Road Trip Week 3: Canada Northbound

Deah and Chris at the Alaska Yukon border

Why drive the 1500 mile Alaska Highway, which officially goes from Dawson Creek, Alberta, to Delta Junction, Alaska? Mainly because you won’t see a single Panera Bread, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, or Burger King at any exit. Each stretch of the road is unique, with lots of sights, activities, scenery, and wildlife.

Here’s some of our highlights, heading north from Montana into Alberta, then from Calgary up to eastern BC and into Yukon, then into Alaska and ending at Fairbanks.

Craft beer at Medicine Hat Brewing Company: it was a little out of our way, but when else do you get a chance to visit Medicine Hat?

Banff and Jasper National Parks: driving through these two national parks is just sublime. Beautiful forests, glacial lakes, and the Canadian Rockies are a hard-to-beat combination.

Wildlife spotting: on this leg of the journey we caught mule deer, bald eagle, elk, moose, bison, porcupine, fox, coyote, wild swans and about six black bears on camera. We spotted but didn’t get a picture of a wolf and wolf pup, a marten, and a few predator birds, as well as a ptarmigan.

Picnics in parks, riversides, and lakesides: we favor easy to make foods like tortilla wraps, nachos, or bacon and eggs, with supplements from produce stands. With such lovely views to look at, it always tastes delicious.

Visiting local attractions: stopping in at Liard River Hot Springs felt amazing after a long day of driving, and the Kluane Museum in Yukon features over 70 taxidermied arctic animals. The Sign Post Forest was fun to hunt for local signs, and the Klondike paddleboat in Whitehorse was a slice of history.

Going 100 miles out of the way to tag a new province: we left the AlCan Highway and traveled up to Fort Liard in Northwest Territories (population 534) just so that Chris could tag his second-to-last Canadian province (I refused to drive to Nunavut).

We drove along wildlife refuges, the largest non-polar ice field in the world, and along the Alaska pipeline. We saw the world’s largest Santa Claus, sent some mail from the North Pole, and finally made it to Fairbanks, where after more than 5000 total driving miles from home, we’re sitting still for a couple of days and enjoying a lovely B&B on the edge of the University of Fairbanks campus, before we tackle Denali and then the Marine Highway.

We’ll be in Alaska for the next few weeks, so it will be a while before we post again, as we head south towards the Lower 48. Be sure to give us any recommendations for things to do and see while we’re here!

2 thoughts on “Road Trip Week 3: Canada Northbound

  1. It’s been following the Canadian journey, eh. Still on the list of future adventures. Looking forward to how you move around and where you stay in Alaska. Kirk wants to cruise, but I really want to drive and camp. We we’re talking about a one way rental so we could cruise back…the possibilities are endless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should know more in a couple of weeks, but in general I’d say do both- rent a car, van, or RV and drive the Alaska Highway one way and camp, and do the ferry system for the interior coastline the other way. That way you can see everything!

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