Visiting Alaska is on almost every RVer’s bucket list. And it’s not just the destination but the adventures that await along the journey while traveling through vast landscapes. With the enormous mileage and sometimes rough terrain, can you drive an RV to Alaska? And should you? Let’s dig deeper and find out.
Can You Drive Your RV to Alaska?
Let’s break down what RVers worry about most when considering a trip to Alaska and the important things you need to know before you travel to Alaska in an RV.
When You Can Drive
For the most part, vehicles can drive to Alaska at any time. COVID closed the Canadian border to travelers from the U.S. at times. Americans could travel across Canadian provinces if they showed proof that they were heading directly to Alaska, stopping only at reserved hotels.
Where You Can Drive
Under normal circumstances, travelers can drive anywhere there are legal roadways. However, you’ll first need to get through a border station. Check with the Canadian Border Services Agency for hours of operation so you know you can pass through smoothly. You’ll need a valid passport both upon entering Canada and Alaska.
What Types of Vehicles
All legal, road-worthy vehicles can drive to Alaska. Motorcycles, cars, trucks, and motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers can make the trip if they’re in good working order.
However, one thing to remember is that some driving laws are different in Canada. For instance, turning right on a red light is not legal in many Canadian provinces. Following posted speed limits will take some getting used to if you’re not familiar with kilometer measurements. Speed limits along the Canadian section of the Alaskan Highway are a bit slower than in the U.S. (usually between 50 and 60 mph).
Also, be prepared to purchase fuel by the liter rather than the gallon. Make sure your credit card won’t hit you with foreign exchange fees as well. And stop for fuel whenever you have the chance, as services can be far apart, especially in British Columbia and the Yukon.
Can RVs Drive on the Alcan Highway?
The Alaska Highway (Alcan) starts in Dawson Creek, B.C., and travels 1,387 miles to Delta Junction, Alaska. All roads leading to Dawson Creek and beyond are safe for RVs. Still, make sure your RV is in good repair. The Alaskan Highway is almost completely paved, but it travels through uninterrupted wilderness. A breakdown along this stretch could mean hours waiting for help.
Because much of the land in British Columbia and the Yukon Territories is uninhabited, cell service is very limited. Travel with spare parts, tools, and someone who knows how to use them, if possible.
What Are the Dangers of Driving Your RV to Alaska?
Driving the Alaska Highway presents the adventure of a lifetime for many. But keep in mind the potential hazards when wondering, “Can you drive an RV to Alaska?”
Some sections of roadway along the Alcan are narrow with grades of up to 10%. Knowing where they are and how your rig will handle them could make the difference between a smooth trip and a stall.
You may want a trip planner such as “The Milepost” to help you plot your journey. This travel guide is part-map, part-AAA guide, and part-highway department press release. It breaks down your journey milepost by milepost and can prepare you to find open businesses, encounter rough roads and steep grades, and handle adverse conditions.
Distance Between Gas Stations
Take advantage of every fuel station you come across. You should find gas every 150 miles or so, but there are several exceptions. Take a look at Google Maps and note the distance between various towns. “The Milepost” will also help you find fuel. It lists off-season hours and closings for many businesses along your route.
They finished paving the last section of the original gravel highway by 1992, but you’ll still find short distances that are gravel. This is because of constant road work and repaving, as well as winter conditions. Frost can cause swales that require repair. This is particularly frustrating for longer vehicles like RVs, so be prepared to slow down and take it easy.
What Are the Other Ways to Get Your RV to Alaska?
If you don’t relish the thought of a 2,000-mile drive in your RV, there are many other ways to enjoy Alaska in your RV. Perhaps it’s not as much a question of “can you drive an RV to Alaska” but rather “is it worth it to drive an RV to Alaska?”
Ship Your RV
If driving for seven or eight days straight doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you may opt for a more hands-off approach. Tote Maritime can ship your RV to Anchorage on a cargo ship. But you won’t be allowed to accompany your rig. Check regulations and restrictions before signing up for this service. The ship departs from Tacoma, Wash., twice a week. You can fly out of Tacoma and meet your RV in Anchorage in three days.
Put It on a Ferry
You can reserve space for your RV on the Alaska Ferry. The ferry runs from Bellingham, Wash., to several towns along the coast. You can travel with your RV, but you can’t sleep in it, so you’ll need to rent a cabin. Your fees will also include charges for the number of people in your party and any extra equipment you might bring, like bicycles, kayaks, etc.
Rent an RV in Alaska
You may opt to leave your rig at home entirely and rent an RV when you arrive in Alaska. You should be able to find just about any type of RV you like through local companies. Most rentals include dishes and linens. You can find rentals in and about Anchorage.
Is Driving Your RV to Alaska Worth It?
Only you can decide if you can drive an RV to Alaska. If your RV is in good shape, it might be ready for a long journey. Also, consider the demands of the road. Then plan enough time to enjoy the trip, rather than speeding straight to your destination. There’s a lot to see along the way. In a normal year, Canada is very welcoming to RVers, and you should find plenty of campgrounds.
Many RVers long to take on Alaska. The wilderness appeals to adventurous spirits. But the journey there can be quite the adventure as well. So, can you drive an RV to Alaska? That’s up to you and your RV. Should you? Let us know what you think.
Jann Todd says
We were very apprehensive to drive to Alaska alone. We decided to do it and it was awesome. The border crossings are fine as long as you show respect, obey what they say, don’t joke or chit chat and answer honestly. Have your passport ready when you get to the crossing window. If you take a pet have a medical report ready for them. No camping in pull offs but there are a lot of campgrounds. We loved it so much the first time we went again and are planning to go again in the future. Most important is get a current not a year old Milepost book. It is worth the money.