My wife and I are planning an Alaska trip this year. We will be traveling with a 38' fifth wheel. We would like to travel the "Yukon Highway Loop" but i have received mixed reports about the portion from the Alaska Border to Chicken. I realize it is not a super highway and has stretches of gravel and worse so a lot depends on the weather. Some reports say it is not safe for big rigs, being steep and narrow with no shoulders and unstable edges. I would hate to have to backtrack from Dawson City to Whitehorse which would add another 1100 Km on to an already long trip.
Is there anyone out there who has driven this route recently? Can anyone tell me if they have taken a big rig over the route and what conditions were like? I am confident in my driving skills but my wife is a nervous passenger and I don't want to subject her to needless stress.
Thanks for any feedback.
We were over it last summer, 2011, and there were a number of big rigs using the TOP. They run fuel tankers over it, as well as large tour buses. We were using our truck camper, But I did notice some places where the road is narrow and making some sharp turns, you have to treat it as if it were a one way road. As long as you can see to do it safely, use the entire road to keep your trailer tires away from the edge, even if it means stopping to wait for an approaching vehicle to get past you. I think some folks forget that on sharp turns, the inside trailer tires want to cut in and not follow the tow vehicles path. On most wide paved roads, this isn't a problem or even noticeable for the most part. In places if you see a vehicle headed your way, you may want to find a wide spot and wait for them to get past, the same if someone comes up behind you and wants around. There is so little traffic on that road that a stop here and there is usually not a problem so long as everyone can see what is going on.
The Canadian side is usually much better maintained than the US part. The part of the TOP that I would say is somewhat "bad" is not all that long a stretch.
It is an adventure for most people and well worth the trip IMHO. We have driven it half a dozen or more times in an RV. I wouldn't hesitate to pull our 5th wheel over it, 31 ft rig, but we tend to take our TC. (our last 4 round trips to Alaska)
This section was on the Canadian side and appears that some permafrost melted and made a section of road way turn to jello. At one time or the other, I believe the Canadian side has been covered in "chip and seal" type of hard surfacing material. Most of it is good gravel now though.
This was not far from the border of the US and Canada, still some snow on the sides of the road in the shade. It was starting to rain on us about this time.
Then we got through Customs and into Alaska and the rain picked up and made the gravel/dirt roadway a bit muddy. When we would meet another vehicle, I would slow way down or come to a brief stop till they passed. Just take it slow and easy and pay attention to where every part of your RV is, at all times. The shoulders can be a bit soft, especially if it is or has been raining. Hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists make the crossing every year and probably 99.9% do it safely and without problems. And do they have stories to tell when they get back home. LOL
Formerly of Colorado and Alaska
Chevy 3500 DRW Dmax CC - Rockwood 8281 SS 5th Whl & 2008 Lance 845 TC www.pajbcooper.com web site
Alaska Trip 2011 posted
Colo-Utah-Ariz 2012 trip posted
"Without challenge, adventure is impossible".
RVpapa is not truly accurate - going from DC to Chicken, there are one or two places where the passenger is looking straight down a steep drop-off on the right. She may just have to shut her eyes. I'm rarely bothered by such stuff but I had to insist that Don pull to the inside - no shoulder, just a ridge of loose rock at the edge of the road and a long way down to any trees to stop a roll!!!! Would do it again, tho!!
What joe b. said was/is right on. We made the trip last July on a Sunday morning with 2 5th wheels and a diesel pusher from Chicken to Dawson City. No tour buses at that time, the 2 water trucks we were told that would be there was there. No question that rain would make it more difficult, but the water trucks keep it wet on some of the route anyway. Did meet some locals late to church on a bit of a blind corner, but they got slowed down. Don't think you will back track once you start, no place to turn around. Really glad we made the effort to go over the Top of the World Highway, you can do it also.
We travelled the TOW on 5/22/12 in a 28' RV and I LOVED it (and I'm a nervous rider on mountain roads!) I've tried to copy/paste my journal report here, but it just won't work, so if you're interested check out http://mytripjournal.com/cjnky
Thanks to Everyone who posted replies for your feedback! It is interesting how many different points of view there are. In the end the decision to go or not has to be subjective for each person but the feedback certainly helps! For me, I'm good to go! I'm not sure my wife shares my point of view but we'll work it out by the time we get to