13 Stops to Add to Your Route to Seward, Alaska
13 Stops to Add to Your Route to Seward, Alaska
From British Columbia destinations to must-see places in Alaska and RV overnight options.
By: Jim & Cynthia Spies
There are so many great places to stop on the way to Alaska and within the state that it can be overwhelming to plan your route. We’ve already shared some of our insights for RVers headed to our home state in this article (as well as route options), and now we are excited to share some of the stops along the way to Alaska that we highly recommend.
If you are continuing on to Seward (the location of the Wings and Wheels Alaska Revel owners meet and greet July 8-11), we have also included some suggestions for places to stop along the way – including a few of our go-to overnight options.
Where to Stop in Canada on the Way to Alaska
If you have already started reading The MilePost (a must for anyone traveling to Alaska), you probably already have a long list of possible stops. But, if you need help narrowing down your options, here are a few of our favorites …
A little bit out of your way is Kamloops - a small, beautiful town. Our memories of this town are the poutine and of course the brewery! You will have to backtrack to Highway 1 to swing in here but if your time allows, we recommend it.
2. Hyder & Bear Glacier Provincial Park
Traveling north along the Cassiar you can get your first taste of Alaska by veering off the main highway and traveling west at Meziadin Junction. Here you can travel to Hyder and see Bear Glacier just before reaching town. In the middle of town is a border crossing into Stewart, Alaska.
If you’re looking for a city jaunt before heading into the wilds of Canada and southeast Alaska, stop in Calgary for city-slicking and great Canadian poutine as well as a few breweries.
If you’re looking for maximum sightseeing, you could take a detour west from Calgary through Banff National Park. It would add a day at least but if time is on your side, you can’t go wrong with bonus mountain views. We stayed at the Walmart parking lot in Calgary and ate poutine at one of the local breweries.
4. Banff & Jasper
An absolute must-see national park. The Canadian Rockies are stunning and any trip north along the route through Calgary is a must visit. Lake Louise is along this route as well. The route is a straight shot north, so you do not have to go out of your way at all. You must use campgrounds in these parks or boondock outside of the park borders.
Our favorite boondocking spot in this area was at Waitabit creek. (51.50071, -117.18398.) This is a forest service campground a little out of the way (west of Lake Louise) but well worth the drive to get there. Boondocking opportunities were limited in the Banff and Jasper area so plan accordingly.
You’ll want to spend a couple days visiting Banff and Lake Louise and then head back and visit Jasper and the Icefields.
5. Muncho Lake Provincial Park
Muncho Lake will give you an opportunity to see beautiful mountain views, wonderful fishing opportunities, and wildlife galore if you are lucky. We generally see mountain goats and sheep in this area of the drive. There are places within this area available for paid camping and random boondocking areas (sometimes just pull-offs on the side of the road).
We found beautiful views down forest service roads, just south of paid campgrounds.
As the Capital of the Yukon, Whitehorse has many things to see including the Yukon River and many museums. We restock on supplies in Whitehorse and take the time to rest here. The last time we passed through we stayed overnight in the Visitors Center parking lot.
This is another decision point in your trip. Go west to Kluane and follow the Alcan or North to Dawson City. From Dawson City you take the Top of The World Highway across the border and through Chicken, Alaska.
The road from Dawson City to Chicken is dirt but turns to pavement after Chicken. There is an offshoot here to Eagle Alaska with a rich history along the banks of the Yukon River.
7. Liard Hot Springs
Keep your eye out for a large bison herd along the highway before and after Liard Hot Springs. This is an absolute must stop to rest your weary bones and if you’re a sucker for hot springs, this stop is not to be missed. These steamy springs bubble up along the Liard River near the British Columbia-Yukon border. The springs are easily accessible by a short walk along the boardwalk. Be sure to have swimming gear and towels on hand.
Stay at the Liard River Hot Springs campground for an easy night off the road (cash only US$30). You’ll pass nearby Liard Hot Springs while on the Alcan or you can backtrack a little bit east on the Alcan if you come up the Cassiar, so put this at the top of your list.
Take cash since they don’t accept cards at the campground, and we didn’t find any boondocking in the area. We traded a random travelers crackers and sausage to get cash for entry. Trust us, it’s worth it to consider spending two whole days here.
8. Kluane Lake
This area is by far our favorite stop to and from Alaska. This is where the Northern Lights welcomed us to the North in late August. There are many pull-offs around Kluane that make excellent boondocking opportunities.
Recommended Stops Along the Way to Seward, Alaska
Once in Alaska, when going from Tok to Seward there are multiple places we recommend. Here are some of our favorites for sightseeing and food:
1. The Hub of Alaska
Glenallen Gas Station is known as “The HUB of Alaska.” Here you will find clean bathrooms and great gifts in the gift shop. This is where you will also find the famous “Tok Thai” you have seen in many of our videos. We consider this little kiosk to be the best Thai in Alaska.
2. Sheep Mountain Lodge
Sheep Mountain Lodge is at mile 113.5 of the Glenn Highway. Fabulous views and a great place to stop for lunch with a helicopter ride from the lodge owner, Mark. Their apple pie is also world famous.
3. Matanuska Glacier Park in Sutton, Alaska
Drive back to the beautiful, Matanuska Glacier for a guided glacier hike. You can go as an individual or with a group. This is a MUST STOP on our list for new visitors to Alaska. Don’t forget to cover your face in that glacial mud and send us a picture!
4. Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a typical metropolitan city with a population of over 300,000. Overnight stays in the city are safe and comfortable at Cabellas. However, we don’t recommend overnight stays at Walmart parking lots in Anchorage.
We recommend allowing for a day or two in Anchorage to rest and restock supplies as this is where you will find the cheapest amenities. IOVERLANDER provides great locations to fill up on water in Anchorage.
5. Turnagain Arm Drive to Seward Alaska
Turnagain Arm is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska. It’s also one of the most dangerous roads in Alaska. This section of the highway is a common commuter route for Alaskans mixed with out-of-state visitors and turns into a deadly combination in the summer.
Take your time, enjoy the scenery, and utilize those slow-moving-vehicle turnouts if you get caught up in the views and find the cars piling up behind you.
Our final meeting destination for the Wings and Wheels Alaska Meet and Greet this July is a breathtaking off-grid location in Seward with unbelievable views. There are zero amenities in this area and it is 100% off-grid camping. Remember, we will expect you to come “Bear Aware” and haul your own trash and waste to a local area we will recommend. And if you can’t make it this time, our goal is to make this an annual event.
Have you already made the journey to Alaska? We’d love to read your recommendations for must-visit places or other suggestions in the comments!