Driving The Alaska Highway
Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson
The Alaska Highway was the engineering marvel of World War II and was once described as the largest and most difficult construction project since the Panama Canal. Whether this is your first time driving to Alaska or you're a seasoned traveller of the Alaska highway, we hope the following information will be an asset. Stretching 2,224 Km/1382 miles (Originally 1422 miles) from Dawson Creek, British
Columbia to Delta Junction Alaska. The Alcan Highway is mostly paved in Canada and all paved in Alaska.
The highway surface is paved or chip sealed (which is more common), however, there are still rough patches and construction to watch for. Most problem areas are marked by signs, but not all so stay alert. You may encounter long sections of new chip seal which can be very dusty so drive with your headlights on at all times. Finally, pay close attention to all highway signs as they will alert you to changing road conditions.
The original highway was marked with mileposts in 1947 and many of the towns and highway lodges along the way became known by their milepost number. Even today, many lodges use Historical Mileposts (HM) to refer to their location.
The Canadian portion of The Highway is now marked with kilometre posts and due to highway reconstruction and re-routing over the years, the road is now 64 km (40 miles) shorter than the original Alaska Highway. Alaska, however, has not changed the original mileposts, so there is a mileage discrepancy of 40 miles when you cross the border.
From Dawson Creek, the Alaska Highway extends almost 970 km/595 miles to Lower Post
where it enters the Yukon. The highway winds through the Yukon for about 892 km/550 miles and crosses into Alaska at mile 1182/km 1903. Continuing on to Delta Junction at mile 1422/km 2224, the Alaska Highway joins the Richardson Highway for the remaining 98 miles/158 km to Fairbanks AK.
Alaska Highway History
It was truly a wilderness trail with gravel roads, steep grades, muskeg and log bridges to navigate. The difficult and exhausting work inspired one poet to write:
‘The Alaska Highway, winding in and winding out, fills my mind with serious doubt, as to whether ‘the lout’ who built this route, was going to hell or coming out!’
It also took unprecedented cooperation between the Canadian and United States governments to make construction possible.
In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt lobbied Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King for a highway connecting Canada and Alaska. The highway could be used to shore up military defenses on the west coast in case of a Japanese attack. It wasn’t until the attack on Pearl Harbor that both Nations agreed on the importance of such a road and quickly put the wheels in motion.
The United States Army approved a plan for the construction of the Alaska Highway on February 6, 1942 and received authorization from the U.S. Congress and President Roosevelt only five days later. Canada agreed to the construction if the United States would bear the full cost and that the road and all facilities in Canada were to be turned over to Canadian authority at the end of the war. Less than a month later, on March 8, 1942 construction began.
More than 11,000 soldiers and engineers, 16,000 civilians and 7000 pieces of equipment were called upon to build this 1500 mile road through the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska. In less than nine months these hardy men managed to connect Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Delta Junction, Alaska. And, on November 20, 1942, the official ribbon cutting took place at mile 1061, known as “Soldiers Summit.”
The successful completion of the Highway in such a short time was accomplished by having teams start in both Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson and work their way north. Meanwhile, two other teams started in Whitehorse and worked in opposite directions; one southeast towards Dawson Creek and one northwest towards Alaska. The fifth and final team pushed the road through from Delta Junction to the Canadian Border.
The final tally for the Alaska Highway was approximately $140 million U.S. dollars, making it the most expensive construction project of World War II.
0-Dawson Creek. Elevation 2,185 ft. Junction of Alaska Highway and Highway 97 (Hart Highway) to Prince George.
km2.4 Mile 0 RV Park, Walter Wright Pioneer Village.
km 3.2 Dawson Creek Public Golf Course.
km 5.3 Parking.
Interview With Tim Bell on Alaska Highway FAQ
Alaska's Best Tours
Discover the best activities and things to do in Alaska and the Yukon. View the cities below for "Must Do" activities.
km 14 Farmington Fairways and Campground 250-843-7774, 9-hole par 36 golf course, driving range, licensed clubhouse, rentals. Campground pull throughs with hook-ups, firepits, tables, pit toilets and sani station.
km 16 Parking on left northbound.
km 16.5 Parking on right northbound.
km 23.6 Farmington Store
km 28 Kiskatinaw Provincial Park,
5 km. 28 camp sites, water, firewood, tables and fishing. Fee area.10 km/6.2 mile loop road on old Alaska Highway rejoins the highway at km 34/mile 21.
Scenic View along the Highway
km 29.3 Parking on right northbound
km 33 Kiskatinaw River Bridge. Rest Area on right northbound, picnic tables and toilets.
km 48 Brake check
and parking on both sides of highway at top of hill overlooking the Peace River.
km 49.8(HM 33) Parking with view of Peace River Valley.
km 55 Peace Island Provincial Park. Picnic tables and boat launch.
km 55.5 Peace River Bridge. 712 meters
km 57 (HM 36) Taylor
Population 1200. Gas, groceries, accommodations,
post office, restaurants. Nestled on the banks of the majestic Peace River, Taylor offers a wide variety of recreation and amenities. A $40 million natural gas scrubbing plant & oil refinery are here at the beginning of a 700-mile natural gas pipeline which supplies Vancouver & western Washington.
Things to Do in Taylor
|The Lone Wolf Golf Courseis an 18-hole championship course about 15 minutes south of Fort St. John. There is a driving range and a restaurant. Enjoy breakfast or drinks on their beautiful patio. 250-789-3711
km 65 Fort St. John Airport.
km 73.2 Free dump station on right northbound.
km 75.6 (HM 48) Fort St. John is the largest centre in the Peace River North region, and a transportation hub for the Peace. Oil and gas, forestry and agriculture are also important to the local economy.
km 79.5-Beatton Provincial Park, 8 km side road. 37 camp sites.
km 82-Charlie Lake, gas, accommodations.
km 86.5-Junction with Highway 29. All-paved route to Chetwynd, and the town
of Hudson's Hope. You can also access the The 600-ft. high dam across the Peace River valley which created the 640-square mile Williston Lake, the largest lake in BC.
Km 86.5 -Charlie Lake Provincial Park. Turn east on the paved loop road. 58 Sites, picnic tables, kitchen shelters, outhouses and RV dump station. Water and parbage containers. Camping fees.
km 96-Parking area.
km 116 (HM 72)-The Shepherd's Inn,
A most warm welcome awaits you. Offering a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Low-fat buffalo burgers, Russian borsch soup, cinnamon rolls, muffins, delicious desserts, cheesecake, ice cream and pies. 24-hour motel. High speed Internet, gas, diesel and propane. An oasis on the Alcan at Mile 72 / km 115. 250-827-3676
km 127-Rest Area, tables, toilets and playground.
km 162 (HM 101)-Wonowon. This small highway settlement is the gateway to a vast wilderness of mountains, rivers
and lakes accessed by the Alaska Highway. Formerly known as "Blueberry," Wonowon was the site of a traffic control gate during World War II.
km 183-Parking, litter barrel.
km 200-Parking at top of hill.
|km 226 (HM 143) Buffalo Inn has clean, modern motel units, an RV park with hookups & laundromat. The restaurant features home cooking with a great menu. This is the only Pub between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson. 250-772-3234
|km 231.9 (HM 147) Sasquatch Crossing Lodge Open year round. Cabins, gifts and souvenirs. The restaurant features daily specials with home-cooking. A favorite stopping place for seasoned Alaska Highway travelers. 250-772-3220.
km 232.9 (HM 148)- Beatton River.
km 233.4-Parking, point of interest sign on Suicide Hill.
km 250.5-Large parking area.
km256.2 (HM 162)-Sikanni Chief River Bridge. Spring fishing for grayling. Fall fishing for pike.
km 256.5-Sikanni River RV Park, full or partial hook-ups, clean restrooms.
km 278.4 (HM 175)-Buckinghorse River, Provincial Park. Fee area, 33 camp sites, tables, toilets, drinking water. Swimming and fishing in river.
|km 279 (HM 175) Buckinghorse River Lodge Free RV parking (no hookups). There is a full service restaurant with home-style cooking and friendly service. Wi-fi & satellite TV. Gas, diesel & propane The Historical Buckinghorse River Lodge is found on the left northbound and this is the recommended stop. 250-772-4999
km 282-Parking, litter barrel.
km 283-Redfern-Keily trailhead.
km 293-Large parking area, litter barrel..
km 320-Parking , litter barrels.
km 357-Bougie Creek, parking.
km 365 (HM 233)- Prophet River.
km 365.5-Adsett Creek, parking..
km 374.5-Parking, litter barrel.
km 420-Large parking area, litter barrel..
km 426-Jackfish Creek.
km 427-Andy Bailey Provincial Park,
access by 12 km gravel road. Day-use area, 5 campsites, (not recommended for large vehicles) water, picnic tables, toilets, beach, swimming and boat launch. No turnaround area.
km 435-Natural Gas processing plant.
km 451-Muskwa River Bridge. Lowest point on highway 1,000 ft. Muskwa is Indian for "bear", and the area has many.
km 455-Fort Nelson. Population 5,900.
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