Alaska, Canada, North America

Alaska Highway Road Trip

Each year we take a trip to Alaska to work on our cabin. It’s a working vacation for us and we really love it. This year, I finally convinced my husband to take an Alaska Highway Road Trip to get to our place. I had been wanting to take this trip for a few years, so I was pretty excited.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we got this cute little puppy just before we left Memphis, Tennessee.  My husband really wanted a puppy and my condition was that if we got one, it would travel with us wherever we go. So, we loaded the pup, our daughter and all of our stuff up in the truck and we were off.

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We were pretty packed in the truck because we had things we needed in Alaska, as well as things for our trip. Our plan was to not use hotels along the way, so we needed lots to keep us alive.

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We stopped in Idaho Falls to regroup and gather some things we needed and then we headed north. Our trip took us through Montana and then into Canada at Sweetgrass, Montana.

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Dawson Creek BC

In all honesty, there wasn’t a lot we were interested in photographing until we reached the start of the Alaska Highway. We weren’t really sure what we would find when we hit the Alaska Highway, but we were excited just the same!

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In Dawson Creek, British Columbia, you will find a couple of signs telling you you’re entering the Alaska Highway. The adventure is about to start!! I’ve never seen the show Dawson Creek, but when we got there, I wondered if it was the same place. Anyone know?

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Alaska Highway

As I said, we weren’t sure what we would find once we reached the Alaska Highway. We had heard that the roads aren’t very good and that there isn’t much on them. This is what we encountered most of the way. Much better than we thought, and not much traffic. SCORE!

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Before we reached the Alaska Highway, we made a list of the animals we wanted to see on our month long adventure. It was a list of 23 animals. We ended up seeing all but 4 over our month. A couple we were surprised about because we had seen them right by our property in the past and didn’t this year.

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This mom and baby caribou was obviously right in the road. I show you this picture so you see why you should watch for wildlife. Since the road goes through their home and there isn’t civilization, they are just out in the open to see.

This stone sheep was spotted on Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain Provincial Park and was just off the road, but up a little bit when I took this picture. She was looking right at me for a maybe two minutes. Such a neat experience.

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Yukon Territory

The Yukon Territory is more of the same open spaces with the occasional small town in the mix. We spent the night in our truck going to Alaska every night but one.

One fateful night, we stayed in a hotel in Fort Nelson and I won’t even tell you the name because it was so bad.  I was given the key to our room and I walked in on someone because they gave me a room someone else already had. That should have been my warning that the hotel would be bad. Sometimes I’m a slow learner though. If you decide to take this trip, shoot me an email and I will tell you the name of it so you don’t stay there.

On the plus side, we stay in an RV park one night called Pioneer RV Camp in Whitehorse. That was a great place and I would recommend it.

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We saw this cute ‘little’ black bear enjoying some berries. My husband said it’s probably about 200 pounds and could kick my behind. I stayed very close to the truck to take the pictures, just in case it came my way. Thankfully, it did not.

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The Alaska Highway follows the south side Kluane Lake and it is a huge lake and so beautiful. There are loads of places to pull off and take some photos, so be sure you snap to your heart’s content.

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If you have a fishing license and pole, Kluane Lake has a lot of large lake trout and whitefish, so maybe you can even catch some dinner. Be sure to check the regulations on the area so you aren’t breaking any rules.

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Alaska

Finally, we hit Alaska. Our behinds were pretty numb by this point. This was day 4 in the car. Of note about reaching Alaska. When you exit Canada, there are about 30 miles in no man’s land, although I think it’s actually jointly owned, before you hit the Alaska immigration. You shouldn’t stop or get out of your car.

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In August and September, the animals are fattening up for the long winter months ahead. This mom and baby moose are no exception. They would stop and munch on the grass every few steps. It looks like the mom is hustling baby along, doesn’t it?

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On a clear day, you can see the snow covered mountains in the distance. This day, it was raining pretty good, but the lake was still pretty. Lucky us, it also had a rest area attached!

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The Way Back

After spending our month in Alaska, we were sadly leaving and heading back to reality. It’s always hard to leave a place you love. We had some bad weather and some good weather on the way back. Luckily, when we stopped at the Yukon River for lunch, the weather was fantastic. I was able to capture these photos during our break.

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Water photos are one of my my favorite kind of photos to take. If you looked at my memory card from my camera or my phone, you would be able to tell because I take so many pictures of the water.

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Personally, I thought these turned out really nice. Kind of shocking really, since I had a puppy pulling on his leash. He wanted to take a swim.

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Bison are pretty plentiful on the Alaska Highway. We saw a few herds and some loners too. This fella was one of the loners. They are so huge.

Coming back, we stayed in a motel called Talbot Arm Motel, in Destruction Bay. After our experience at Fort Nelson, we weren’t expecting much, but our daughter was super sick, so we had to stop. It was a really horrible night for her, but we were pleasantly surprised by the motel. It wasn’t a five star place, but it was clean and warm. It’s what we needed.

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Watson Lake

In the town of Watson Lake, which is in the Yukon, there is the World Famous Signpost Forest. It was started in 1942 by injured GI, Private Carl K Lindley from Danville, Illinois, who was brought to the aid station to recuperate. In 1942, there wasn’t a town of Watson Lake, but a military air base and airport.

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Private Lindley’s commanding officer assigned him the task of painting the directional sign and while he was doing that, being homesick, he decided to add a sign to his own hometown. This Signpost Forest has over 72,000 signs now, although some say there are over 80,000 signs.

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The day we were driving through, it was super rainy and cold. My daughter and I decided to get out and walk around anyway. How often do you see something like this?

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That’s just me, on a bridge in the Signpost Forest.

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We saw another black bear on the way back through. This one was a little bigger and not as close, but we saw it anyway. I’m always so excited to see animals in the wild.

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Remember that tiny puppy at the beginning of this post? This is him five weeks later. He was growing so fast. Check out my Instagram to see him now. Still super cute, but he is really getting big. He has the longest legs.

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Tips for Your Road Trip

  • Fill up your fuel tank before you leave the United States. Fuel cheaper in the U.S.
  • Take plenty of food, water and blankets with you in case you get stranded. Towns on the Alaska Highway are far apart.
  • Pay close attention to your fuel because, again, towns are far apart.
  • Take an extra 5 gallons of fuel for emergencies.
  • Take a camera. You will want to take lots of photos.
  • Watch for wildlife and don’t approach!
  • Bring toilet paper and wipes. Bathrooms are few and far between. Not all rest areas have bathrooms.  I hope you can squat.
  • Take your time. I wish we had a couple more days. Our next trip we will schedule in the extra days.
  • Bring a tent if you don’t want to sleep in your vehicle. However, be aware that there are bears, so don’t put anything with a scent in your tent.
  • Have bear spray and know how to use it. It could save your life.
  • Do not bring pepper spray into Canada. It is illegal and they will ask you if you have it and take it if you do. Bear spray is okay though.
  • If you have a tablet, upload some movies on it. You can’t drive for every waking hour and will want something easy to do before bed.
  • Bring a small camp stove to cook simple meals on. We did soups and chili. You can cook them right in the can and eat out of the same can, so no dishes!
  • Get yourself a copy of MILEPOST 2018 (or whatever the latest year is). It details your trip, tells you where towns, hotels, rest areas, etc are located. It’s quite helpful. (PS that’s an affiliate link)

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Conclusion

Our Alaska Highway Road Trip added four days onto our trip both directions that we could have spent working on our cabin. However, it was a dream for me to take that trip and I’m so glad that we did. It was a beautiful drive and we saw so many great things. I highly recommend it. 10, 263 miles later, we are back in Idaho, awaiting our next adventure.  Have you ever taken the Alaska Highway?

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24 Comments

  • Reply Suzy November 16, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    This looks such an incredible trip. We are planning a hiking trip in the US maybe next year, and would love to get to Alaska too but hadn’t though about driving through Canada to get there. The only think that scares me slightly are the bears. I agree with you about taking the tablet with movies on in the car. Its the only way we can keep our little girl happy on really long road trips.

    • Reply ppadmin November 17, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Generally, if you practice safe habits, the bears are no trouble. Be sure to take bear spray and that every adult has some. Also, while you don’t want to yell, it’s a good thing to make some noise. I hope you make it!

  • Reply Jill November 17, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Definitely not the same Dawsons Creek – the show was filmed in North Carolina! But this looks so beautiful, what a fabulous road trip!

    • Reply ppadmin November 17, 2018 at 8:13 pm

      Ah, good to know. I guess I could have looked it up. Thank you. It was quite beautiful. I loved it.

  • Reply Richa November 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Wow, this seems like the one kick-ass roadtrip, I need to take notes as we love hitting the road and exploring. I gotta ask you though, all those animals you saw – were they just on the side of the highway or did you guys have to pull into some forest land to see them?

    • Reply ppadmin November 17, 2018 at 8:14 pm

      They were on the side of the road! It was so crazy. It’s so open and uninhabited that they must just be comfortable.

  • Reply Natascha November 24, 2018 at 6:13 am

    This is amazing. One has the image of a lot of wildlife in Alaska, but it is really different to see these pictures of bears and other animals. And the signpost forest seems to be interesting too. I guess one could spent quite a while reading all these signs and speculating about them.

    • Reply ppadmin November 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      There really is a lot of wildlife. It’s great to be able to see it up close. We could have spent more time at the Signpost Forest, but it was cold and wet, so it limited us. We will stop again as we drive through.

  • Reply Jean November 24, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    What an epic road trip. Looks like a whole heap of fun 😀

    • Reply ppadmin November 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Yes, loads of fun. So happy we took it.

  • Reply Debbzie Leksono November 25, 2018 at 3:32 am

    What an adventure! I went to Alaska a couple years back with a cruse and I didn’t know about this Alaska Highway. Super happy that you pup came along for the scenic drive. This is something I would really really love to do, taking my pups for a roadtrip. Did he get excited meeting the bears and other animals along the way? Thanks for sharing such detailed itinerary and tips. Oh and gorgeous photos too! 😍

    • Reply ppadmin November 25, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you. He loved the whole trip. He really loved running around our property for 3 weeks. We were surprised that he is such a great traveler. So glad about that, since he will be traveling a lot.

  • Reply Mellissa Williams November 25, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Alaska looks such a fantastic place to explore. I am impressed with your wildlife photos, I would be very close to the car too if I saw a bear! Great tips, I was wondering whether there were restrooms and I think I would definitely pack the bear spray!

    • Reply ppadmin November 25, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Alaska is one of my very favorite places to explore. We always find something new. Restrooms are few and far between, but there are lots of trees.

  • Reply Vaisakhi Mishra November 25, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    You guys were so lucky to spot so many animals during your trip. Those Caribous look so carefree even though they are on a highway where cars go at 75-80 mile per hour! I would love to visit the signpost forest – it looks so fascinating! Your adventure sounds crazy (because of the distance you managed to cover) but beautiful!!!

    • Reply ppadmin November 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      It was probably one of my favorite trips we’ve ever taken, for lots of reasons. The trip was a dream come true for me for sure. It also opened my eyes to some new possibilities.

  • Reply Mansoureh November 27, 2018 at 1:18 am

    It is my dream to go to Alaska, I am a bit jealous that you should go there to work on your cabin. It sounds so appealing for me. You listed 23 animals to see and you saw 4!!! It is quite impressive.

    • Reply ppadmin November 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      We saw all but 4. It was fantastic. I really want to get up north were I can see the polar bears. I need to do a little more investigating on that. Alaska is a place I had no intention to love so deeply.

  • Reply Lisa November 27, 2018 at 2:05 am

    So sorry about your horrible hotel experience! That sucks. But glad you enjoyed the RV park. Love all your water pictures, so simple yet so beautiful! PS. What a cute pup! 😍

    • Reply ppadmin November 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you. It was not a good night. I’m glad you love the water pictures. I was so happy with how they turned out.

  • Reply Jennifer November 27, 2018 at 11:22 am

    That’s pretty brave to get a new puppy and then take him traveling. I remember our pup was just like a little kid and got in to a lot of trouble for basically her first two years. How did your pup do traveling in a car for that length of time?

    Seeing all the wildlife would be the most exciting part for me. I love bears and I’m dying to see the grizzlies in Alaska at Brooks Falls.

    • Reply ppadmin November 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      I’d like to be totally clear and say the pup was not my idea. Having said that, he did really, really well. No accidents, he didn’t get sick, he just hung out, slept and cuddled. He was a dream. The wildlife was amazing. It’s one of my favorite things.

  • Reply Ami Bhat November 29, 2018 at 12:13 am

    This is such a lovely road trip. So much of nature and wildlife along the way. Must have been something to spot that grizzly bear. I know I would have been super thrilled. Loved all your pics

    • Reply ppadmin November 30, 2018 at 10:49 am

      It was such a lovely trip. Spotting the bears was the icing on the cake for sure. They are such beautiful animals, from a good distance.

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