I had been to Alaska and southern British Columbia on several different trips and wanted to see northern B.C. and the Yukon Territory. I traveled during July and August, drove my 4Runner and covered 6,500 miles over eight weeks.
I saw lots of lakes, rivers, valleys, mountains, glaciers and wildlife. I spotted the following wildlife: grizzly and black bear, moose, deer, lynx, red fox, arctic fox, bison, Stone sheep, mountain goat, bald eagle, golden eagle, least squirrel, arctic chipmunk, American beaver, mountain beaver, coyote, least weasel and Arctic hare.
I went fishing and caught Arctic grayling, lake trout, rainbow, bull trout, pink salmon and sockeye salmon. Some of the best places were: Nechako River, Frances Lake, Faro area, Dease River, Kispiox River and the Babine River.
For sheer beauty and diversity of outdoor experience, the Atlin area was the best.
- Although I drove 1,000 miles on the Alaska Highway, it was all in Canada. I spent only three hours in Alaska.
- With the northern summer sun, it really is light all the time. It doesn’t get dark at night and there are rarely stars.
- Mosquitoes are horrendous, large and numerous
- B.C. and Yukon were on fire. Forests were burning everywhere. I moved several times to escape the smoke.
- The Yukon is remote; there are few services. You need to plan carefully in advance.
- Canadians generally are very friendly, hospitable and helpful.
Route–I drove to Prince George (about the geographic center of B.C.) and made a wide loop, going up the east side, picking up the Alaska Highway, crossing the Rockies, then into the Yukon, went north on the Campbell Highway, returned south to Whitehorse, crossed back into B.C., visited Atlin, picked up the Cassiar Highway going south through Dease Lake, went west into the Nass Valley, picked up the Yellowhead Highway in Terrace, visited Babine Lake, returned to Prince George and returned the remaining 1,000 miles home.
Debrief–This trip covered a lot of miles, maybe too many. It’s three days solid driving just to get to the beginning of the tourist route. Although I am glad to experience the Alaska Highway, I would not seek it again. I really like the North where the sun shines all day, bit it is a long way and probably is better accessed with a truck, trailer and boat rather than a SUV. Next time, I would pick a more focused (smaller) area such as the Lake District, Tumbler Falls, Atlin or the Campbell Highway and stay put for longer.
For camping, there are limited opportunities up North for car camping off the highway. More often than not, I found my tent nestled among R.V.s, coaches and campers rather than trees. Backpacking is an option, but consider the bears.