About Our Highways

About Our Highways

 

© Alaska Division of Tourism

The only access to Alaska's highways from the lower 48 states is the famous Alaska Highway, (sometimes called the "Alcan"). Running 1,520 miles through Canada and Alaska, this highway connects Milepost 0 at Dawson Creek (British Columbia) with Delta Junction in Alaska. The road links with the other highways in Alaska to reach all major population centers, (if one includes the Marine Highway). Alaska's roads are an excellent way to view scenery and wildlife and to access much of the state. However, drivers should drive defensively by watching for frost heaves, driving with headlights on, and taking their time. Make sure your vehicle and tires are in good condition before starting out. Consider clear plastic headlight covers and/or a wire-mesh screen across the front of your vehicle to protect it from flying rocks. You'll find well-stocked auto shops in the North, but you may wish to carry equipment for emergency repairs and at least one spare tire. In winter, warm extra clothing is a must.

Road Conditions: The Alaska Highway is a two-lane, paved road that winds and rolls across the wilderness. Although virtually the entire highway is asphalt paved, motorists may encounter rugged stretches with chuckholes, loose gravel and unexpected bumps otherwise known as frost heaves. These are caused by the alternate freezing and thawing of the ground, creating a rippling effect in the pavement. Online Road Condition report. Services Available: Gas, food and lodging are found along the Alaska Highway on an average 20-50 miles apart. The longest stretch without services is about 100 miles. Not all businesses are open year-round, nor are most services available 24 hours a day. Public and private campgrounds are located along the Alaska Highway.

Driving Precautions: As always, drive defensively. Watch for frost heaves, drive with headlights on and take your time.

Make sure your vehicle and tires are in good condition before starting out. Consider clear plastic headlight covers and/or a wire-mesh screen across the front of your vehicle to protect it from flying rocks.

You'll find well-stocked auto shops in the North, but you may wish to carry equipment for emergency repairs and at least one spare tire. In winter, warm extra clothing is a must.

FOR WEATHER AND UPDATED ROAD CONDITIONS,
TRAVELERS CAN CALL
(800) 478-7675 FOR A RECORDED MESSAGE

There are many different highways to travel, each affording a uniquely rewarding venture. Alaska currently has 14,336 miles of public roads, including those in national parks and forests. The following descriptions are but a few of your driving options.

ALASKA HIGHWAY This highway stretches from Mile 0 at Dawson Creek, B.C., through the Yukon Territory to Delta Junction, Alaska, a distance of approximately 1,500 miles. At Delta Junction, the Alaska Highway joins the Richardson Highway to continue on to Fairbanks and other Interior locations. This highway is no longer considered a wilderness road, but a road through a wilderness. The highway is, for the most part, asphalt-surfaced with ongoing improvements.

DALTON HIGHWAY This is the road to the top of world. This 414-mile gravel road parallels the northernmost portion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. At about mile 116, you'll cross the Arctic Circle. Amenities are limited, but expansive vistas, blooming tundra and abundant wildlife combine to make this a spectacular journey. Public access is not allowed through the oil fields to the Arctic Ocean.

DENALI HIGHWAY This 135-mile long highway connects Paxon on the Richardson Highway with milepost 210 of the George Parks Highway. There numerous informal campsites on the road, many trails and a great many archaeological sites in the Tangle Lakes area.

EDGERTON HIGHWAY From the Richardson Highway, you can Join the Edgerton Highway for a beautiful 35-mile drive through Chitina to the start of the McCarthy Road which leads to the Kennicott River.

ELLIOT HIGHWAY This highway leaves the Steese Highway 11 miles north of Fairbanks and travels 152 miles to Manley Hot Springs. The first 28 miles are paved, the rest is improved gravel roadbed.

GEORGE PARKS HIGHWAY This highway connects Fairbanks and Anchorage and is named after a territorial governor of Alaska. The highway is 358 miles long and runs through some the grandest and most rugged land in Alaska. This highway provides direct access to Denali National Park and Preserve which contains Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.

GLENN HIGHWAY/TOK CUTOFF This is the principle route from the Alaska Highway west to Anchorage and the rest of Southcentral Alaska. This route is 328 miles and crosses Tahneta Pass into Palmer and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, home of the Alaska State Fair.

HAINES HIGHWAY (Haines, Alaska to Haines Junction, Yukon Territory and there joins the Alaska Highway). This highway is 151 miles long, open year round, paved, and follows the original Dalton Trail into the Klondike Gold Fields. Spectacular scenery, and the famous bald eagle preserve, on this route that also connects with the Alaska Marine Highway System.

KLONDIKE HIGHWAY 2 (Skagway to the Alaska Highway). Slightly less than 100 miles long, it is sometimes called the Skagway/Carcross Road. It joins the Alaska Highway south of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. This road begins again beyond Whitehorse, becoming the Klondike Loop Highway. This highway goes from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon Territory, into Alaska at Boundary where it joins the Taylor Highway.

RICHARDSON HIGHWAY This route south from Fairbanks parallels the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, winding through mountain passes and over rushing rivers, extending 368 miles south to Valdez on Prince William Sound.

NOME ROAD SYSTEM Although it is not possible to dive to Nome from Anchorage, or Fairbanks, there are approximately 300 miles of well traveled and maintained roads to explore once you are there. There are the three main roads each extending about 75 miles into the countryside. Along each of them are remnants of the gold rush, abandoned dredges, fish camps, excellent fishing, hiking, camping and the possibility of seeing wildlife such moose, bear, reindeer, musk oxen or fox.

Visitors are encouraged to rent a vehicle from one of our three rental agencies and spend one to three days discovering the beauty of the last frontier. There are no gas stations, restaurants or main towns on these roads, so be sure to have a full tank of gas, warm clothing, mosquito repellant, and food. If you should need assistance while on the road system, you will find the local residents traveling the road system more than willing to help.

SEWARD AND STERLING HIGHWAYS Between Anchorage, Seward and Homer, this well-traveled route hugs the steep flanks of the Chugach Mountains along Turnagain Arm, passes Portage Glacier, winds through the Kenai Mountains and offers excellent fishing opportunities.

STEESE HIGHWAY From Fairbanks to Circle including Chena Hot Springs Road and Circle Hot Springs Road.

TAYLOR HIGHWAY Tetlin Junction to Eagle (partially on the Klondike Loop), Alaska Route 5 is 161 miles beginning on the Alaska Highway and traveling to the small community of Eagle. This is often called the "Top of the World" drive and is truly spectacular. The highway is narrow and winding, so allow plenty of time.

THE MARINE HIGHWAY You can actually drive the Inside Passage by taking your vehicle aboard a state ferry. Many travelers take a circle trip by driving the Alaska Highway and returning (to either Prince Rupert, British Columbia or Bellingham, Washington) via the Inside Passage -or vice versa. The Marine Highway of the Inside Passage is connected to the Alaska Highway via the Klondike Highway (from Skagway) and the Haines Highway (from Haines).

Another popular drive/cruise trip is driving onto the ferry in either Valdez or Whittier, cruising Prince William Sound (a seven-hour sail) and returning via road (about 350 miles) on the Richardson, Glenn and Seward Highways. In addition to a unique combination of sights on land and sea, travelers must also ride the train to complete the loop. To get between Anchorage and Whittier, and the massive mountains between them, travelers must drive their vehicles onto a flat-bed rail car and take a short trip through two mountain tunnels.

Marine Highway passengers may also cruise the waters of Southcentral and Southwest Alaska, although these routes do not connect directly with the Inside Passage route.

Alaska Facts

State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."

State Motto: "North to the Future"

State Capital: Juneau, located in the Southeast region of Alaska, has a population of 33,277 (2015 Estimate of Population, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development)

Alaska Map:

Map of Alaska

Alaska Flag:

Alaska state flag is dark blue with yellow stars in the shape of the big dipper with the North star

NOTE: The State of Alaska is not responsible for the content/information on any site outside of a State of Alaska department.