The second big part of our road trip to Alaska was spent in Canada to Banff and Jasper National Parks, which are phenomenal. I will forever jump on any opportunity to spend time in the Canadian Rockies.
In fact everything I’ve seen in Canada so far has been beautiful. We drove through Calgary and stayed the night there and WOW! I have never seen a cleaner big city! I was so impressed, and there was such an emphasis on recycling. I was very impressed.
We did the Johnston River Canyon trail to the lower falls, which was a really pretty hike following the river, and it was a pretty easy hike, but it was a kind-of high traffic hike. There is even a little section of rock cut out when you get to the falls, so you can walk up right by where it falls over the edge. I loved that because I think there’s something almost magical about the mist from a waterfall.
All of these mountains surrounding you on either side makes you feel so small, but in the best way. Then we drove up to Lake Louise, which is so beautiful, but very crowded. I felt like I couldn’t just sit and relax there because there were so many people surrounding you. It was also ridiculously difficult to park there. The hotel there is totally worth going into because they offer really beautiful views of the lake without the crowds. There are lots of shops in there, if you’re into that, but everything in there is VERY overpriced (as are most places when you are somewhere where lots of tourists are).
We moved along towards Jasper. We stopped at every lake on the way, and walked around. We also stopped at the Colombian Ice Field, and a ton of waterfalls! They are so beautiful! There’s one in particular that’s right next to the road and there are three tiers and we climbed up to each one and it was so cool, and not too hard of a climb.
After we left Jasper, we stayed the night in Grand Cache to get nice and rested before starting the big drive alone the AlCan Highway. We drove to Dawson Creek the next morning and made it to Mile Zero – the start of the Alaska Highway!
The Alaska Highway was something that my dad was really nervous about. Everyone we had talked to talked about how horrible the roads were, how there weren’t any gas stations and so on. Based on all of this information my dad was understandably a bit freaked out and ready to buy gas cans, spare tires and prepared himself for an intense trek. Well, we definitely survived to tell the tale, and not only were there plenty of gas stations on the way, but the roads weren’t that bad at all! There were some rough patches along the route after Whitehorse, but other than that it was such an easy drive.
Notable Stops Along the Alaska Highway
- The Signpost Forest It was so cool! It was started in 1942 when one of the men working on the highway during World War 2 got homesick and posted a sign with the name of his town and the mileage there, and now there are thousands of signs! It’s so cool to see where all these people have brought signs from and stood right there too. It was fun to see places we had been on past trips!
- Muncho Lake This lake was simply amazing. We followed the mountains all the way to Alaska and they perfectly enclosed this mirror-like lake that reflected the low-hanging clouds. Muncho Lake sits right off the road and the next time I drive the Alaska Highway I want to explore this area even more.
- Our Lady of the Way Church This quaint Catholic Church was constructed from an old Quonset hut and can be found in Haines Junction.
- Kluane Lake Like Muncho Lake, Kulane Lake followed the road, but instead of being small and tucked in between mountains, this lake see,ed to go on and on. The water was that rich, bright blue and really popped against the trees and the mountains.
It had been an amazing journey to get to Alaska across multiple National Parks and mountain passes, past wildlife and roadside attractions. But, in all reality, our journey had just begun.
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