Alaska Highway via West Access Route – 2,701 miles

The classic itinerary for Alaska-bound travelers on the West Access route is to drive the Alaska Highway one-way, and take the Alaska Marine Highway the other way via the Inside Passage from Haines, AK, to Bellingham, WA. The ferry portion of the itinerary requires reservations.

Travelers should work backward from their ferry departure date when estimating travel time for the driving portion of the trip.

West Access Route

Seattle to Prince George

To access the Alaska Highway via the West Access Route, depart Seattle on Interstate 5. Cross the international border at Blaine (instead of Sumas), and follow Highway 99 through Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay and the start of the Sea to Sky Highway. This stunning highway, a former logging road, is a slight twist in the traditional West Access approach to the Alaska Highway. And it is, indeed, a twisting road, but Highway 99 also offers an exciting route into British Columbia’s Cariboo country. North of Cache Creek on Highway 97 turn off to Wells and Barkerville for part of the Gold Rush Circle Route side trip.

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre is must stop for visitors. W.A.C. Bennett Dam
is one of the world’s largest earth-fill structures. (©Judy Nadon, staff)

Prince George to Dawson Creek

Leave Prince George via the Hart Highway to Dawson Creek. Stop in Chetwynd for a root-beer float and a look at some amazing chainsaw sculptures. Take a Tumbler Ridge side trip to see Kinuseo Falls or drive the Hudson’s Hope Loop and tour the huge W.A.C. Bennett Dam.

Liard River Hotsprings, open year-round, is a major attraction on the Alaska Highway.
(©Andrew Strain/Destination BC)

Alaska Highway

Dawson Creek to Whitehorse

Heading north up the Alaska Highway, allow enough time to stop and enjoy wildlife viewing, scenic lakes and historic lodges along the way. Stop for a soak at Liard River Hotsprings. At Watson Lake, first stop in Yukon, photograph the famous Sign Post Forest. From Watson Lake it is just 164 miles to Teslin, home of the George Johnston Museum and the Tlingit Heritage Center.

The Whitehorse horse statue on Two Mile Hill. (©Government of Yukon)

Next stop is Whitehorse, capital of Yukon and home to many of Yukon’s best known attractions, including the SS Klondike, Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center and the Yukon Transportation Museum. Side trips include scenic Atlin on Atlin Road and/or Emerald Lake and Carcross on the South Klondike Highway. Ride the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway roundtrip between Carcross and Skagway

Haines Junction is located at the junction of the Alaska and Haines highways. The town offers exceptional outdoor experiences in addition to essential visitor services. (©Serine Reeves, staff)

Whitehorse to Fairbanks

Continuing north from Whitehorse, you will visit Haines Junction, the Kluane Lake area and Beaver Creek just before the border of Alaska at Port Alcan. Your first stop in Alaska will probably be Tok, which has all services and 2 visitor information centers. Delta Junction also has all services and is the official end of the historic Alaska Highway. Stop at the Big Delta State Historical Park just beyond Delta Junction and before driving on to Fairbanks. 

The Fairbanks visitor center is located inside the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, known for its
colorful flower displays in summer. (©Kris Valencia, staff)

Fairbanks has many attractions: Allow time for side trips to gold mines, Chena Hot Springs, the trans-Alaska pipeline, as well as visits to the Large Animal Research Station, Museum of the North and Pioneer Park. 

Visitors view Denali
On a clear day, Denali Viewpoint South at Milepost A 134.8 Parks Highway is an ideal place to view Denali.
(©Serine Reeves, staff)

Parks Highway

Plan on at least 2 days (or more) to drive the Parks Highway from Fairbanks south to Anchorage. There’s quite a bit to see and do on this highway, from horseback riding to touring sled dog kennels. Denali National Park is a must stop, as is the short side trip to Talkeetna. Anchorage side trips include Prince William Sound and the Kenai Peninsula.

Whittier harbor is the perfect jumping-off point to see the beauty of Prince William Sound
via tour cruise, kayak or ferry. (©Serine Reeves, staff)

South through the Inside Passage – 771 miles

Alaska and Haines highways

From Anchorage, take the Glenn Highway Scenic Byway, with views of Matanuska Glacier, to the Tok Cutoff to Tok. From Tok, go southeast on the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction, YT, then south on the Haines Highway to Haines, AK, where you catch the Alaska state ferry south to Bellingham, WA. If time allows, include stopovers at Southeast ports along the Inside Passage/Alaska Marine Highway portion of your trip.

Matanuska Glacier on a summer day
Matanuska Glacier SRS at Milepost A 101 offers photo ops of the glacier from a distance. Stop at Glacier Park, Milepost A 102.1, for up-close views. Photo by Kris Valencia.

Inbound mileage

2,701 miles

Seattle to Dawson Creek: 853 miles

Dawson Creek to Fairbanks: 1,486 miles

Fairbanks to Anchorage: 362 miles

Outbound mileage

771 miles. Ferry travel is 68 hours (about 3 days).

Anchorage to Tok: 328 miles

Tok to Haines: 443 miles


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