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  1. Default Iowa to Anchorage by Motorcycle

    We are planning a trip from North central Iowa to Anchorage, Alaska in July 2010. We will be traveling on our Gold Wing motorcycle pulling a small trailer with our camping and cooking supplies. We are debating routes and are looking for advice on the best way to make the trip.
    Option 1 - Follow mapquest and go through IA, MN, ND, through Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Dawson Creek and Whitehorse in Canada and then onto the Glenn Highway in Alaska. (3310 miles)
    Option 2- IA, MN, SD, through Helena MT and through Glacier then north through Canada and into Alaska. (3737 miles)
    Option 3 - (possibly the return trip) Ferry from Anchorage area to Seattle area and then drive across the northern US to Iowa.

    Questions we have - Are the roads safe for motorcycles? - we can handle a little gravel, but anything extremely rough could be dangerous.

    If I look town to town there is a stretch (Haines Junction YT to Palmer AK)where it is almost 600 miles with no towns, are there gas stations and camping anywhere in that area?

    We've never used a ferry service before - does this save time? What are the costs involved?

    We always set up camp before dark so we'll have evenings free to explore - any suggestions on must see places? Suggestions for places to set up a tent are appreciated as well.

    Thanks for your help, we always get great ideas from this forum. We are extremely excited for this vacation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The Milepost

    One essential when contemplating a trip to Alaska is a publication called The Milepost. In it you will find all the information on the complete route through Canada and into Alaska, including details of all ferry services. The 2010 edition should be out early next year. Meanwhile check it out online.

    I can assure you from my experiences this year, that there is no shortage of motorcycles on this route. (There are even brave souls who do the trip on bicycle.) The road itself is a good road but you will encounter quite frequent stretches of roadworks, some of which could be a bit messy. However, most of these are covered by a pilot car to take the traffic through.

    I would highly recommend that you take the route up through Montana, Calgary and up the Icefield Parkway through the Canadian Rockies to Jasper. It is a magnificent road and the views and scenery are breathtaking. You can then continue to Dawson Creek either via route 40 to Grand Prairie, or via route 16 to Prince George. Having done both, I like the Prince George option much better.

    As for the stretch from Haines Junction to Palmer, you have Burwash Landing, Kluane Wilderness Village, Beaver Creek, Port Alcan, Tok, Slana, Gakona, Glenallen, and Sutton, and fuel is available at most of these. Tok is the largest of these towns, and most travellers stop at either Beaver Creek and / or Tok.

    You are likely to see a lot of wildlife along this road, especially the section between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake. Speed limit is restricted on this and other sections of the highway, but I doubt you will want to go much faster anyway. There is just so much to see and enjoy.

    As for must see places and camping, I loved Muncho Lake and Whitehorse is a neat town. But the best I can do is refer you back to The Milepost, details of everything you want to know are in it.

    Lifey whose experiences you can read here

    p.s. If the articles on The Milepost homepage about the motor cycle riders does not encourage you, then nothing will. :-)
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 10-04-2009 at 02:06 PM. Reason: add information

  3. Default Thanks

    Thank you for the great information, that's why I love this forum, someone is always able to give wonderful advice.

  4. Default Glacier is not to be missed

    Having done a big roadtrip, about 25,000 miles across the States (not on motorcycle though) a few years back, one of the highlights was Glacier National Park. This is not to be missed, so my vote would be for Option 2, hands down!

    If one thing has to hit your itinerary, it must be the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Lake McDonald is spectacular - I recommend dusk, if you have time hike to Hidden Lake, climb to a glacier (if global warming hasn't yet taken its toll) at Lunch Creek and just follow the road past The Loop, Logan Pass, and push into Canada. Not enough superlatives to describe the experience.

    As for the return leg, your Option 3 sounds enticing. Seattle is worth exploring on the way through. If you have the stamina, take the Olympic Loop where you get rain forests, mountains and waves crashing on rocky shores. Enough ntural variety to keep one entertained! Be warned it is a 250+ mile "detour" but worth every eyepopping detour.

    You may also find the National Parks Pass (annual) a worthy investment, if you pass through a few parks on your trip, it pays for itself. Finding campsites can be a challenge. I'd suggest doing your research before hand. has an easy search function where you can run a 150mile radius to find the next campsite in the direction you are heading in. It is free to use once you are registered. Also is a great resource to use. We "asked a local" in the activities section - people were very friendly in the local towns and open to giving memorable suggestions like bars, restaurants and local things to do.

    Have a wonderful trip!

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