Other Region Alaska by 4x4, whozdunnit


On my grind
Pleasant Grove
In an effort to see some of the things I want to see in the world before I’m “old”, I’m putting together some plans for longer vacations.

One of which, is Alaska backcountry. Truth be told I’d love to actually make the complete PanAmerican Highway drive, but I don’t know if financially I’m there yet to accomplish such a task.

But, Alaska. Who’s been there in the backcountry? What is the absolute must-see’s? When is the best time to go? (I’m thinking late summer/fall for the chance to see fall colors on the trees and wildlife in their busy season.

I’m out to see as many large bull moose as I can, and as much other wildlife as possible too.

Also would love to see Mt Denali.

I’m planning on the Gladiator being my modus operandi. Would make some changes of course to make it more ideal for this excursion. (Swap the A/T’s for M/T’s, full self-recovery gear, etc)


Whoever would like to go can obviously contact me and we can discuss scheduling or ideas.


But stuck more often.
Hmmmmm..... Where to start? I grew up in Alaska and have traveled just about anywhere you can go by road (not much). Having said that, I have yet to make it all the way to Prudhoe. Be sure to research Prudhoe before just heading there. Once there you can't just drive around as they wont let you and there's not really anywhere to go. As I recall they'll put you on a bus and take you to the water if you want to see it. Next time I road trip I will plan an entire week on the Dalton. It needs that much time to fully explore it. If you don't have the time then just cross the arctic circle and turn around. That's two days and will be well worth it. You'll see just how massive the area is and be able to see the pipe line.

Back country starts as soon as you step off the roads in Anchorage. You can literally be in a thick forest on untouched ground in the middle of town. You can hike Flat Top mountain right in Anchorage to get a good feel for what backcountry Alaska is like. Moose are as likely to be seen in any neighborhood as deep in the woods. I bet you'll see most on the sides of highways eating branches. Just keep your eyes open. Same thing with bears. Mostly brown bears.

As a general rule, the closer you get to Denali, the less likely you are to see it. If it's clear in Anchorage just look north and you'll see the top of the mountain 365 miles away, while everyone in Denali park is getting rained on and not seeing anything. I have been to the park several times and have seen the mountain from there once. Take the bus into the park. You'll see more that way then what you can do on your own.

My two must see areas are the drive on the Dalton Highway and the drive on the Richardson highway from Delta Junction and work your way to Valdez. Hike up Worthington Glacier before you get to Valdez.

September will give you great fall weather in southern AK, but will likely have snow up north. You'll have good chances for sunny weather in June and most of July. Then it rains almost non stop till mid October when it turns to snow.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Sandy, Ut
Do it! Alaska is amazingly gorgeous and the drive from the states is awesome. I'll toss some more thoughts when I'm at a keyboard.

As for the Pan-American Highway, absolutely go. Driving to Panama isn't too far off of driving to Prudhoe.