Driving to Alaska is a fascinating and daunting proposition. It’s a trip that many adventurers dream of taking, but the question on everyone’s mind is: can you drive to Alaska? The short answer is yes, you can drive to Alaska. However, the details of the journey are a bit more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
First, the driving distance from the contiguous United States to Alaska is substantial. The most common route is the Alaska Highway, which begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ends in Delta Junction, Alaska. The total distance of this route is approximately 1,387 miles (2,232 kilometers), with a driving time of around 30 hours. However, that only gets to you the Alaskan border. To get to Anchorage is another 10 hours or so.
Can you drive to Alaska? See how below
While the distance may seem daunting, the journey is filled with some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever encounter. You’ll drive through rugged mountain ranges and dense forests and see crystal-clear lakes. You’ll also have the opportunity to see some of the wildlife that Alaska and Canada are famous for, such as moose, elk, caribou, and grizzly bears.
Of course, driving to Alaska isn’t without its challenges. The road can be rough in some areas, and there are long stretches without services or cell phone coverage. Additionally, you’ll need to be prepared for changing weather conditions. It’s common to encounter snow, ice, and heavy rain along the way.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Alaska Highway is not a highway in the traditional sense. While much of the road is paved, there are still gravel or dirt sections. These sections can be rough on your vehicle, so it’s essential to ensure your car is in good condition before setting out.
Another consideration when driving to Alaska is border crossings. Depending on your route, you may need to cross the border into Canada and back into the United States. This means you’ll need to ensure you have all the necessary documentation, such as a valid passport and any necessary visas.
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Can you drive to Alaska? Your driving route from the Lower 48
There are ample routes to take when driving from the Lower 48 states to Alaska. The most direct way is from Seattle, cutting up through BC and entering the Yukon Territory.
Additionally, if you’re looking for more scenery and to check out the Canadian Rockies, you can enter Canada from Montana and check out the wonders of the Rockies. Below I’ve highlighted some of the best places to see.
Traveling through the Yukon Territory from Seattle
If you’re planning on driving from British Columbia to Alaska, you’ll have the opportunity to explore one of North America’s most rugged and beautiful areas: the Yukon Territory. Here are five of the best things to see in the Yukon Territory on your road trip:
Kluane National Park and Reserve:
Located in southwestern Yukon, Kluane National Park, and Reserve are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of Canada’s largest and most pristine wilderness areas. The park is home to towering peaks, ice fields, glaciers, and vast expanses of untouched wilderness. It’s a paradise for hikers, climbers, and wildlife enthusiasts, with opportunities to spot grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, and more.
The capital of the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse, is a charming city with a rich history and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. Whitehorse’s top attractions include the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, the MacBride Museum, and Miles Canyon. You can also take a stroll along the Yukon River, go fishing or kayaking, or enjoy the northern lights during the winter months.
Located in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush region, Dawson City is a historic town frozen in time. The streets are lined with old wooden buildings and saloons, and the town is home to numerous historic sites and museums. Don’t miss the chance to tour the famous goldfields, try your luck panning for gold, or take in a show at the iconic Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall.
If you’re up for a true northern adventure, head up the Dempster Highway, which stretches from the Klondike Highway near Dawson City to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. This rugged and remote road offers stunning views of the northern tundra and the chance to see wildlife such as grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou. Along the way, you’ll also pass through the traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation.
Tombstone Territorial Park:
Located on the Dempster Highway, Tombstone Territorial Park is a wilderness area famous for its stunning vistas and unique geological formations. The park is home to jagged peaks, permafrost, and colorful tundra. Furthermore, it has an abundance of wildlife, such as Dall sheep, caribou, and grizzly bears. It’s a great place to go hiking, camping, or wildlife viewing, and several excellent interpretive programs are available.
The Yukon Territory is a vast and beautiful region full of adventure and discovery.
Even more so, there are plenty of brilliant places to see driving through BC. One lovely area is the Sea to Sky highway between Squamish and Whistler.
Related: Best hikes in the Canadian Rockies
Driving to Alaska from the Canadian Rockies
Driving through the Canadian Rockies is an awe-inspiring experience, with towering peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests at every turn. Here are five of the best things to see while driving through the Canadian Rockies on your journey from the Lower 48 to Alaska:
Banff National Park:
Located in the heart of the Rockies, Banff National Park is one of Canada’s most popular and beloved national parks. The park is home to turquoise lakes, cascading waterfalls, and towering peaks, including the iconic Mount Rundle and Castle Mountain. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to hike the Johnston Canyon trail, take a dip in the Banff Hot Springs, or go wildlife spotting along the Bow Valley Parkway.
Jasper National Park:
North of Banff, Jasper National Park offers a quieter and more rugged wilderness experience. The park is home to vast glaciers, pristine lakes, and the stunning Athabasca Falls. Moreover, it’s also a great place to watch wildlife, with opportunities to see elk, moose, bears, and wolves. Don’t miss the chance to drive the Icefields Parkway, one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Inside Banff National Park, Lake Louise is one of the most photographed lakes in the world. The stunning turquoise water is surrounded by towering peaks and glaciers, creating a picture-perfect backdrop for hiking, kayaking, or simply taking in the view. Don’t miss the chance to hike the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Yoho National Park:
Just west of Banff, Yoho National Park is a hidden gem visitors often overlook. The park is home to the stunning Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake, which boasts some of the most stunning turquoise waters in the Rockies. Also, don’t miss the chance to hike the Iceline Trail, which offers panoramic views of the park’s glaciers and mountain peaks.
Plan ahead: Hiking gear to bring for your Alaska/Canada trip
If you’re planning on driving to Alaska, planning is essential. Make sure that you have plenty of food, water, and supplies and a plan for where you’ll be staying along the way. Another good idea is to let someone know your route and estimated arrival time, just in case of unforeseen circumstances.
In conclusion, driving to Alaska is possible, but it’s not a trip to take lightly. The journey is long, the road can be rough, and the weather can be unpredictable. However, if you’re up for the challenge, it’s an adventure that you’ll never forget. So plan ahead, stay safe, and enjoy the journey!
FAQs about driving to Alaska
Can you drive to Alaska without a passport? No. You will cross into Canada for a large portion of your trip. You must present your valid passport at least once when entering Canada.
When is the best time to drive to Alaska? The summer months are the best time to visit Alaska. This will decrease your odds of running into a blizzard and serious issues. Additionally, your days will be so long up there that you can maximize your time!
How many days does it take to drive from the US to Alaska? If you take the shortest distance from Seattle to Anchorage, maps show it will take 42 hours. This would estimate to be about five days of driving if you did eight hours per day and didn’t stop to see anything. To make it a more enjoyable trip, I’d estimate 1tendays.
Can I bring a gun into Canada? You can if you state it in writing when you cross the border. Please do not try to hide it as if it’s found; it’s a serious crime. You also have to transport all firearms unloaded. Learn more here.
Wrapping up – Can you drive to Alaska?
Now that we’ve answered your question, “Can you drive to Alaska?” I guess it’s time to hit the road and see some incredible places. I have no doubt your drive to Alaska will be one of the greatest things you ever do!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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