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Driving advice needed, Salt Lake to Anchorage AK

Driving advice needed, Salt Lake to Anchorage AK

Old Apr 1st, 2008, 11:43 AM
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Driving advice needed, Salt Lake to Anchorage AK


Looking for advice on best route(s), expected travel time based on 400 to 450 miles per day, etc. Things to look out for, road conditions, resources in general. Headed for Alaska from Salt Lake City in early May. Driving a mini RV and can sleep on board. 2 drivers experienced with snowy conditions, but don't know what to expect up there at that time of year.

Thank you for your help.

boreal is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2008, 02:45 PM
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 02:48 PM
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Why don't you just fly to ANC and then rent an RV there
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Old Apr 3rd, 2008, 03:23 PM
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Get the Milepost - Costco might have one in your town. It has good descriptions on your options.

That will be a heck of alot of driving, much of it over the same road coming back. Suggest Cassiar Highway coming back and Alcan going up (or vice versa) - Cassiar is supposed to be prettier but I think it is still hardpack. Supposedly Cassiar cuts off a half day of driving.

Weather wise, May is some of the best weather we get. If you get snow over any passes (which aren't very high) that would be unusual - days are long so weather doesn't move in and hang around like it tends to later in the summer.

Nearly the whole road is paved but inevitably there is a 50 mile stretch somewhere in either on the Canadian side or Alaska side in disrepair and being worked on - so be prepared for slow traveling then.

I have driven it in 2 1/2 days and other times 4 days. A stop at the hot springs is a nice way to break up the those long hours on the road. With two drivers, I would do 600 a day and take turns napping as you drive because there are large sections of sheer monotony - especially if you are seeing it twice.

Leave your firearms at home.

Watch out for bears - they will be pretty active right about then.

Take the Tok Cutoff either coming into Anchorage or leaving South Central. Fairbanks is laid back/local sort of town. It will still be a bit cool at night.

The road from Whitehorse to Skagway is absolutely gorgeous. I suggest driving that, spend a day in Skagway, put your RV on the state ferry for the short ride to Haines, and then drive from Haines to Haines Junction. You cutoff some driving, get to visit Skagway which is a cool little historic town, and get to be on the water which is very pleasant and pretty.

For road conditions (and weather conditions too) in Alaska, go to:


How many weeks are you planning?

That's a great time of year for wildlife so bring some binoculars in addition to your camera.
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the great info. This is essentially a one-way drive. My son is relocating/transferring to the University. We are driving his little truck that has a small cap on the back (Toyota Sunrader) I was planning on about a week at the most for a casual paced drive, maybe a few days there, then flying home from there. As you say there will be stretches when it is sooo boring that 600 miles a day may be in order.

Sounds like snow tires will not be needed?

topping?! ummm say what?
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Have your gas station stops planned out ahead of time and find out which are open, when. Relatives did a marathon drive in early May one year and ended up sleeping in a gas station parking lot until it opened. BTW even though it was late April/early May they packed in case they had road/snow trouble and had to spend a night or so in their vehicle (driving a Suburban and towing a small flat bed trailer).
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Cassiar is an awesome drive -- and for a lot of college kids who drive home for the summer, it's the route of choice.
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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I suppose there could be snow somewhere along the route but I would be surprised.
I have driven the road a number of times including once in May on a motorcycle - all I experienced was fog and rain - but that was mid to late May.
Cassiar Hwy runs closer to the coastal mountains than the Alcan so you could get some weather there.
UAA or UAF? Hope your son loves the outdoors.
A week is more than enough time so you are not killing yourself driving.
Bring goggles if you have problems sleeping because that time of year it doesn't get completely dark at night.

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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 08:43 PM
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The highway itself should not be a mojor issues, mak sure you have a spare tire, and its inflated.

Best place on the whole trip to stop is at Laird hotsprings... It is well worth the trip.. also the scenery along kalani lake/destruction bay is great also... If you like to listen to music while driving i would suggest a good selection of your own as most of the northern parts ther is no real good radio stations... If you can stock up on your food on the america side as the dollar doesnt go far in canada and the further north the more food is going to cost ya till you get to anchorage or fairbanks. milepost is a great suggestion as person mentioned earlier.. good luck, You will need at border, PASSport, valid drivers license, and best to have travelers checks with you or at least some cash last year when i went thru for some reason??? they wanted to see I had cash on me..... Good luckkkk...
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