Wisdom of the List: AK and Alcan Camping Recommendations - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-07-2018, 08:14 PM   #1
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Wisdom of the List: AK and Alcan Camping Recommendations

This summer's big trip is going to be Alaska, most likely in July. We will be traveling from NC, up to Dawson Creek and along the Alcan to Fairbanks. Trip home we may divert down the Cassiar Highway instead.

I've driven to AK three times in the past, all by motorcycle. Last trip was 2014. I tented the entire way, so camping was always easy to find, and I covered a lot of miles every day, more than I plan to cover with the camper. I did not make a single reservation in 2014.

I figure finding camping to fit our Escape is going to be a little trickier than a small tent!

I see in Yukon, the province has many basic campgrounds, typically pretty close to the Alcan, but not with a lot of camp sites either.

So I am wondering about reservations. I will probably make reservations in Homer, AK and Fairbanks too. Not sure about the rest of it. If anyone has more recent experience, what time did you stop each day, did you have any trouble finding camping, and so on?

Last time, I stayed in the Rotary Campground at mile 0 in one direction, and the Rotary campground around mile 52 on the way back. Neither was any trouble getting a site.


Anyway, I am seeking advice on someone who has done this trip with a camping trailer.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:15 AM   #2
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While you anticipate your great trip, you may enjoy the anticipation by watching a few YouTube videos of other's trips:

There's tons to choose from, but if you only watch one episode, may I recommend this one. Kombi Life follows a young man and friends' Journey from Chile to the Arctic Ocean in a VW van named Hasta Alaska, that is broken down and burnt out more than it is running. Great footage inside a glacier. Yes, inside.


Follow The Wynns, who have 173,000 subscribers and are now sailing.


Long Long Honeymoon. playlist:
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
This summer's big trip is going to be Alaska, most likely in July. We will be traveling from NC, up to Dawson Creek and along the Alcan to Fairbanks. Trip home we may divert down the Cassiar Highway instead.

I've driven to AK three times in the past, all by motorcycle. Last trip was 2014. I tented the entire way, so camping was always easy to find, and I covered a lot of miles every day, more than I plan to cover with the camper. I did not make a single reservation in 2014.

I figure finding camping to fit our Escape is going to be a little trickier than a small tent!

I see in Yukon, the province has many basic campgrounds, typically pretty close to the Alcan, but not with a lot of camp sites either.

So I am wondering about reservations. I will probably make reservations in Homer, AK and Fairbanks too. Not sure about the rest of it. If anyone has more recent experience, what time did you stop each day, did you have any trouble finding camping, and so on?

Last time, I stayed in the Rotary Campground at mile 0 in one direction, and the Rotary campground around mile 52 on the way back. Neither was any trouble getting a site.


Anyway, I am seeking advice on someone who has done this trip with a camping trailer.
We took our motorhome to AK in 2008 & 2015. We never made a reservation and always got a campsite. At Johnson's Canyon we saw a sign that said campground full and pulled in. They gave us an empty handicap site for one night. Other places just ask for their overflow and they let you camp in parking areas and in one case the area was along the river with an awesome mountain view and fire ring. Especially at Liard Hot Springs. In fact I liked the parking lot better so that we didn't have to walk a long way to the springs. In Banff and Jasper we stopped about 3:00 and got a campsite in the provincial park. Nice showers, dumps and water fills. Many campgrounds are to small for the larger rigs. They say limit of 25 feet and you'll be fine. It just means a 25 ft or longer doesn't bend around like a TV and trailer. Making reservations means having a schedule and that is no fun on a trip like AK. In White Horse in the Yukon you can stay at Walmart. There's 50-75 rigs in the parking lot every night. Next to it is a gas station that has a free dump and free water. You just need to put in gas. That works great since that station is about the cheapest one in town and you need to fill there anyway. There are a lot of provincial parks in Canada and they are reasonable and most likely not full by 3:00.
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:51 PM   #4
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free campin

bill did you stop at Tok there was a restaurant there many years ago eat dinner and camping was on him.

did you do this?

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Old 04-08-2018, 12:54 PM   #5
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alaska trippers

ok you Alaska experts how much time are you allowing for your trip?

how about clearing a pet through canada?

so many things to know in advance! reservations no I don't do reservations if nothing I can park along side the highway if need be.

bob
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Old 04-08-2018, 08:40 PM   #6
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Alaska Camping Trip

It has been a number of years ago that we camped from Anchorage to Billings Mountain. It was in June. The problem we ran into is that there were no reservations available at any of the camp grounds. What we did do was we would be on the road in the morning at 7:30 A.M travel four hundred to four hundred fifty miles and then be in a camp site by 3:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. in the afternoon. By 6:00 P.M. the camp ground would be full. We were tenting and there were two couples in a Dodge Caravan. This worked really well for us. Today it is probably different. Pulling a trailer you may want to reduce the miles per day with the goal of being on a camp site by 4 P.M.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:46 AM   #7
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We drove to AK last summer as both of our kids live in Anchorage. Did the getting there part in four nights due to wanting to get in on the red salmon fishing before it closed. Returning, we took a week. We never had reservations and never encountered a problem finding a place to camp when we wanted to stop. Would not do the trip without a copy of the Milepost which has an amazingly detailed description of camping, sites, restaurants, parks, etc along any route you might choose to travel up there. Since cell signal is sporadic, having a hard copy of this guide allows you to do planning along the way. Went through Banff and Jasper on the way back and only camped once there and didn't stop at any attractions. Why? The smoke from the fires in BC and Montana was so bad that it was choking and you couldn't see anything. Felt bad for all of the foreign tourists who were standing on the side of the road trying to see a glacier that wasn't visible...
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:20 AM   #8
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Tok was one of just a couple of nights that I decided to stay in a small hotel. My last trip was only 21 days, and on the way home I took a "side trip" to California. But I was covering a lot of miles almost every day, a pace I am not planning on this trip.

This time I am guessing 5 weeks +/-.

Certain locations, like Denali National Park, are booked six months in advance. So I camped south of there, down the road twenty miles or less, at Denali State Park. Same mountain, same view, no crowds. Camping there was like an interstate rest area, so very basic. It was something like $6 a night.


A huge issue for me with reservations, when you travel that far, a little slippage planning wise and its easy to be one or two days behind schedule. At that point, none of your reservations work.

Its one thing to make reservations on a 2,000 mile trip within the continental USA. Its another thing entirely on a 12,000 mile trip with multiple border crossings, probable road construction, possible side trips, etc.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:58 AM   #9
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reservations

no reservations for us too much stress even in Europe camping in the summertime with campgrounds with as many as 4k campers in them there was always a place somewhere.

when we flew into anchorage we picked up our car and stayed a couple of nights at the city campground with plenty of room we walked up the hill right to downtown.

I cant think of one time frankly we were turned away at any campground in ak due to being full!

oh by the way are you staying over in Chicken?

bob
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:41 AM   #10
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Just scored a reservation at Denali, so my schedule will be tied down a bit for sure. If we fall behind schedule, we can adjust to go to Denali first. If we are ahead of schedule, we can go elsewhere first.


Was turned down at Denali last trip.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by k0wtz View Post
ok you Alaska experts how much time are you allowing for your trip?

how about clearing a pet through canada?

so many things to know in advance! reservations no I don't do reservations if nothing I can park along side the highway if need be.

bob
Clearing a pet through Canada is no problem. Make sure you have a current rabies vaccination certificate and a health certificate. The health certificate from our vet was $15. They may want to see both. We took about 2 1/2 months for our trip. We did not do any reservations on campgrounds. You cannot park along side the highways in Canada but it is OK in AK.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:46 PM   #12
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camping canada

seems like when we camped Canada there were little pull overs with vault toilets that we tented at?

bob
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:47 PM   #13
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no reservations for us too much stress even in Europe camping in the summertime with campgrounds with as many as 4k campers in them there was always a place somewhere.

when we flew into anchorage we picked up our car and stayed a couple of nights at the city campground with plenty of room we walked up the hill right to downtown.

I cant think of one time frankly we were turned away at any campground in ak due to being full!

oh by the way are you staying over in Chicken?

bob
I would not go to Chicken and go over the Top of the World Highway. It is 100 miles of rough, gravel, potholes, if grading you can get stuck in the foot deep dirt, etc. Took us 7 hours to do it and almost got stuck twice. Since we've been there they have torn up the black top that was on the Canadian side so it is most likely even worse. If you go to Dawson City go back to the main highway. Nothing really in Chicken that great to see. Not worth the time. Crossing the river from Chicken into Dawson City on the ferry can be great and fast or very long wait. Don't get Dawson City and Dawson Creek mixed up. I don't know why the caravans tell you to go that way.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:47 PM   #14
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jann I have another problem when we got our health certificate is was good for 30 days did you notice that? we had to cancel our trip due to back surgery but we were wondering because we were going to be in Alaska for 2 months!


bob
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:58 PM   #15
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Heading North

In 2015 we spent 3 months wandering around up there and never needed a reservation. I liked the Yukon campgrounds as the price was reasonable and the firewood was free.

We took the Cassiar Hwy on the way up with side trips to Telegraph Creek - without the trailer for a day trip; and of course into Stewart/Hyder to get Hyderized. From there we drove up, again without the trailer as we were in a campground in Hyder, a logging road to a viewpoint high above the Salmon Glacier. That was worth the drive as the views looking down on that huge glacier were phenomenal. We were only stopped from going further by snow even though I was driving a 4x4 pickup truck.

Check out the information on this site:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/t...lable-services

After Teslin we took a detour down to Atlin to visit a friend. Atlin is known as the Switzerland of Canada. It was my first time there and the views of the mountains and the reflections across the huge lake were just stunning. It was worth the drive in on both pavement and gravel surfaces.

Buy your groceries in the larger centres while travelling or you'll pay the price in poorer selection and higher cost. Fill up your fuel tank whenever the opportunity arises, even if you're half full. Distances are long and services few and far between, but not as bad as the Dempster Highway!

North of Whitehorse and your way to Dawson City, instead of camping in a parking lot in town, go a little further to the Takhini Hot Springs which has a well-developed campground. Set up then walk over for a soak. You'll probably need one by then! We had a morning soak before heading out too.

Lots of great history about the Gold Rush and stories about Lake Laberge. Check out Robert Service's poems about the gold rush days.

Next stop would be Braeburn where for $10 CAD you will find the biggest cinnamon buns I've ever seen. We shared one. It's a busy place where the tour buses pull in and disgorge the whole load of hungry passengers. Then there is a line-up. We stopped going up and back.

On the highway into Dawson City there is the Yukon River Campground where we set up for a few days. We made the short drive into town several times; took in a tour of an old gold mining dredge (Goldbottom Mine Tours); ate some great ice cream (it was hot!); did some free gold-panning on a creek (bring a small shovel, a bucket and your own $5 plastic ridged gold pan) drove up the Midnight Dome at the top of the hill overlooking Dawson and the Yukon River but in the daytime; toured the paddlewheeler SS Keno; took in the First Nations Aboriginal Day celebrations; live performances at the Palace Theatre. So much to do we came back again on our return trip.

https://dawsoncity.ca/see-and-do/

Enjoy your journey. If you have time/inclination, take the short side trip up to Tombstone Territorial Park on the Dempster. One of the most unusual pieces of terrain I've ever seen - open tundra, sharp-pointed mountains that were never glaciated, and an excellent Interpretive Centre where you can find out about free hikes, walks, etc. Beautiful campground too. We stopped there again on our return trip.

So much to see up North and this wasn't my first trip up there. I'm known by my friends as the one who "Only does North." Prepare for some mosquitoes depending on when you are there, but other than that no real hazards, except a dirty vehicle and RV. Some of the smaller towns have free do-it-yourself car washes.

We were following the Yukon River Paddling Quest from Whitehorse to Dawson City. Days of paddling with only one mandatory overnight rest stop. Kind of like the winter dog sled races except on water with no dogs!

Denali is sure different now compared to when I was first up there in the '60's. You could drive and camp anywhere you wanted. Now, as you probably know, you need to make reservations for the bus to get in to the Park. If you are lucky with the weather you will see Denali, but not that often, no matter what the season.

Enjoy your journey.
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:13 AM   #16
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your trip

did you do the top of the world? did you tour chicken?

bob
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:27 AM   #17
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For what it is worth, here is a journal of a 2015 trip from upstate NY to Alaska & back. An Escape 17B pulled by a Toyota RAV4 & a Scamp 16 towed by a Toyota Sienna van.

The only reservations we made were for Teklanika Campground in Denali National Park. Glad we did, because it was full when we arrived. We did sometimes call ahead during the morning for the evening's campsite.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:38 AM   #18
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we were there a month didn't try to camp dinali figured it was packed maybe not. in our month we never saw the mountain!!


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Old 04-12-2018, 09:00 PM   #19
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jann I have another problem when we got our health certificate is was good for 30 days did you notice that? we had to cancel our trip due to back surgery but we were wondering because we were going to be in Alaska for 2 months!


bob
The one I got was only good for 15 days I think. So we waited until a day or two before we left to get it. So get a new one or take a chance and if they want a new one or check the certificate they may make you pay their vet to get one. Most likely not a cheap thing. They didn't care about ours since we had a cat. I think dogs may be more investigated.
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