Entering Canada

First, if you’re heading north from the lower 48, you must go into Canada. American Citizens can enter Canada without difficulty. You need a driver’s license, voter registration, birth certificate, or passport.

Naturalized American citizens should bring their naturalization papers. Travelers from other countries should check with the Canadian Consul or Embassy regarding entry requirements.

You may be asked to show sufficient funds to get you through Canada. At least $200 US cash is advised. Credit cards may also impress officialdom if money is lacking.

Taking a Vehicle into Canada

Motor vehicle entry into Canada is usually quick and routine. You’ll need to show your vehicle registration. You can only get one from your insurance agent in the United States, so be sure to see him for one before you leave. U.S. driver’s licenses and those of other countries are valid in Canada.

Driving the Alcan

Most of the Alcan is now hard-surfaced, but there are still some extensive patches of gravel. When driving on a gravel road, be very cautious. It is possible to “spin out,” particularly on a steep grade, of which there are several on this trip.

Be careful not to drive too fast even on the smoothly paved parts of the road. Right in the middle of a 55-mph stretch, you might encounter one of Alaska’s legendary 5-foot potholes. Canadian drivers do drive fast. You don’t have to follow their example. I recommend staying well within the speed limit.

Individual driving styles differ. Some people prefer to take a mid-day siesta and drive on into the evening. It doesn’t get dark at night until 9:00 pm in August, or 11:00 pm in June, so it’s possible to put in evening driving hours.

I do not recommend that you drive after dark in Canada or Alaska. There are too many animals on the road and also many uncertain road conditions.

If some driving days are too long for you, stop early, and then the next morning gets an extra early start. All along this road is an incredible assortment of camping sites, provincial parks, commercial camping areas, and small towns with motels and hotels.

If you need to stop, do! If, however, you’re in a burning hurry to get there, and have two drivers, the whole trip can be speeded up by one day (Seattle to Anchorage in five days instead of six). If you think you are lost, you probably are.

Don’t hesitate to stop and ask maps and Road Names

You will need a good roadmap. American Automobile Association members can get an excellent map and Triptik free. The Rand McNally maps are also excellent, as is the plan that comes with The Milepost travel guide.