Exploring the Alaska Highway
The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II and connects the neighboring U.S. to Alaska through Canada. It begins in Dawson Creek, in northeastern British Columbia, then winds northwest through Canada’s Yukon Territory and into the heartland of Alaska. Completed in 1943, it was 2,237 km or 1,390 mi long, but is becoming shorter due to rerouting.
The Alaska Highway, nicknamed the Alcan Highway, is still an adventure road, but the degree of difficulty has eased sharply in recent years as more and more sections have been straightened and paved.
The busiest time on the Alaska Highway runs from late May or early June through early September. If you travel early late during this season, you'll find most attractions open, but they'll be less crowded.
If you're planning to drive the Alaska Highway, get a copy of The Milepost, the quintessential guide to the Alaska Highway, published and updated annually since 1949. Some of the major sights along the Alaska Highway include:
Dawson Creek, Mile 0: Also known as the "Mile 0 City", referring to its location at the southern end of the Alaska Highway. The Mile "0" post, depicted in the city flag, is located in the historic downtown area, one block south of the Northern Alberta Railways Park.
Fort Nelson, Mile 300: Located at the junction of the Muskwa, Prophet, and Sikanni Chief Rivers, which meet to create the Fort Nelson River. It is a major town and stopover destination for travellers leaving British Columbia for the Yukon and Alaska beyond.
Muncho Lake, Mile 462: The jade green lake is the show-piece of the Muncho Lake Provincial Park and the small community of Muncho Lake. The deep, cold lake is a haven for fishing and boating. From here, visitors can partake in whitewater rafting, hiking, fly-in camping, fishing, sightseeing and remote retreats.
NOTE: If you travel south from Whitehorse, Yukon, Watson Lake for the Alaska Highway traveler offers various choices.
If you travel south from Whitehorse, Yukon, Watson Lake is less than a 5 hour drive away, which does not give you a full day’s travel. Touring another 150 miles south (3 hours) over the well maintained Alaska Highway brings you to Muncho Lake.
The Northern Rockies Lodge is your ideal year round open hotel. There you’ll find clean and comfortable accommodations.
While both Watson Lake and Ft. Nelson still cater to the Alaska Highway travelers, Muncho Lake is a more convenient overnight stop. Spending the night at Muncho Lake allows you to easily save a day on your drive to/from Alaska. Overnight stays in either Watson Lake or Ft. Nelson will no longer be necessary.
Watson Lake, Mile 613: The World Famous Sign Post Forest is Watson Lake’s best known attraction. The forest was started in 1942 by a homesick U.S. Army G.I., Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Il., Company D, 341st Engineers. While working on the Alaska Highway, he erected a sign here pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. Others followed his lead and are still doing so to this day.
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Mile 887: Capital of the Yukon Territory and headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Tok, Mile 1314: Tok is located between the Tanana River (to the north) and the Alaska Range (to the southwest). It is the first town in Alaska, for visitors traveling the Alaska Highway. A busy highway crossroad and a trade centre for several Athabascan Native villages, Tok is also known as the Sled Dog Capital of Alaska.
Delta Junction, Mile 1422: The end of the Alaska Highway.