RV ADVENTURES ON THE ALASKA HIGHWAY
The road began to climb and twist not long after leaving Fort Nelson. It had been a relaxing stop, but we were eager to push on. It was still 1,138 miles until the official end of the Alaska Highway and even farther to Fairbanks.
Although our next stop, Laird Hot Springs, was only a mere 193 miles away, the drive took us all day. This part of the highway was one of the slowest moving; not because of the condition of the road, but because this is where the road passes through the Canadian Rockies.
It was also one of the most beautiful sections of the highway with rivers, mountains, and rocky gorges.
It turns out that a Go RVing Facebook fan suggested one of the best stops. Muncho Lake is known for its clear green and blue waters.
You may be wondering about the driving condition of the Alaska Highway.
Each year nature takes her toll on the road creating potholes and the dreaded ice heaves. However construction crews are out repairing the road each summer so the road may be repaired just as fast, if not faster, than it was damaged. We encountered a number of construction crews. Most often there was a pilot car that would guide us through the section of the road being worked on.
The key to driving the Alaska Highway in an RV is to take your time, watch for changes in the road’s surface, and to be on the lookout for orange flags that mark most (but not all) of the damage. If you see those flags, slow down! We are happy to report we haven’t had as much as a flat tire so far.
You may also be wondering about the availability and price of gas on the Alaska Highway.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that as long we planned, there was no risk of running out of fuel. The prices ranged and the trend unsurprisingly seemed to be the more remote, the more expensive the gas. We were glad to have our external tank to fill up when the gas went above $6.00 a gallon.
Late in the evening, after crossing the Rocky Mountains, we arrived at Laird River Hot Springs Provincial Park. We still had a few hours left of daylight, so we headed out to the springs to soak in the mineral rich water.
A boardwalk trail leads over the wetlands where the sun reflects off of shallow waters.
Laird Springs has been popular for travelers on the Alaska Highway for decades. It was also the most suggested place to stop from the Go RVing Facebook audience, and it is easy to understand why. A relaxing hot soak surrounded by the thick green forest feels amazing after a long day in the car.
North of Laird Hot Springs, the Milepost told us to look for bison and sure enough we saw them grazing along the side of the road.
We’ve seen creatures big and small and in between.
Farther down the Alaska Highway we saw a mama bear and two cubs (the first one is up ahead of mama and the second one is by her side).
It wasn’t long before we were crossing into the Yukon Territory.
Watson Lake, the “Gateway to the Yukon,” is located at mile 612.
Watson Lake is also home to the Signpost Forest. Signpost Forest was started in 1942 by a US army solider working on the Alaska Highway. There are more than 75,000 signs that have been left by visitors. In 2013, Signpost Forest was designated a Yukon Historic Site.
It was fun to see all the different types of “signs” travelers had left.
We made our own sign to leave in the “forest” reminding people to #GoRVing!
The next morning we went for a hike at Rancheria Falls Recreation Site.
It was a pretty hike to an overlook of the falls.
We didn’t stay long before hitting the road again.
Early evening we stopped in Whitehorse, the capitol of Yukon Territory. Whitehorse is named after the white foam rapids that were said to resemble the manes of horses. But the rapids are no longer there due to a nearby dam on the river.
Downtown Whitehorse was charming with shopping, restaurants, and a very nice visitor center. While we didn’t take our RV downtown (we stayed at a nearby campground) we noticed it was very RV-friendly. There were spots designated for RVs near the visitor center and I even noticed a sign specifically for (presumably large) fifth wheel parking.
The S.S. Klondike National Historic Site was a fun and educational stop. The S.S. Klondike is an old steam powered riverboat built in 1929. It was the largest vessel on the Yukon River. The S.S. Klondike carried supplies, people, and sliver lead ore between Whitehorse and Dawson City until 1955. We all enjoyed exploring the old steamboat.
Before heading home we made a quick stop at a farmer’s market. We chatted with some locals about life in the Yukon. Fascinating!
Two days at Whitehorse passed quickly and we were on the road again. We stopped for our last evening in Canada at Lake Creek Yukon government campground.
We shared a meal with our friends in the RV and ended our evening before the sun fell below the horizon at 11:30 pm!
Finally the next morning, over 5,000 miles from leaving Key West, we excitedly pulled over to take our photo in front of the “Welcome to Alaska” sign!
We also took a family photo straddling the international boundary between the United States and Canada.
And half of the boys sat in Alaska while the other half sat in Canada.
We decided to press on and officially finish the Alaska Highway.
We made it! From Mile “0” in Dawson Creek to Mile 1422 in Delta Junction!
What an amazing trip it has been and the journey isn’t over. Come back next week as we explore Alaska’s interior. Fingers crossed we will be part of the 30% who get to see “The Mountain.”
Do you have a favorite drive to #GoRVing? What sort of wildlife have you seen on your RV trips?