Driving to Alaska

Driving to Alaska is a grand road trip and a bucket list adventure for some. For travelers from the lower 48 states, that are camping along the way, Riverbend Campground is a popular stop. For those brave travelers, we encourage you to read on.

Be Prepared

In the past we occasionally had travelers with limited knowledge of Canada arrive with snow tires strapped on their roof and even extra gas cans on board. Today’s campers are much more knowledgeable. Today’s tourist has a better understanding of what they will encounter in Western Canada. Continue your research to avoid issue. For example, American travelers need to be familiar with the laws regarding entering Canada. Although we are very close and friendly neighbors Canada is a foreign country. Take time to become familiar with what you can and cannot bring into Canada. If you are planning this adventure, we encourage you to check our page “Americans Travelling to Canada” here and also read on for information.

Alaska Highway History

The impetus for construction was a desire on the part of the United States government to connect the state of Alaska to the lower 48. This plan became a priority following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Construction began in spring 1942. When it was opened it was 2700 kilometers (1,678 miles) and was not paved. Traveling the Highway in those days was challenging, with some rough challenging sections. Improvements have been made. Rebuilding some original sections has shortened the distance by 470 kilometers (290 miles) and the route is now paved. To learn more about the history visit Wikipedia here.

Entering Canada

Driving to Alaska requires driving through Western Canada. A popular point of entry is the Coutts, Alberta border crossing. This point of entry is 120 miles north of Great Falls Montana. In Canada, distances are measured in kilometers and speeds are in kilometers per hour. When refueling, your gas/diesel is measured in liters.

Camping at Riverbend

Riverbend Campground is located 275 kilometers (170 miles) north of Coutts. Many travelers find that this is a comfortable distance which makes our facility a popular way point. After entering at Coutts, you will drive north to the city of Lethbridge. From here travel west on Highway 3 to Fort Macleod. A short distance west of Fort Macleod you connect with Alberta Highway #2, dubbed the Queen Elizabeth II or simply QE2. Riverbend Campground is 128 kilometers (80 miles) north of Fort Macleod.

Big Rig RVs

Riverbend Campground can accommodate Big Rig RVs. Whether you have a Class A motorhome with a tow vehicle or a 40+ foot long 5th wheel we have sites that will accommodate. It is important to book in advance as we have a limited number available.

Continuing North to Alaska

From Riverbend Campground, the easier route is to continue north on the QE2 through Calgary and on to the City of Edmonton. From Edmonton head west on Highway 16 and then north on Highway 43 to Dawson Creek. This town is the site of “Mile 0” of the Alaska Highway.

Communities and points of interest are identified by the historic milepost system. For example, Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon Territory is at historic Milepost 918. A great resource with information for this part of your adventure is a guide published each year called The Milepost. Their website is here.


If you are dreaming of experiencing the land of the midnight sun soon we applaud. We hope this gives you some basic information. We would love to be a stop on your epic adventure. When you have your dates secured, book your stay with us online. Start by clicking the BOOK NOW button below.