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Old 04-08-2016, 11:59 PM   #1
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Red face Gold rush

I am getting ready to travel from Tuscon Az. to Homer Ak. in May. I was wondering has any one gone the way they call the gold rush route. Wondering if the roads are as narrow as I keep hearing and is it good roads to travel on. Is it less of a climb than taking the rocky Mt route. Thanks.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:58 AM   #2
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It would be helpful if you could be more specific about what you consider to be "the gold rush route”.

Much of the north was opened up by a variety of gold rushes. Multiple area and roads you’ll travel on your way to Homer consider themselves to be the gold rush country and they include multiple “Gold Rush” roads, trails, routes, etc.

BC’s Hwy-97 from Cache Creek uno to Quesnel and then east on Hwy-26 to Baskerville calls itself the “Gold Rush Trail”.

The route from Shagway, AK to Dawson City, YK called itself the “Gold Rush Route” but it follows the tradition coarse of travel not today’s roadways.

I have traveled to Alaska multiple times and done both of the above in our 43 ft class A and I’d be very happy to provide additional details once I know which of the potential routes you are considering.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:55 AM   #3
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Ron I would like to go from Jasper over to Prince George to Smithers up to Dease Lake then to Watson Lake and the to Tok. I hear the roads are narrow and rough. I am bring a new 34ft coach home. The other way is Jasper to Dawson Creek to Watson Lake to Tok. Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:57 AM   #4
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It would be helpful if you could be more specific about what you consider to be "the gold rush route”.

Much of the north was opened up by a variety of gold rushes. Multiple area and roads you’ll travel on your way to Homer consider themselves to be the gold rush country and they include multiple “Gold Rush” roads, trails, routes, etc.

BC’s Hwy-97 from Cache Creek uno to Quesnel and then east on Hwy-26 to Baskerville calls itself the “Gold Rush Trail”.

The route from Shagway, AK to Dawson City, YK called itself the “Gold Rush Route” but it follows the tradition coarse of travel not today’s roadways.

I have traveled to Alaska multiple times and done both of the above in our 43 ft class A and I’d be very happy to provide additional details once I know which of the potential routes you are considering.
Ron I would like to go from Jasper over to Prince George to Smithers up to Dease Lake then to Watson Lake and the to Tok. I hear the roads are narrow and rough. I am bring a new 34ft coach home. The other way is Jasper to Dawson Creek to Watson Lake to Tok. Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:58 PM   #5
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Ron I would like to go from Jasper over to Prince George to Smithers up to Dease Lake then to Watson Lake and the to Tok. I hear the roads are narrow and rough. I am bring a new 34ft coach home. The other way is Jasper to Dawson Creek to Watson Lake to Tok. Thanks for your help.
This is the way RV travelers get to Alaska. Thousands drive it in all kinds and sizes of RVs. Semi trucks drive it. Don't hesitate driving it yourself. It's very doable.

It's a normal 2-lane road just like you find in the lower 48. Yes, you'll have some construction/gravel spots, just like you would in the lower 48. Once you get to Tok - and everyone has to get to Tok to continue on to Alaska, you'll encounter some frost heave spots - small ups and downs. Most are marked by red flags or cones. However, once you go through one you'll know how to spot them from a distance - wavy.

The drive to Alaska is not a fast one. Take your time and enjoy the scenery and critters you'll see. If you're in a gravel area (Destruction Bay is probably the worst one you'll encounter) you'll be driving around 25 mph or less. If you see an oncoming vehicle, especially a truck, pull over as far as you can to the right until it passes. Sometimes we even stopped completely.

We took our 40' motorhome up towing the Jeep. Neither one received any damage for the whole summer trip.

Some of the horror stories you might hear are passed down from many years ago. Things have improved greatly nowadays. Just Go!!! You won't be sorry.

You mentioned you're going to Homer. Please don't take that as your only destination. You need to drive every road you can. How often will you go there? Don't pass up Seward, Valdez, Skagway (lots of Gold Rush history), Haines, Denali Nat'l Park (stay in the park for the best experience), Fairbanks, Dawson City (more Gold Rush history).

Most folks go up via the Alaskan Hwy and return via the Cassier Hwy.

Purchase the Milepost for lots of good reading on the history and for good maps.

Purchase Mike and Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' which includes Canada and the Yukon, also. It's the best for RV parks, public parks and great boondocking spots.

Purchase the TourSaver 2/1 coupon book. One glacier cruise will pay for the book and you'll want to do at least one. We enjoyed the Stan Stephens tour out of Valdez.

Don't overwhelm yourself with reservations. If you pull into campgrounds by 3pm you'll get a site. The boondocking spots are awesome. The only reservations we made for the whole summer was for the July 4 weekend (Alaskans like to camp, too) and for 5 nights in Denali's Teklanika campground - the farthest one you can drive. We only made those reservations about 3 weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be in the area. As it turned out, we were still early for Denali so on a whim we boondocked nearby the previous night and drove into the park early morning when folks were leaving. We easily secured another 5 nights in Denali's Riley Creek campground. We spent 10 nights in Denali and saw 'THE' mountain 7 of 10 days. We also saw every big animal living in the park. Our days were full.

Have a great trip and don't worry about the roads.
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Old 04-09-2016, 04:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Ron I would like to go from Jasper over to Prince George to Smithers up to Dease Lake then to Watson Lake and the to Tok. I hear the roads are narrow and rough. I am bring a new 34ft coach home. The other way is Jasper to Dawson Creek to Watson Lake to Tok.
That is called the "Cassiar" route

Here is a good website (Yukon Sights) with a good intro to the Cassiar Route

Here is a Youtube video form Gone with the Wynn's on their return down the Cassiar last fall.

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Old 04-09-2016, 04:50 PM   #7
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Ron I would like to go from Jasper over to Prince George to Smithers up to Dease Lake then to Watson Lake and the to Tok. I hear the roads are narrow and rough. I am bring a new 34ft coach home. The other way is Jasper to Dawson Creek to Watson Lake to Tok. Thanks for your help.
Thanks for the additional information.

I have taken that route a number of times with the last one being last year in a 43 ft towing a Honda CR-V. The roads are fine all the way other than possible road construction, common to all highways just a little more intense due to the north’s short summer season. On Hwy-37 you will come across the one remaining gravel section of the road but it’s in fine shape and only a couple of miles long. If you are going north and then coming down again I suggest going both ways, west from Prince George on the Cassiar and through Dawson Creek. If you are coming down in late August or September, it is better to do the Cassiar then as you’ll be able to drive into Hyder, AK and see the bears fishing for salmon. have the choice it is best to go north through Dawson Creek

About 220 miles west of Prince George you’ll find the Fort Telkwa RV Park. It is a great little place to stop for the night, overlooking the river, and they have a pressure wash available for cleaning your rig if needed.

About 300 miles west of Prince George is Hwy-37, heading north to Watson Lake. This can be a great road, especially for spotting wildlife. The wildlife is different each trip but the I travelled that road back in 2008 on my motorcycle, I saw more wildlife in that one day than I saw on the entire remainder of my trip up to Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Along Hwy-37 you find a road heading west, Hwy-37A. It takes you to Stewart, BC and Hyder, AK.

Make sure to fuel up before taking Hwy-37 as fuel stations are spread out and expensive. At the northern junction of Hwy-37 and the Alaska Hwy you’ll find a gas station. Don’t fuel up there but go the 13 miles into Watson lake and save several dollars on your fuel bill.

The road north of here is usually fine with the exception of the stretch between Destruction Bay and the Alaskan border. This is where you’ll find the worst frost heaves that were enough to get me airborne when I travelled through on my motorcycle. Take it slow and watch for small marker flags along the side of the road that warn you of rough spots.

The location and amount of construction varies a good deal but it is common to find highway construction that runs for about 13 miles. If they are currently working that section you can encounter delays and soft gravel. If it is an old section, not currently being worked, you can encounter rough washboard that may slow you down to 20 mph.

There are lots of great boon docking spots along the way but I have to give a special mention of the government campsites in the Yukon. They are self-serve dry camping locations that run $12-$14 per night. We stand in several and did not have any problem maneuvering around and finding good spots for our big rig running 61 ft with its tow car.

Don’t worry about the road, just go slow if you run across a rough patch, and you’ll have a great time.

BTW… Also try to avoid buying fuel between Watson Lake and Fort Nelson, BC if you can. The few stations along that route are notorious for their high prices.

Have a great trip !!
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:06 PM   #8
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Ron Thanks for your information. Sure helped me a lot and we do have a new Mile Post to take with us.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:10 PM   #9
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All good information. Plan to take the Alcan up, maybe the TOW (Top of the World route) and the Cassiar back down early Sept. Good tip on the Watson Lake fuel fill up rather than the one at the junction of Hwy-37 and Alcan.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:57 PM   #10
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Superslif thanks for the video looks like a nice trip that way.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:32 PM   #11
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We plan to boon-dock at my sis-n-laws in North Pole for a few weeks. On YouTube I have also followed another full-timing young couple Chris & G Travels who the past 4-5 years have traveled up to and back on the Cassiar route to jobs in Seward AK. They usually do a video every day or two. The first few trips were in a camper van, until they bought a 34' class A a year and a half ago.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:41 AM   #12
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Yea I have seen some of Chris & G travels on YouTube too. That one in there 34' class A on that rough part they were going though was making me wounder how bad it was. Nice seeing the one on the Zion tunnel too, because we are going there on the way.
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:27 AM   #13
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Here is another good travel blog from a couple who traveled up last summer including the Cassiar Route. I spent maybe 8 hours this weekend reading thru it.
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Old 04-12-2016, 06:43 AM   #14
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That is called the "Cassiar" route

Here is a good website (Yukon Sights) with a good intro to the Cassiar Route

Here is a Youtube video form Gone with the Wynn's on their return down the Cassiar last fall.

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