Replies: 14 - Last Post: Dec 14, 2012 6:08 PM Last Post By: Dutch_Uncle
Nov 19, 2012 6:01 AM
alaska highwayHi all
Myself and one friend are travelling from Australia to the usa including alska in may and liked the idea of travelling the alaska highway to get to anchorage.
We are spending time in LA and seattle before alaska. Is it possible to drive from seattle to anchorage? We would obviously need to rent a car. Does anyone know of any agencies that would allow this?or is it possible to rent a car from nearer the start of the highway?
We have around 10 days to spend on the alaska part of our trip, then on to vegas. Were not too worried about exactly what we do in those days, but driving the alaska highway seemed like a cool idea. We are keen to do a road trip of some sort.
Any help suggestions or ideas would be appreciated!
Nov 19, 2012 7:19 AM
1This should be your first stop on researching your trip http://milepost.com/
Nov 19, 2012 8:41 AM
2When driving from Seattle to Alaska, the most efficient route is via the Cassiar Hiighway which then connects to the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake, Yukon. That drive would be about 2300 miles each way (SEA to ANC). By going that route, you actually only drive on a portion of the Alaska Hwy, as the true start is in Dawson Creek, British Columbia which is way out of the way for someone coming north from the west coast.
In summer I see small Canadian rental RVs and pickups with campers in Alaska. I think the main company is Fraserway. Car rental would be less expensive and I imagine some companies would allow one to drive to AK but you have to ask. I have read where people rented from major chains thinking they would be ok but turns out the company would not allow them to drive their cars to Alaska.
Keep in mind that although the roads north are less busy, you can't necessarily drive at high rates of speed to make time - summer always has construction projects in the north and you also have to be prepared for animals by the roadside or in the road (horses, moose, bears, caribou, bison - I've encountered them all). There are also road condition issues in some places, such as the Parks Hwy in Alaska, where permafrost melts underneath and causes ruts in the roadway which can get you airborne if you drive too fast over them.
One option may be taking the Alaska Marine Highway - the state ferry - from Bellingham, Washington to Skagway, Alaska, then renting a car there to drive through the Yukon to Alaska. The ferry from Bellingham to Skagway takes three days and you would not need a car though you get to see the beauty of southeast Alaska. You could possibly drop the car in Anchorage and fly back to Seattle from there. How old are you and your friend? If under 25 rental costs may be higher than the typical rate.
The round trip drive will eat into your 10 days by quite a bit and fuel will be quite pricey but I like to road trip as well so I do understand the attraction. Deciding on driving mainly depends on what you most wish to see and do. and how much money you have. I once did the drive from Skagway to Anchorage in 20 hours and don't recommend that at all. It was stupid. I was stupid. Be realistic when calculating your travel times and don't count on going 70 MPH everywhere.
The Milepost is a good publication to have for such a trip. In May you could encounter some snow as it's the very early part of spring here. Anchorage and other areas look kind of crappy in May as all kinds of stuff blown out of trucks over the winter and covered in snow slowly becomes visible. There are big community clean up days in many ares to collect all of that stuff so it does improve but it is definitely not our best time! Also, many services, including some along the highway, may not open until May 15th so plan accordingly.
Nov 19, 2012 10:49 AM
3...agree with the above post about May being to early in the season
30 year old Alaska pics
on the highway by the Yukon River
ps ...be sure to stop at the Liard Hot Springs near the BC - Yukon border - most refreshing!
Nov 19, 2012 12:42 PM
Nov 19, 2012 2:54 PM
5Thanks for the help and replies.
We are 25, money is not a huge issue but I do realise that the car rental would be quite pricey.
The main issue we have is the car rental, were pretty aware of what routes we can take and other options in terms of where to go and how to get there, but if we cant get a car then obviously any type of road trip is not gonna happen.
Nov 19, 2012 2:56 PM
Nov 19, 2012 4:19 PM
7When driving the cassiar hwy to the Alaska hwy you won't be anywhere near Liard hot springs
Nov 19, 2012 6:17 PM
8Another variation on the road trip idea would be to rent in Anchorage and do a giant loop in Alaska and the Yukon. Again though, May is a little early but seasonal roads such as the Taylor Highway should be open by then. Spring melt can make a mess of some roads but you shouldn't encounter much of an issue. Gravel highways such as the Dalton or Dempster may be off limits in a rental car but you could still do quite a trip eastward into the Yukon and back again on paved roads. Just a thought.
Nov 19, 2012 6:32 PM
Nov 19, 2012 7:15 PM
Nov 20, 2012 7:53 AM
11You will almost certainly not be able to find a one-way car hire between the lower 48 and Alaska, and IMO May is too early, anyway. And with just 10 days you couldn't possibly do a return trip, even if you found a car rental company that would let you take the vehicle up and back.
My recommendation would be to take the Alaska ferry from Bellingham to Juneau, through the Inside Passage, then fly from Juneau to Anchorage. Rent a vehicle for a tour of Southcentral/interior Alaska or wherever the weather and conditions/time allow. Again, in May your options will be limited with respect to, e.g. Denali. Then fly back to the Lower 48.
Nov 21, 2012 8:45 PM
Dec 14, 2012 9:27 AM
13what you could do, to make it cheaper, is use a ride share. There are loads of people crossing this road back and forth, looking for companions and extra drivers . Go to craiglist.com-->Alaska-->rideshare. Good Luck and enjoy!! :)
Dec 14, 2012 6:08 PM
14I endorse #3: "ps ...be sure to stop at the Liard Hot Springs near the BC - Yukon border - most refreshing!" It is a provinical park, I think without charge. There is a lodge across the highway. Splendid stop for a day or so.
Since they rent campers at Whitehorse they probably rent other vehicle as well.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$205.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$269.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$259.00 per night