What to see and do along the Alaska Highway

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The Alaska Highway – also known as the Alcan – is a dream destination for any road tripper. This legendary 1,390 miles long road connects the Canadian town of Dawson Creek, British Columbia with Delta Junction in Alaska. We love road trips and – fingers crossed – we hope to be driving this awesome road in 2017. In this post, I’m sharing my list of things to do and see along the Alaska Highway.

What to do and see along the Alaska Highway

The Milepost

You can’t really talk about a road trip from the Lower 48 to Alaska without mentioning this book. Yes, I already bought my copy of the Milepost!

The Milepost

The Milepost is essentially a road atlas. It offers a detailed point-by-point description of the Alaska Highway and other roads in Alaska and the the way to Alaska.

Frankly, I am amazed that people still use a printed book as a road atlas in 2016. Yes, you can get the ebook edition but I once you take a look at the pages, it’s clear that this kind of small print needs to be read from the book. There is no convenient way in which you can condense the amount of information on each and every page into a small screen.

I’m going to start working on a possible itinerary soon. For now, I’m mapping out the places where we’ll want to stop for awhile and do some sightseeing. My previous blog post was about our Alaska Bucket List and so this is a bit of our “Alaska Highway Bucket List”.

You can view the locations on the Google map I prepared. It’s embedded into this post towards the end. This list covers the Alaskan Highway, from Dawson Creek in the south (a very relative use of the word south here!), all the way to the Delta junction in Alaska.

What to see and do along the Alaska Highway

1. Dawson Creek, British Columbia

This small British Columbia town of 11,500 inhabitants prides itself on being the olace where the Alcan begins. You can have your photo taken next to the Mile Zero post in town. Dawson Creek is an overall pleasant town with hiking trails, parks, murals and even a farmers market.

What to see and do along the Alaska Highway: Dawson Creek
The Mile Zero post at Dawson Creek. Picture by Maclean25 via Wikipedia

A famous local attraction is Kiskatinaw Bridge – formerly a part of the original Alaskan Highway, it’s now a historic site.

For even more local history, you can visit the Alaska Highway House – a small museum about the road’s construction – or the Walter Wright Pioneer Village – a small historic park recounting the early days of Dawson Creek.

2. Fort Nelson, British Columbia

This small town of 4,000 people is a natural stop between Dawson Creek and Watson Lake. Other than stores and motels, you can find a great information center in town and The Fort Nelson Heritage Museum. Not surprisingly, this museum also focuses on the history of the Alaska Highway.

3. Muncho Lake, British Columbia

A beautiful jade-colored lake where you can stay at a local campground and hike the trails. The park and campgrounds close on September 8th.

4. Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia

Steaming hot pools right in the middle of the Alaska Highway, how cool is that? No wonder it’s such a popular place. This is part of the Canadian Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park and a must-do item on any traveler’s list.

Here’s a short clip about the recent renovations in the area –

5. Watson Lake, Yukon

This small community is strategically placed near Mile 635 on the Alaska Highway. This means everyone stops here. In fact, travelers from all over the world are the ones who created the town’s most famous attraction: The Sign Post Forest. Just what it sounds like, it’s a small forest made of signposts from all over the world.

What to see and do along the Alaska Highway: Signpost forest at Watson Lake
Photo by Yufei Yuan via Wikipedia

6. Teslin, Yukon

This small village of the Tlingit nation has less than 150 inhabitants but that’s enough to make it one of the largest First Nation settlements in the Yukon. There are actually three small museums at Teslin which are recommended by travelers: The Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre, the Northern Wildlife Museum and the George Johnston Museum.

7. Whitehorse, Yukon

With a population of more than 23,000, Whitehorse is the largest town in the entire territory. It’s a great place for a longish stopover. It has everything you need in a town, plus several sightseeing attractions. These include –

  • Miles Canyon – Trails that take you through a beautiful canyon and some historic sites. Read more.
What to do and see along the Alaska Highway: Miles Canyon
Miles Canyon, near Whitehorse
  • The SS Klondike – A former gold rush ship turned into a national historic park and museum.  Read more.
  • The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center – A small museum that explores the ice age land bridge between North America and Asia. Read more.
  • The MacBride Museum of Yukon History – Another small museum covering local history, including natural history. Read more.
  • Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre – A cultural center for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation people. Read more.
  • Yukon Wildlife Preserve – A conservation and research center where you can see many types of local wildlife.

8. Haines Junction & Kluane Lake

A small town of just over 500 people near the beautiful Kluane Lake and the Kluane National Park and Reserve.

What to see and do along the Alaska Highway: Kluane Lake, Yukon
Kluane Lake, Yukon

9. Tok

Not much to do at Tok itself, but it’s where you can stop and consider if you’re going to continue up north towards Fairbanks, or take a left turn for Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. There are several motels and a good visitors center if you want to hang around for a day before you decide.

10. Delta Junction

At last! Your last stop on the Alaska Highway! About 1000 people live here and there’s actually a bit of local history to check out before you continue on your way up north to Fairbanks. You can stroll around the Big Delta State Historical Park for a taste of the early days of Alaska’s pioneers and visit the Sullivan Roadhouse Historical Museum, the oldest roadhouse in Alaska.

Finally, the map!

Here’s an interactive map of the places mentioned in this post. You can zoom in and out, or click on the icon on the top left corner to see the names of the various destinations and get additional information.

So, what do you think? Have you ever driven along the Alaska Highway? Or is it on your own private Bucket List for a future trip? Let me know in the comments!

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