The Alaskan Highway

Published: July 1st 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

We arrived in Haines on the Ferry from Juneau and headed up the Haines Highway to Haines Junction where the Alaskan Highway (Alcan) begins. We had been warned that the road was not very good through most of the Yukon. Don says: "This was the worst road on the earth." We had to drive 30 mph and often much slower. There were stretches where the highway is narrow and curvy, where it lacks center lines and ample shoulders. And then there were GIANT POTHOLES. We had to constantly watch out for sudden loose-gravel breaks where the pavement has failed or is under repair. Sometimes the gravel gaps are marked with little, orange flags; sometimes they aren’t. And that asphalt paving can ripple like a roller coaster track in places where “frost heaves” are caused by seasonal freezing and thawing of the ground. Maintainence crews evidently do their best to patch the annual outbreak of frost heaves, but it’s a never-ending, high-cost job. Long dry spells can make the gravel portions of the road dusty, and it was extremely dry, so we had washboard and roughness problems. The best part was the fact that there were very few people on the road.
Dezadeash LakeDezadeash LakeDezadeash Lake

Yukon governemtn campsite. Absolutely beautiful.
Plus the scenery is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

The highway was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous U.S. to Alaska through Canada. The road brought war equipment, which was given to the Russians to help fight the Germans. It also helped to set up small US air bases throughout Alaska. These air bases were critical in fighting the Japanese when they unsuccessfully invaded the Aleutian Islands. The Japanese had no idea that the Alcan had been completed in 1942.

There were really GREAT camping areas in the Yukon. The campsites were large with free firewood, a picnic table and a firepit. Most of them cost C$12, but many were free. Our sites always seemed to be by a good fishing lake.

Additional photos below
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Alcan HighwayAlcan Highway
Alcan Highway

Typical Scenery along the Alcan.

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