ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog Arctic & Northern Books About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth




Alaska Highway South

The Military Road to Alaska
Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Whitehorse, Yukon
1423 km, 884 miles

or Edmonton, Alberta to Whitehorse
2013 km, 1251 miles


Northern Highways - Alaska, Yukon & Northern BC

Communities & Services along the Alaska Highway

Other Alaska Highway Links


    From the city to the wilderness - from West Edmonton Mall to the turquoise waters of Muncho Lake and beyond - the Alaska Highway is famous as one of the world's great travel adventures. With the gravel tote road now a modern paved highway, it's a safe and comfortable adventure.

The Alcan Hiway winds along the Liard River near Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia.     The "Alcan", as it's often known, actually begins at the "Mile 0" signpost in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, but Edmonton is the most common access point to it. Edmonton is also a favourite destination for Yukon residents looking to spend a few days in a large city.

    This route takes you through a wide range of terrain, from the rich agricultural region of northern Alberta and BC's Peace River district, to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains and Cassiar Mountains.

    Rivers and lakes are too numerous to count, many of them showing the brilliant colours that indicate their origin in nearby glaciers. The photo above shows the highway as it nears the Liard River Bridge.

    There are many interesting sights and possible stops along the way, including:

  • the Alaska Highway "Mile 0" monument in Dawson Creek.

  • the Kiskatinaw River Bridge, a curved, 162-meter-long wooden structure, is the last of the original bridges still in use (although as a side road now).

  • several museums offer insights into the lives of the region's First Nations people and pioneers. Of note are those at Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Fort Nelson and Teslin.

  • the limestone slopes at Summit Pass offer superb short walking trails as well as longer hikes.

  • wildlife viewing, with caribou and Rocky Mountain sheep being particularly common in the Stone Mountain and Muncho Lake areas.

  • Liard Hot Springs is widely considered to be one of the finest natural hot springs on the continent, with few man-made additions to the large gravel pools.

  • the Northern Lights Centre at Watson Lake has a domed screen to show summer visitors the beauty that Northerners see in the night skies all winter long.

  • also at Watson Lake is the famous Signpost Forest, where 44,000 signs of various types from around the world have been set up by people traveling up the highway. Add yours to the collection when you visit!

Welcome to Whitehorse, Yukon - a photo of the welcome sign beside the Yukon River     The end of the southern section of the Alaska Highway is the city of Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory. Despite having only about 22,000 residents, this is a vibrant city with lots to see and do. Whatever your particular interests, there are activities to keep you busy.

    As you can see in the photo to the left, Whitehorse sits on the banks of the Yukon River, and several miles of walking paths along the river, including a section running along the basalt cliffs of famous Miles Canyon, are very popular.

    The city serves as the gateway to a vast region for wilderness travelers, and a large number of tour operators are based here, offering everything from one-day hiking trips to flightseeing and whitewater rafting.

    There are several museums and art galleries, and the downtown core has many unique shops with Northern arts and crafts.

    If you have questions about the Alaska Highway or any other routes, check the links page, or post your question on the Yukon Forum at TripAdvisor.