Driving the Al-Can

The Alaska Canada Highway, or Al-Can, traverses a vast wilderness in a remote expanse of North America, from Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, BC all the way through the Canadian Rockies and Yukon Territory, 1422 miles to Delta Junction, AK.

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On our ultimate road trip home last summer from Alaska, we picked up the Al-Can in Tok, AK on our way out of the great state. Although an exhilarating and ultimate road trippin' experience lay ahead of us, one of the toughest days I've ever had was crossing that border...


Day 2: We spent the night in Whitehorse, Yukon with friends.


Day 3: We had a picnic lunch at Watson Lake, Yukon, spending a few minutes walking through the Sign Post Forest to take in the thousands of other travellers that have been on the same exhilartating adventure as us.


We camped at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park in northern British Columbia, enjoying a much needed soak in the hot springs.


Day 4: We stopped in Muncho Lake, BC to fill up the tank, a pricey $2/L! The usual turquoise colours of the lake muted by the rain.


We saw wildlife galore - from black and brown bears, to stone sheep, bison, coyote, caribou and more.


We passed the Mile 0 sign in Dawson Creek, BC, stopping to only snap a few shots, give a quick high five, and continue on our 4500 mile journey...


And we can't forget about this little guy, who did the entire ride with us, whether he liked it or not.


Some frequently asked questions:

How long will it take?
Plan on driving for about 5 days, at 7-8 hours each day, with limited stops but plenty of scenery and wildlife to view. Make sure you have a good camera to document the adventure.

Is the road paved?
When the road was originally constructed in 1948, it was a mixture of gravel and dirt. Nowadays it is completely paved. But, that does not mean it doesn't still present its challenges. In some parts it is fairly windy through the mountains and there is no guardrail to hold you back. In other parts the harsh weather and freeze/thaw cycle has taken its toll on the road, with frost heaves creating a bumpy ride that can do some damage to your car if you're not careful. In the summer road construction is ongoing, so be prepared for some stoppages.

What kind of car should I drive?
Whatever kind you want. We saw cars, trucks, suvs, trailers, vehicles pulling trailers and motorcycles. The most important thing is to make sure it is in good shape, including the tires. We took ours for a check up before we left to be sure. The last thing you want is to break down in the middle of nowhere.

Do cell phones work?
Be prepared for some stretches with no cell or satellite reception. This also goes for satellite radio. 

How far apart are services?
Fuel, food and lodging can usually be found in the small towns you'll come across. But be prepared to go at least 150 miles without seeing a gas station. Pay attention to your gas tank and fill up when you see a pump, even if it's to top off the tank. Also, be prepared to pay more for services.

Extra tips:
This road trip definitely requires some planning. If you're feeling adventurous and want to experience the Al-Can for yourself, please invest in the Milepost. This is the bible of all Alaska/Alberta/BC/Yukon/Northwest Territory road trips and marks every stop, including things to see, gas, lodging, campgrounds, etc. 




Do you enjoy taking road trips? What's your most memorable road trippin' experience?


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Linking up with A Compass Rose for Travel Tuesday.

26 comments :

  1. This looks like a fun road trip. I love road trips if it includes some stops :)

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    1. Absolutely! You have to stop and enjoy the surroundings, even if you're just passing through.

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  2. This is on my must-drive list. And I'm very very excited that you saw what are (I'm assuming) Big Horn Sheep?! I snapped many pictures of free-range cows on my latest adventure, but missed out on any goats or sheep.

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    1. You must do it! They're actually called stone sheep. I think they're a different type than big horn, but I could be wrong.

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  3. Wow, this looks amazing. What great scenery for a road trip. I am a big fan of road trips. I once drove about 24 hours (over a couple of days!) from QLD in Australia down to Adelaide. We drove diagonally down the country and saw a lot of the outback. Was a great trip!

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    1. Wow! I bet that would be an amazing road trip as well. Alaska to Toronto took us 12 days, but there were many stops along the way to make a vacation out of it.

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  4. I love road trips and this sounds like an epic one! What a spectacular drive it must have been! Having driven through the Rockies in Canada and America, I can imagine the sights you must have seen! Also, I would love that sign post forest! What a cool idea - people from all over the world have taken that journey too. How cool!

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    1. I love the Rockies. It's just a visual buffet or scenery and wildlife. The sign post forest was really cool to see, there were thousands of signs!

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  5. I've always wanted to drive the Al-Can! Maybe if I move out of AK again, I'll drive next time.

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    1. I think you should definitely put it on your list if you do!

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  6. What an adventure! I can't wait to check out your blog. Thanks for the comment on mine. :)

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    1. It was such an amazing adventure! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  7. This looks like a fantastic road trip! I've pinned it for future reference! :) Did you add your own sign to the Sign Post Forest?

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    1. If you ever get the change, you must do it! No, unfortunately we weren't prepared. Instead we challenged ourselves to try and find a sign that was closest to our homes in Canada.

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  8. Absolutely beautiful photos! I'm getting pretty jealous over those hot springs too. ;)

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    1. Thank you! It was definitely a nice treat after driving for 24 hours!

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  9. I remember this drive all too well!! We did Georgia to Alaska!! In late October! It was crazy, scary sat times, but the scenery was beautiful. The milepost book was a lifesaver since we drove on the off season.

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    1. Wow! And I thought Toronto to Alaska was long! I can't imagine GA to AK, with kids in tow, in potential bad weather. Kudos to you girl! Milepost is definitely needed.

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  10. Beautiful photos! This post really makes me want to go back to Alaska.

    I remember stepping outside the airport for the first time in Anchorage and it felt like I was breathing pure oxygen. The air is just so pure up there. And that feeling of feeling so minuscule among the surroundings and mountains. Ugh! Love Alaska!

    I've not taken many road trips but I always enjoyed the drive from Kansas City to Branson. Some nice Ozark scenery.

    Life+1
    New Post: Top 5 Sydney, Australia

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    1. Thank you!

      The air is so different and fresh up there. We're going back to visit this summer and I can't wait to step out of the airport and have it hit me in the face.

      The Ozarks look beautiful! I bet that would be a very scenic road trip.

      Have a good weekend!

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  11. Such an exciting adventure! I dream about visiting Alaska and/or Northern Canada one day, so I love all your posts on AK! :) By the way, I've noticed that your Twitter Button isn't linking to Twitter, but only back to your blog - just letting you know, because I would love to follow you on there! :)

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    1. You definitely need to visit one day, it's AMAZING! Thanks for letting me know about the Twitter button :)

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  12. I love all the signs from the travellers that had been there before! Great capture. Thank you for linking up for Travel Tuesday!

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    1. Thank you! Thanks for hosting the weekly feature, it definitely inspires me to want to travel more!

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  13. We did this exact same road trip! We left a sign at Watson Lake, and Liard Hot Springs are still my favourite hot springs ever!

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    1. Did you? Amazing! I wish we would have been more prepared, or we would have left a sign as well. But driving from Alaska to Ontario, we didn't really have anything that said Ontario. Liard is amazing. I would do the entire trip over in a heartbeat.

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