extra gas, another spare tire or motor repair equipment?

No, you don't.

A few decades ago, people did use to carry all of these along with them. The road was rougher back then with 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 road to Alaska. Just be sensible and top up when you hit the mid-tank mark and you should be just fine.

What wildlife will I see on the way to Alaska?

Oooh yeah, let's get back to talking about the fun stuff! This is a FUN road trip to take, remember?

You're bound to see wildlife along the route. Our own sightings included:

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

The best times for animal spotting is early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Just please be careful as the animals can and do jump into the road unannounced. I almost hit a deer once in Idaho, so I know how a big animal can take you by surprise and just literally jump into the road out of nowhere. I'm extra careful because of that.

Up in the north, we're talking larger animals like moose which is even scarier. In fact, while we were driving the Glenn Highway in Alaska, a vehicle in front of us hit a moose and killed the animal on the spot.

Dead Moose due to roadkill

Fortunately for the humans involved, it was a young female moose and the driver managed to swerve so that only the animal's head actually hit the vehicle. Also lucky for the humans was the fact this was a big Ford truck. And still, just the head of a moose, on a large truck managed to do a lot of damage. The entire windshield was smashed, one mirror was off and there was damage done along the side of the truck.

The result of hitting a moose

The bottom line?

Be careful so you can view animals but not smash into them.

How much does driving to Alaska actually cost?

Look, there are no two ways about this.

A trip to Alaska can be expensive. That includes arriving at the state and returning back home. I'm currently working on a huge blog post dealing just with the costs associated with visiting Alaska (not just getting there and back). Once it's published, I'll link to it from here.

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

For now, let's just say that generally speaking, gas costs more in Canada and price goes further up as you head into the remote areas of northern British Columbia and the Yukon. Expect to pay 25-50% more for gas. And remember, we're talking roughly 3000-4000 miles in each direction so this can really add up.

You'll also need to budget for accommodation along the way. More on that in a bit, but for now let's just say that we paid an average of $100-$120 a night along the route and that's for a family of four in one room. Hotel/motel rates in Alaska itself are much higher. Expect to pay $150-$250 for a room in Alaska. Even more near Denali national park.

Where to stay along the way?

There are two kinds of places along the way where you can plan on staying the night -

  1. Towns like Whitehorse, Watson Lake or Fort Nelson.
  2. Small hamlets which are basically places built around a gas station to provide services to users of the road

The towns are small. The largest one is Whitehorse and that has fewer than 30,000 residents. They all offer a selection of accommodation options, including motels and RV campgrounds. These towns have motels, including chain motels where you can get WiFi as well as other hotel amenities.

Smaller points of human habitation are scattered along the road and they usually offer a place to stay for the night too. These are motels in the old sense of the word. Places for motorists to spend the night and move on in the morning. They're not chain motels so don't expect amenities like a gym, a pool or even WiFi. They don't have that.

Surprisingly, the prices aren't super expensive. Whitehorse was the exception in that area with prices starting at the $140 range for a room for four. In all other places, we could easily find cheaper rooms.

Which brings me to the next question:

Should you book your room in advance?

If you were to ask me about making hotel reservations in Alaska itself, I'd say "Go for it". And be quick about it. Places fill up quickly and prices go up, so if you can book your Alaska accommodation in advance you could save yourself a nice chunk of money. Also, once in Alaska, the distances are actually not that bad and you have good cell coverage too. This makes it easier to plan ahead and also to make changes along the way.

As for the part of driving to Alaska, it's more complicated.

Some of these places don't have internet and they certainly don't show up on sites like Booking.com. You can make reservations by calling them but I don't think you should.

For two reasons:

First, these places rely on travelers dropping in unannounced, sometime in the late afternoon. Which means they usually have available rooms if you don't show up too late.

Secondly - and more importantly - it's hard to tell how much driving you're going to end up doing in any single day. And with no cell coverage, it's going to be difficult to cancel and make changes along the way. You could end up stopping too early in the day just because you had made reservations in a certain location.

But it gets worse.

You could be forced to drive on to get to a previously booked room. Which could mean driving when you're tired and/or in the dark.

Which is why I wouldn't make reservations for that section of your trip. On our own journey, I only made reservations ahead of time for Whitehorse and that was because we stopped there for four days. For that length of time, I wanted to reserve a good room for us well in advance so we don't spend too much on expensive rooms. Everywhere else, we just stopped for the night wherever we felt like we had enough.

Here's the deal though:

You do need to plan ahead. Look up the various places where you can stop for the night and know where they are. Otherwise, you could be facing a long stretch of the road before you reach a possible stopping point. I charted our route in a way that we always reached a small town in the afternoon. We didn't stop there every time but at least we had the option to do that.

With that in mind, let's talk about one last thing before I offer you detailed itineraries for driving to Alaska: The Milepost. 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.

Should you be getting The Milepost?

I can hear you asking:

What's the Milepost?

You could say it's a book. But it's also an icon. Some people the bible of driving to Alaska. This is a printed Alaska travel planner that specializes in driving to and from Alaska. This guide offers super detailed descriptions for every part of every road that can take you from the Lower 48 to Alaska. And then some more.

I had been wondering whether or not we should buy the Milepost. It's available via Amazon so easy enough to buy but with overseas shipping cost, the expense was close to $50. However, this is one big book. These days with a small kindle holding an almost infinite number of books, should we still be buying thick printed books? Isn't that too heavy and cumbersome? And isn't all of the information available on the internet anyway?

Eventually, I ordered our copy.

And here's the kicker:

It was worth every cent and every ounce of weight.

On a very practical level, this was an invaluable resource for planning and executing our road trip. The Milepost offers lengthy discussions of the various routes and then provides a detailed description of every section of every road, to Alaska and in Alaska too.

To be honest, in Alaska itself, where we had good cell coverage, I didn't use the book very much. It really proved its value on the Alaska Highway as well as the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. With no cell coverage and no internet, this was our only source of information. We could plan ahead and see where we could stop for lunch, to buy groceries or stay the night. And it never failed us - the information was always accurate.

(Make sure you get the latest edition. There's a new edition coming out every year with a small army of editors working on keeping the information valid and relevant.)

And we discovered another fun use for the Milepost!

Driving along for hours with no internet, what do you do? Every now and again, I would open the book, find the section describing the area and read it out loud to the rest of the gang. My kids were amazed to see that there's something like Wikipedia - without an internet connection!

So, yeah, get the Milepost!

Alaska road trip itineraries

Whew, this is a long post, isn't it? I hope you made it thus far. Now comes the fun part (for me at least).

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

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

And this is a part where you can absolutely skip ahead, depending on where you're driving to Alaska from.

What I'm about to suggest are itineraries from your point of origin to the beginning of the Alaska Highway. Once on the Alaska Highway, it's basically the same itinerary, so I won't go into detail there. Do read my post about what to see and do along the Alaska Highway. What you'll find there is not only a list of places to see along the road but also our own trip report of what we did while driving the Alcan in 2017. These routes all end at Delta Junction, AK. That's where the Alaska Highway ends and where you can choose whether to visit Fairbanks or go see Anchorage and the area first.

Here's the deal:

These itineraries are super flexible. I'm assuming that your goal is to travel to Alaska and enjoy the road trip to Alaska. Which means you're going to pass some pretty awesome places en route without giving them nearly enough time - if 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 the inclination, by all means, make longer stops and enjoy places along the way for longer.

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

Driving to Alaska from Seattle

Seattle is the large American city 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 which 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 go see 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. Daily driving time by this point should be would be 5-6 hours. Depending on whether you hikes or not, you can either spend the night at New Hazelton or push on all the way to Stewart which is your next destination. Driving from Prince George to Stewart in a day would mean 9-10 hours of driving.
  4. Arrive at Stewart and go 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 (great little grocery store!) and Jade City (basically a large store of local jade). Finally, you reach Junction 37 which is where you join the Alaska Highway. You can find accommodation in the hamlet of Nugget City which would put you at a total of 11-12 driving hours for this day.
  6. Drive west on the Alcan. Rancheria Falls make 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. Stunning scenery and you should include a short hike or two. 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. Totally driving time to Delta Junction from Whitehorse is 9-10 hours. Or you could 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 drive the Alaska Highway, you definitely can. It doesn't even add too much driving time.

Basically, follow the previous itinerary to Prince George and there keep heading north all the way to Dawson Creek. Here's a quick sketch 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 here:

  • 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 state. It's easy to drive and 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 routes.

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 hours 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 SF 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 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 in the narrow curvy roads). Take a minimum of one week - preferably two - to cover this route (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 empty 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 open space. It's a great prelude for the wilderness which surrounds the Alaska Highway. Driving straight from LA to Dawson Creek takes roughly 35 hours (Google Maps tends to be too optimistic, so I always add 10% to their estimates).  Again, this route has some awesome places you could spend several days visiting - each.

You could easily take small detours to drive through Yellowstone National Park and even the 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're 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!

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

This is what your trip will look like -

That's why writing the skeleton for this itinerary is really hard for me. So, I've added suggestions for spending extra days in more than one location along the route. Give yourself 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 a sketch 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 (real 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 see Yellowstone Canyon. See this post for 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 as 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 - well worth another couple of days stop (I did say this was a problem route - 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! Totally doable though. I'm going to assume that you're not about to do any sightseeing out east. Gettysburg or Cuyahoga are easily accessible at any other time. You're going west, young person, right?

That's why I'm assuming that if you're heading out of NYC, you're going to 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 big 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 just drive the distance in 3-5 days and get on the Alaska Highway.

Perfectly reasonable.

However, if you have an additional week and you want to make more out of your time in the west, I would suggest taking the longer route and driving through 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 gain several awesome places of interest:

Roosevelt National Park is well worth a day's visit and so few people get to see it. That's where we saw not only bison but also more than one herd of wild mustang horses! Glacier National Park, well, probably the most beautiful of all American national parks. Check out my post about the glacier and see our photos from the park to judge for yourself. And then you have the amazing Canadian Rockies. If you've never been to these places and you're traveling 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!)

Woha, you do realize you'll be driving the entire stretch of the map? Probably the longest possible road trip in North America.

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

If you make a bee's line 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 crazy as us out there, I won't be adding an itinerary here. I'll just say that if you've never been out west, make your route go through Yellowstone, Glacier and the Canadian Rockies. That's going to put 10 additional hours on your driving time but 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. Thanks in advance! Oh, and before you head out, check my 37 road tripping tips (based on more than a year and half of amazing road trips in the US and Canada!



  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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!!!!!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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,

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

  31. 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!

  32. 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😊

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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?

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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…

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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 .

  47. 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

  48. 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!!

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

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

  53. 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

  54. 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!

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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!

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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!

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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!

  66. 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?

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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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