Everything You Need to Know Before Driving to Alaska – 2018

A road trip to Alaska has been our bucket list for a while so we loaded up our DIY Campervan and set off to “The Last Frontier” state. We made the 3,700+ mile drive to Alaska from Wisconsin in the summer of 2017. Here’s what we learned by driving the entire way to Alaska both north and south. Below is what worked well for us and what didn’t to make your drive to Alaska even better than ours.

First of all, the drive to Alaska is much easier than most expect. When most people envision the drive to Alaska they start to turn into doomsday preppers. Most think they’ll need 3 spare tires and gas cans strapped to every flat surface of their vehicle. While it’s good to be prepared for the very long drive to Alaska, but after doing it – there’s a more reasonable approach. If we ever drive to Alaska again here’s what we learned.

Click Here To Buy 2018 Milepost Alaska Book | Complete Alaska Travel Planner & The Best Alaska Road Maps

Cameprvan on the side of the road on the Icefields Parkway while Driving to Alaska

What kind of vehicle should I use to drive to Alaska?

ANY vehicle is capable of making the drive to Alaska. You don’t need a 4×4 or anything crazy, we’ve seen motorcycles, full-size RVs, trucks with a 5th wheel camper, and even our basic grocery getting minivan. If those giant RVs pulling cars can make it on the roads, so can your car. Our 11-year-old DIY campervan made the drive to Alaska without issue. Click here to watch our Youtube video and see what our van looks like. It’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical order because from anywhere in the lower 48 of the U.S. a drive to Alaska is at least 48 hours of drive time.

Single car on the road to Alaska showing the road condtitons on the Alcan Highway

How are the roads to Alaska on the Alcan Highway in 2018?

The condition of the roads will depend on how tough the winter of 2018 is and how much it heaves the roads. Overall, in the summer of 2017, the roads were far better than we expect while planning an Alaska road trip. For the vast majority of the drive to Alaska, the road is a two-lane asphalt paved highway with a gravel shoulder large enough for a standard vehicle. There are passing lanes periodically, but the traffic is very thin and passing is not an issue.

Star burst photo of the Sign post at the border of Alaska and Canada while driving to Alaska

How much time do I need in Alaska?

Alaska is a massive state and how much you will see will depend on how much time you have. We would suggest you spend around two weeks in Alaska (more is better) to see most of the drivable highlights of the state. If you don’t have a month of time to drive to Alaska you should probably fly to Alaska and do a road trip in Alaska instead. While there are many amazing things to see on the way to Alaska, you don’t want to have to get all the way there just to turn around.

Also, plan at least a week to drive up and another week to drive home from Alaska. This will allow you to make some stops and enjoy the journey, again if you don’t you might as well fly. See our Alaskan road trip guide and itinerary for everything to see while in Alaska.

long section of road with a steep down hill surrounded by mountains on the drive to Alaska

How much time do I need to drive to Alaska?

Actual drive times will depend on where you start but is really dictated by what you want to see along the way, however we suggest one week to safely drive to Alaska.

The best route to drive to Alaska and Road Trip Itinerary

If your goal is just to get to Alaska the fastest way possible, you’re better off flying and renting a car in Alaska. As they say, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. There are lots of AMAZING things to see on the way to Alaska and you should make time to see them along the way.

From the eastern half of the United States, most map programs will have you travel through North Dakota into Canada to Edmonton and then finally joining the Alcan Highway in Dawson Creek. Take this route if you like loooooooong stretches of flat boring land. However, if you add just 9 hours of driving to your route you can see some of the most fascinating landscapes in North America. Here is our perfect route to Alaska. No matter which part of the country you are coming from it would be a road trip sin not to stop in the Canadian Rockies. Make time in your itinerary on either the way to Alaska or on the way home.

Since everyone is coming from somewhere different this addresses the Canada and Northern U.S. portion of the route only. You should allow 4 weeks minimum for this route and 5-6 weeks would be more comfortable. For the Alaska portion of the suggested itinerary see our Alaska Road Trip itinerary and guide.

Related Article: One of Alaska’s Best Kept Secrets – Hatcher Pass

Essential Stops on the drive to Alaska:

Roads in Glacier National Park on the best route to Alaska

Glacier National Park – Montana, USA

If you are in a hurry you can cover most of the driving highlights of this park in a single day. However, if you have time we suggest at least three days to properly see Glacier National Park. The high mountains can cause weather and extra time would allow a better chance to see this stunning park under blue skies. If you’re short on time at least drive the road that crosses the park which is also dubbed the going to the sun road. If you have more time take in a sunset at our favorite spot in the Two Medicines park road or hike the Avalanche Trail.

Woman sitting in front of Moraine LAke on the drive to Alaska

Banff National Park – Alberta, Canada

One of the most picturesque places on the continent, Banff should really be part of your trip. Even those in a hurry should plan three days to take in the sights between Banff, Jasper, and the Icefields Parkway that connect the two parks. Places not to miss while in Banff are Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, and Bow Lake. If you have more time three days in Banff will cover the major highlights. If you’re really short on time, you can jump on a Banff helicopter tour and see the park from a whole other level. Banff is a well-known ski area, but all season there’s so much to see and do in Banff.

Related Article: Things to do in Banff

Road with mountains in the background on the Ice Fields Parkway on the drive to Alaska

Icefields Parkway – Alberta, Canada

Driving the Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever take. While only 144 miles (232km) you could drive it in just over 2 hours, there are literally hundreds of stops along the way. This drive deserves at least a day of your road trip to Alaska, two days would allow you to walk on the Columbia Icefield and really see it properly.

Jasper National Park – Alberta, Canada

At the top of the Icefields Parkway is another impressive Canadian Park. Jasper National Park is full of more impressive mountains and glacial feed lakes and rivers. Some of the park highlights not to miss are the Valley of 5 Lakes hike and the massive Pyramid Mountain. Plan at least a day inside Jasper, and three days would allow you to cover most of the highlights. From Jasper make your way up HWY 40 in Alberta to connect with The Alcan Highway in Dawson Creek where the Alaskan highway starts.  From the Alcan Highway, there are less possible deviations, since this is the main route.

Good Stops:  Muncho Lake Provincial Park,  Stone Mountain Provincial Park, Destruction Bay, Tetlin Junction, Skagway. From Jake’s Corner in the Yukon, you can make your way down to Skagway & Haines Alaska.

For the Alaska portion of the suggested itinerary see our Alaska Road Trip itinerary and guide.

Cell Phone service and best carriers to a road trip to Alaska?

Cell coverage on the ride up to Alaska was better than expected for the most part, but still a lot worse than the roads. Once you are north of Calgary, expect very little service along the highway except in the small towns. While traveling through small towns you will almost always have cell service and most will also have data too.

In Canada – Many U.S. carriers extend their plans into Canada at no extra cost. We found T-Mobile shared towers with many Canadian carriers and work better than our Verizon line for both calls and data. It’s best to contact your carrier to see how your plan will work in Canada before switching it on across the border.

In Alaska – Cell and data coverage are overall better than in Canada, but it is the U.S. so many carriers will switch to roaming which is limited on most plans. There is better coverage between towns in Alaska than in northern Canada, but mostly for calls, the internet is still limited to the towns and cities. AT&T and Verizon are according to locals the best for coverage in Alaska.  We had a Verizon line and it worked alright, but still pretty limited.

Our T-mobile line picked up GCI a majority of the time, we were told my T-Mobile we only got 200mb of roaming data included in our plan but it never shut us down. We called to inquire how much data we had used in Alaska and they said 0 MB so we were able to use our T-Mobile with no problems the entire time. GCI has prepaid options from $20+ depending on how much data you need. GCI is Alaska’s largest wireless network and fastest 4G network.

Related Article: Things To Do In Homer Alaska

Campervan with extra spare tire and spare jerry can of gasoline for the drive to Alaska

Do I need a full-size spare to drive to Alaska?

Having a full-size spare would help you to make you more independent and better prepared for any issues. However, the roads to Alaska are in general in pretty good shape. If a flat tire would occur a small donut tire would likely get you to the next town that could repair it. This would slow down your trip, but you’re not going to be eaten by bears if you don’t have a full-size spare.

To answer the question better, we spent a few hundred dollars and the better part of two days adding a spare tire to a vehicle that was not made to carry one and in hindsight, it was not worth it. However, if you can easily add a full-size spare tire to your vehicle, do it. Call a junkyard and get a rim and a used tire and you’ll be ready if something does happen.

Do I need extra jerry cans of gas to drive to Alaska?

The simple answer is no. There is no stretch of roads anywhere on the route to Alaska longer than 200 miles without a gas station. However, you’ll see all kinds of vehicles with multiple gas cans strapped to the back. Overall we found it unnecessary to carry extra gas, but it was a piece of mind while in what felt like the middle of nowhere. The main exception would be if you plan on driving longer more remote stretches of the road to Alaska at night or early in the morning. Many of the gas stations along the route to Alaska (especially in Canada) are old school without card readers meaning the stations have to be open to get gas. Our minivan campervan gets around 400 miles to the tank and we just never let it get too far under 1/2 a tank and never had an issue. If you plan on going to more remote areas off of the main highways in Alaska and northern Canada you still will want an extra gas can.

Best guidebook for driving to Alaska

The best or only real guidebook is the Milepost book. If you are making the journey you should probably have one of these. We recommend picking one of these up well in advance of your trip to help plan. It takes some time to get used to the layout, but once you do it will have more info than you’ll ever need on all the Alaskan roads and the route to Alaska through Canada. You can order the Milepost book online here.

Another great resource for those that will be camping or traveling by RV is the Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping, you can get it on Amazon for under $10. The book features over 500 Alaskan campgrounds and those along the way driving to Alaska. Complete campsite details with address, contact phone number, description, and more.

Random things you should know before driving the Alcan or Alaskan Highway:

  • In British Columbia, if you are caught going more than 40 kph over the speed limit they will impound your car for 7 days. We found this out when stopped going around 30 over, the trooper was nice enough to let us off with a warning because he was on his way to a missing person, lucky for us, not so much them. However, he made it seem like his hands would be tied if caught over 40 kph. More info on B.C. Traffic Laws here.
  • Canada restricts certain types of weapons from being brought into the country which includes pepper spray. This makes carrying bear spray into Canada a little bit of a gray area. According to most sources, it is now legal if it’s bigger than 9oz and the label states USDA repellent registration. Also on the restricted list are handguns and military-like assault weapons. If declared you can bring in rifles and shotguns for hunting. You must register at the border and pay a fee. See a more comprehensive list and regulations on the RCMP official website.

Are you planning to drive to Alaska? Or have you already done the drive? Share your questions and tips in the comments!

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116 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know Before Driving to Alaska – 2018

  1. Looking to travel from flordia to Alaska (moving to Alaska for a year). We will have 3 kids with us (ages 3,2 and 9 months). Any tips for us? What’s the best time of year to drive through Canada and not have to worry as much about the snow and ice?

    • Summertime is the best time to drive if you want to avoid snow (and the Florida heat). As far as tips we would suggest to take your time and enjoy the drive, don’t rush it there’s a lot to see on the way to break up the drive. Also, pick up one of the Milepost books for any further details. Safe travels!

  2. Crazy question: I am a huge fan of Denali Brewing Company beer and plan on driving up in a week or so from Chicago to bring back as much beer as I can fit in that car. Would Canadian Customs care if it is all for personal consumption? Do they limit the amount of Alcohol you can bring through the country? And then If I have a receipt saying I purchased it in the USA would I have a problem bringing it back over the boarder when I come back through to Minnesota?

    My wife and I brought back 400 of their cans in 24 hours on a flight last October and no really batted an eye at the amount of beer that was in the bags there.

    Thank you!

    • Canada is rather strict on the amount of alcohol coming into the country. The limits for personal consumption are pretty low. I would check the government website for exact amounts and specifically beer. I think last time we looked it was just a few bottles of wine or a bottle or two of spirits (never looked at beer specifically). The USA should not care too much since it was purchased in Alaska, just keep your receipts. Hope you have a safe drive and get some beer back home!

  3. Hello! My husband and I are planning to check the Number 1 on the bucket list of my Dream Trips. We are 63 and 64. I am extremely pensive about the length of trip since I’ve had extensive back surgeries. I qualify for being a 2.0 version of human! We drove from Western KY to Arizona and wintered this January and February….and although I was concerned, I made it fine. We hiked extensively and I want to make this trip while still physically able. (To any back surgery folks reading this) Some of the best money you will ever spend is for high quality trekking poles. My daughter bought me Black Diamond carbon fiber and I would never consider being without them! Loads of pressure OFF low back and knees! Anyway, we drive a JEEP Grand Cherokee eco diesel. Anywhere there is gasoline, there will also be diesel? Thanks for all the info. It isn’t very much appreciated.

    • It will be a great trip! As for Diesel – if you take the Alcan Highway, this is one of the only routes and it’s used by truckers too so diesel should be widely available. I would say the same thing to you as gasoline users, to keep a relatively full tank and keep a spare jerry can in case of emergencies if you can. We didn’t find any stretch more than 200 miles between service stations.

  4. Love your writeup and comments. Hope to drive next summer after dreaming for over 50 years. Planning on converting my Grand Caravan.
    I saw on a blog recently to expect $200 per tank full in Canada. That sounds extremely high. When I questioned this, he replied it’s true, about $10 per gallon. What are your thoughts?

    • Hey Don – I would say the gas in Canada numbers you are quoting are way off. Gas is more expensive in Canada, but nowhere near $10/gallon. Currently, the prices are just under $1 USD per liter, which converted is about $3.50 USD per Gallon. Of course, prices go up and down. The further north you go, you’ll pay a bit more, but we didn’t see anything too much over $4/gallon. Diesel is maybe another $.50 per gallon or so.

      The Grand Caravan should make a good DIY camper, we did ours in a Honda Oddessy 2006. Here is our camper https://www.gettingstamped.com/diy-minivan-camper-campervan-conversion/

      Have a great trip, drive safe!

  5. Planning on moving to Anchorage from Texas. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am looking at moving in September/ October. I am worried about traveling alone in a U-haul with a possible car hauler. I am wondering if it would be better to drive my car with a few belongings, get settled and then send for movers to bring the rest of my belongings after winter? I am also worried about traveling due to the weather during this time of year. Has any made this trip between September/October? I still need to get a passport, as well. All of this has come up suddenly.

  6. Not a word about customs?! What kind of hassle can I expect at the border driving a 26-foot U-Haul with all our household belongings inside? Are they going to unload it and search everything? I heard something about having to create an inventory of everything you own that has a serial number on it.

    • Hey there! My wife and I are also moving to Anchorage … from San Antonio, Texas. Ready to get out of this heat! Ha.

      I, too, am very interested in how Canadian customs is going to be. Our current plan is to drive all the way in our SUV pulling a 12′ u-haul trailer.

      Oh, and we’re driving mid-October.

      I’m assuming we’ll be seeing some wintery stuff. We’re used to a ton of snow on the east coast, so I’m not worried too much.

      Do you think hotels along the way are going to be full?

      Lastly, a few folks have mentioned taking a ferry. From where? Seattle? Does that go in October (I doubt it)? Can you ship things via ferry? Can you drive your car onto the ferry?

      Just trying to sort thru all these questions. Thanks so much for any MOVING / RELOCATION advise you can give!

      Anchorage, here we come! 🙂



      • By October the Alaska Marine Highway System ferries have stopped running for the season. You might still be able to find something out of Vancouver or Seattle but you’d have to research that. In October you’ll likely hit some winter weather at some point in your drive. This won’t be busy season so you won’t have full hotels, however, some places are seasonal and might be closed, but that’s probably only a concern in northern BC, Yukon, and the Eastern part of Alaska. It’s best to grab a Mile Post book and call a few places as you are planning your route. Also, have a few backup options in case you have to stop sooner for weather. I would imagine movers or someone to ship your things would be very expensive. A container ship might be more cost-effective, but you’d have to do your research. Safe Travels!

    • Kris, my family and I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska from Florida in July 2017. You definitely will not have to unload your U-Haul. We found the Canadians entry point to be easier to pass through than the Alaskan one. You do not need an inventory and unless you have guns or pets, you should be through in just a few moments.

    • Sorry I can’t answer too much, but I can tell you the source of info about “everything with a serial number” is way off. Serial numbers have to do with manufacturing and shipping and have NOTHING to do with customs. I drove into Canada with two French citizens, and while questioning caused a completely unnecessary delay at customs, they weren’t really interested in our belongings. Secondly, I found customs coming back into the US to be more strict and more thorough, I might even say paranoid.

  7. Great info, thanks!
    We (me, hubby and two kids) are going to a wedding outside of Anchorage next summer and we are contemplating driving there from Phoenix in our RV towing a Jeep. We have 8 weeks for the whole trip so we figured the journey would be fun. Our only hold up is needing a decent data connection along the way so that we can work. Between small towns and using our phone as a hotspot (we have Verizon) would we be able to get a good connection daily? We aren’t looking for streaming, just the ability to email. We have driven as far as Banff so we have a good idea what it’s like to that point but what is it like north of Banff to Anchorage?
    Thanks for any input!

    • You should have connection daily with Verizon, but the further north you go the less you’ll have it. Most towns, even really small towns we were able to get connection for email. It wasn’t great but it was enough for us. We actually found that T-mobile used the Canadian cell towers better than Verizon. We had a Verizon phone and a t-mobile phone on our last trip and the T-mobile was better. The Verizon was usable though too. Past Banff there are some cool things to see, but they are further between. Some parts there is a lot of nothing, but we listed a few of the highlights in the article. Safe travels!

  8. Hi! Im planning to go next march,april. From Banff to Alaska. I was thinking to do some ski backcountry, so do you think the roads will be good?
    thanks! nice post!!

    • Hi Julia, In March and April you still have a high chance of snow and ice on the roads along with winter storms. A much more capable vehicle is required in the winter, rather than summer travel to Alaska.

  9. Hey! Awesome blog post! Just wondering if you think it would be ok to do the trip with a car and tent? Or do you need a van/somewhere inside your vehicle you can sleep at night? Thanks!

      • We are planning a move to Sterling Alaska next summer. We live in Vermont now and cant wait to leave. We will be driving a 31 class c motorhome. My wife our son and myself and 3 cats and two German Shepherds and i have a feeling its going to take forever. Any thoughts on traveling with pets? Great article! We have the Milepost and will order the camping book today. Thanks

        • We don’t have experience bringing pets, but maybe someone else reading here does?? I am pretty sure it’s not too hard. I would get the Canadian Government website for the best details. Safe Travels!

  10. Our grandson is in the military stationed in Anchorage. He inherited a 2017 Jeep and has a dog in California. We would like to drive the jeep and the dog to him. Does the Jeep need to be in our name to cross into Canada. Do we need to insure it? We have all the health info on the dog. Enjoyed the information on routes and what to see.

    • Vehicles should be registered and insured, but it shouldn’t matter if it’s not in your name as long as you have insurance personally and your Grandson does as well. However, it’s best to check with an insurance agent to make sure you and the jeep would be covered. Then bring the documents with you across the border.

  11. I would like to drive our 40 foot motorhome with a toad to Alaska. Is this motorhome too long? Will the length of this motorhome seriously hamper us finding campgrounds to accommodate this size rig? What length motorhome do you feel is the best size to drive to Alaska?

    • I would not see this being a major issue. There are many large motorhomes driving to Alaska. I would pick up a copy of the Milepost book and confirm the areas you want to stay have appropriate campsites, but I think you’ll be ok for the most part.

  12. We have two small children (1 and 4 currently) but I am looking into this for a trip in 2 – 3 years. Would I be out of my mind bringing young children on this kind of road trip? We’d take our time of course. But safety-wise, I guess I just want confirmation I wouldn’t be putting them in situations not appropriate for them. They’re used to camping and the one year old will be more used to car rides at that point.

    • I wouldn’t see any issues bring children on this road trip safety wise. Of course, take the normal precautions and be prepared for the worst case, but even though the drive to Alaska goes through some remote places, you’re never too far from a small town or help if you would need it. The road is well traveled in the summer months and if you had an issue and people are helpful along the route. As long as you have a spare tire, a jumper station, a little bit of emergency food, never let your gas tank get too empty, and some blankets you’d be ready for just about any problem you might have. Happy planning!

  13. Drove R/T from MD to AK 11 times from 1981 to 2003. Going for #12 in July 2019. I Homesteaded near Glenallen, AK for 24 years and now residing in MD. Great Road Trip for any age group. I usually drove it by myself in 5 1/2 days = 4350 miles. I am 70 years young now and will take at least 7 days this trip. Go North to Alaska Folks, you won’t regret it !! Might even see ya on the trail !

  14. This site is a wealth of information. Thank you to everyone who has posted to it. I’m planning a move to Anchorage for a job. Very exciting! Due to timing I might only be able to drive up from the east cost in October. What are the conditions like that time of year? Will accommodations still be open?


    • Chances are good that you’ll hit snow in October. A trip during this time will take a little bit more planning. You should still find places to stay, but make sure to call ahead or book in advance. Leave extra time for weather, and make sure you’ve got a vehicle that can handle the snow.

  15. July 3, 2018
    At 10:00 p.m. last night we had a blowout on a transport trailer halfway between Destruction Bay and Beaver Creek, Canada. Traveling in a caravan with the largest U-Haul truck they have, pulling transport trailer with car, and a SUV hauling another enclosed double axel U-Haul trailer. A woman, 2 teenagers, and no cell service! I had to drive the SUV ahead 3 miles to try and activate on-star, leaving the kids with doors locked in U-Haul truck. Scared to death and exhausted I finally was able to access on-star on get roadside assistance. I can’t say enough about Charles Eikland Sr. who came to our rescue! He did not have to drop everything and go out to take care of our tire- amazing! Wonderful man that I had to force to accept a tip. I can’t say thank you enough!
    Chuck Exploration
    Destruction Bay, Yukon
    Ph. (867)841-5326
    Cell (867) 332-5238

    • OMG we’re glad to hear you and the kids are okay! We can’t imagine what that was like or be hauling all that. Canadians are some of the nicest people ever, glad you found someone to help you and get you back on the road driving to Alaska. How was the rest of your drive? I assume you were moving to Alaska? You’re going to love it up there. Safe travels!

    • If you’re in Canada they will only accept Canadian. We took out some money on the way in and what we didn’t spend driving up to Alaska we spent driving down from Alaska. Most places accepted credit cards so we didn’t need more than $100 CAD.

  16. Taking 3 months from his job, my dad took us (mom and 4 kids!) to Alaska from Maryland, across the lower 48 to Seattle and then up the Alcan Highway to Alaska in 1959, just after Alaska became a state. The highway up was not paved. It was the trip of a lifetime and I shall never forget it! I’m planning to drive it again either this summer or next, with my dog and possibly one of my brothers caravaning with me. I know much has changed in 59 years (paved road being a significant change!), but the scenery and wildlife should still be well worth another trip.
    Thanks for the information you’ve provided, which will help plan and prepare!

  17. I will be starting my move to alaska this weekend. My first of 3 trips (minimum) I will need to make before the ferry stops running. I will drive the first 2 trips and take the ferry for my last trip. My first trip will be from Idaho Falls to Anchorage by 26 foot truck. I will then fly to Florida for my second trip to move my parents to Anchorage-with a stop in Idaho Falls to drop off a few guns. Then in late August or early September I will fly back to Idaho Falls and pick up our guns and ammo and transport them by ferry to Alaska. I figure a little over 8k miles driving in 3 to 4 months. I bought the Mile Post and am lucky because my sister and bil made the trip 2 years ago so they are giving me advice. I am so looking forward to the move. My wife and kids have seen half a dozen moose and a bear in the last week.

    • That sounds like a busy summer you’ll be a pro at the drive to Alaska by the time you are done! It’s crazy how many bear there are on the side of the road on the drive, there are so many you’ll eventually keep driving instead of stopping to watch them. Good luck with the move!

  18. How are the mountains? a lot of steep grades along the route? Driving a 40 ft Class A with a tow and curious how many and how steep they were?

    • While there are some sections with grades obviously, the vast majority of the trip the roads run through valleys rather than go over mountains. In the area around Muncho Lake in Canada, there are a few sections as well as sporadically throughout the drive. Where you will find lots of steep grades is inside of parks, when you’ll likely just drive your towed vehicle.

      • I am planning a road trip next summer with my 3 boys to Alaska from Texas. This is my concern too, but for another reason. I am terrified of heights and steep cliffs. Are there cliffs on this route?

        • There aren’t many pieces of road that are hair-raising as far as driving close to cliffs that I can recall. If you go through Glacier NP in Montana the ‘Going to the Sun Road’ might not be for you. Past that I think there might be some pretty minor cliffs in Muncho Lake Park in BC, a few bridges, but overall nothing too scary that I can remember. Safe Travels!

  19. I’ve just signed a contract to teach in Kotzebue, Ak and can hardly wait to get there.

    I’m driving through Montana then,,, via AB-2 N and Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W
    44 h. I’ll be in a camper van, or King Cab F150. I’ve got a comfortable “Zero degree” sleeping bag
    and have no objection sleeping in the bed of the truck when weather permits; otherwise, I’ll plan on
    commercial camp site.
    I’ve never been to Alaska. Wanted to go right out of high school with two cousins and work on the pipeline,
    but…one got married and the other got scared! “Best laid plans!” but I’m going now!

    All these wonderful posts make me even more excited! Thank you all!

    • You are going to love Alaska! We slept in our campervan for 30 days straight and had no issues. You should be fine in your truck, it might loud at times as some of the campsites along the Alcan Highway are right off the main road. We actually usually slept in our van in one of the pull-offs and not an official campground. More on the Alcan Highway here https://www.gettingstamped.com/alcan-highway-alaska/ Hopefully your friends come and visit and realize what they missed out on. Safe travels to Alaska.

  20. We have two small dogs and plan on driving from North Idaho to Anchorage and perhaps Fairbanks in early August. Is there a resource for pet friendly hotels along the route? It is difficult to make hotel reservations when you don’t know how long from one stop to the next and we would like enough time to enjoy the drive and the sights.

    We are use to driving to Mazatlan Mexico each year and do the hotels along the way. Usually we call each day and get a room before we get to where we have decided to stop for the night. Occasionally we have had to push on for a really long drive when all the rooms were sold out. We are not campers and of the age where sleeping in the van doesn’t sound fun. I saw that you recommend getting reservations now. Any suggestions for planning this trip is welcome. We already got the Mile Post.

    • Susan,

      We personally would recommend using the Mile Post as a reference, I would be surprised if it didn’t note if a hotel was pet friendly. If it doesn’t, I would call a few and see what the percentage of them are and then decide if you need to make reservations or note. We totally understand wanting to stop along the way without reservations, sometimes you end up staying longer somewhere or run into car trouble when driving to Alaska. Safe travels.

  21. I am hoping to get a job transfer to Anchorage soon.
    Will i be able to drive thru Canada with my handguns packed in my moving truck?

    • From our understanding of the laws, I would say you would not legally be able to. However, we aren’t experts on the gun part of the drive to Alaska – there may be work arounds but not that we know of. I would say it’s best to check with the RCMP website http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/fs-fd/visit-visite-eng.htm and maybe try to get in contact with someone to be sure. If not you might have to ship it. Let us know how it turns out. Thanks!

    • I’m making an extra trip because I’ve researched and been told handguns are a no go in Canada. I will be making a teip via ferry in September to transport my weapons and ammo. I know you can transport ammo thru Canada but I think you are only able to take 5k rounds.

  22. I am leaving for the drive back to the lower 48 on Saturday May 5 looking forward to the drive on my class a motor home I drove up here 3 years ago but that was 5000 miles 4 1/2 days didn’t get to explore much just look out for frost heaves they can be big in the spring

  23. Hi,

    I’m driving up through Montana and into Alaska. The tags on my truck are expired (rather not renew them as I’ll be selling truck in AK), will this be an issue when I cross the border? Thanks!

    • When you leave Hong Kong you can return it to the Customer Service Center at the airport or to any Customer Service Center at any MTR station to get the refundable deposit of HK$50 and the remaining value.

  24. Bucket List – Drive to Alaska. Planning on doing it, so this article is really helpful. Thank you for posting. Have flown to Fairbanks, toured by bus and train to Whittier, then cruised the inside passage. The land portion was a bust due to the 94 degree temps. The cruise portion was really delightful. We are not campers or RVers so hotels/motels, etc. are a must. Will check into the suggested books. Thanks again.

    • Great to hear! If you plan on driving up to Alaska this summer, you should consider booking rooms soon, there isn’t a lot of availability in many towns along the way. Happy planning and safe travels!

    • Hi Rich N Terri,
      My husband and I were in Fairbanks in June 2018, and it was HOT there for us, too. We saw 86 degrees Fahrenheit on some bank thermometers. Definitely not a temperate, coastal climate once you get inland. The summers are hot. I knew that Fairbanks would be warmer than Anchorage and Denali NP, but I didn’t expect it to be that much warmer. Something for first-time visitors to be aware of and pack for.

  25. Hi, I’m actually moving to AK & driving from Tucson, AS. I’ve been researching about whether or not I would need a passport or passport card to enter AK? I’ve read that I absolutely need one, others said I would only need my birth certificate. Thoughts? I leave in about 2.5 weeks. Thanks!! 😊

    • Hi Amy, if you are driving up to Alaska you will need a passport. According to the US government travel website “Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.” A birth certificate used to work, but doesn’t anymore. The problem isn’t entering Alaska, it is entering Canada. When flying to Alaska you don’t need a passport. 2 weeks should be enough time to rush a passport. Good luck with the move!

      • I called the CBSA a few times just to see if the answers were consistent and they all were. They all told me, If you’re driving from AK to lower 48 or vice versa they will allow you to drive through w/ a birth cert. DL, veh. registration and proof of insurance. I also called the US border a couple times and they said, the technical answer is Yes you need a passport, but if you have a birth cert, DL etc. we will not keep you from going home.

  26. Thank you for your great blog. My husband and I purchased a little RV since my husband uses a CPAP machine our tent no longer will work for us. (I am thankful we got our Namibia camping trip in before sleep apnea!) We are heading to Alaska from SW Wisconsin in July. I was taking notes from your blog but was not sure about the Columbia Icefield in Canada. Do you have to take a Tour to it to walk on it or can we drive the RV to it and walk on the glacier?

    • Hi Lynn sounds like your gearing up for a great trip! For the Columbia Icefield, you can park at the visitors center and then walk up to see the glacier. It is a little bit of a hike from the road but not too hard. From here you can get a nice view of the ice. It’s always recommended not to go on the ice without a tour because there are crevasses which can be fatal. Have fun planning and a great trip!

  27. Great blog. We are getting ready to drive from the Olympic Peninsula to Alaska via the Alcan. We will be traveling in June -July and I was curious if you had any special stops that you did, that were just WOW! (I know it was probably all wow). We will be traveling with dogs, did you see lots of regulations for pets? Would you suggest a side trip to the coast?

  28. My 75 year old parents are planning a 60 day trip to Alaska from BC. this summer. All of the adult children are a little concerned that they are taking too much on. Any words of wisdom? They are planning to take their trailer rather than stay at hotels.


    • Congrats on them for still having the travel bug. I would make sure they have spare gas at all times, carry both cash & cards just in case the small town gas stations have any issues with cards. Running out of gas was our biggest fear. As long as they are good drivers they should be fine. Tell them it’s not a race and maybe agree to their nightly spots so they don’t take on too long of drives. Do they plan on staying at formal campgrounds or pulling over in the rest stops? We did the rest stops and we had no issues at all, just lock up at night. I would make sure they have a cell phone that has coverage in both BC and Alaska, but note they most likely won’t have coverage until they make it to “larger” towns along the Alcan Highway. If they were our parents I would just ask them to check in with us every day. The most dangerous thing driving is the frost heaves in the road when they see them they need to go slow. They will last for hours right before and after the border. Where and how long they will last changes year to year. This is what could be the only dangerous thing about driving. if going to fast they could roll.

  29. You can bring weapons into Canada. Hand guns are prohibited but you can bring shot guns and rifles through you just need to declare them with the border agent, fill out a form and pay a 25 dollar fee. 🙂

  30. You can bring declared hunting rifles and shotguns through Canada.

    Look on the RCMP page and search “Firearm Users Visiting Canada”

  31. Trying to determine the best place to enter British Columbia on my way to Dawson and the start of the Alcan. Leaving the U.S. next week, March 10th headed for Anchorage. I’ve been told that the roads are better if I go in from Idaho or Montana. This time of year. Any information would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Our personal favorite way to enter BC is through Montana, to Banff National Park, through Jasper, and connect to the Alcan via Hwy 40 near Grand Prairie. As far as road conditions we have not driven this route during this time of the year, HWY 40 can be a pretty desolate stretch. However, you’ll definitely see some snow on the way up and I would personally stick to the more main roads when the weather gets bad. Safe Travels!

  32. Thanks for your info.. My husband and I are headed back up in June for our 4th trip (3rd driving; 1 cruise). We drive about half the way and take the Marine Alaskan Highway (Ferry) the rest. We stay at each port for a couple of days to enjoy what each town has to offer. Hoping the weather is clear to see Denali this year. Plan to spend time Fairbanks as will. Our main stay is in Petersburg and will fish for a couple of weeks. The Milepost is very helpful for us. Roads are well paved and each town has gas and food if needed. The longest we went between gas stations was 87 miles. We are all booked and looking forward to seeing the Last Frontier again.

  33. I am wondering about the availability of motels need reservations etc. We are sr. citizens I have flown up for a fishing trip and would love to drive it with my wife. We would be driving a mini van. We would probably spend a month or so.

    • Hi Dick, it really depends on the season. If you are going in June, July or August you need to think about booking rooms now. Outside those times you might be able to walk in and get a room. However, the short summer season is best for driving and should be mostly free of snow. People book rooms sometimes a year in advance and there are very few places to stay in these small cities, so if you’re going this year I would start to book now.

  34. Thoroughly enjoyed your article. Thanks for all the useful information. I will be driving a 4wd drive Honda Pilot up to AK and i plan to rent a sat phone for about $25 per week so I am not concerned about the vehicle or phone service. However, I would like to know about places to stay along the Alcan as I am a bit too old (by choice) to do the camping thing. Are there motels or other (quality as long as the basics are met is not really an issue) places to put up for the night and get a hot meal along the Alcan? Is this info in the Milepost which I will buy? Thanks, in advance

    • Hi Ed, yes there are hotels/motels along the route to Alaska in many cities, however, if you are driving up this summer season you should book in advance because there are not many rooms. Finding a room the night you want to stay is not easy. Yes, all hotel/motel info is in the milepost book along with phone numbers to call and make bookings. Have a great trip!

    • What part of the drive are you most interested in? Your best bet is to pick up one of the above suggest books like the Milestone. They have every campground and their facilities listed in there. Safe drive to Alaska.

  35. What month did you do your trip? I am hoping to go to Alaska in the first week of May or last week of April 2018 but I’m concerned about snow pack in the passess left over from winter. I have a Mazda 6 with no 4 wheel drive, it handles well on snowy WI roads but that’s not the steep roads of the Canadian Rockies. Thank you in advance!!

    • We drove to Alaska mid-June and back mid-July. We didn’t run into any snow on our trip. Our minivan doesn’t have 4wd either but we did have a full spare with us, will you have this? Good luck planning the trip and be safe on the roads driving to Alaska.

  36. Awesome Info!

    We plan to make the drive from NC to Eielson Ak. So as far as the route through the states, can you show us your route?

    • Glad we could help plan your drive to Alaska. From Wisconsin, we made our way to Montana visiting Glacier National Park and then up to Banff & Jasper National Park. All those parks are a MUST! Once you are in Jasper there is only one way & road to Alaska. We always tell people to add on an extra week to see the parks on the way up or down.

  37. Drove every road in Alaska that had a town at the end of it. Left New York state and drove 17.700 miles in 81 days. The best part was from Glenallan to Valdez. Top of the world highway was awesome as was Dawson City Yukon. No flats tires. Took a 30 foot fifth wheel Rv and used Camping in Alaska by Mike and Terri Church. This book is by far better than Milepost which we had also, but would not buy again. Do not miss the Canadian Rockies

    • Hi David, that is quite the trip! We enjoyed the area around Glenallan, stunning drive. We didn’t make it to Valdez on the last trip but it is on the list. Thanks for the book recommendation, the Mile Post is great for somethings, but not everything when driving to Alaska nowadays. And we totally agree it would be a sin not to stop in the Canadian Rockies. Safe Travels!

  38. Can you say anything for how much cell service there is? I’m concerned that we won’t have a GPS connection or if we do run into trouble we won’t have the ability to call for help.

    • The cell service along the Alcan highway up to Alaska was really only in the towns and very sparse along the route – the further north the worst it seemed to get. However, if you are using your phone for GPS it will still work. The GPS function is separate from having cell coverage, you will have GPS the whole way. There aren’t really any roads to get off track outside these cities so your maps will work. The phone needs data to calculate the map and if you get off track, but like I said there aren’t a lot of other roads to get off track. I hope that makes sense, if you have questions about it please let us know. Lastly, keep in mind a majority of the drive is in Canada so check with your cell phone provider how your coverage works and what it will cost. We had T-mobile and outside the US it uses local carriers at no extra cost. Safe travels and enjoy Alaska.

  39. HI, me and my brother are planning to do this trip but i’m worried about my truck. My truck is an 08 with 28k miles. i’ve never done a trip like this before and am very concerned about damaging it. How did the exterior of your van hold up? did it get a lot of scuffs or dents and dings? did it run well after the trip? i guess i’m just trying to get piece of mind. Thanks

    • Hi Thomas, The vast majority of the road is paved, all but the construction sections. There are some portions of the road which get frost heaving which makes some hard to see bumps, and some stretches have frequent potholes, but overall the road was in much better shape than I expected. Our minivan is a 2006 and we started the trip with 130,000 miles. The biggest risk if you’re a responsible driver is some rock chips. Our van had a few chips before we started so I can tell you if we got any new ones, but nothing major. If you want to keep your truck looking nice I would suggest a vinyl front grill/hood cover they used to call them ‘LeBras’ and anything you could find to reduce the possibility of damage from loose gravel/rocks.

      If you were to run into mechanical trouble there are people on this road and they look after each other. If someone was broke down there was always someone there helping out. As long as you prepare for the basics you should be in good shape. If you have more questions feel free! Have fun planning and safe travels!

  40. We made the trip this summer also from Wisconsin in my vintage 1978 Pinto Cruising Wagon. We took 46 days. Had a Great Time! We made it all the way to Deadhorse, the farthest north you can drive in North America! . Plan to do it again?

  41. Hi
    I have made the trip four times!
    Either going or coming.back.
    I never had any issues at all.
    I camped out in a tent every time.
    Cooked meals on the tailgate of my truck.
    It is a spectacular drive!
    The Cassiar highway is worth doing also!
    It was all gravel when I drove it in the 90’s.
    Also going over the Top of world highway from Dawson City ,YT To Tok, AK is a beautiful drive especially in Sept.
    I met some interesting people each time.
    I highly recommend doing it!

    • You’ve taken on driving to Alaska 4 times!?!?! You do meet some amazing people along the way. We too just pulled over and slept in our van. Next time we’ll have to check out the Cassiar highway, thanks for the tips. Safe travels.

    • We choose a campervan as we were on a month long trip and we didn’t have our Alaska itinerary mapped out. We knew we were driving to Alaska but wanted to take our time getting there. Having a campervan gives us the freedom to stop and stay as long as we want PLUS we just pay to camp vs a hotel. We are no strangers to real camping in a tent, we built our campervan a month after camping in Africa for 68 nights (yes you saw that right) from Nairobi Kenya to Cape Town South Africa. So after that trip we had no desire to set up a tent every night. The first time we ever campervanned was in New Zealand when we drove around the entire south island and we loved it. When we came back to the USA we knew that is what we wanted to do. When we found an affordable van that fit a full-size bed we made it our campervan. You can watch more on our van in our Youtube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKNTdoqVbcU

      It’s a great option for road trips.

      Safe travels.

  42. Thanks so much for your Alaska trip writeup. I’m planning a trip for the summer of 2018 and the personal accounts are very helpful, Thanks again

    • Hi Bill I am also planning a trip to Alaska June 2018 in a skoolie. When are you going? Where are you coming from in coming from Merriville Indiana. Would be great to know someone on the road while traveling.

        • The best place to stop when driving to Alaska is Banff National Park and Glacier National Park if you can include them in your route. Coming from Texas I have a feeling you won’t go this way but if it’s only a few hours out of the way they are both worth it.

    • Our entire road trip to Alaska was just over 10,000 miles as we spent some time in Banff, Jasper, Montana before driving to Alaska from Jasper. Our campervan gets on average 20 miles a gallon so I would estimate $1,250 in total but I did keep all the gas receipts for the trip and I will add them up to get you an exact number. I think I’ll add this figure to the post so for those looking at driving to Alaska can get a better idea of the cost.

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