Driving the Alaska Highway from Whitehorse to Muncho Lake

I’m back on the Alaska Highway headed south again. This time, I’m alone, helping friends move by driving their U-Haul from Whitehorse to Kelowna, a 2,440-kilometer trip (1,516 miles).

I left Whitehorse just before 10:00 am yesterday (Sunday), with weather forecasts showing mostly sun all the way. After the amount of rain we’ve been having, that was a relief to see. There was some thick fog along the Yukon River and Marsh Lake (which are both extremely high) as I headed south, but within an hour it was pretty much clear.

The Alaska Highway at Teslin Lake
I made a brief stop at a rest area along Teslin Lake. The mountains in the southern Yukon got a heavy dump of snow on Friday night – it makes a nice addition to the Fall colours as long as it stays up there 🙂

Snowy peaks at Teslin Lake, Yukon
Wandering through the mountains south of the community of Swift River – the highway crosses the Swift River at the bottom of the hill I’m descending.

The Alaska Highway south of Swift River
At 1:30, I reached Rancheria Lodge at Historic Mile 710 of the highway. I can always count on Rancheria for good food and service, and a burger and soup were perfect for a late lunch.

Rancheria Lodge, Alaska Highway
The approach doesn’t look bad in this photo, but I’ve always hated the curves at both ends of the Big Creek bridge. The hills on both sides of the creek, though, don’t leave many options.

The Big Creek bridge on the Alaska Highway
This is by far the nicest of the many U-Hauls I’ve driven. It’s almost new, with only 26,000 miles on the clock, but a few buildings or whatever have already left dents and scrapes on the box.

My U-Haul truck
The Hyland River bridge. Even though the new bridge has no character, this is one of my favourite crossings on the highway, though I don’t really know why. I have a lot of photos of it, in both directions.

The Hyland River bridge on the Alaska Highway
The road ahead at Km 915. The intensity of Fall colours varies a lot year to year. While the southwestern Yukon has brilliant colours this year, as I got into BC, they faded and went mostly brown.

Southbound at Km 915 on the Alaska Highway
Right at Km 905 is a Point of Interest I’d never stopped at.

Southbound at Km 905 on the Alaska Highway
Now I know – the Alaska Highway crosses back and forth across the BC/Yukon border many times. There are many historic milepost markers along the highway, some with interpretive signs about their significance, many without.

The BC/Yukon border beside the Alaska Highway at Km 905
The the left of the highway as it crosses Scoby Creek is an old section of highway that’s extremely well preserved. I’ve not yet stopped to drive or walk it, but it’s on the list 🙂

Old and new Alaska Highway at Scoby Creek
This is another spot that I have many photos of – the Alaska Highway and Liard River about 20 minutes north of Liard Hot Springs.


As always, there were plenty of bison beside and on the highway all the way from Contact Creek to the hot springs. People make ne nuts sometimes. At 2 spots where there were bison right on the paved shoulder of the highway, as I crawled by, RVs and semis coming the other way seemed to not slow down at all. I saw a dead bison calf, with a headlight and other pieces of a motorhome still laying in front of it, so it had probably just happened. There were half a dozen extremely long full-lock semi skid-marks around the herds, too. Just slow down when you see them! Geez… 🙁

Bison on the Alaska Highway
Mom and baby were having differing opinions about whether it was meal time or time to go somewhere else – Mom was winning 🙂

Cow and calf bison along the Alaska Highway
I was up and down about whether to stop at Liard Hot Springs, but just before 6:00 pm, I pulled in, paid my $5, and started the walk. The light was gorgeous.

Boardwalk at Liard Hot Springs
I was going to go up to the Hanging Gardens first. Or maybe not: “Danger, Area Closed. Problem bear in area. Do not enter.”

Problem bear sign at Liard Hot Springs
I had a good long soak in the hotter part of the pool. With all my sore spots feeling much better, I decided that the stop was worthwhile.

Liard Hot Springs
The reconstruction of a lengthy section of the highway between the hot springs and Muncho Lake Park is in its final stages. The rains of the last few weeks have made some of it pretty soft, but it’s looking great.

Reconstruction of the Alaska Highway north of Muncho Lake
I just have a little truck – I want a bigger truck! 🙂

U-Haul truck beside a large dump truck
A very impressive slope stabilization project.

Slope stabilization along the Alaska Highway
The final rays of sunlight along Muncho Lake at 7:25. Ten minutes later, I stopped for the night.

Sunset on the peaks along Muncho Lake, BC
I had made reservations for the Northern Rockies Lodge just before leaving home. This is the nicest lodge on the Alaska Highway now. The rooms are good value at $129 (lake views are $149), but meals, though very good, are spendy – adding dinner and breakfast to your room is $55. The lodge is also among the most expensive places on the highway for fuel – it’s $1.699 per liter today (Whitehorse was $1.159 and I last filled up at Contact Creek at $1.114). Guests get a 20 cent per liter discount, but I never fuel here except when I’m on my motorcycle and have little choice because of the small tank on it.

Room 305 at the Northern Rockies Lodge
The view from Room 305.

The view from Room 305 at the Northern Rockies Lodge
This look at the dining room gives you a good idea of the quality of the construction of the lodge -it’s quite spectacular.

The dining room in the Northern Rockies Lodge

It’s almost 07:00, so time to get the day started. The weather is cold but beautiful, so I expect that I’ll be stopping for a hike or two along the way. I have no idea where I’ll be stopping tonight.



Comments

Driving the Alaska Highway from Whitehorse to Muncho Lake — 9 Comments

  1. Beautiful so far Murray having a great ride with you ! The stabilizing slope …. Very interesting would love to hear more about this later 🙂 the lodge is gorgeous is it along my itinerary ? Thank you love these journeys .

    • Northern Rockies Lodge won’t be on your itinerary (there’s never enough time, is there?). Some of the slopes in this area in particular have springs under them, and are constantly sloughing mud and ice down onto the highway, year round. It’s a never-ending headache for highway maintenance crews – this is by far the largest attempt I’ve seen to control it.

      • I see and thank you , see I’m going to need a lot more information from you with regards to my trip 🤔 which I am so so looking foward to 🙃

  2. This attempt for the slopes is a first , and perhaps you could someday explain this new attempt to me on how it was built and with what materials , springs are one of natures strong creations 🙂

  3. I loved all your photos! We made the trip in May 2015; Tried again this year but had truck problems near Ft. St. John; Hopefully next year we’ll try again;

  4. Completed the Cassiar Stewart, Alaska Highway circle trip end of September 2016. What a journey that was made so much more interesting with your info. Thanks. We will do it all again as soon as we possibly can afford to. Trip of our lives.