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Old 01-15-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
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Top of The World Highway

We are planning another trip to Alaska this summer, and I would like to include a loop across the Top of The World Highway and the Taylor Highway from Dawson, Yukon to Tok, Alaska.

I have a copy of The Milepost and have been reading about the conditions of the roads in that area, but I'd like to hear testimony from someone who has traveled those roads pulling an Airstream. How was it really? Would you advise doing it? Is the scenery worth it?

Any input you would have from experience, or hearsay, would be appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:05 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
We are planning another trip to Alaska this summer, and I would like to include a loop across the Top of The World Highway and the Taylor Highway from Dawson, Yukon to Tok, Alaska.

I have a copy of The Milepost and have been reading about the conditions of the roads in that area, but I'd like to hear testimony from someone who has traveled those roads pulling an Airstream. How was it really? Would you advise doing it? Is the scenery worth it?

Any input you would have from experience, or hearsay, would be appreciated.
Steve,

Check out Bert Gildart's blog in August, 2009: 2009 August | Bert Gildart: Writer and Photographer He spent this last summer in Alaska and took the Top of The World Highway, in addition to many other adventures.

You could sent him an email with more specific questions also.

Bill
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:52 PM   #3
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Probably out of date, but I did it ion 2000, in the rain. It is dirt and narrow but certainly doable and we enjoyed it. Would have enjoyed it more if the weather had been better.
Don't however, get your mail forwarded to Chicken, but that's another story.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:54 PM   #4
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Drove those highways in the late 1970s without an Airstream. The scenery was fantastic. I still think about that trip.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:18 PM   #5
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In July í08 we spent 3-4 days in Dawson City and saw some very muddy RV coming in off that highway. When it rains the gravel road gets everything very dirty. There are places in both Dawson City and Chicken where you can hose down and wash your vehicles.

We left Dawson City for three days in Chicken and Eagle and had no problems at all pulling a 25ft Safari. My 25 year old daughter drove. However when we went, it didnít rain for a couple days and the dirt road was mostly dry and just been re-graded. As I recall it is not all mud and dirt surface but gravel that appears to drain well. They are constantly maintaining the roads.

I learned not to totally trust the MilePost bookótoo much old stuff and inaccurate milepost (or kilometers) numbers. However, the staff at local travel information centers, have the most up-to-date knowledge of conditions maps and traveling details. Good luck and donít rush.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:28 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone, for your replys. I've done some research from your suggestions, and now I just have to make up my mind if I can stand to drive on those roads that slow for that lenght of time.

I'm a sort of "lets get on down the road" sort of guy.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:27 PM   #7
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We did the loop from Tok to Chicken, Dawson City and Whitehorse in 2006. The road was mostly dirt for about half the trip, but worth it. If you're going to Alaska, it would be hard to pass up gold rush central.

You will sand-blast the front of your rig - but I have seen some folks use that sticky plastic stuff to good effect. I recall pulling into Dawson City, backing into my spot - then, seeing how thick the mud was, immediately going off to a truck wash to clean things up before settling in.

I'd say go. And as far as trip references, the Milepost is a big help - but we used the Churches' book for choosing campsites more often than the Milepost.

Pat
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:47 PM   #8
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A trip to Alaska is definitely one of our goals - maybe (make that definitely) it'll be a few years. But what do people figure in terms of mileage (per hour) based on dirt roads? Are we talking 20 mph - or something different? I know it'll vary dramatically - just trying to get a sense. And how far north do people travel? Don't mean to de-rail the orginal post - just really interested in Alaska!
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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My experience was that the dirt roads were really a pretty good surface. So I'd guess 45 or so was not uncommon. As far as paved vs unpaved, the only dirt roads we ran into was the Top ...highway and the road into Denali (we stayed at the Teklinika CG about 30 miles into the park. All the rest was good paved road.

Now, I will say that whenever you see a little flag at the edge of the highway, back it down pretty quickly, as that is where the road is under repair...so don't hit those at speed.

Pat
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:59 PM   #10
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Did Alaska in 1999

We drove (cabover camper at the time) from Denver over the east Alaska highway to Top of the World where we ferried across the Yukon, Chicken, Tok, Fairbanks, Deadhorse, Denali (Talketna), Anchorage, Hope, Soldotna, Homer, Seward, Valdez, McCarthy, back to Tok, Haines where we ferried to Skagway, Whitehorse, then Cassiar Highway down through Hyder and finally back to Denver via Jasper. 10,000 miles total in 2 1/2 months. Great trip! I'd highly recommend it.

We thought the prettiest areas were in Canada and on the Kenai Pennisula in Alaska.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:04 PM   #11
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The Milepost is your best source for planning

As editor of The MILEPOST guide I'd be happy to email you more details on the Top of the World Highway. Yukon Highway 9 is part of what we refer to as the Klondike Loop. We drive these highways every year, and while there may be some changes between when we have to go to press and when you drive the road, our highway logs are pretty darn accurate.
Top of the World is a beautiful highway, although highway may be too generous a term. It is a narrow, winding road that follows the ridge-lines of foothills, allowing for its "top-of-the-world" views. Despite this--and the general lack of guardrails--it doesn't feel particularly precipitous.
The road was seal-coated on the Canadian side several years ago, but for the past few summers it has been--for all intents and purposes--a gravel road. Kilometreposts are few and far between, but it is only a 79-mile/127-km stretch of road, if you include Boundary Spur Road on the Alaska side.
Gas up in Dawson City are in Chicken, 108 miles away (Tok is 187 miles from Dawson City). Boundary Roadhouse was closed again last summer when we went through (the Peets had operated it in summer 2008). I hope this historic roadhouse opens again this summer, but it is a tough spot to run a business!
I've always been lucky with the weather on Top-of-the-World and had magnificent views and good road conditions, although sunny weather does mean dust. We recommend slow speeds on this road, but you'll certainly see motorists doing highway speeds on gravel.
On the Taylor Highway into Chicken you'll encounter more winding road. One summer just north of Chicken I saw a motorhome that had taken a turn too tight and put a wheel in the soft shoulder, which meant waiting for a tow truck from Tok to get them out.
Many motorhomes take the Klondike Loop and you'll find RV parks and hospitality in Chicken. Also think about a side trip to historic Eagle on the Yukon River.
Have a great trip!
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by kristinevale View Post
As editor of The MILEPOST guide I'd be happy to email you more details on the Top of the World Highway. Have a great trip!
Thank you for your generous offer. I accept and have PM'ed you my e-mail address.

Thanks again,
Steve
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:11 PM   #13
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Could I get a copy of your information. I am making the trip this year with an airstream caravan. My email address is wingfoot321@yahoo.com. Our leader is Al & Gracie Buchanan. I will get a copy to them at the Sarasota rally next month. Thanks in advance.
We can't wait. I have never heard anyone who came back from Alaska say anytthing except they plan to go again.
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:33 AM   #14
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We drove it in July 2007. Out of the approx. 110 miles from Dawson City to Tok there was about 90 miles of gravel. At the time we went across , the road was washboard of about an inch or two high. We had freinds that went a month or so ahead of us and it was smooth when they crossed. Guess the traffic causes the washboard effect. It was a beautiful drive but you had to take your time. Be sure your tires are aired up properly. We spent 11 hrs going that 110 miles , of course 2 hrs. was spent waiting on the ferry to get across the Yukon River leaving Dawson City
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