We left Whitehorse on a mission. We had 4 days to get to Kelowna for a wedding- a grand total of 2,300km. It was just Gaia and I and miles and miles and MILES of open road. I want to make a note before I start this post about the gorgeous Alaskan Highway to say that I would NEVER do that again. It’s not fun having to cross an average of 500-800 km/day with no rest days and a 7 year old in the back.
Need to Know:
⛽️: Fuel spots are a little more often than the Stewart-Cassiar but still be prepared to go long distances between stations.
📱: There is no cell service between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake. There is limited cell service between Watson Lake and Whitehorse. There is limited wifi at the lodge across from Liard Hotsprings.
🥘: There are grocery stores in Fort Nelson and Watson Lake- but between that there are limited food options. Teslin has a busy little restaurant.
💦: Bring all essentials for a long road trip, including emergency gear and water as this is an isolated stretch of land.
📝: Passports are required if you plan on continuing to Alaska.
I had full intentions of heading back down the Stewart Cassiar to Prince George and then take Highway 5 to Kelowna. Whitehorse to Boya Lake was roughly 6 hours of driving or 500 km. I decided to head straight past the Cassiar turn off to Watson Lake so I could stock up on groceries. After a grocery stop, we wandered around the famous “Signpost Forest.” Gaia enjoyed playing on the historic machines as much as wandering through the various thousands of signs from all over the world.
It was such a beautiful evening, we drove down to Lucky Lake to cook up dinner. The day use area is perched perfectly overlooking the lake where the sun hits just right. There is anoutdoor waterslide, picnic tables, a floating dock, and a nice sand beach.
We camped at the provincial Watson Lake campground since Lucky Lake was day use only. The next morning we went back and Gaia enjoyed a full morning of swimming at the lake. She even thaught herself how to dive off the platform on the middle of the lake.
We had 500km to drive this day so we made sure to break up the drive with a stop at Liard Hot Springs for an invigorating soak. The hot springs are really reasonably priced and have a campground and playground on site. The campground does fill up in the summer, but the hotsprings are so worth it! After paying the entrance fee at the gate, you park and walk down a boardwalk along the marsh for approximately 10 minutes before reaching the beautiful springs. There are change rooms and outhouses in the area.
Just before reaching the hotsprings we came across the herd of bison that frequent the area. The first time I drove this stretch, I was scared of them, but this time I wasn’t intimidated.
After Liard Hotsprings was a mandatory stop at the beautiful Muncho Lake. Honestly, you could spend days on this stretch. It’s just amazing. Our final destination was Fort Nelson where we rented a hotel room to prepare for 2 more long days of driving.
I don’t know what it is, but I think Fort Nelson is such a cute little town and we were happy to have stopped there. Finally, we pushed from Fort Nelson down to Jasper (1000km or 10.5 hours). This part was difficult because there was a lot of construction for the last few hundred kilometres and we were so tired of driving after already spending the past two days behind the wheel.
I definitely suggest to anyone that is thinking of doing this drive, to take it much slower, but we had time constraints and tried to take it in as best as we could.
We have done this drive in the past, just Gaia and I when she was 2 years old. We camped the whole way and took it quite a bit slower. Click here if you’d like to read more about that trip.
Oh, and we made it to the wedding on time!