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Alaska by car


Alaska by car

Alaska is connected to the contiguous U.S. (known in Alaska as the "Lower 48") through Canada via the Alaska Highway. The highway is paved and maintained year-round. Sometimes it can seem a little over-maintained, creating a uniquely Alaskan and Canadian situation: at any given time in the summer, you're bound to hit at least several dozen (and sometimes hundreds of!) miles of road construction. Since the roads in construction zones usually have only one working lane and, due to the scarcity of roads in the rural areas, there are not always alternate routes available, the construction companies operate "pilot cars" (usually pick-up trucks with yellow rotating beacons and large signs that say "Follow me"). They drive back and forth between the two ends of the construction zone and lead the vehicles safely to the other end. Depending on the length of the construction zone, the wait can be anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours. Since there's only one main road, you can't really drive around the construction. The roads that aren't being worked on are usually in great condition. Considering the Winter conditions, the roads are in great condition. Every year Alaska gets hit with tons of snow, and the roads take a pounding because of all the weight, salt, and plowing that must occur. It is easy to complain about all the construction, but without it people would complain more about the road conditions. Most of Alaska's highways are smooth and freshly paved. Alaska has bike path's that run adjacent to major roadways which can be a huge convenience to both pedestrians and drivers. This prevents sharing of the road and makes it much easier for people to travel short distances via the path. Some of these bike paths allow for ATV and dirt bike use. All Terrain Vehicles are very common for natives to use when traveling short distances. Be careful of them while you're driving because they come out from all areas: both on-road and off-road. If you're planning to drive to or around Alaska, make sure to pick up a copy of The Milepost , which is widely regarded as the premier road guide for western Canada and Alaska. Most roads in these regions have small white posts every mile or so indicating the number of miles from the start of the road. The Milepost has extremely detailed route descriptions of all of the roads, pointing out everything from scenic viewpoints and campgrounds down to the names of small creeks the roads pass over. If you're flying in to Anchorage and then driving around the state, pick up a copy of The Milepost at one of the local Costcos or WalMarts - the price there is around half of list price. Some rental car companies may offer one-way rentals in and out of the state in the shoulders of the tourist season (one-way into the state before summer and one-way out of the state after summer). Check with each agency for details. Also, it is possible (albeit expensive) to rent a vehicle one-way from Skagway to Anchorage with Avis , which is an option to pair with ferry service from Washington to Alaska (see below). If an immigration issue prevents you from entering Canada, you may not enter Alaska by car from the contiguous US. Note that Canadian customs regulations state that Canadian residents may not rent a vehicle in the United States (including Alaska) and drive it into Canada.

The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Alaska


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Alaska Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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