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Question Of The Week

33 Alaska Trip Experts Share Their Tips

If you have extra time or are more adventurous you can complete one of the local back roads in the Yukon (CANOL Road – North and South, Campbell Highway, Aishihik Lake Road).  If you do this, just make sure that you are set up to fix any problems you may have on your own.  It is a long way back to civilization and these roads are not maintained in some cases.

Enjoy the fishing, photography and history.  I would do everything again, but with even more time.  Don’t miss Skagway and Dawson City to get a feel for the Klondike Gold Rush from both perspectives.  Ride the White Pass and Yukon Railway from Skagway to Bennett and return.  Take the bus tour of Denali National Park.  Go salmon fishing on the Chilkoot River in Haines, Alaska and Halibut fishing in Homer, Alaska.

Most important of all is get yourself a copy of The Milepost, The Bible of the North.  Even if you can’t stop to read the historic sign on the side of the road, your navigator can read you the citation as you drive by.  It also tells you every pull off, campground, creek and lookout by miles and kilometers.

Alas, after four winters in the Yukon it was time to come home to Calgary, Alberta as it was just too dark and sometimes too cold (-46C).  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the north and we hope to go back and do it all again soon.” – Steven Gasser, 2013 Ram 3500, 2003 Adventurer 90FWS

“We live in Alaska and our camper is winterized there until we drive it back out in a year or so.  You must visit Denali National Park (make reservations in advance and stay in the Riley Creek Campground there).  The Kenai Peninsula is great – Seward and Homer for sure and Seward has a great city campground.

In Homer, we always stay at the end of the spit in a beachfront at a no hook-ups site, and take the drive to Fairbanks by way of the Richardson and Glenn Highways.  You can toss in Valdez and McCarthy if you’re adventurous and have the time.

Two Alaska trips I think are extra special are Chena Hot Springs and the Denali Highway.  Chena is about 60 miles east of Fairbanks and has some beautiful wooded camping spots for smaller RVs and a huge parking lot for the diesel pushers.  Obviously try to reserve one of the wooded, creek side spaces.  The entire operation there is amazing and they give tours of the thermal facility.

The Denali Highway is 125 miles of some of the most gorgeous backcountry you’ll ever find.  The two-lane gravel highway runs from Paxson on the Richardson Highway to Cantwell on the Parks Highway.  This is not for the faint-of-heart!  Flat tires are common, so be prepared.  But you can pull off and park pretty much anywhere and spend the night.  It’s a two-day round trip from Anchorage/Mat-Su Valley and we do it almost every summer.  Try not to go during hunting season in mid-late August or you won’t see any wildlife.

My own opinion about the Haul Road/Dalton Highway is to only do it if you absolutely, positively must say you’ve driven above the Arctic Circle.  It is a literal haul road for the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay and the traffic is large semi-trucks going very fast on a gravel road.  You’re likely to have windshield/headlights broken by the flying rocks, and there’s no tourist type facilities once you arrive in Deadhorse.  There is a hotel and general store, but you cannot tour the oilfields.  All you can do is turn around and go back.

Personally, neither my husband nor I have driven it and never will (he works up there and sees it all the time!).  But I have a close friend who drove it once as a passenger with a truck driver and she said it was a kick in the pants.  There is so much to see on the road system without that side trip that I wouldn’t endanger my vehicle.  The Denali Highway is enough true backcountry for us and we drive it almost every year because it’s so beautiful.

And lastly, the Alaska Milepost is a must.  We carry one in our rig all the time, and we pretty much know the area.  Have a wonderful time!” – Sherri and Bruce Weiler, 2010 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, 2012 Arctic Fox 811

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