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Best way to get to Alaska from Vancouver??

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Dallas, Texas
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386 posts
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Best way to get to Alaska from Vancouver??

My husband and I will be in Vancouver in mid July this year. We would like to go to Alaksa (perhaps Juneau) sometime during our trip. What is the best way to get there? (i.e. ferry, drive, etc.)?? We prefer not to fly. Any sugesstions?

Thank you!!

Comox, Canada
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1. Re: Best way to get to Alaska from Vancouver??

I am not so sure that there is a "best" way to get from Vancouver to Alaska. It may depend on how much time you have. One thing to know is that Juneau is not on any actual roads. One way or the other you will have to take a boat at some point.

As far as I know, there is no direct ferry from Vancouver to any port in Alaska. One option in terms of going via the ocean would be a cruise. There are actually many cruises from the Port of Vancouver to various stops up the westcoast to Alaska. You could take BC Ferries up to Prince Rupert (from Pt. Hardy on Vancouver Island)and then you can apparently take a ferry with an Alaskan ferry line to Juneau.

The other option (aside from flying) is driving. It is a beautiful, but long trip. You would have to go through BC, up to Dawson Creek or Fort St. John in the northeast and get onto the Alaska Highway. You would then have to head down to Skagway (from Whitehorse) to catch a ferry to Juneau. If you drive w/o stopping it takes about 2 days to get to Dawson Creek or Ft. John from Vancouver. To drive the Alaska Highway takes longer but could probably be done in a few days. The highway has been much improved over the years and is not all paved. During the summer, many travel the highway so it doesn't feel very isolated although there are many miles of no settlements and lots of trees. The road is safe though and many RVs travel the route nowadays. Of course if you just wanted to see other parts of Alaska (rather than Juneau) you would not have to take the ferry.

Hope this helps some.

Kamloops, BC...
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2. Re: Best way to get to Alaska from Vancouver??

Hey Q --

First, in order to help you make plans, buy a book called Milepost. You may have to order it, try amazon.com.

Each issue of milepost contains a mile by mile listing of the ALCAN hiway - conditions (gravel or paved) - construction planned - and hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Additionally, it will have ads with telephone numbers and web sites for State and National Park reservations and information -- also should have the Alaska State Ferry System scheds.

The last several times I have taken friends to Alaska, I have used the BC Ferry System - Vancouver to Vancouver Island - Island Highway north to Port Hardy -- BCFerry Port Hardy to Prince Rupert -- then the Alaska Ferries from there - there is a ferry that runs only in the summertime that will get you to a number of different coastal communities in Alaska --

All the Alaska ferries in the summer require reservations - you will have to set a schedule asap -- remember that the weather can sour at any moment and delay your passage. You must build a day in hand at every connection. If you miss your reserved connection, you will not be able to secure another heading north, the demand is too great.

I normally do a circle route - the ferry system north and the ALCAN hiway south - it's a super trip - Build in enough time to take glacier viewing, whale and orca viewing and seabird viewing trips - you'll be amazed - try to get to Kodiak Island for bears.

Also - buy a good guidebook for Alaska and one for the National Parks - you'll need both --

Get started and be brave -- you'll have a most memorable trip.

Dallas, Texas
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3. Re: Best way to get to Alaska from Vancouver??

Thank you for all of the advice thus far. We now think we may go to Ketchikan instead of Juneau since this would shave a substantial amount of travel time off our trip. And, we are thinking we will brave the roads and make the drive! Wow! Wish us luck... and we welcome any other advice or sugesstions from anyone. Thank you so much for the book referral!

:->

Kamloops, BC...
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4. Re: Best way to get to Alaska from Vancouver??

Hey Q -

Glad to hear that you've made your decision -- The last road trip I made, I was able to maintain about 45 MPH, including gas stops, etc. The killer is always the wildlife - but since there are few other opportunities in this world to see moose and brown and grizzly bears in the same day, don't short yourself on time.

Pack, or buy in Canada, some DEET insect repellant - and take with you some mosquito coils - the coils are useful if you want to sit outside and eat a picnic - set them in a semi-circle up-wind, and they'll give you a little freedom when out of the car -- additionally, I use low-dose niacin - not slow release - with low-dose pills, it's easier to get your blood level up to a point that's effective as a repellant, without going over - keep lots of water on hand - if you do go over, a good guzzle will look after the flush - niacin is water-soluble -- and won't kill you

When you look at Milepost, you'll be able to tell which areas will require accommodation reservations in advance. Whitehorse is generally a problem over the solstice - June 21/22 (big party time - It seems that it attracts a big bunch of Druids) and over July 1 - July 4 - otherwise it can generally house all its visitors --

Dawson City is another place for reservations over the big weekends - it's charming and a centre for local crafts, etc. - It was home to Robert Service - Klondike poet - and worth a little time -

Look at White Pass & Yukon RR - is it feasible for you -- a terrific side trip --

Have a wonderful time - and really enjoy the planning - this will probably end up on your top three list of trips - the research is almost as much fun as being there --