Haines Junction to Beaver Creek
For most of the 300 kilometers (186 miles) to Beaver Creek, the Alaska Highway parallels Kluane National Park or Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary—a comparatively well-populated, civilized, and stunningly scenic stretch of the road. Along the way are three government campgrounds (Km 1,725; Km 1,853; and Km 1,913), three little settlements, and a dozen lodges.
At Soldier’s Summit, one kilometer (0.6 miles) north of the Tachal Dhal Visitor Information Centre, a sign commemorates the official opening of the Alcan on November 20, 1942, a mere eight months after construction began; an interpretive trail from the parking area leads up to the site of the dedication ceremony.
This tiny town at Kilometer 1,743 was named when the original road-construction camp was destroyed by a windstorm in 1942. Destruction Bay has a gas station, the 32-room Talbot Arm Motel (867/841-4461, $90 s, $105 d), a cafeteria and dining room, an RV park, showers, general store, and gift shop.
On Kluane Lake, 127 kilometers (79 miles) northwest of Haines Junction, is Burwash Landing, population 90. The fine Kluane Museum of Natural History (867/841-5561, mid-May–mid-Sept. daily 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m., adult $5, child $4) includes a wildlife exhibit, native artifacts, a large model of the area, a theater where a wildlife video is shown, and some interesting fossils. Also take a gander at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, a log structure built in 1944.
Burwash Landing Resort (867/841-4441) has hotel rooms from $95 s or d, a restaurant, lounge, RV park, and boat rentals. The cafeteria is huge, there’s a fine dining room, and the bar gets raucous most nights—check out the back wallpapered with money. You can boat and fish in the lake from here; guides are available.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition