Alaska, To Drive or Not To Drive…
That is the question!
Alaska is the largest state in the Union, over 2.5 times larger than Texas. Driving from Homer, at the bottom of the Kenai Peninsula to Prudhoe Bay, on the Arctic Ocean, is over 1,000 miles. Homer to Valez is a little more than 500 miles. Factoring road construction, repairs, frost heaves and the scenic pullout for photos, you can expect an average speed of no more than 45 mph. You can do the math on the amount time it can take to get around.
Much is accessible from one of Alaska’s 11 major highways. Renting an RV is an increasing popular option. Numerous companies including, but not limited to, Cruise America, Great Alaskan Holidays, and Apollo RV offer rentals. You can also rent from private owners through the likes of Outdoorsy. We had friends has a good experience renting from Outdoorsy. For more on Outdoorsy, check out this article on Your RV Lifestyle.When renting, you typically fly into Anchorage, pick-up the RV, and eventually return to Anchorage for the return and flight out.
Driving to Alaska from the lower-48 means crossing Canada and driving all or some of the Alaska Highway (aka Alaskan Highway or Alaska-Canada Highway or simply the Alcan). This 1000+ mile highway starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. and runs to Delta Junction, AK.
An alternative route, from the west coast, is the Stewart-Cassiar (pronounced like caviar) or simply Cassiar Highway. This runs about 500 miles from Kitwanga, B.C. to the north and joins the Alcan near Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.
The Alcan is the major land route that connects Alaska and is open year-round. Another option is to take the Top of the World Highway which is accessed by ferrying across the Yukon River in Dawson City.
All routes are different and interesting in their own right. What we have not done is taken a car/RV ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway system. We’ll share more about Canada in separate posts.