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Driving the Alaska Highway along Muncho Lake, BC
Photo Credit: Northern BC Tourism/Andrew Strain
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Gold Rush Route

Gold Rush Route

Starting Location: Seattle, WA or Vancouver, BC
Ending Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Best For:

  • Travelers departing from the western United States or Canada
  • Traveling the entire length of the Alaska Highway or the more remote Cassiar Highway

Top Sights:

  • Klondike Gold Rush history
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Dease Lake and the “Grand Canyon” of the Stikine along the Cassiar Highway, BC
  • Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon
  • Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon
  • First Nations and Alaska Native cultural experiences
  • Optional add-ons to visit the Yukon’s Dawson City and travel the Top of the World and Taylor Highways
  • Fairbank and Anchorage, Alaska
  • Denali National Park, Alaska, home to the tallest mountain in North America

Old wagon driving down the streets of Barkerville, BC
BARKERVILLE, BC. Photo Credit: Destination BC, Steve Bogle

Driving the Gold Rush Route

This classic route from through Western Canada to Alaska is ideal for road trippers starting in the western United States or Canada. Departing from Seattle, WA or Vancouver, BC, the Gold Rush Route offers two distinct route options to get from Seattle to the Alaska Highway. Both routes head north from Seattle to Prince George, BC. From Prince George you can head to Highway 97 to connect to the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek or take the more remote Cassiar Highway to join the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake.

The Highway 97/Alaska Highway route is 100 miles/160 kilometers longer than the Cassiar Highway but it’s typically the faster route. It is less remote, has more amenities along the way, and allows you to experience the entire Alaska Highway from Mile 0. If you have a little more time and are looking for a more remote, off-the-grid experience, the Cassiar Highway offers less traffic and better wildlife viewing opportunities. In many sections, the Cassiar Highway is a two-lane road and speed limits are slower.

Both options will take you through beautiful scenery in British Columbia before joining up near Watson Lake in the Yukon. From there, you’ll travel along the Alaska Highway through Whitehorse and then on to the border crossing, where your Alaska adventure will officially begin.

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
WHITEHORSE, YUKON. Photo Credit: Government of Yukon, Peter Mather

If you’re keen for more adventure in the Yukon and have additional time in your itinerary, head north from Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway to the famous Dawson City, epicenter of the Klondike Gold Rush. Visit historic sites, take a walking tour of the colorful downtown, and learn about the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation culture. You’ll then continue north on the Top of the World Highway to the northernmost Alaska/Canada road border crossing at Little Gold, and then head south towards Tok in Interior Alaska on the Taylor Highway. Keep in mind that the Taylor Highway is closed in winter and the Top of the World/Taylor Highways have less services and rougher road conditions – so plan accordingly.

Autumn views along the Taylor Highway in Alaska
TAYLOR HIGHWAY, ALASKA. Photo Credit: ATIA, Reinhard Pantke

The driving distance from Seattle to the Yukon/Alaska border crossing is about 1,800 – 2,200 miles/2,900 – 3,500 kilometers, depending on which route you take. From there you’ll head on to the town of Tok and can then continue your journey north towards Fairbanks and on to Denali National Park, and then head south towards Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. In Anchorage, enjoy some urban amenities including a wide variety of restaurants and lodging, world-class museums and Alaska Native cultural opportunities, and shopping, along with outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, and fishing.

Views on the Alaska Highway in Alaska
ALASKA HIGHWAY, ALASKA. Photo Credit: Joris Beugels

Gold Rush Route Highlights

The Klondike Gold Rush has captivated travelers since 1896 when the precious metal was first found in the Yukon's Klondike River. Exploring this area today takes visitors on a wild ride through history—from the major staging point for prospectors’ journeys north in Vancouver, to the tantalizing 1890s boomtown of Dawson City.

This route also winds through First Nation history and culture. Spend the night in an authentic teepee or take a steam in the sweathouse at Xatśūll Heritage Village in BC, and visit the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City, Yukon. Awe-inspiring scenery is everywhere: mirrored lakes, cascading waterfalls, rugged mountains, hot springs, bear viewing areas, and vast vistas are just some of the highlights.

Mountain and Glacier Views in the Yukon
KLUANE NATIONAL PARK, YUKON. Photo Credit: Government of Yukon, Gerhard Pfaff

For urbanites, this drive encounters a diverse group of municipalities: charming small mountain towns, lively metropolitan areas, and alluring foodie havens with riverfront dining. Live music, golf, camping, hiking, guided walks, aerial tram rides, fishing, and photography are just a taste of the adventures that await.

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Gold Rush Route Map

North to Alaska - Gold Rush Route

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