I know most people will not be able to do a 5-6 week trip, but if you can or are retired, I am planing a trip to Alaska. Right now, I have 2 friends from Texas going, but 1 may have to back out. There is another group going up in May, so that could be an option. I dont think I will do this solo.
Meeting some friends in Banff National Park, after i pick up my sister & bother in law in Calgary and from there headed to Dawson Creek to join the Alaskan Highway. We will stay on the Alaskan Highway to Whitehorse, where we will turn off to Dawson City. From there, back to join the Alaskan Highway to Fairbanks. Next part of the route would be up to the Arctic Circle and maybe all the way to Deadhorse if people want to go and we can find a place to stay. Next stop is Denali national park for a few days a then on to Anchorage to explore the area SE of there. After that it will be work our way back, stopping in different places.
The trip will be to cover as much or as little miles as we want each day, except to be at Denali by a set date, looks like some friends want to fly in for a week or so to visit.
The plan is to camp, 5-6 days, then a hotel night. Many camp grounds in Canada have showers, but it doesn't seem that way in Alaska. Also that 6-7 day will be a laundry day, so that way you really only need to pack fo a week+.
This round trip from Albuquerque will cover about 9500 miles.
So if you think you might want to go, let me know.
I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque! - Bugs Bunny
Definitely stop at Liard Hot Springs. It's in northern British Columbia. I agree that you will do more than 9,500 if you really want to see some stuff. I lived in Alaska for four and a half years. I've done the drive three times. I just did it in July. Gas is NOT cheap. On average, it was about $5.75 a gallon out in Canada. The highest I saw was $7.53 a gallon after you convert from liters to gallons and moose bucks (canadian dollar) to US dollar. I would not go any earlier than June. There is LOTS to see out there. Even more if you have a Jeep. I'd plan on 12,000 miles round trip.
In Alaska, most definitely drive all the way to Deadhorse. Take the tour and jump in the Arctic Ocean. DEFINITELY go to Denali National Park. Take the bus tour our to the Eielson Visitor Center. It's eight hours round trip. Don't get the expensive bus with the tour guide. Ride the cheap bus. I've done it several times and the drivers are all very informative and talked to us the entire time. It's great. Definitely get to Anchorage and down to the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai Peninsula is the prettiest place in Alaska that you can get to with a vehicle. Visit Seward and Homer. If you have any other Alaska questions, hit me up.
I've done both. Plan to be able to drive 350 miles without a gas station. Don't pass one up either. Winter time is even worse. The ferry isn't as much fun and it is very expensive. I'd recommend the drive. I've done it twice. Has is expensive out there. I saw it for $7.53 a gallon when I drove down in July.
When we moved to Alaska in February of 2009, we took the Alaska Marine Highway System (the ferry) from Bellingham, WA to Whittier, AK. Bellingham is north of Seattle and Whittier is about 45 minutes SE of Anchorage. The ferry ride was about three days to Juneau where we stayed for about 24 hours. Then, another couple of days to Whittier. The boats are big and can haul a lot of cars. You can get a two or four berth room. We had a four berth. The boats are no cruise ships, but they're not bad either. The rooms were small but comfortable. You can bring your own food which is what I'd recommend. They have a cafeteria on the boat but the food selection isn't great and it is very expensive. $15+ for a shitty burger and fries in 2009. We saw lots of wildlife. Whales, sea otters, etc. You don't have to get a room either. There were people who just slept where ever, people who duct taped tents to the deck, etc. Anything goes on the boat, really. The last night we were on the boat, we got caught in a storm in the Gulf of Alaska. We woke up about 2am and the boat sounded like it was breaking in half. It was slamming into the huge waves and shuddering from all of the vibration. I went up to the observation deck which I'd guess is 50 feet above the water. The waves were crashing into the windows and I could feel it thundering through the whole boat. Not gonna lie. I was scared shitless. That lasted for a few hours. It settled down and in the morning, I asked the old lady at the purser's desk what she would rate that storm on a scale of 1 to 10. She said a 4 tops. Yikes! I'd hate to see a 10. Anyways, we made it to Alaska. That trip, with transporting our car and the 4 berth room, was almost $4,000. The car is the main expense. Fortunately, I was doing a Military move and the Air Force paid for that for me. Well, you guys, the tax payers, actually paid.
In 2011, I was in Oklahoma for a couple months of training. I am from Oklahoma and left my truck (1996 Chevy S-10) here to drive when I was down to visit. I thought it would be fun to drive it back. So, when I was done here, I headed out in my old truck and drove it to Alaska. It was about 4,200 miles from Oklahoma City. It took me six days. I made a few stops, but drove pretty hard. You can see a thread I started with lots of pictures on the S-10 forum, here. Driving my 96 S-10 to Alaska! 56K beware! (pics) - S-10 Forum
This year, we moved back to Oklahoma and drove our car. We took three weeks to do it and drove 6,000 miles. I highly recommend the drive. I'd never take that ferry again. Even in the winter. The drive is incredible. I've done it twice now and would love to do it again. It's not cheap though. Once you get to Dawson Creek in Canada, it's going to start getting expensive. Food, gas and hotels are not cheap. In Canada, everything is metric. They sell fuel in liters. I always did the conversion and gas was on average about $5 a gallon or more. We stayed the night at the Northern Rockies Lodge next to Muncho Lake in northern British Columbia back in July when we drove down here. The place is absolutely incredible. But it was the most expensive place on the whole trip due to the remoteness. That's where the gas was $7.53 a gallon. I think we paid about $300 for our cabin for the night. It was a nice cabin. Dinner was about $160. You can avoid that. I opted NOT to fill up there and figured I could make it to Ft. Nelson. We were running on fumes by the time we got to Ft. Nelson and that is in a car that gets 30 mpg.
I'd say that if you want to take a trip to Alaska and do it right, you'll want to take at a MINIMUM, three weeks to do it. A month would be better. Once you get to Alaska, you'll want to see some stuff. Alaska is huge. It's on a whole other scale than what the lower 48 is on. It takes a lot of time to get there. The Alaska highway is remote, but it's paved the whole way except for where they are doing construction. In a Jeep, you can pretty much count on busting your windshield. I busted the windshield in my truck in 2011, and we busted the windshield in our car in July. There's trucks and they throw rocks. The frost heaves can get your vehicle airborne. You just have to be careful.
For a Jeep, I'd definitely carry extra gas. No less than an extra 5 gallons. Don't pass up a fuel stop either. You will need a passport to get into Canada. You can't bring guns either.
KC10Chief, great pictures, Banff is a 2-3 day stop on the trip. Not playing on the ferry, but to retrace the route I took with my parents, I would take the ferry. The reason for that question was if a road washes out and there is a need to get back home for some reason.
Did get this from the Alaska ferry people:
The official Alaska Marine Highway policy on fuel is as follows.
Small portable containers of fuel (6 gallons or less, and limited to 2 containers) are permitted on board AMHS vessels. Diesel tanks designed to fit in the back of a pick-up, or other small trucks, are allowed up to 119 gallons. Diesel fuel, in 55 gallon drums (not to exceed 119 gallons) are permitted per transport vehicle when in un-damaged and secure containers. They must be turned over to vessel personnel for proper storage while en route.
Looking at your link, you should be fine as long as the container is in good condition and the amount of total fuel carried does not exceed 119 gallons.
I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque! - Bugs Bunny