Road Tripping on the Alaska Highway

Photo by Karla A Desart | Shutterstock

More than 1,300 miles long and crossing extensive boreal wilderness in Alaska, Yukon and northern British Columbia, the historic, two-lane Alaska Highway is an experience to enjoy at least once in your lifetime. The seemingly endless mountain landscapes, bountiful wildlife and the summer’s midnight sun are an awe-inspiring invitation to adventure. The official Alaska Highway runs from Dawson Creek, B.C., to Delta Junction, Alaska. When you begin your trip in Vancouver, B.C., you’re en route to a truly epic, 2,000-mile, weeklong road trip.

Day 1: Vancouver to Williams Lake
From downtown Vancouver, cross the Lions Gate Bridge and follow BC Highway 99. This four-lane highway meanders quickly between the sea and lush mountains and past the trendy communities of Squamish and Whistler. Once you reach Pemberton, it narrows to two lanes with long, steep grades, hairpin turns and limited pullouts.

To appreciate the picturesque scenery safely, stretch your legs with a brief walk to the first of the three glacier-fed lakes in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

Back on the highway, the environment turns noticeably arid as you approach Lillooet, where a tasty choice for a meal break is Dina’s Place. Continue driving toward Junction 97. You’ll pass Marble Canyon Provincial Park with its towering limestone cliffs and two turquoise lakes, a photo-worthy rest stop. At the junction, head north to Williams Lake, where you can spend the night.

Day 2: Williams Lake to Dawson Creek
Your second day takes in Northern B.C.’s largest city and four provincial parks, each worth a stop. From Williams Lake, drive toward Quesnel to tour Pinnacles Provincial Park with its dramatic hoodoo formations. Farther ahead, once you reach historic Prince George (Northern B.C.’s largest city), you’ll be at the gateway to the north. After Prince George, a gradual climb on Highway 97 into the northern Rocky Mountains begins shortly after Tudyah Lake Provincial Park.

Take another photo rest stop at Bijoux Falls Provincial Park before the winding climb up to Pine Pass, the highest point on the highway with sweeping views of the mountains. The highway then twists around the northwest perimeter of Pine Le Moray Provincial Park and arrives in the small town of Chetwynd.

Just over an hour later, you’ll be in Dawson Creek and at the official beginning of the Alaska Highway. Before you retire for the night, visit the Alaska Highway House to learn some history and strike a pose at the Mile 0 monument.

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