When we spent the night at Liard Hot Springs, we camped next to a biker who had already rode across much of Alaska and was on his way south back to his home in Canada. We talked to him about our planned routes, and he made a recommendation.
He had just driven over the “Top of the World Highway”, which runs between Chicken, Alaska and Dawson City, Yukon Territory. He said this highway was amazing, and would prevent us from driving some stretches of the Alcan twice (we were planning on driving back through some areas to get to the inside passage).
Erica and I decided to give it a shot. It was fun to veer off our planned route like this. It really struck me that we really didn’t have an itinerary. We could go and see anything we wanted to; time wasn’t a concern. It’s been a struggle to adapt to this mentality, but we’re slowly getting there.
When we arrived at Whitehorse, Yukon, instead of following the Alcan, we headed north on the Klondike Highway to Dawson City.
Dawson City was great, and we were glad we had taken this detour. We signed up for a $6 walking tour of the city, lead by an older woman who had lived in Dawson City since she was 18 (and she was wearing authentic gold rush garb).
We learned that Dawson City boomed during the gold rush, because it was the furthest a paddle wheel boat could go on the Yukon River. There are still lots of individuals hunting gold in the area around Dawson City (check out Gold Rush: Alaska — a lot of this takes place in the Yukon).
The next day, we hit the road, ready to tackle the Top of the World Highway. We caught a ferry across the Yukon River, and were on our way. This highway is beautiful. We took dozens of photos, but none of them do the highway any justice. Suffice to say, we were happy we had chosen this route, and highly recommend it. We made a time lapse GoPro video of the highway that we’ll post in the near future, it will give you a good sense of the road.
We made lunch in Chicken, Alaska, only realizing later that we had just missed Adventures in Skyhorse by a matter of hours (we eventually caught up with them in Fairbanks). From Chicken, we drove back and eventually reconnected with the Alcan in Tok, Alaska.
For anyone considering itineraries through Alaska and Canada, we highly recommend driving the Top of the World Highway. While we love the Milepost and have found it to be a great help in planning our trip, the one thing we wish it had was more editorial content or ratings.