Driving the Alaska Highway in Winter – Whitehorse to Muncho Lake

I’m back on the road again, this time for about 17 days, doing basically a loop around what Destination British Columbia calls the Great Northern Circle Route, with some changes.

I left home on Monday just over 2 hours before the 08:15 sunrise, to catch dawn at Teslin, seen in the first photo.
Dawn at Teslin, Yukon
Gorgeous light looking down on Teslin from the viewpoint.
Teslin, Yukon, in a winter dawn
Reaching Rancheria Lodge at Km 1100 (Historic Mile 710) just before 10:00, I was ready for a big breakfast and a load of coffee.
Rancheria Lodge
This is what their $14.95 Yukon Breakfast looks like – 2 pancakes, 3 eggs, 6 slices of bacon, and toast. The owner seemed surprised that a little guy like me could eat it all 🙂 Ready for the road again!
Yukon breakfast at Rancheria Lodge
The view ahead at Km 1085.4, with that butte making it one of the more unique views along the Alaska Highway.
A butte along the Alaska Highway
The view back to the northwest at Km 1077.8 – this is one of my regular photo stops regardless of which direction I’m driving, for obvious reasons.
Broad mountain view on the Alaska Highway
As you cross into British Columbia south of Watson Lake, the Department of Highways makes sure that you know what’s ahead!
Bison warning signs on the Alaska Highway
Ah, yes, glare ice. A couple of hundred kilometers of it.
Glare ice on the √
Seeing a track plowed alongside the highway mile after mile, all I could figure that it might be for was to encourage bison to stay off the highway, and soon I saw the first indication that that guess was correct.
Bison beside the Alaska Highway
Soon, as always, the bison became more and more numerous.
Bison along the Alaska Highway
This section of highway (looking south at Km 855.4) is a new route built about 15 years ago – the very curvy old highway is a mile or so off to the right, on the other side of the broad valley.
The Alaska Highway at Km 855
The Liard River at Cranberry Rapids.
Here’s the bulldozer that was making all the bison trails.
Bulldozer making trails through deep snow for bison
More bison near the Smith River Bridge.
Bison along the Alaska Highway
This distinctive view at Km 779, with the Liard River on the right, is always my sign that Liard Hot Springs is coming up soon (less than 14 km away).
Km 779 on the Alaska Highway
Km 766.7
It was a gorgeous day to be soaking in the hot springs, with the temperature at -18°C (0°F) and only 6 other people there (4 of them Japanese men on a month-long drive around the North).
Just before the Liard River Bridge, I met a levitating bison!
A levitating bison along the Alaska Highway
The Liard River Bridge, the last of the original suspension bridges on the highway. This was Historic Mile 493.
Liard River Bridge
The sign says “Road conditions vary for 200 km, Use Caution”. I think that’s another way of saying “We’re tired of flagging all the bad spots, you’re on your own”. 🙂
Road hazard sign on the Alaska Highway
One of the last of the 40 kmh curves on the highway.
A 40 kmh curve on the Alaska Highway
This guy on the left stopped me for a minute and then I inched ahead while trying to figure out if he was really going to let me by without a problem. He did 🙂
Bison on the Alaska Highway
Nearing Muncho Lake I spotted the first moose I’d seen that day.
Moose along the Alaska Highway
Muncho Lake, seen from the large viewpoint at Km 712.2, Historic Mile 463, a few minutes before the 6:10 pm sunset.
Muncho Lake
My stop for the night, Northern Rockies Lodge.
Northern Rockies Lodge
My ground-floor room, #202, for $144 plus taxes of $18.72. Most of the guests that night were a drill crew from Surrey, BC (I don’t know what or where they were drilling).
Northern Rockies Lodge
The very impressive dining room. I had their very good Signature Northern Rockies Schntizel ($24) accompanied by a couple of mugs of German beer and a magnificent view both inside and outside. After dinner, the lodge owner, Urs Schildknecht, joined me for an hour or so and we had a very interesting chat that centred around tourism in the region, which I’ll be telling you more about in another post.
Dining room at the Northern Rockies Lodge

Tomorrow would be a late start while I waited for good light before continuing on to Dawson Creek.


Comments

Driving the Alaska Highway in Winter – Whitehorse to Muncho Lake — 9 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great photos,We traveled this route ten years ago, in the summer,great to see winter shots, Want to go back and we will.
    Thanks for taking us to another back

  2. Spectacular pictures! Only road I remember where a ‘Watch for Falling Rocks’ sign meant there might be rocks on the road! But no bison – mind you we drove it in the summer with all the other tourists. Love your adventures!

  3. What a fantastic trip, Murray! Loved your breakfast on day 1 and the hot springs!!!!!!! What a life you have~

  4. Beautiful photos. I’ve usually just zip past Laird due to the crowds and have never stopped at the lodge on Muncho Lake. It just looked really expensive.

    Nice levitating buffalo. With that technique, why do they bother with the trails? They could just float over to the highway…

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