Alaska Highway

Muncho Lake
Muncho Lake

I rode the Alaska Highway from its eastern terminus at Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Whitehorse, Yukon. The highway continues west from Whitehorse, passing through Haines Junction and Beaver Creek, Yukon before crossing the border into Alaska, joining the Richardson Highway and eventually ending at Fairbanks.

I rode the highway as part of a cross-country trip and was looking forward to the scenery. Looking back on it afterwards, the Alaska Highway was, for me at least, one of those rides that merited a t-shirt with a slogan like “I survived the Alaska Highway”. When I rode it in the summer of 1997, the scenery took a backseat to the heavy rain, RV traffic and rough road conditions.

Riders approaching from the east would normally pass through Edmonton, Alberta on the Yellowhead Highway. The Alberta/BC border is crossed just west of Grande Prairie. Make sure you stop at the information centre in Dawson Creek before setting out on the Alaska Highway. You will need to know about road conditions ahead, as the tar and gravel surface of the highway is constantly fighting a losing battle with the hard frosts of winter and the heavy travel summer months are coincidentally the only times when repairs are possible. It was at the information centre that I learned that my original plan of making it to Whitehorse in one day was hopelessly optimistic. It was 1600 km from Dawson Creek to Whitehorse on a two-lane highway often covered in potholes and punctuated by frost heaves. I broke it into two days, staying overnight at Toad River near the halfway point. The road conditions improved after entering the Yukon. Watch out for the convoys of what seem to be the largest RV’s imaginable. If your bike has a range of less than 250km, carry a gas can.

Would I do it again? Maybe, but it would have to be on a bike with long travel suspension and a giant fuel tank.

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