View Full Version : Alaska - 2023

08-24-2022, 08:55 AM
Sorry for the long post! I did a search on this forum and others prior to asking...

My wife and I are recently retired and are planning on making the trip to Alaska next summer. We have a multitude of questions for those you have also made the trip.

Our trip is planned for about 4 months and includes Mt Rushmore , Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons on our way (not all encompassing, taking about a month to travel west and visit these areas), the Canadian Rockies (Banff and the Icefield Parkway) to the Cassiar Highway and then to the Al-Can - about 4 weeks to reach Alaska, Glennallen - 4 days, Palmer - about 3 days, Seward - 6 days, Homer - 5 days, Anchorage - 10 days, Denali - 5 days, Fairbanks - 10 days, and then begin the trip home from Alaska at the middle of September. The start of the return trip is governed by the campground closings in Fairbanks.

We have the Milepost and it has been a great source of information!

We are still in vacation mode where we try to cram a lot into a little space. Any tips on addressing this?

I am trying to keep the drive times to about 6 hours or less using RV Life Trip Wizard. Only a couple are a touch longer and a most are shorter.

Is the weather typically a washout when it rains? Cloud cover - thinking photos of the landscape, tours, etc.

We will be making reservations and plan on staying in campgrounds rather than boondocking. If our plans get altered, are boondocking opportunities available if the campgrounds cannot accommodate the change?

There is lots to see and do and this will be a trip of a lifetime for us - we don't want to waste the opportunity with over staying or under staying.

I appreciate your thoughts and taking the time!

08-24-2022, 10:49 PM
Be careful when camping in Sept. Several sites along I90 in Montana were closed for us at that time of year. We were in Whitehorse early Sept. and the mountain right behind our campground had snow the day we left - just drizzle down lower where we were at.
I looked at some of the 'tours' online and just followed there itinerary, but if youonly drive 6 hours, you may not line up with that.
Depending on the size of your rig, there is a (nice?) campground on the road back to Denali. A few miles in and of course grizzlies may be around LOL. I never tried this, but would like to.

As for Yellowstone, if staying IN the park and wanting hookups, the Fishing Bridge CG is the only place. And it pretty well books up a year in advance. There reservation system - on the 5th of the month youcan book for the NEXT year in that month. i.e. July 5 you can book month of July in the next year. I booked for around the 4th and only a few sites available (long pull thrus) were available around booking time of July 6th when we booked. If you can't get in or don't want this, W. Yellowstone has many campgrounds and one (Grizzly CG, I think) is very nice and very pricey. Around $100 a night.
Oh and if you want to see grizzlies up close (sort of) the U.S. has a national fish and game site in Hyder, AK called Fish Creek. Read up on it. However, they usually show up when the Salmon show which varies but is usually sometime early August. You can see bears about 40-50 feet away blissfully ignoring humans as they meander up the creek with spawning salmon scurrying away.
Have fun.

08-25-2022, 09:18 AM
Check with Ron Ames they have done it and are planning a trip next year

08-25-2022, 09:22 AM
Sounds like you have really solid planning for the adventure. We went in 2007--yes several years ago but the road is still there. If you are interested, go to our website http://goodsamclub.mytripjournal.com/millingtontravel
You will find photos, maps, and descriptions of our time in Alaska along with trips from other years.

08-25-2022, 10:15 AM
Mike, we went in 2014 and have planned our trip for 2023. Are you going to rally in Goshen? If so, come to the seminar. If not, PM me and I can share info with you.

AZ Traveler
08-25-2022, 12:37 PM

Take your time and be flexible.

Most of the parks including Denali are no hookup. I would at least carry a portable genny with you.

I would also look at Wrangell-St. Elias NP instead of several days in the big cities. Valdez is also a good place to visit - you can camp in Blueberry Lake State Recreation Site not too far out of town.

Denali was pretty much the only place we needed a reservation.

Don't forget bear spray and bug spray.

08-25-2022, 06:08 PM
I agree about Wrangell/St. Elias. I tried to see it both going and coming last trip (2016). I refused to try if it was raining or forecast for rain. Both ways it was raining hard, so I never made it.

Oh, reason for this is because it is a long (50-60) miles back on dirt road (which was the railroad track at one time). I think they improved it enough the railroad ties no longer work up to the surface and ruin a tire!!! LOL

08-31-2022, 03:37 PM
We have been campground hosts at Kesugi Ken (Denali State Park) all summer. This is a state campground that has electric sites and takes resorvations. We had great luck staying at Rivers Edge Resort in Fairbanks and had no issues. We have talked to campers that have had lots of theft issues at one of the Anchorage campgrounds right in town.

We drove up the first week of may and will head back the 8th of Sept. If you have questions about the area i'd be glad to answer them.

08-31-2022, 03:53 PM
Here are couple of suggestions:
1. Alaska Tour Saver coupon book
2. From Whitehorse take the Highway to the Sky to Dawson, free ferry across Yukon River.
3. From Anchorage, long day trip to Artic Circle, get certificate.
4. Drive through the mile long tunnel to Whittier, hidden city.
5. Tram coupon, if senior, purchase ticket separate and get $40 voucher for lunch and gift shop. Give coupon to someone in line.
5. Summit train ride, coupon.
To many more to mention.
6. Take ferry from Haines to Skagway, to far to drive.
Enjoy your trip,
Oh yes, send post cards from Santa house in North Pole by Anchorage. Kids went nuts when they got them.

08-31-2022, 04:42 PM
Was that Centennial CG in Anchorage where the theft issues occurred?

08-31-2022, 05:00 PM
Wheelhouse, curious about the ferry. What was the cost? Also, I know they recommend boarding at Skagway. Any issue boarding at Haines? Also, how far in advance did you make reservations?

Jeff n Susan
08-31-2022, 06:06 PM
I would think that 10 days in Anchorage is way to long (unless you have family there). A few days was good for us. We used our time to go adventuring! There is lots to see and do, but anymore, Anchorage is kind of a normal town. Lots of souvenirs there! Have a safe and awesome trip!

08-31-2022, 09:52 PM
Can I follow?

09-01-2022, 12:46 AM
WOW you are right it is a trip of a lifetime.
I just returned from a Caravan.....I would absolutely do it again.

The Caravan was on a schedule which was amazing.
That said many places that I wanted to stay longer.

on the ALCAN...Between Destruction Bay and Tok,
I broke 2 springs while going very slow.
Springs were 1 year old. The road was really bad
I rate the gravel roads as superior compared to the paved roads in this section.
Parts are very limited to non existent. repair shops booked 3 weeks out.
I drove to Fairbanks to procure springs and installed myself.
Its hard to tell you what spares to take, but there were many broken towable rigs on this road.
broken springs, broken spindles, hangars and bolts were common,
for the class a folks we had a toad break its tow bar, and another toad lost its oil pan.
take your time, breakdowns do happen but its a amazing trip

This year there was a independent face book group "Alaska 2022" that you might find useful. real time road closures etc.. although limited connectivity..

We did a float Plan to brooks falls to see the grizzles... Amazing....trip highlight..
Yes I will do it again, I'm at home and just finished installing a new set of springs...wet bolts etc... All USA MADE.....They cost more but I am done with import XXXX.

09-01-2022, 01:31 AM
Wheelhouse, curious about the ferry. What was the cost? Also, I know they recommend boarding at Skagway. Any issue boarding at Haines? Also, how far in advance did you make reservations?
We did Haines first ferried to Skagway. Caught the Summit train(coupon) fir the day. No reservation needed when we went.
If you figure 2 days driving, fuel, overnighting, the cost was cheap compared. No stress or worry about breaking down on the ferry, lol.
In Whittier you can catch a boat to the glaciers calving. WWII history for Whittier.
Valdez I won the daily fishing derby there. No, my name Valdez was no influence to my coming in first place.
The tour book is $99 but we’ll worth it.
Two for one coupons and like I said about the tram. If you are a senior I think it was $25 for the tram and and they give you a $40 voucher to use at the top.

09-01-2022, 10:24 AM
we have done Alaska three times. In Alaska and traveling to it I do believe the best advice is not to constrict yourselves to "cast in stone" reservations. Anything can happen in Alaska and it will, roads close, construction, sights that take longer to see and all sorts of stuff. Be flexible on your scheduling and you will enjoy the trip immensely.

09-01-2022, 11:16 AM
We have not made this trip yet but I worked on the North Slope for two years when I was a kid. If I am interpreting your chronology of the trip correctly, my only caution would be that you can certainly see snow in Fairbanks by mid-September. If it were me, I would consider running up north first then working my way south as the Summer transitioned to Fall.

Probably won't be a problem, as you have it planned but I know we shut down ocean operations in the Beaufort Sea by early September, when the ocean started to freeze. Certainly saw plenty of snow by then. Just FYI. Have fun!

09-01-2022, 11:21 AM
Just a quick note:
When in Haines, Alaska, try Salmon Run RV park. It is just north of Haines a few miles. Very clean, quick, less crowded and reasonable and over looking the inlet.
Also, we didn’t make any reservations along the way. If you are an Elk’s member, use their rv sites.
We did our trip in time for the Summer Solstice June 21, longest days of daylight.

09-05-2022, 05:49 PM
We have been offline for a few days due to getting hit by the COVID bug.

Thanks for all the thoughts and comments! We have the longer stays in Anchorage and Fairbanks as we planned on using those points as a base for days trips outward. We also have two children who will be flying into Anchorage and out of Fairbanks while we are there. We want to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks so that has us leaving as late in the season as we can. Weather can definitely impact our plans! While we are not unfamiliar to snow being from near Syracuse, NY (some years 400+ inches of the white stuff), we don't want to become caught in a storm either. We have towed through an ice storm and it is not pleasant! Thanks again!

09-05-2022, 06:37 PM
Make sure you checkout the Chena Hot Springs in Fairbanks.
Then take the kids to North Pole and visit Santa’s House.
Don’t forget to get your Alaska coupon book, $99. Well worth it.

09-06-2022, 11:34 AM
just made the same trip except Yellowstone, etc. Go to the Canadian web and complete the ARRIVECAN FORM it will save you considerable time crossing the border. US credit cards (USCC) are not accepted at fuel pump because your ask for a pin #. solution use your debt or go inside and pre-pay. USCC work everywhere else. Carry Canadian $, your USCC will work in any Bank ATM.
If you plan on remote trips carry a jerry can of fuel unless your TV has a 36 gal tank. Make reservations now for the Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper, Denali area. They fill up 9 mo.to a year early. Drove up on the Al Can. Expect delays and bad roads 30% of the time between Ft Nelson and the AK boarder. Bent axels and broken leaf springs are common if you drive fast. Plan trip speed at about 45mph, and you will survive. Provincial parks are great, 30 amps is common at all parks in CA. Down load the HOTSPOT MOBILE app (free) and friends and relatives can track you trip. Have Fun. Chandy