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Old 02-18-2018, 09:18 PM   #1
Bruce0850
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Draper UT to Alaska

We are planning a trip from Draper UT to Alaska this summer. Looking for advice from you guys that have already made this trip. How far do you normally travel in a day? Make campground reservations in advance? Best route to go? Any recommendations for particular parks, or can't miss things to see. Any problems getting diesel with a 40 FT 5th wheel behind the truck? Looking to leave about May 15th from Draper, and leave Alaska about Sept. 1st.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:59 PM   #2
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Bruce,

Take your time, about 200-250 miles a day. Stop by Jasper and or Banff on the way up. Don't miss Laird Hot Springs. Biggest mall in North America in Edmonton - I know it may not be on your list but it makes Mall of America look like a strip shopping center. Was able to find RV parking there without a problem. Make sure you have a copy of the most recent Milepost - read it before you go to help you plan. No need for reservations except maybe Jasper, Banff or Denali. Don't expect full hookups all the time, you will likely boondocks part of the time so make sure you have a genny. Spend time in Kenei, Valdez and Wrangell Elias national park (may want to leave your rig 40 miles out and drive in for a hotel due to the road - this is the biggest and most remote NP in US). Stop in Hyder AK on the way home for brown bears - this list could go on and on. Hyder requires coming home via the Cassiar highway - a little tighter but doable. Gas will not be an issue - lots of places open and most are not tight spaces. That said depending on the size of your tank, work to stay over half full all the time. Carry some food in your rig - we would up stopping and eating along the road a few times as we got north.

You are going up on the early end of the season - don't be surprised if you deal with some snow in Canada. Because you are a little early on the way up a lot of the highway construction will not be started - the good: few backups; the bad: all of the frost heaves may not be well marked - keep it slow particularly the NW territories.

Carry some canadian $ with you but US credit cards will get you by most of the time. Cell and WIFI coverage is pretty spotty. For WIFI - all the McDonalds had it. Don't bring your satellite TV - it doesn't work in Canada or AK - get some $5 DVDs from Walmart. Bring or buy bear spray - mostly make you fell better. Lots of friendly people - the trip of a lifetime. Again, take it slow and enjoy the scenery and friendly people.

Layer your clothes and be ready for any weather. Bring plenty of bug spray and a good camera.

Please send me any other specific questions.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:40 PM   #3
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We have been up in 2010 and 2016. Last trip actually had blue skies a few days!!
Also liked Hyder. I think Anchorage might book up on holidays. And in Canada, check ahead for their monthly provincial holidays or national; because they will be booked up at least a week or more I would guess. I had to travel south and go into the US because there were no open sites anywhere on a holiday weekend. Oh, back to Anchorage - Golden Nugget was okay and walking distance to Costco to resupply.
Beluga Lookout in Kenai overlooks the bay from a cliff + path down to shore. Heritage RV Park on Homer 'Spit' if you want right on shore. Not much to look at in the park, but did have cable and shore. Kenai Princess RV Park/resort in Cooper Landing is good and a nearby float trip (several actually).
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:54 PM   #4
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As for Canada, as was mentioned you may be there before the frost heaves appear. When I went, they have little orange flags on the roadside for them. First one was no big deal but I went 25 mph. So next one I only slowed to 40 mph. Big mistake. When we got to the AK border, we had 5 cabinet doors open!!!
I had no issues with fuel, but I have a 36 ga. tank and get 10-11 mpg. So I just shoot for 250 miles a day and fill up in town in pm or am.
Whitehorse best park is Pioneer in my opinion. They also have own fuel station. Have stayed at Toad River twice in Toad River BC. Not great but when planning on 250 miles per day, finding stops at those intervals gets tricky. I have not run in to the dreaded killer mosquitos much. One stop for lunch along a river and we packed up and ate in the truck tho. Fairbanks has a rather expensive, but good, buffet in the park downtown. They have a meat and about 4 kinds of salmon. Try it for a little splurge. (We used it to figure out which salmon we like best - but now don't remember!!! ha ha) Have fun. Oh, I sort of wonder about parks being open if you get into norther Canada before June. Didn't mention I always book several days to a week in advance. That way I always have a home at night.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:01 AM   #5
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We also went in 16 and left mid May - no problem with campgrounds open but a few did not have their water turned on. No need for reservations in May. Temps were not bad - typically 40s and 50s. The marked frost heaves are not bad but we hit a couple of unmarked ones - they were bad because you hit them faster.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:08 AM   #6
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We went in 2016. If you stay at Liard Hot Springs, consider the lodge nearby. They have RV spots. It's just a parking lot with water and electric and a dump station, but no trees to hit. Fort Telkwa RV Park was a good place with good wifi. We did not reserve in advance and found we did not have any problems. We would reserve a day or so ahead. Destruction Bay Yukon had a parking lot type of place with great wifi as well. DO NOT stay at Walmart in Anchorage. People we met got fined and kicked out in the middle of the night. Golden Nugget is a good campground in Anchorage. If you go to Valdez (well worth it), check out the glacier nearby. You can actually walk up to it and touch it. Whittier is an interesting place, about an hour out of Anchorage. Mountain Shadow campground along the Cassiar Highway is a very nice place to stay.

PM me if you want more specifics.
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:17 AM   #7
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Brings back lots of memories of our 2013 trip, the greatest adventure we ever had!
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:19 PM   #8
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Use Blueberry Lake State Park about 20 miles outside Valdez. Sits next to a glacier fed lake, plenty of snow into June and a short scenic drive into Valdez. Bears will show up for blueberries in late June or July. All boondocking but beautiful. Fishing in the lake.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:39 PM   #9
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There are lots of things to see and do. We went in 2016 for 93 days and did not travel too far per day. We spent a month in Canada on the AK Hwy and a side trip to the Klondike. Best part of trip. Be sure to get a book called "Camping Alaska" by Mike & Terri Church. It is the Bible for the trip. Lots better than the MilePost regarding camping. Take it slow in frost heave and construction areas or you will break something. If you travel too fast you will miss a lot.

We crossed into Canada on May 23 and that was almost too soon. Many campgrounds and tourist places are not open till May.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mmgeol View Post
There are lots of things to see and do. We went in 2016 for 93 days and did not travel too far per day. We spent a month in Canada on the AK Hwy and a side trip to the Klondike. Best part of trip. Be sure to get a book called "Camping Alaska" by Mike & Terri Church. It is the Bible for the trip. Lots better than the MilePost regarding camping. Take it slow in frost heave and construction areas or you will break something. If you travel too fast you will miss a lot.

We crossed into Canada on May 23 and that was almost too soon. Many campgrounds and tourist places are not open till May.
I have to disagree. The book by the Churches is out of date and has some erroneous information. The Milepost is updated every year. We found it to be much more helpful, in many respects.

For campsites anywhere in North America, the Allstays app is your best bet, in my opinion.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:44 PM   #11
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To each his own. I guess it depends on what you are looking for.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:11 PM   #12
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To each his own. I guess it depends on what you are looking for.
I would read them all - each has something to add. You can't do too much research before a trip like this. Mt cut is Canada and AK are more about what to see and do than the quality or amenities of the campground. Some of the best places to visit will require boondocking or not have great campgrounds. You probably don't want to drag a 40 ft Montana into Wrangell Elias but it is a place not to be missed even if you sleep in your truck or get a hotel.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:38 PM   #13
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Some of the best places to visit will require boondocking or not have great campgrounds. You probably don't want to drag a 40 ft Montana into Wrangell Elias but it is a place not to be missed even if you sleep in your truck or get a hotel.
Agreed. The drive to McCarthy is not to be missed. I did it 37 years ago in a pickup/camper; I would not have pulled an RV across the Kuskulana river bridge at that time or maybe not now. Looks like they have improved it a little and installed guard rails. Back then, if you looked out the side window and down, there was nothing to see; the bridge was just wide enough for the truck.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/...a-river-bridge
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:59 AM   #14
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Wrangle St. Elias was on my list 2 years ago. But not doing it if it was raining. On the way in to AK, it was raining/snowing in that area and predicted for 3 days, so we re-routed and went to Fairbanks first and the the Kenai and Anchorage. Thought we would stop on the return. Nope, raining hard the day before and projected for 2 more days after we left, so guess no stop for me.
On another subject, there is a small campground right at the entrance of the drive back. Has a small gas station/store too. I planned onstaying there for 2 nights and driving back with the truck.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:26 PM   #15
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Agreed. The drive to McCarthy is not to be missed. I did it 37 years ago in a pickup/camper; I would not have pulled an RV across the Kuskulana river bridge at that time or maybe not now. Looks like they have improved it a little and installed guard rails. Back then, if you looked out the side window and down, there was nothing to see; the bridge was just wide enough for the truck.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/...a-river-bridge
The bridge has guard rails today but still very narrow - we did stop and walk across the bridge to enjoy the view down. My understanding is the road is much improved since 37 years ago but still challenging and a lot of fun. We found several rough spots that were not marked well. McCarthy, Kennecutt and the glacier all make the side trip worthwhile. We pulled a 30 ft trailer in but not sure I would pull the Monty in. When you get there you wind up boondocking next to the river at the base of the glacier - wonderful. Top off with water before going in there were really no services at the camping area. Decent places to eat once you got into town.
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