How to Drive to Alaska


Alaska is one of the most unique and beautiful places to visit. Getting there by car can be a challenge if you're not prepared. You'll have to cross the border into Canada and then back into the U.S. in order to get there. Because Alaska is so large, the roads don't necessarily connect. Knowing the basics will help you determine which route to take on your drive to Alaska.

Things You'll Need

  • Car
  • Map
  • Tune-up for your car
  • Credit card
  • Extra food
  • Extra gas
  • Emergency kit

Getting Through Canada

  • Cross the border. If you're coming from the U.S., the first thing you will do on your trip to Alaska, is cross into Canada.

  • Bring your passport, and check with US Customs before you leave for updated information. Requirements to travel in and out of the US are constantly changing.

  • Buy gas by the liter in Canada--not by the gallon. If you plan to hunt in Alaska and want to bring your own gun, you will have to pay a charge and have the proper information while traveling through Canada.

Travel Tips

  • Travel in the late spring through early fall. During off-peak times, some service stations and other sightseeing areas could be closed.

  • Carry extra food in your vehicle. You may be on the road a long time before you find a place you want to stop and eat.

  • Make sure you have an emergency kit and a small can of extra gasoline. Service stations can be far and few between.

  • Bring a good map. Don't rely entirely on Internet directions or expect the batteries in your GPS to work without rest.

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good shape. Get a tune-up and oil change, rotate your tires and make sure everything is working properly. You may want to carry some spare parts for your car just in case.

  • Give yourself extra time in case of unforeseeable problems, or in case you come across extra places you want to visit.

Highways to Alaska

  • The Alberta to Alaska Highway Route will take you through the Canadian Rockies. It begins in Coutts, Alberta, which is one of the most popular border crossings. From Alberta, you will travel through British Columbia and the Yukon before entering Alaska at Tok. This is the perfect area to see mushers, breeders, and dogs before making the rest of your journey through Alaska.

  • The British Columbia-Yukon Route is best known for its history during the gold rush. It begins in Vancouver and winds through British Columbia. Then, the highway loops around Yukon before allowing you to enter Alaska at either Tok or Northway. It's also the best route to take if you plan to drive to the Top of the World Highway along the border.

  • Finally, there is the Marine Highway Route. This will take you directly to the Inside Passage of Alaska. It begins in Victoria, British Columbia, and you enter Alaska in Ketchikan. Ketchikan is known for its art galleries and water activities, including scuba diving. It's also the best way to get to Juneau, and ends in Skagway. This route does not connect to the All-Alaska highway.

  • Once you're in Alaska, you can drive along the All Alaska Route. It connects to the Alberta to Alaska Highway Route and the British Columbia-Yukon Route in Tok, Alaska. This route can take you to Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is very popular to fly to Canada or Alaska, and then rent a car.
  • Trips can vary by the days, depending on where you begin your trip. It is more than 2,000 just to get from Coutts, Alberta, in Canada to Tok, Alaska.

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