Alaska is quickly becoming a popular destination, but it remains difficult to get to, even with modern transportation technology. There are several options for travel to Alaska, such as cruises, air travel, bus, and even ferries depending on where you are departing.
There is no form of travel that is as intimate or personal as car travel though. By traveling through Alaska via personal car, you are able to stop wherever and whenever you like, and you don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule. Plus, there is no better way to see all the beauty encompassing Alaska than by driving through it.
Navigating Alaska can be tricky though. Driving through Canada requires a passport for Americans, and you are probably concerned about road conditions in somewhere that seems so rural as Alaska. With a little research and these answers, you’ll be all set to go!
Can You Drive to Alaska?
Short answer: yes, you can drive to Alaska with relative ease.
Long answer: Driving to Alaska is a pleasure most people never experience. If you are able, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity at hand. Depending on where you are departing from, your journey will be long, both because of how far Alaska is from the continental U.S. and because of how frequently you will want to stop.
Not only can you drive to Alaska, but you can also drive on the Alaska Highway. Constructed during World War II to connect Alaska to the rest of the U.S., the Alaska Highway begins in British Columbia, Canada, and stretches to Delta Junction. The paved road is full of magnificent views, enchanting wildlife, and fun waiting for you.
What is the Best Time to Drive to Alaska?
Driving in Alaska is not quite as treacherous as you might expect. As long as you are staying on main roadways, you will be fine in any type of vehicle and you can rest easy knowing that most roads are paved and maintained.
With that in mind, the most popular time to travel to Alaska via roadway is from May through September. There will still be spots of ice in May and the occasional snowstorm as late as July, but overall these wintry weather patterns will not impede your travels. During the summer, daylight lasts as much as 18 hours a day in Alaska due to its location. You have plenty of daylight during this time, as opposed to in the winter, when your driving may be hampered by late sunrises and (very) early sunsets.
What Are Some Popular Stops?
Once you enter Alaska, there are a few bucket list-worthy stops to keep in mind. Start with Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, where you can find lakes, rivers, tundra, and mountains. This wildlife area is along a major route for birds as they migrate, and it is populated with sheep, moose, and caribou.
Next, you’ll want to see the “Sled Dog Capital of Alaska” at Tok, Alaska. By the numbers, this spot was established in 1942; it’s only 100 miles from Canada; and this destination is marked by a 7,000 square foot log cabin.
A mukluk is a soft boot made out of seal or reindeer skin. It is also a popular attraction at Mukluk Land, a theme park that is most widely known for its “world’s largest mukluk.” Stop here for some traditional theme park fun, like whack-a-mole and skee ball, but don’t forget your picture with its most well-known attraction!
How Are Road Conditions on the Alaska Highway?
In the summer, road conditions are remarkably similar to other highways you’d drive on a road trip. There will be construction and a little traffic, but all roads on the Alaska Highway are paved, from the beginning in BC to the end at Delta Junction.
Winter road conditions are also very safe on the Alaska Highway. The days are shorter during winter, providing you with less driving time. But the construction ends as summer does, and the traffic dies down after the popular summer travel season. Regardless of the time of year you travel along this highway, you will find road conditions as safe as any other.
Check the other roads you will be on while driving in Alaska to be sure that your whole route is as safe as possible. Also be sure to drive safely, as you would on any other road.
What Else Should You Know?
Know that your cell phone service provider will likely not cover the entirety of your trip through Canada or Alaska, though you’ll probably have coverage from time to time. Additionally, keep in mind that you will need to plan for 100 to 150 miles between services like gas, food, and lodging.
Most of all, you should know that you are in for a gorgeous scenic drive that you will remember for the rest of your life.