Getting to Alaska by car isn’t as hard as most people think, whether you’re moving there to start a new life or finally going on that road trip you’ve been planning.
But before you start your trip, it’s a good idea to know what to expect on the road so you can plan ahead.
What you need to know before you hit the road is below.
How Long Does It Take?
How long it takes to drive to Alaska will depend on a number of things, such as:
From where you are going.
How long you plan to be on the road in a day. If you plan to drive for 8 hours, you can give yourself an average of 11 hours a day, which includes breaks for lunch, the bathroom, and getting gas.
Will you stop anywhere along the way? If you are taking a road trip, you will want to stop and look at the beautiful sights along the way. That means you probably planned to spend a day or half a day looking around, which will make your trip longer in the end.
Winter: If you drive in the winter, you’ll be on the road longer.
Your Vehicle: Is your car ready for a long trip? Most cars will be fine for that trip, but keep in mind that you won’t be near a mechanic for a lot of it. So, make sure the car is in good shape before you drive it.
If you drive the speed limit and are a good person, it can take about 16 hours to drive from one border to the next.
That’s if there aren’t any road repairs or unexpected traffic ahead and you only stop for short amounts of time.
You can also find out how long it takes on average from major US cities in the next section.
It takes about 42 hours to drive the 2233 miles from Seattle.
From New York, it’s 4345 miles and about 72 hours on the road.
From Miami, it’s 4932 miles and about 78 hours on the road.
From Dallas, the trip is 3865 miles and takes about 59 hours.
From Dallas, the trip is 3865 miles and takes about 59 hours.
From Boston, it’s 4539 miles and about 74 hours on the road.
It takes about 60 hours to drive the 3,548 miles from Chicago.
From Los Angeles 3357 miles, about a 59-hour drive
Since the trip is long, be ready and take the time to enjoy your surroundings as you drive.
It will make the long drive less boring.
Can I Drive To Alaska Without a Passport?
No, you can’t get to Alaska by car if you don’t have a passport.
That’s because you’ll be crossing the border between the US and Canada twice, both to and from.
Bring a valid, up-to-date passport with you, because you’ll need it to cross the border.
You can also get a passport card, which is also a valid passport but doesn’t have any pages inside.
There is also a special card used to get into Canada called a Nexus card.
Can you get to Alaska by car without going through Canada?
No, if you want to drive to Alaska, you have to go through Canada.
There is no other way to get there unless you fly.
Most of the trip will be in Canada, including the Yukon, British Columbia, and, if you’re coming from the east, Alberta.
So, as you plan your trip, you need to learn about important Canadian rules, such as:
What you can’t bring across the border, like fresh food and alcohol.
If you bring your pet with you, you should have a current health certificate with proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.
If you have a lot of convictions, like driving under the influence, you might not be allowed to go to Canada.
If you are travelling with a child and neither parent is with you, you may need a letter from the other parent saying it is okay for the child to cross the border.
Keep in mind that prices in Canada are given in Canadian Dollars. Most places will take American dollars, but if you don’t want to take any chances, you can stop at an ATM to get Canadian dollars.
Gas is measured in litres, not gallons, and speed limits are given in kilometres per hour, not miles per hour.
There is an hour difference between Canada and Alaska.
You can also ask your insurance company if you will be covered while driving in Canada.
Is it Dangerous to Drive to Alaska?
The roads to Alaska are paved and well-kept, so it’s safe to drive there.
This makes it easier to drive. The problem you might face is getting to amenities.
You will go a long time without seeing a gas station or a place to stop and rest.
So, bring enough food and make sure your car is in good shape before you leave.
There are a few mostly empty stretches of road where a few cars drive by every now and then.
So, it’s likely that big animals will be eating grass near the roads, so you should be careful.
Here are a few tips to help you get to Alaska by car.
Be careful. Don’t let your guard down just because there aren’t many cars on the road or you don’t see any. If you start to feel tired, stop and rest or clean up.
If you can’t see where you’re going, slow down. Around the next bend, there might be an animal, and you won’t be able to slow down in time.
Keep an eye out for orange flags as you drive. They are there to let drivers know that there are potholes ahead.
If you can, don’t drive at night. Nearly no one is on the roads at night, and animals may be there because the asphalt is warm.
Before going on a trip, especially in the spring and fall, check the weather report. Along the highway, you might find new snow, and if the temperature drops, the road could be icy.
In short, just be careful when you drive.
What is the Best Route to Take?
You can get to Alaska in a number of ways, as shown below.
This is the fastest way to get from Portland to Seattle or Seattle to Portland.
It is out in the middle of nowhere, which makes it perfect for people who want to get away from everything.
Start in Seattle, then take the Trans-Canada Highway all the way up to Cache Creek.
From there, take Highway 97 north until you reach Prince George.
To get to Price Rupert, go west on highway 16 or the Yellowhead Highway.
Between Terrace and Smithers, the Cassiar Highway splits off to the right as Highway 37.
On this route, you will see amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery.
But keep in mind that because the road is a bit out of the way, there aren’t many gas stations or motels along it.
Make sure you have enough food and fuel before you start this route.
The Alaska Canada Highway
This is one of the most common ways to get from the US to Alaska.
It’s also called the Alaska Highway and the Alcan Highway.
It begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and goes all the way to Delta Junction, Alaska.
If you are coming from the West Coast, the best way to get to the Alcan Highway is from the west.
For drivers coming from the Midwest, the Rocky Mountain West, or the East Coast, there is also the East Access route, which goes through Calgary or the Canadian Rockies.
The Alaska Highway is more popular than the Cassiar Highways, so you are more likely to find services along that route. T
The Cassiar Highway doesn’t have many services, but you can be sure you’ll see a lot of amazing things.
Is there Cell Phone Service On the Drive to Alaska?
Unless you are in a town, your cell phone won’t work for a lot of the trip to Alaska.
Also, cell phone service may not be available in some small towns.
Also, since a lot of your trip will be in Canada, you should check with your cell phone provider to find out how much it will cost to use your phone there.
You can get an international plan for a short time, but you have to plan for it ahead of time.
Plug-in Internet access and Wi-Fi are available in many hotels, visitor centres, campgrounds, coffee shops, and libraries.
But you can also rent a satellite phone that can be used with a network.
Since emergencies can happen at any time, satellite phones are great for these kinds of trips.
You can also get a Spot Satellite Messenger that sends regular GPS updates and has a GPS connection to rescue or emergency services in case of an emergency.
As part of your trip planning, you can find out how the device works.
How Much Does It Cost To Drive to Alaska?
How much it costs to drive to Alaska depends on a number of things, such as;
What kind of car you drive and how many miles per gallon it gets. But bring a spare tyre with you in case you get a flat tyre on the highway and can’t get to a mechanic.
Whether you will stay in hotels, tents, or both along the way. On the Alaska Highway, there are both public and private RV parks where you can camp. There are also places to camp in six provincial parks in British Columbia and eight in Yukon. During busy times, you should get there early to get a good spot. Also, most campgrounds are closed during the winter, so if you travel during that time, you will probably stay in hotels most of the time, which will be expensive.
Will you be sightseeing? You have to pay to use the national parks, kayaking, and skiing facilities along the way.
How much one US dollar is worth in Canadian dollars right now.
Expect to pay more for gas in Canada than in the United States, and even more in rural areas.
When you are in a remote part of British Columbia, gas prices can be 20 to 50 percent higher.
In the US, gas is sold by the gallon, but in Canada, it is sold by the litre. You will pay for services with Canadian dollars.
With the change in currency, it can be hard to figure out how much you are spending on amenities.
How long you will be in Alaska is another thing to think about.
You will need a place to stay, so you can save money by camping some days and staying in a hotel other days.
Setting up a daily camp may take a lot of time, which could add to the total amount of time spent travelling.
When is the Best Time to Drive to Alaska?
You can plan a road trip to Alaska at any time of year because the highway is always open.
But in the winter, when there is snow on the roads, your trip is likely to take longer.
The weather is also very cold, so you should be ready for that.
Most restaurants, hotels, and even gas stations close down in the winter because there aren’t as many people around.
If you have to travel during that time, check to see what services are open so you don’t have to deal with any trouble.
Most of the time, the summer (June to August) and the shoulder season (April to May or September) are great times to travel.
Even in mid-May or early September, you might find ice or snow.
So, during that time, you should be ready. Construction is hard to avoid because it happens a lot during the summer and in the spring and fall.
There are a lot of bugs in June and July, but you might see them earlier or later in the summer, depending on how cold and dry it is.
Bring a bug spray with you to keep bugs from bothering you and your family.
Also, there is a lot of daylight during those two months, so you can enjoy extra-long days for fishing, hiking, driving, and seeing sights.
Plan your trip for late August or early September if you want to see the Northern Lights.
You will see them when it gets dark enough.
In May, June, July, and August, it doesn’t get dark in most of Alaska, Northern BC, and the Yukon.
However, the farther south you go, the darker it gets.
What are the Road Conditions Like?
The Cassiar Highway and the Alcan Highway are both paved, so driving is good in general.
You might come across short stretches of gravel and older patches of asphalt, but those are rare.
Some parts were recently fixed up and now have good surfaces.
But the Cassiar Highway is a little bit narrower than the Alcan, which can cause traffic problems.
Between Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson, which is about 300 miles, you can enjoy a long stretch of straight road.
Is it Worth It?
Anyone who loves and enjoys road trips should try to drive to Alaska.
Along the road, there are beautiful views and fun things to do, such as:
You can use the West Access Route to get to the Sea to Sky Highway. This road goes from Vancouver, BC to Whistler, BC. Along the way, there are some beautiful sights, like a waterfall.
On the Trans Canada Highway is the Hell’s Gate Tram in the Fraser Canyon. Get out of the car to take a break and look down at the beautiful scenery.
British Columbia Wineries: Take a break and try out some wine. You’ll also find great farmer’s markets where you can buy delicious food grown in the area.
Between Canada’s Jasper National Park and Banff, the Icefields Parkway is a drive with beautiful views.
Miette Hot Springs are in Jasper National Park. You can enjoy some hot springs there, and it will be less crowded in the morning.
Muncho Lake: This lake has a lot of fun things to do, and you can even spend the night camping here.
Between Muncho Lake and Watson Lake is where you can find the Liard River Hot Springs. Beautiful hot springs where you can camp or stay in a roadhouse for the night.
In Watson Lake Sign Post Forest, which is in Watson Lake Town in the Yukon, there are a lot of colourful signposts that people have brought from their own towns.
Atlin is a beautiful place in the northern part of British Columbia where people can fish, hike, and camp, among other things.
Mount Edziza Provincial Park: Mount Edziza isn’t really a mountain; it’s a volcano that erupted over 10,000 years ago. The view of the volcanic landscape is stunning, and there are a few trails you can walk to see some wildlife.
Boya Lake Provincial Park: You can swim in the lake, and you can also go kayaking on it.
It’s an adventure to drive to Alaska. Also, keep in mind that a big chunk of your trip will be in Canada. If you like Canada, the trip will be worth it.
Even if you plan well, things might not go as planned.
For example, you might think your road trip will take four days but it ends up taking a week. Because of this, you need to be ready for surprises.
Also, will you just be driving or will you be doing other things in Alaska?
If your goal is to enjoy the drive while taking in the beautiful scenery, then the drive is worth it.
But if you have to go to work or run other errands, the drive may be long and boring.