Length of stay: 2 days
Visited: September 2023
The Alaska Highway is considered one of the most scenic drives in Canada. It stretches nearly 2,400km from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska. It was initially built in 1942 to provide land access to Alaska to the lower 48 states during the Second World War. Since then it’s been paved and enhanced, providing plenty of opportunities to hike, camp and enjoy the vast wilderness along the way.
Day 1: Teslin to Muncho Lake
Two weeks ago we flew into Edmonton and drove two-thirds of the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Haines Junction. After exploring the vast wilderness in places like Kluane National Park and Reserve, Whitehorse and Dawson City, it was now time for us to leave the Yukon and make our way back to Edmonton. We got a bit of a head start the day before and drove along part of the Alaska Highway, stopping at Squanga Lake Campground for the night. It’s a relatively small campground (only 16 campsites) and there were only a handful of other campers around. After eating an early breakfast, we headed out. We had a long day of driving ahead of us.
We passed through here nearly a week and a half ago and we could already see a huge difference in the landscape in terms of the fall colours. It was also noticeably colder outside and the highway was less busy.
While we started the day with bright blue skies, as we neared Watson Lake, the sky grew thick with haze from a nearby wildfire. We stopped briefly at the Watson Lake Campground to eat a quick lunch before hitting the road again. As we were leaving town, we spotted a small herd of wood bison by the side of the road.
And if that wasn’t exciting enough, shortly after we passed an even larger herd of wood bison. Since there was no one else around, we could simply pull over on the highway and watch them do their thing.
In terms of other wildlife viewings, we also saw a couple of black bears along the drive.
We stopped at many of the main points of interest along the Alaska Highway while driving through here the first time. One of our favourite stops was at Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park which is home to the second largest known thermal complex in Canada. After spending the past couple of weeks hiking, we couldn’t resist stopping here again to take a nice warm soak in the hot springs.
After paying the small entrance fee ($5 per person), we headed to the day-use parking lot. There’s a short trail along a boardwalk that leads through a swampy forest to the hot springs.
At the end of the boardwalk there’s a change room and access to the Alpha Pool, the main hot spring. The temperature of the water ranges from 42°C to 52°C, depending on which side of the pool you’re in (facing the pool, to the right is hotter and to the left is cooler). The bottom is lined with pea gravel and there is seating around the edge of the pool. After getting changed, we got right to it. Being in the warm water felt amazing after spending most of the day in the car.
After an hour we reluctantly got out and got changed. We walked back to the parking lot and decided to just make dinner at the sheltered picnic area since we were getting a bit hungry. By the time we left, it was just before 7pm. We still had just under an hour’s drive to reach Muncho Lake where we planned to spend the night. This time we had reserved a campsite in advance at the MacDonald Lake Campground. It’s a relatively small campground and all the campsites are located on the shoreline.
It was quite blustery outside. The temperature was supposed to drop to 2°C overnight (and feel like -2°C with the wind chill). So we decided to just sleep in the back of our car again.
Day 2: Muncho Lake to Dawson Creek
We got another early start to the day as we had over 8 hours of driving to reach the start of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek. We left the campground shortly after 8am. The morning really is one of the best times to spot some wildlife. We saw a baby caribou and three thinhorn sheep within the first hour of being on the road.
The drive between Muncho Lake and Stone Mountain Provincial Park is one of our favourite stretches along the Alaska Highway. Not only are there fantastic opportunities to view the wildlife, but the scenery of the mountains is spectacular.
We stopped at Stone Mountain Provincial Park to make a cup of tea and to admire the views. When we were first passing through at the end of August, the entire campground was full. This morning it was mostly empty.
After leaving Stone Mountain, the mountains began to fade away and make way to denser forests and rolling hills.
The rest of the drive was rather uneventful between Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek. That is until a large truck sped past us and flung up a large rock which hit our windshield, creating a golf-ball sized crack.
We arrived in Dawson Creek in the early evening and planned to spend the night in a hotel. But this wasn’t the end of our trip. We went on one last grocery run as we planned to spend the next few days in Jasper National Park before flying home.