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Alaska -Top of the world highway


PAylor

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Hi all,

 

We're going on our second trip to Alaska this summer. We're getting a bit adventurous this time. We're doing the interior passage and Yukon. We are traveling in a 38 foot fifth wheel .

 

We want to go to Dawson city and drive the top of the world highway. I'd love to hear from anyone who's been on it. Any advice is appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance!

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We've driven it with our 40' motorhome with no issues. We made sure there was no rain the previous days or none in the forecast for the days we planned driving. I understand it can be a bit slippery when it rains. Plus, you wouldn't see anything. Dawson is a fun little town so plan to spend a few days there. The ferry crossing you'll have to make goes smoothly although there can be a wait as they can only carry a few RV/trucks.

 

There's a long ongoing post on the Alaska forum of those going in 2015 at RV.net. Within the past couple months and in that post somewhere I believe it was stated that a lot more of it has been paved. Search in that forum the Top of the World Highway to see what you get. Have a great trip!

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We enjoyed it in 2013 as the last rig in a caravan. There was slight rain the two days before, and we were actually grateful for that as we had no dust to contend with. We did encounter one slippery stretch for a mile or so, but found most of the road ...particularly the Canadian portion ...very well maintained. I would recommend getting an early start for the Dawson ferry crossing as there will be a long line. And I would probably plan to overnight in Chicken rather than pressing on to Tok.

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Check out our blog for June 14, 2013 and the stern wheeler graveyard out past the end of the Provincial Park across from the Yukon River from Dawson City. We crossed 2 weeks after the ice broke up, we found the Top Of The World Highway to be wash boarded and quite dusty, we did under 20 mph most of the way. The worse section of road was after the border crossing into Alaska, as they were rebuilding the road for about 10 miles, so we did most of that section at about 10 mph behind different "guide cars".

 

A great resource is Sue Thomas, who lives about 25 miles outside of White Horse in the bush. Loves the north and travels extensively with her husband and two dogs. You will find her posting advice on RV.net and the Alaska 2015 thread.

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We drove it in 2001.

 

The portion of the road from Dawson City to the Canadian/Alaska border was in rough shape, requiring going slow (however, friends drove it the following year and said it was in good shape, so the condition changes from one year to the next).

 

The portion of the road from the Canadian/Alaska border into Chicken was a dirt road, but was in good shape. I would NOT want to drive this portion if it was raining, or had just rained!

 

The portion of the road from Chicken to the junction with the Alaska Highway was a good gravel road (I believe much of this portion has been paved since our trip).

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We traveled it in 11 and found it very good going. No extra precautions other than taking ones time. We also spent a night in Chicken, and would recommend it as it breaks up the drive and adds to the adventure. I would also agree that you might want to wait if its has just rained or is raining as it does apparently get very slippery. We met some people a few days after we had been on it, and they said a big tourist coach had gone off the edge of the road due to the rain. But other than that, I don't think much to worry about.

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We opted to take the AK highway to Tok then back tracked to Dawson Creek in the Jeep last Summer (2014). They were paving the road on the US side of the boarder and it was really rough, one of the big sharp rocks punctured the Jeep tire and ruined it. It was a beautiful drive though and we saw several big rigs on the road on our day trip. The paving should be done so that will improve it.

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We drove the road in 2013 with our dually pulling our 40' 5er.. The actual driving is easy, because you only drive about 15-20 MPH between Chicken and the CA border and never over 45-50. Two things to remember; When meeting a large vehicle, semi, etc. on the U.S. side, pull over a bit and stop, let them go by you, makes both of the drivers more comfortable. While driving notice the roadway and berm, the berm is a slightly different color/shade, it is very soft, you step on it and sink in almost to your knees. This means if you allow your steer tire to get onto the berm it will pull you off the road.

While we were in Tok, I was talking to Willard of Willards Garage, a Good Sam tow service. He had two MH's there that he had pulled back onto the road. One was a full-timing couple, their MH was a total loss, the other was two men who left a pile of beer bottles a few feet from their MH after it was pulled up the side of the mountain, it was repairable. Both were victims of the berm.

All that may be moot if the entire road is now paved.

I suggest over-nighting at Chicken, which has two CG's with 15A service provided by a diesel genset. They do have fresh water, but it must be hauled in, so begin the road with your tank full and you'll be fine for the two days.

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We did it a year ago. Dawson City is worth seeing and the Provincial Parks in the Yukon are only $12 a day with free firewood. As far as the TOTW highway, it was foggy and rainy when we went so we did not see much. The Canadian side of the road was not too bad but on the American side it was 13 miles of large broken, not crushed rock at less than 10 mph. The road got much better after that but I am not sure it was worth the risk. We did not have any problems but we met a few people on our trip that blew tires. But you are going to love your trip no matter which way you go. You can read about our trip here http://www.kram-a-lotinn.blogspot.com/

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