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Driving from NY. Not short on time want to see the most we can.

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by littlefish, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Nov 14, 2018 at 4:12 PM
    #1
    littlefish

    littlefish [OP] Buzz, your girlfriend...

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    Hudson Valley NY
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    My wife and I will be driving to AK from NY with our dog this summer. We have 9 weeks for the summer off from work so we are allowing 6-7 weeks for this trip. I am in the very beginning of planning our trip and could use some help. We will be leaving NY the last week in June. On advice from another thread I started in the off roading section I have a 2018 copy of The Milepost, along with a Benchmark Map road atlas. Right now I have a rough overall loop planned out. Have not picked specific destinations yet as I would like some feedback on what I have so far before I get into details. Please let me know what I should add, avoid, and any specific sites I should be aware of. We are driving with our 95 pound lab.

    Our objectives:
    • Wildlife viewing
    • Fishing
    • Scenery obviously
    • Glaciers
    • Off the beaten path, remote experiences - nothing to fly into, but here in NY anything a few miles from the road is considered "backcountry". We would like to hike in somewhere for a night or two a few times. We will be brining all our backpacking / hiking gear.
    • Remote campsites that will take some off roading to get to. I am using this trip as an excuse to spend some money on my truck, so even if we don't use the winch I am going to buy, it's still a reason to spend money on the truck...
    • Anything of historical / cultural significance.
    • Would like to avoid anything that is heavily tourist geared. Obviously some things like Denali are going to be touristy, but anything that could be done on our own with a little bit of work and research is going to be much preferred.
    We will be traveling with a RTT and will be self-reliant for upwards of a week, so we do not need to stay in a hotel every night. This will be our first "overland" style road trip, but we are both very experienced world travelers as well as backpackers.

    My rough plan goes like this:

    Coming up from Yellowstone NP in Montana, cross the border and head north through Calgary. Spend a few nights to see Banff, go through Jasper, Edmonton, Grand Prairie, and cross into BC at Dawson Creek.

    Once in BC we will go up route 97 and cross into YT at Watson Lake.

    Once in YT take the Campbell Highway, go through Dawson City and Cross into AK.

    In AK we will take the Taylor Highway into Tok, go north through Delta Junction and into Fairbanks. Maybe take a trip north to Manley Hot Springs if you think it's worth it? South to Denali. From my brief research it seems we might have some complications by having the dog with us in Denali, so any advice there would be great. Continue south to Anchorage, Homer, Seward, then loop back to Tok and take the untraveled portion of the Alaska Highway down to Haines before continuing down into YT.

    Any help, suggestions, tips would be welcomed!
     
  2. Nov 14, 2018 at 4:40 PM
    #2
    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    Lots of recommendations, but have you considered adding McCarthy and the Kennicott mine to your trip? It is in-between Glennallen and Valdez. I haven't made the trip yet but need to soon. Also taking the Denali Highway from Cantwell to Paxson would be some nice back-country dirt road driving away from the traffic.

    Are you looking for traditional offroad trails? If so what level of difficulty? A lot of trails up here are muddy and off the beaten path can get pretty boggy. Give me a rough idea of what you are looking for and I can provide some recommendations around the state. Definitely have a winch, extension strap, and a tree saver. A full-size shovel is most useful up here in the mud and bogs, don't go without one.

    Camping. You mentioned Homer so I'd recommend camping at Clam Gulch. Its a drive on beach where you can drive for miles and miles. Just don't get stuck beneath the high-tide mark. Hatcher Pass has some good spots to camp (and is a pretty drive) as well as Sutton area, if those interest you let me know and I can get you GPS points. Knik Glacier is another one worth visiting if you have time and are comfortable with river crossings-is a snorkel being considered?

    Look forward to your perspective on our state!

    -SnowroxKT
     
  3. Nov 14, 2018 at 4:54 PM
    #3
    littlefish

    littlefish [OP] Buzz, your girlfriend...

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    Thank you so much! for the suggestions. Yes McCarthy and Kennicott mine were on my list, I just forgot to add them.

    As far as trails go I wouldn't say anything much harder than moderate. Primarily want to go in off the road and maybe find a spot by a lake to spend the night and catch a few fish? Doesn't have to be too extreme, although I would like to find a few trails to go harder, that isn't the primary point of the trip (at least not for my wife :thumbsup:) I've watch the Expedition Overland series on Youtube and saw their trip to Knik Glacier. I would say because of the water crossings that is something that we are not going to try as much as I'd love to. I would say it is definitely a bit above my pay grade.

    And yes all of the camping spots you recommended sound right up our alley so anything else you could pass along would be great.

    I was in AK when I was 12 with my family. Took a cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver. Have always dreamt about coming back, and I'm excited to do it the right way this time!
     
  4. Nov 14, 2018 at 4:58 PM
    #4
    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    Do you use Gaia GPS or another similar navigation app? I can send you gpx files if that helps. I have a few trails on trailsoffroad, but have leads and details on a lot more.
     
  5. Nov 14, 2018 at 5:01 PM
    #5
    littlefish

    littlefish [OP] Buzz, your girlfriend...

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    I do actually! I bought the app a few years ago for $40, but last night I sprung for the $35 membership to get the additional layers.
     
  6. Nov 14, 2018 at 5:07 PM
    #6
    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    PM me your email and I'll share a few tracks with you.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2018 at 7:59 AM
    #7
    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    Got your email. Are you fine with pin striping? A lot of trails up here have alders growing in on them, so that would rub both sides of the truck in cases. Want to exclude those?
     
  8. Dec 19, 2018 at 12:50 PM
    #8
    akTacoBlanco

    akTacoBlanco Well-Known Member

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    Stock.
    Saw this and thought i'd add a few tips for the main haul. I've driven the Alcan twice in the past 4 years, once up to Anchorage from Minnesota and a second time down from Anchorage to Nebraska. Both times I stayed on Highway 1 since it was a relocation instead of a pleasure trip, but here's a couple things you'll want to prepare for regardless of route:

    -On your leg between Watson Lake and Tok, when you see a gas station take advantage of it. Not all of them are open 24/7 and even with a credit card you would likely need to pay inside.
    -Bugs. Bugs are big and prevalent. You will go through a lot of washer fluid and your radiator will become a bug hibachi. Also, when you're camping don't be afraid to be liberal with the bug spray. They can get pretty nasty.
    -Tires. Check your spare and also have a patch kit.
    -The majority of it is now paved (which was not the case 4 years ago) but the gravel sections can get extremely dusty. The semis will kick up alot of dust/rocks so keep your distance. They're usually really good about letting you pass them once they see you.


    On your Anchorage to Seward/Homer portion-Be prepared for heavy traffic laden with rental RVs. Its a 2 lane highway all the way down and it can get backed up pretty easily. There are sections to pass but many of them have blind corners/exits so wait for the super long straight stretches. Every year there's at least a couple head on collisions on that highway from people getting impatient. It's an absolutely gorgeous drive though so i've never understood the hurry. Also, there's a super small town slightly off this route called Hope that is on the opposite side of the inlet and offers some great views. 6 Mile Creek is near there and offers some absolutely insane whitewater rafting. It's a blast.


    Hope this helps! It's an incredible drive overall. You're biggest problem will be wanting to stop every 10 minutes to look at stuff. Not a bad problem to have!
     
    SnowroxKT likes this.

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