Whitehorse to Beaver Creek
Before leaving Whitehorse, you need to decide whether to take the Alaska Highway straight through to Alaska or continue north to Dawson City and then continue along the Top of the World Highway, which loops back down to the Alaska Highway at Tok (Alaska). The latter option adds less than 200 kilometers (120 miles) to the distance between Whitehorse and Tok, while taking in Dawson City, a must-stop on any Northern itinerary. The entire loop, beginning and ending at Whitehorse, is 1,480 kilometers (920 miles).
This section covers the direct route to Alaska, along the Alaska Highway to Beaver Creek. The total distance to the border is 460 kilometers (187 miles). Haines Junction is the only town of any consequence en route, beyond which the highway parallels Kluane National Park.
It’s an easy 160-kilometer (100-mile) drive to Haines Junction from the capital. The scenery doesn’t really become memorable until the highway closes in on Haines Junction, when the Kluane Icefield Ranges and the foothills of the St. Elias Mountains start to dominate the view; when it’s clear, Mount Hubbard (4,577 m/15,000 ft) looms high and white straight ahead.
A worthwhile stop is Kilometer 1,604, 21 kilometers (13 miles) east of Haines Junction. Here a log bridge dating to the early 1900s has been rebuilt. Walk out onto it to compare the log action with the steel-supported highway bridge.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition