We are heading to Alaska, “The Last Frontier”!
Celia and I are making our way north through Utah, Idaho, and Montana to find the road to Alaska.
View from our camper in Provo, UT.
In Montana, we will cross the border into Canada. Our plan is to spend the summer in various areas of the 49th state. We are very excited about this new adventure, especially since we can do it at our own pace and not rush back to the lower 48. This is something we have discussed for some time and hoped to do. We have become friends this year with two camping couples that have recently made this trip and encouraged us to “go for it.” They shared itineraries, photos, places to see and stay, but most importantly encouragement.
Everyone has an opinion about the condition of the roads as you travel to Alaska. While some have a sad story about a friend who had issues, the majority say “nonsense”, just take your time. Those blogging who travel this way, say the roads are paved and good to go. There is the inevitable road construction and repair since there is such a short season to perform such work. Here again the advice is to slow down.
We have both been to Banff and Calgary so we are by-passing these towns, especially the heavy traffic in Calgary. We decided to travel on the west side of the Rockies and cross over to Jasper, Alberta. We will be spending multiple days in the Jasper/Icefields Parkway area before travelling to the beginning of the Alaska Highway.
Dawson Creek is “mile zero” for the “ALCAN” Highway. The Alaska Highway was built during WWII in a herculean effort to connect Alaska with the lower 48. The 1,700 mile road was open to the public in 1948. Because of improvements, it is now less than 1,400 miles long. We decided to snag reservations for Dawson Creek during the Victoria Day holiday weekend in Canada, especially since we could not book any camping sites for that same weekend in Jasper.
Upon entering into Alaska after travelling through the Yukon, the first crossroads town is Tok. Everyone going to and from Alaska via the highway must travel through this town. We are planning to continue north to Fairbanks and then go south to Denali National Park. After a few days there, we are heading past Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula. That area seems to generate the most positive reviews and is a “can’t miss”. Peninsula area towns such as Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Seward, and Valdez are on our “must see” list. We hope to spend as much time there as possible. We plan to return south via Haines/Swagway, the Cassiar Highway, entering Washington state at Bellingham by September.
Of course, the full timer’s catch phrase for “plans” is that they are written in “Jello”. The majority of the planning recommendations we have received is “don’t” make reservations, except for in Denali National Park. Alaska seems sparsely populated until you reach this park – think Yosemite, Yellowstone, or Zion in season.
Wish us luck as we piddle around in the north.
The view from a cloudy Interstate 15 north of the Idaho/Montana border today.
15 thoughts on “We are going to Alaska!”
Here’s another thought for you as you head up that way: the twin towns of Hyder, AK and Stewart, BC.
I visited here as a teenager. It was the northernmost point on our cross-country point, and it’s about the southernmost point you can get to in Alaska.
The New York Times wrote about these towns a few years ago:
I will have to check that out! We are going back near there on the way back to the lower 48 so that might be perfect. We still have to figure out places that we want to go, especially on the return to Washington. Thanks for the info.
John and I are so excited that you are going to Alaska!!!! We have been there twice via criuses. We want to return via vehicle, me by RV, John prefers car, and do our own exploring . We also have the Milepost book. That should be very helpful. I would recommend 2 things to you: go on a boat ride to look for whales, we did at Sitka, absolutely amazing. Second recommendation is to eat local fresh caught halibut, really good.
Thanks for the recommendations. Keep them coming! I found on a previous trip that accommodations are quite expensive and many, many people rent RVs after flying into AK.
We also appreciate so much what you wrote about ypur experience in Yellowstone. We read every word of your blog, we went there last late August, week before Labor Day. Wonderful!!
Thanks so much. Glad that you enjoyed it. Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are some of our favorites. We especially like Colter Bay in the Grand Tetons on the Jackson Lake. The amount of wildlife there is unmatched.
Loving your trip stories. My oldest granddaughter, Jaime Cedarquist and her husband Brian live in Bellingham, Wa. She is Cathy’s daughter. Your pictures are so beautiful.
Thanks so much!
May your Alaska summer be as epic as ours was! I’m glad we visited Hyder. We bought some jade at Jade City on the Cassiar. We are in Barstow, California, headed for Fresno for a cousin visit, Sequoia NP, Yosemite NP, Menlo Park for a Facebook annual shareholders meeting, Giant Redwoods NP, and then we will try to visit all of Oregon for the rest of the summer.
Sounds like a great summer you have planned. Those are great national parks. I have two recommendations for Hyder, so we definitely will have to put it on the list.
Since the entire State of Alaska is bear country, please always have your bear spray. They can show up anywhere. Here’s a video.
Your itinerary sounds awesome! Let us know if you have any questions about Alaska and we hope you enjoy your travels.