Follow the Road to Adventure on the Alaska Highway
The Alaska Highway crosses through some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery full of easily accessible adventures. Whether it’s sightseeing in the pristine Banff and Denali National Parks or hiking in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Kluane, Wrangell-St. Elias, Glacier Bay, and Tatshenshini-Alsek National Parks, there is something for all ages and experience levels along the highway.
Grab a gold pan, cast a fishing line, soak in a hot spring, or follow a trail to adventure. Choose an Alaska Highway driving route (the Inside Passage, Rockies, or Gold Rush routes) through western Canada and Alaska to experience a multitude of activities along your road trip. Explore some of our top picks for adventures along the Alaska Highway.
Beginning your journey on the Inside Passage Route or as a side trip from the Gold Rush Route, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of British Columbia has a landscape to meet everyone’s preference and plenty of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, swimming, camping, and photography. Travelers will enjoy the uncrowded provincial parks that are easily accessible. For those traveling on the Inside Passage route on the east coast of Vancouver Island, you’ll find spectacular sandy beaches and calm waters for swimming. Look for Parksville Qualicum Beach. You can also take a walk in the Heritage Forest of Qualicum Beach to explore 50 acres of rare remnant old growth forest.
The vast Yukon region has plenty to offer, from the hiking trails of Kluane National Park to enjoying the abundant pristine lakes and rivers that fill the Yukon. Whether you’re headed toward the park on the Rockies Route or Inside Passage Route, Kluane National Park offers alpine and subalpine landscape terrain for hikers of all levels. Home to giant glaciers, wild rivers, and a plethora of wildlife, the hardest part will be choosing which trail to hike. Three relatively easy hikes include Spruce Beetle Trail, Soldier’s Summit, and the Dezadeash River Trail.
If you’re headed north on the Gold Rush Route and have an eye for trying something new, make time to try gold panning in the communities of Dawson City or Beaver Creek. This is a great way to experience the Yukon’s gold rush history.
As you begin your trip through the Canadian Rockies, some of the world’s most stunning national parks are at your feet. Alberta is home to the iconic Banff National Park, where you can take a sightseeing gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain in eight minutes and is just a short drive from the town of Banff. The panoramic mountain view will leave you in awe.
A short drive away from Banff, Jasper National Park comprises a vast area with glaciers, lakes, and peaks like Mount Edith Cavell. As you’re driving through the second national park, be sure to stop at the Columbia Ice Fields, a jaw-dropping glacier formed about 240,000 years ago. The best way to experience Athabasca Glacier is to traverse the icy terrain by the Ice Explorer, a giant vehicle that can take you to the best spot to explore and walk along the glacier.
Along the Rockies Route, there is a lot to do and see, but two places stand out for their sheer beauty and thrill. If you’re ready to go trekking on a glacier, the Matanuska Glacier is Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier. Get an up close and personal view on a guided walk or experience the scale of the glacier on a helicopter tour.
Heading further south, the final destination is Homer. A bustling fishing town in the summer months surrounded by ocean, volcanoes, and high peaks, Homer is a place you’ll want to visit for more than a few hours. Known as the “Halibut Capital of the World,” it is an excellent place to spend a day fishing out on Kachemak Bay.