Driving from Vancouver to Anchorage

Old Oct 16th, 2015, 05:15 PM
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Driving from Vancouver to Anchorage

I was wondering if it is possible to do the drive to Alaska without much difficulty and what is available on the trip as in Hotels petrol etc. I was looking at around May 2016. We are 2 Aussie 70 y/o but healthy.
Thought it may be more interesting than a Cruise as we have already done that and would like to see Alaska and the parks. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 05:33 PM
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For driving to Alaska, it is sufficient and necessary to use the Milepost magazine.
http://www.themilepost.com/

> possible to do the drive to Alaska without much difficulty
Possible but you MUST plan well. It'll be like driving in the Australian Outback -- not too bad if you know where the places to stop are, problematic if you don't.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 04:31 AM
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Thanks Paul will check the website.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 06:38 AM
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It's rather complicated on the car front, and you'll need to have solid and confirmed plans at an early point. "Lower 48" car rental companies (including the big national and international chains) generally don't want cars taken through Canada, and one-way rentals (Lower 48 to Alaska or v.v.) are not allowed. Same goes for Canadian cars. Not saying it's impossible, but the success stories are far outnumbered by the other kind.

On a practical note, a couple of comments. First, it's a very long distance and - to me at least - not as scenic as you might expect. Oh, there are some very scenic bits, but IMO it's a small percentage of the totality. On the other hand, once you're IN Alaska, it's the opposite case. So it becomes a time management issue - most bang for the buck as it were. A week driving through okay, occasionally fine, scenery on the Alcan or Cassiar highways v. a week of great, occasionally spectacular, scenery in Alaska... ?

Second, May is quite early. Denali National Park, for example, usually isn't fully open until June. Many roads, especially those in the interior of Alaska and the Yukon, can be in bad shape (in stretches) due to winter damage - potholes, "frost heaves," things like that - making for slow and dusty going (or mud.)

Third, it's expensive. Fuel, lodging, provisions are readily available on the highways, but not very cheap. They're expensive in Alaska, too, but you probably wouldn't be looking at as many days (a round trip from Vancouver to, say, Anchorage will take two weeks before you start counting days actually touring Alaska.)

So with all those issues, my suggestion would be to look at flying to Alaska and hiring a car there for independent touring. Then consider using the days that you would have spent on the Alcan doing something else. Maybe fly out into the bush - for example Nome or the arctic - to experience a completely different face of Alaska than you can get from the road system. Or fly to Juneau and take the state ferry to some of the smaller towns in Southeast Alaska - the ones not visited by the big cruise ships.

Is this trip in conjunction with other travels in the US and/or Canada? Where else are you going, before or after? It might help figuring out a workable plan for Alaska.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 06:46 AM
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For most of the trip, it should not be a problem. While northern BC is mostly unsettled, in most areas along your route there are small towns with services and lodgings at fairly regular intervals.

The exception is the Cassier Highway. There are very long stretches without services so you must plan your stops well. To make up for that, it is very scenic.

The Yukon is a mixture of both. There are towns at shorter intervals than along the Cassier but they are more spread out then along the Yellowhead (the highway between St. George and the Cassier turnoff).

The advice to rely on the Milepost was good. I would get a physical copy of it rather than rely on the internet. You are going into a remote area where the internet will be unavailable in many areas.

This is a wonderful drive and I am jealous. It's been a few years since I've done it and I probably will never be able to again.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 10:42 AM
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How many weeks do you have for this trip?

If you have a LOT of time then yes, you could drive it and see some terrific stuff . . . but unless you have a month or more I'd do what Gardyloo suggests and fly up to Anchorage and use the time driving around Alaska -- not driving to Alaska.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 10:43 AM
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oops - meant to say >>use the time driving around Alaska -- not driving to Alaska and back.
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