Excitement awaits on the Alaska Highway. Spanning 2450 km, this marvel of engineering takes you on the most epic road trip.
Starting from Junction Creek and spanning all the way to Delta Junction deep within the state, this winds through some of the state’s most stunning scenery. From small villages to the city of Whitehorse, raging rivers, and the drama of mountains piercing the sky, the scenery will overwhelm you in the best of ways.
A Little Bit About the Alaska Highway
This famous highway starts off at mile zero in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. In fact, despite its name, the first 613 miles of the highway run through BC. Follow the road and it will take you northwest to the Yukon border near Watson Lake, YT. From there, it continues on as Yukon Highway 1, crossing over 577 miles of Yukon and on to the Alaskan border. Construction began during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States across Canada and to Alaska. Completed in 1942, it spans some 1,700 miles.
A series of historic mileposts stretch across the road, denoting its major stopping points. For example, Delta Junction at the end of the Alaska Highway is famously known as “Historic Milepost 1422.” Here, the highway turns into Richardson and stretches on all the way to Fairbanks. Miles along this stretch are measured from Valdez, instead of the Alaska Highway.
Attractions You Need to See Off of the Alaska Highway
Begin your trip at mile zero in British Columbia as the Alaska Highway snakes through the Yukon Territory. Just last year, the famous road had its 75th anniversary, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the occasion just last November 20th. Stretching an astounding 1,400 miles, it encompasses diverse communities, untouched nature, and wildlife. For the ultimate Alaska Highway road trip, here are the places you must see.
1. Dawson Creek, British Columbia
Start off your journey at mile zero, Dawson Creek, British Columbia. This is the official point of origin of the Alaska Highway. Make sure to stop and take a photo at the destination’s famed Mile Post. Locals say this will bring you good luck. While you’re in the area, make sure to swing by the Alaska Visitor House and the Dawson Creek Center. Sure it’s a little touristy, but do it for the memories.
2. Kiskatinaw River Bridge, British Columbia
After stopping by and getting some pics in Dawson Creek, drive until you reach mile marker 21. Here, you’ll find the picturesque Kiskatinaw River Bridge. This old lumber bridge began construction in 1942, serving as a military road to the Big Delta. The only functioning bridge of its kind today, it’s an important piece of cultural and historic legacy to the locals. It’s also a great place to stop, stretch your legs and take in the sights below. After all, deep evergreen forests and a raging river are right below.
3. Muncho Lake and Northern Rockies
This provincial park offers some of the most spectacular views of mountains, bountiful wildlife, and vivid wildflowers. As a part of the larger Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, it is named after the lovely Muncho Lake. The word ‘Muncho’ comes from the local Kaska aboriginal name, translating to mean ‘big water.’ This picturesque scene offers up deep aqua-green waters juxtaposed with the impressive Rockies.
The jewel of Muncho Lake spans 7.5 miles long and is well worth the time it takes to visit. It’s one of the best highlights of the Alaska Highway, coming highly recommended from both travelers and state natives. There are several options for accommodations along the way, including provincial RV and camping parks. In addition, the Northern Rockies Lodge offers a full service stop to travelers, including a gas station, restaurant, lodge, cabins, tours, and more.
4. Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, British Columbia
Come and take a dip in the second largest hot spring in Canada. The Liard River Hot Springs is just the place for Alaska-bound travelers to ease their tired muscles after a long day out on the road. This place holds a special national ecological significance and is well known for its lush spruce forest.
In the summer, it’s a popular place for both locals and travelers alike to soak in the summer months. Liard is open all-year round. The hot spring Alpha pool is open to the public, with temperatures ranging from 107 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. In some of the warm water swamps, keep your eyes open for moose sightings.
5. Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake
This is easily one of Watson Lake’s most famous attraction. Travelers around the world have been bringing signposts from their hometowns to the Sign Post Forest ever since 1942. The tradition began during the Alaska Highway Project. U.S. soldier Carl K. Lindley was there and added a sign that indicated the direction and distance away from his hometown of Danville, Illinois. After, other people began to follow suit.
Back in 1990, the 10,000th sign was added to the iconic forest. Today, there are well over 77,000 signs and the numbers grow as travelers add their own to the landmark. Make sure to bring a sign for your home and write in the distance. The nearby town of Watson Lake maintains the site. While you’re there, you will also come across pieces of equipment that were used during the highway’s first year of construction. In 1992, a time capsule was placed in the forest. It will be reopened in 2042.
6. Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre of Whitehorse
Make a pit stop at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. This fun, educational site offers a unique glimpse into the region’s prehistoric past. Here, a captivating exhibit is dedicated entirely to Beringia, a massive subcontinent that stretched from Yukon to Siberia during the last Ice Age. It describes the first North American peoples who migrated to the continent from Asia more than 15,000 years ago. It also shows the types of wildlife that used to roam this land, including woolly mammoths, Steppe Bisons, and the American scimitar cats.
7. Continental Divide, Yukon Territory
Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? Well, now you can. This ridge line on the Alaskan Highway separates two of the largest river drainages in the North American continent. Only heaps of sand and gravel stand between the westward-flowing Swift River and the eastward-bound Rancheria River.
8. Kluane National Park and Reserve
Are you a lover of the great outdoors? You will absolutely love Kluane National Park and Reserve. In 1979, Kluane was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to 17 of the highest 20 peaks in all of Canada. Of all the places to stop on the Alaska Highway, you have to go here. Expansive vistas give way to spectacular snow-capped mountains, massive glaciers, and icefields off in the distance.
Adventure seekers will love the myriad of activities on site. Travelers can take their pick from hiking, mountain climbing, cross country skiing, boating, camping in the back country, and more. Just make sure you bring the right gear and a good travel camera.
9. Ice Field Mountains of St. Elias Mountains
Have you seen anything more breathtaking? The Ice Fields of St. Elias Mountains are more than just postcard worthy. This range between the Pacific Coast extends for more than 250 miles of stunning scenery, all the way from the Wrangell Mountains to Cross Sound along the border between the U.S. and Canadian border.
Many of the peaks in the range exceed 17,000 feet tall, including Mount St. Elias, Logan, King, and Luciana. These mountains hold some of the world’s most extensive ranges of ice fields, sheer blankets over an open expanse. They extend for some 235 miles, stretching from the eastern part of the Chugach Mountains to the Aslek River. At the end of the southern range, you will find Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
10. Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
The boundaries of this wildlife refuge span some 932,000 acres. Within them, you will find everything from rugged, snow-capped mountains and glacier runoff rivers to expansive forests, open tundra, and large wetlands. Bird watching enthusiasts will particularly love the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. It is a major migratory route for all kinds of birds flying to and from Canada, including geese, ducks, swans, cranes, and various songbirds. The refuge is also teeming with mammals such as sheep, moose, and caribou birds.
11. Mukluk Land, Alaska
This junkyard turned theme park is the most obscure and creepy thing off of the Alaska Highway. Old snowmobiles, creepy dolls, and giant piles of rubble litter the fields. Welcome to Mukluk Land. Three miles west of Tok, this park is lauded as ‘Alaska’s most unique destination.’ Old wooden cabins give way to old arcades, including skee ball, whack-a-mole, and an impressive collection of beer cans.
Peering into the window of the doll cabin is the only way you’ll get a good look. Entering is expressly forbidden, as can be seen by the large bear trap at the front door. Don’t even get us started on the collection of these eery porcelain toys. The log cabin houses several of them. You’ll find them sitting in rows on the floor, seated on shelves, stuffed into open suitcases, and stuck in an old plastic convertible car.
After you’re done exploring the park and taking pictures for the album, you’ve got to pose in front of the main attraction. You got it – the giant mukluk. This big red boot adorned with white pom poms is suspended high above the great, the perfect place for a photo op.
12. Delta Junction, Alaska
Last but certainly not least, we’re going to stop at Delta Junction at the official end of the Alaska Highway. Here, you’ll find a charming small town about 90 miles south of Fairbanks, at the junction of the Delta and Tanana Rivers. Coincidentally, it’s also where the Alaska Highway intersects with the Richardson Highway.
There’s plenty of things to do here to get a taste for the local’s lifestyle. First, get yourself a bite to eat at the Delta Meat & Sausage Co. You’ll find free samples of their signature buffalo and reindeer sausage. To reward yourself for going the distance, there are also some fun souvenirs you should snag. Stop by the Smiling Moose gift store to pick up just the right celebratory item.
Embark On your End of Summer Alaska Highway Road Trip
The end of summer’s almost here. That means you still have several weeks to get out and make the most of the long days and sunshine. What better way to wrap up an epic season that to go on an Alaska Highway road trip?
As you can see, there are so many things to do and places to go here. From educational experiences and quirky roadside attractions to some of the world’s magnificent landscapes, the Last Frontier state really does have it all. Which spot on our list would you like to see the most? Let us know in the comment section below.
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Questions and Comments
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