Alaska has been on our radar for awhile now. And somewhere toward the end of last year we just started telling people we were going to Alaska, soon. And then dates started being adlibbed and somehow as we told more and more people, dates started becoming more and more etched in stone. Now it looks like we are really truly going, with a departure date of July 11th … give or take a day or two. Planning the Alaska Roadtrip has been easier than we thought with good resources in friends, books and the Internet!
Now, we aren’t big planners, in fact, we aren’t planners at all. But, when it comes to driving in upwards of 7,000 miles over a period of 3-4 months, with 10 kids in tow, we decided we had to have a vague idea of what we were going to do.
We were advised of the MilePost publication. Hands down, the legendary, the all encompassing Alaska trip planner and Alaska travel guide. It has all the beta on the highways, roads, ferries, lodging, recreation, sighseeing, attractions and services along the Alaska Highway to and within Alaska.
This is the holy grail of finds. As are the plethora of friends who have stepped up to give us some serious personal insight into our trip, telling us what stops they think are mandatory and which ones are pure tourist traps.
After spending quite a lot of time (for us) doing all the pre-planning that y’all do for all your trips, Dan & I both knew this information was absolutely worth sharing with y’all.
Now, while we will be sharing so much ALASKA with you, by no means should you take this as the ULTIMATE Alaska trip guide. No, I think along the way you’ll see more of what we wished we knew or wished we’d planned for. For now, though, we want to share with you what we have planned for and what we have thought of … and maybe some of y’all, who have been before, can holler at us if we are way off base on any thoughts or plans!
Definitely, if you are curious about our Alaska adventures, I highly recomment thta you bookmark this article and follow along. It will be informative, but also entertaining, I’m sure. I mean, how many other people have taken a 4 month family roadtrip to Alaska with 2 adults, 10 kids, an added friend or two, 2 cats and a dog?
This in intended to be a living document that will grow and change as we narrow down our destinations, our timeline, etc…or maybe nothing will change and we will just wing it? Who knows what time will bring, eh?
Regardless, we will be bringing Alaska to you all via our KelloggShow website, Social Media and Youtube. Be sure to follow #RVAlaska & #RoadToAlaska on all platforms, in addition to #kelloggshow and #kelloggshowkids. And when it’s all said and done, we have a huge surprise for our friends, readers and fans.
Are ya ready for this? We plan to release a documentary from start to finish of our entire trip. All the trials and tribulations, all the amazing scenery, the incredible treks and glaciers and wildlife.
In addition we will be filling our website, social media and youtube channels with so much Alaska content.
- We will post regular blogs and videos about RV prep and issues that might (will) arise during our 4 month trek.
- We will inform you of our favorite Alaska trip gear and gadgets
- We will aprise you of all our epic Alaska trip tips (discovered along the way)
- We will post Blogs and Videos of Absolute Must-See locations
As soon as we take off, we will post an interactive map that will allow you to follow our adventures. Where we stop, where we stay and for how long.
Right now, if you have any stops you think we would love or extended stays that you recommend, by all means, please let us know. And, if you live in the Yukon Territory or Alaska and would love to chill, hang out, adventure, go crabbing, fishing, flying, hiking … anything, holler! We’ll bring the party and you can show us your fave local spot and maybe even make it into our Documentary?!?!
Our Alaska Plans
July 14th -ish Start Date
This is the absolute earliest we could get out of Colorado. With all the kayaking competitions and visiting relatives in early July, the 9th is absolutely the earliest, and then we had packages that we were trying to get delivered that kept getting hung up. We settled on July 11th, but then life hit one of our kids hard and we are postponing our trip for at least one week so we can be here to support and love them for as long as they need us too. Family first, above all things.
So, when we finally hit the road, our first stop is in Salt Lake City, UT. A half day at Temple Square, where we will eat a delicious meal at The Garden Restaurant and then take a free tour of the Beehive House. Than we plan to hit up Diesel Sellerz as we just found out they are just outside the city of Salt Lake.
Afterward, we will probably hit up a local Walmart to rest our weary eyes. The next morning we plan to head to Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, ID as these falls are said to be over 200′!
And then we head straight to Garden Valley so Brody, Kenny and Dally can get their PFD (personal first descent) down the North Fork of the Payette. There are a ton of rivers right there that are great for the entire family. Coby and Elly kayaked the Main, their first taste of solid Class III whitewater and everyone can kayak the South Fork and just had a bunch of fun running new rivers.
Then, Cascade, ID, is only about a one hour drive and that is where the famous Kelly’s Whitewater Park is. This is such a great family playground … kids and parents alike can do anything here and have a blast. And, if you need a little pampering, a stay at the Ashley Inn in Cascade is an absolute must!
Maybe stay one week and head North to Kellogg, ID (for obvious reasons) and check out Coeur D’Alene…two places we have always wanted to see.
This Idaho Road Trip was one for the books!
First Canadian Stops
Our first solidly Canadian stop was Radium Hot Springs in a beautiful town at the South Entrance of Kootenay National Park. You can bet that we were already ready for the healing and soothing powers of natural hot springs. But not only that, we pulled out our kayaks and ran Toby Creek (in Panarama), the 7 Canyons Section (Class V) and Horsethief Creek a solid Class III/IV.
We then hiked Marble Canyon in the Kootenay National Park. I can’t say enough about the beauty of this place … make it a definite stop!
We stopped in, what is our favorite Alberta town so far, Canmore to check out what all the hubbub about this place was all about. We were not disappointed. It’s beautiful, we could live here, or at least that’s what we kept saying!
We pulled ourselves away and headed to Kananaskis for the Canadian Whitewater Nationals and Team Trials. We camped at Willow Creek Campground and trekked into Kananaskis Country every morning to run the Kananaskis River (Class II/III) with all the kids and friends. By far the favorite rapid on the river was Widow Maker … mega swirlies that are great fun for everyone.
Holy tourist central! Banff is insane. As a friend told me, “I feel claustrophobic there in the summer.” Yes, so much. The prettiest spot in downtown Banff is the Bow River walkway, the water is a beautiful tourquoise and it’s spectacular!
Insider Tip: The best parts of Banff are those as far away from tourists as possible! We found a few amazing spots, that filled our souls and pumped our blood. You just have to leave the city limits and the beauty doubles!
Lake Louise was next. We woke for the sunrise and, silly us, thought we’d be one of the few crazies. Nope. There were dozens of people poised with cameras. We hiked the ever popular Lake Agnes Trail and the Plain of 6 Glaciers. We kayaked Pipestone.
Insiders Tip: Husky’s is a safe place to sleep/boondock, we made it work two nights in a row!
Yoho National Park
We are now completely off our original map. We dipped back into BC to run a few classic rivers after getting some beta from local paddlers as well as to check out some favorite sites …Emerald Lake, Lake Ohara, Takakkaw Falls, Kicking Horse Pass, Wapta Falls, oh my!
And of course, all three sections of the Kicking Horse River. Class III, IV, then V! Happiness for the whole family.
Continuing the fun on the Kicking Horse River and the Gold River … not much else to see here, other than a Tim Horton’s and a Save-On-Foods, should you be low on groceries. We also took up almost an entire laundromat. It is to be noted that Golden is very RV friendly as no-one hassles you for parking overnight! And, should you need a shower, but there are no campground vacancies, you can follow our lead and chill for a few hours at the Golden Municipal Swimming Pool. $15/family!
From Golden we drove tot the tiny, but mighty town of Field. We stopped at the Visitors Center for WIFI and a place to stage the RV while we ran to Emerald Lake (wow) and the Natural Bridge.
Jasper National Park
Back into Alberta … we just keep crossing the border, back and forth while we slowly, ever so slowly make our way North.
The biggest thing we checked out in Jasper was Beauty Creek with Stanley Falls. Brody, Kenny and Dally wanted to huck it, the water level was a little low and I was having none of it. Second biggest fight of the trip ensued! LOL
And then, the boys met up with some local paddlers and ran a ton of stouts. Two of them were the Malign River and the Fraser … two Class V’s. After they ran it, they came back and grabbed, Dan, Kady and Cardy to go hit the upper Fraser and to huck Overlander Falls, a 33′ drop. Fun times. We camped one night in Robson Meadows.
But, now we have some questions. Campgrounds have been booked for months, if not years, apparently … leaving nothing for those of us with spontaneity in our veins and no cash cow to tap into.
Also, what if our RV breaks down? What if we decide we love a place and want to stay longer? Or, unlikely, but possible, the total opposite? How do people who make solid plans deal with these types of instances?
We’ve heard and read that it’s totally acceptable to pull over anywhere and camp in your RV. Is this actual reality or a pipe dream?
If we are in Alaska until late September, is there a chance we will get to see the Northern Lights? Do we run the risk of getting snowed in and spending the winter? Would love any feedback locals have.
We are completely devoid of knowledge in this realm of sports. We have the vessels, we can fish from our Shaboomee SUP’s or our Jackson Kayaks, or even from shore. What we don’t know is anything about fishing gear. Perhaps you could enlighten us with this knowledge? Poles? Lures? And anything else we could stand to learn?
Layers, obviously, but how much rain gear do we really need? Like really really? Oh, and bugs? Really really bad? Or totally not a big deal? And, one last thing regarding weather … when is the absolute latest departure date from Alaska for snow?
The Alaska BIG Bucket List
Salmon and Trout Fishing
When we travel we tend not to do touristy things. We steer clear and look for the authentic local flavor of where we are. In fact, next Spring we are heading to Europe with only what we can fit in our packs on our back.
So, when I read how huge fishing is in Alaska, I knew we would be broadening our horizons and hitting the rivers. We have good feedback on the Kenai River and the Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula, along with clamming for Razor Clams from Ninilchik to Anchor Point. As well as in Homer on the Spit … I hear Halibut fishing here is incredible.
This has to be done. But, we are on a major budget, gas alone will eat up the majority of extra cash we may have had. Any ideas on the best place to hop take off would be greatly appreciated!! Or maybe you won a bush plane and always thought it would be incredible to take a large adventurous family on a tour?
Alaskan King Crab
No way are my kids going to order Alaskan King Crab from Red Lobster and not taste the real deal fresh as fresh as can be! Any amazing local restaurants that y’all would recommend? Or anything else related to Alaskan King Crab?
The entire family knows we are not leaving Alaska until we have kayaked AND climbed glaciers. I hear Valdez is a very accessible location, as well as in Kennicott. So, I’m super stoked to know there are at least two spots where we will have this opportunity! Other must see glacier spots?
Dream list of Wildlife to See & Capture in Photographs
- Grizzly Bears
- Eagles, especially the Golden Eagle
- Polar Bear
- Arctic Fox
- Snowy Owl
Our Alaska Driving Route
We are not following any precut route or popular route. We are literally going where and when we want.
Our first leg, as mentioned above we are stopping in at Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, ID and plan to make our trek to Banff/Kananaskis the fastest way through Western ID into Eastern BC and over the Rocky Montains into Alberta. About 14 hours of driving.
We crossed the border, but just prior we made sure to take a ton of pictures at the Welcome To Alaska sign. It was rainy and overcast in the Yukon, but sunny and bright the minute we passed over … our welcome into Alaska, I’m certain!
There is literally nothing here to the naked eye, but if you stay longer than to fill up or wash your RV, you will see there is so much more to Tok (pronouced like poke). The Gift Shop is worth a visit…there are some super cool souvenirs and in the middle of the tourist season, a great place to meet other travelers. We went to Holy Family Catholic Church for mass as we happened upon Tok on a Saturday evening, where the Norther Lights shone bright. The priest, as well as the 7 parishioners attending invited us to dinner in the basement. We listened to their stories, laughed and made some new friends.
Tok is slow, the grocery store is crazy expensive, but is like a Walmart, the bathrooms in the Chevron are very clean and there is a laundromat with showers … $7 for the first in the party and $3 for each person after that they don’t have to clean for. Check out the library for WiFi.
Downlow Camping: We parked in the DMV parking lot, shared with the State Police for the night. Not one person bothered us!
Nothing to look at, not much to see. We ran into the Visitors Center to use the restrooms, but were sent to the gas station next door. Huge lines, 20 minutes at least. The Visitors Center is small and has some brochures for neighboring towns …
The drive from GlenAllen to Valdez is amazing. Glaciers and looming mountains and just … beautiful.
Often called Little Switzerland because the 5,000′ Chugach Mountains rise from Prince William Sound. We stayed at a seriously over-priced campground in the middle of the city, Eagle’s Rest. For most families the price would be considered fair, but when you pay for every person in your party … the price is crazy.
Eagle’s Rest was centrally located, easy walk into tow, to the bay, and all the restaurants, and just behind is Safeway. The showers were hot and unmetered, ahhhhhhh. 30 amp sites, cable, WiFi, and relative quiet made it a pleasant stay, especially for those of us who boondock 90% of the time.
Make sure to hit up the fish hatchery and learn all about Pink and Coho Salmon, normally I would say, meh to this, but really, it’s a must see and do while in Valdez. Here, we watched seal feasting off the plethora of spawning salmon.
Talking a stroll around the harbor and watching people fish, the boats come in and out and just experiencing a life so foreign to what we are used to was super cool as well.
Fat Mermaid, don’t even bother, but the drinks are strong!
Kady found this little off the map place where Alaska’s largest ski resort lies and the season passes show it … $1390 per person!!! The ski resort allows boondocking in the parking lot for up to 5 nights for $10/night in the summer, though, so there’s that. The tiny chapel here was awesome too.
From Girdwood we drove 30 minutes south to Byron Glacier … MUST SEE. Easily the coolest place we’ve visited since arriving in Alaska. We crossed the creek and spent hours exploring the glacier and since we arrived Sept 1 around 5, no-one else was there except for a photographer taking photos for Merrell shoes! LOL He told us he takes his kids to Byron to go blueberry picking!
We boondocked in the parking lot just down from the trail head and woke early to go paddle Portage Lake, a 6 mile paddle to view Portage Glacier. This too, was incredible. We paddled with the wind on the way out, and got there crazy fast. The glacier was epic.
Our Current Gear List
- Power: (Inverter, Solar, etc)
- Spare Tire and Tools to change Tires
- Spare Wiper Blades
- Windshield Insurance Policy
- Additional Roadside Assistance Plan
- Chase Truck so we can get into the deep wilderness and explore
- Cameras/Video Cameras
- Goretex Hiking Boots
- GeigerRig Packs with Water Filters
- Merino Wool Socks
- Rain Gear
- Fishing Gear (pole, line, lures, etc)
- Bug Spray
- Bear Gear Spray
- Survival Gear (knife, emergency blanket, first aid kit, etc)
- Jet Pack for Wifi
- Wineguard Wifi Extender
- Jackson Kayaks
- TMobile One
- Compact SLR Camera
- Waterproof point and shoot cameras
- Video Microphone
- Extra batteries for all cameras
- Plethora of SD cards
No clue. If you know of camping that is free or crazy inexpensive, please let us know. I’m sure we will figure this out along the way, but we aren’t keen on spending time in pricey campgrounds … we want the rugged Alaskan experience!! This section will undoubtedly change as we find the ultimate camping spots for an Alaska Road Trip.
Our Research Buddies:
Our friends at Chasing the Sun, spent a lot of time helping us determine a route, nail down locations that would offer up the type of wild and RAW adventure that we would love as well as helping to steer us away from destinations that are more touristy and that will not satisfy our needs. They have a plethora of blogs on their site about The Yukon and Alaska … my favorite is the one about homeschooling through the Yukon.
Several other friends have been to Alaska numerous occasions and have given us some pointers as well. And we actually did a little research all of our own. We have a few books in addition to websites.
This may sound like a pathetically minimal amount of research for a trip so enormous, but this is how we roll. If we are missing anything or are way off on our assumptions, please holler at us. And, if you have places or ideas that you think we’d love, we’d love to hear about them!
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