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Old 07-26-2013, 10:54 PM   #1
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Ohio to Alaska?

My son flew off today to take a job in Fairbanks, so naturally we're thinking about pulling our Escape up there sometime to visit. Just to get me calibrated, do most folks from the middle of the US take the route up through Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia to Dawson Creek; or head toward Seattle to go up primarily through BC to Dawson Creek? How do the road conditions compare between the two routes to Dawson Creek?
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:27 PM   #2
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Have driven from Vancouver Island to Dawson Creek many times via Fraser Canyon from Hope to Cache creek to Prince George to Dawson Creek, Hope to Cache Creek via Coquihalla to PG to Dawson Creek, and Hope to Kamloops to Jasper to Grand Prairie to Dawson Creek. Also went the Duffy Lake road to Whistler, Pemberton to PG to Dawson Creek.

All roads very drivable. The Duffy Lake route is very windy and some steep sections, my last choice. Via Coquihalla to Prince George/Dawson Creek is the best road and greatest highway speeds more capacity for summer traffic, however, higher elevation and steep grades when leaving the Hope area. Fraser Canyon route is slower, windy, but less steep and less capacity for handling traffic. Going the Prince George is quicker than driving to Kamloops/Jasper and on to Dawson Creek. My personal choice if I have time is to travel via Coquihalla to Kamloops and stay in Jasper one or more days before making it to Dawson Creek. Haven't travelled Saskatchewan into Alberta; however, have gone north via Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek which is beautiful however have to travel slow through the park.

I think if you have time go to Jasper either through Alberta or BC/Kamloops. Short on time go through interior to Prince George then on to Dawson Creek.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:23 AM   #3
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Wow, what a drive that would be, Ohio to Fairbanks. The different options as to routes were laid out pretty good by gharper. I would have a hard time choosing which way to go as well. At least you do have the option of taking two different routes up and back.

There is another option to add to taking the route through BC and that is to head west from Prince George towards Terrace and then turning north at Kitwanga up Hwy 37 to the Yukon. Just what you needed, another option! With this route you miss Dawson Creek, mile zero of the Alaska Highway. You could come back down through Dawson Creek.

My personal choice if I were to go through BC would be to take the Fraser Canyon route, Hwy 1, rather than the Coquihalla, Hwy 5 as gharper preferred. The Coq is a 4 lane divided freeway with some significant steep climbs. It does go through scenic mountains but I find it a bit boring to drive because it is a freeway. Good for making time if you are not pulling a trailer. And it is a little easier for the driver to gawk about at the scenery.

The Canyon is a very good road but it does have some winding sections, as gharper noted, which I enjoy driving. Before the Coq was built about 1986 it was the main Trans Canada Hwy 1 from Vancouver to the east. There are only a couple of minor climbs to do, unlike the Coq. I find the scenery much better through the canyon than the Coq. In sections you are right down along the Fraser River. The mountains are amazing and the valleys are much narrower. The winding road is more than compensated for the fact that it is a lesser travelled road now that the Coq goes to Kamloops. Fewer semi-trucks.

If I were to go this route I would go north from Cache Creek to Prince George rather than heading east to Kamloops as it would be a shorter distance. Of course then you miss going to Jasper then through northern Alberta to get to Dawson Creek. Along the way to Jasper is Mt Robson, the highest Peak in the Canadian Rockies at 3,954 m (12,972 ft). That is Mt Robson in my ID photo.

I personally would not be interested in driving up through Sask and Alberta. That route is mostly prairie and farming lands as you are probably aware. They have a beauty of their own but it basically does not change for hundreds, if not thousands of miles on that trip. There are interesting stops along the way but I like the mountains. It does have the advantage of being the shortest route by about 800 miles or so and of course flatter for pulling a trailer.

The mountains through south west Alberta are amazing. Come north through Montana into S.W. Alberta. The route from Calgary to Banff then up the Columbia Icefields Highway to Jasper is truly a spectacular drive. Your neck does tend to get sore driving the Icefields Hwy as you are so busy looking up at the peaks all day!

No matter which route you choose, it will be a spectacular drive. Once you are in Alaska there is probably only one option and the mountains in Alaska are amazing from photos I have seen along the route.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:45 AM   #4
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Photo of the Mile Zero Post in Dawson Creek, start of the Alaska Highway.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:23 AM   #5
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Parker,

Forget the Terrace option. The road is not well maintained, particularly when you get north of Meziadin Junction. Numerous frost heaves and poor sealcoat in some sections and no, and I mean no, gas stations. Coming from Ohio, I'd opt for the Banff, Jasper, Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek route. Or you could take I94 to Moorhead, MN, I29 to the border crossing at Pembina, ND/ Emerson, Manitoba, go north to Winnipeg and take Trans Canada Highway 16 to Edmonton, AB and then Highway 43 direct to Dawson Creek. Vary nice drive, good roads and less traffic.

Doug
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:29 AM   #6
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Hi: Parker... I think I'd stay in the land of cheaper gas...south of the 49th., as long as I could!!!
Just MHO. Alf
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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What a great response from you all! I figured there might be someone on here who knows something about driving across Canada. I really hadn't anticipated so many options. All your replies will serve as a great reference when it's time to get serious about the planning.

Thank you!
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NuthatchBC View Post
Parker,

Forget the Terrace option. The road is not well maintained, particularly when you get north of Meziadin Junction. Numerous frost heaves and poor sealcoat in some sections and no, and I mean no, gas stations. Coming from Ohio, I'd opt for the Banff, Jasper, Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek route. Or you could take I94 to Moorhead, MN, I29 to the border crossing at Pembina, ND/ Emerson, Manitoba, go north to Winnipeg and take Trans Canada Highway 16 to Edmonton, AB and then Highway 43 direct to Dawson Creek. Vary nice drive, good roads and less traffic.

Doug
I do believe there are a few gas stations along the Stewart-Cassiar Hwy. At least enough so that everybody that takes it isn't running out of gas! While the road may be rough in places, it just means you need to slow down & enjoy the fantastic scenery! Lots of travelers take this road every year. However, as Escape Artist has mentioned, stay in the States as long as you can for the best gas prices. Perhaps come up into Canada via Montana/Alberta.
http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topi.../services.html
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:33 PM   #9
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Hey Parker
We are interested in this trip also. Please share you conclusions and experiences if you make this trip.
Jubal
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