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2018 Road Trip to Alaska

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Hi All,

We are planning a 2018 road trip from Phoenix to Alaska. Exact dates have not been determined, so we are looking for suggestions. We are open to traveling during the months of June-September, but assume July/August would be the best months. We’d like to be gone under 30 days, but are open to suggestions to extend the trip. We will be driving our 2014 Toyota Prius and will be staying in motels throughout the trip. We also plan to take a 7-14 day round-trip cruise out of Seattle in 2019 with my brother, so this trip will be mostly to see the interior between Fairbanks and the Anchorage-Homer-Seward triangle as well as some sea activities we might not see on whichever cruise we pick. We’ve looked through a 2017 edition of MilePost from the library and have pretty much planned the routes we will be taking up and back. We plan to buy the 2018 edition when it comes out in March. The thing I’m most unsure of at this point are how far we can expect to drive each day, where it’s worthwhile to stop for more than just an overnight stay and any sights we shouldn’t miss along the way. We're mostly interested in information on the part of the trip through Canada. Obviously, the routes are not set in stone, so suggestions there are also welcome. We are 65/70, so we’re mostly interested in sightseeing/photo ops we can get to by car or short walks from the roadway. Longer walks are okay, but my wife can’t hike due to her knees.

Anyway, I’ve separated the trip into 3 sections; the drive up, the drive around Alaska and the drive back. The cities cited are for Google Maps/Bing Maps routing purposes only, not necessarily for overnight stops.

Section 1:
Phoenix AZ -- Malmstrom AFB MT -- Banff AB area -- Hinton AB -- Dawson Creek BC -- Watson Lake YT -- Dawson YT -- Tok AK

Note: Google Maps will not let you drive directly from Dawson to Tok because the road is closed in winter.
Q: Is it advisable to drive un summer? If not, we would go from Watson Lake to Tok and bypass Dawson.

Section 2:
Tok AK – Fairbanks AK – Anchorage AK – Homer AK – Seward AK – Wrangell-St Elias National Park AK – Tok AK

Q: Worth taking gravel road to McCarthy? Day trip or overnight?
Q: Worth going to Valdez?

Section 3:
Tok AK – Watson Lake YT – Stewart BC – Hyder AK – Prince George BC – Hells Gate BC – Osoyoos BC – Phoenix AZ

Note: May bypass Hells Gate because we will be driving that in 2019.

There you have it. Our hotel preference is the Choice Hotels chain, but we are open to suggestions for local hotels comparable to Comfort Inns and not opposed to lower priced motels comparable to Econo Lodge/Days Inn based on Trip Advisor reviews. We’ve visited Toronto, Montreal, Algonquin Park and Vancouver in the past, all by car, so we’re familiar with driving in Canada. We know to be vigilant for wildlife and we know to dress in layers, but we’re not sure if we need to bring anything special with us. We do not carry weapons.

Thanks for any and all guidance.

Cheers, Dave

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