Overview

Our one-way itinerary from Vancouver to Whitehorse takes you to unexpected places and encompasses two ferry rides along with the best of Canada’s spectacular outdoors. Take the road less travelled and explore the northern part of Vancouver Island where the adventure of a lifetime awaits you. Explore an unspoiled and breathtaking palette of rainforest, lakes and saltwater inlets while getting up close and personal with whales and sea wildlife. Then jump on a ferry to continue your exploration north along the Stewart and Cassiar Highways.
Duration
19 DAYS
Distance
2825km / 1755mi
Region
British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska

Route - 2825 km / 1755 mi

Day Location Distance Duration
01 Vancouver to Nanaimo 111 km / 69 mi Approx. 2 hours 38 minutes
02 Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach 48 km / 30 mi Approx. 35 minutes
03 Qualicum Beach to Campbell River 112 km / 70 mi Approx. 1 hour 2 minutes
04 Campbell River to Telegraph Cove 201 km / 125 mi Approx. 2 hours 15 minutes
05 Telegraph Cove
06 --
07 Telegraph Cove to Port Hardy 64 km / 40 mi Approx. 47 minutes
08 Port Hardy to Prince Rupert 507 km / 315 mi Crossing times vary
09 Prince Rupert
10 Prince Rupert to Meziadin Junction 394 km / 245 mi Approx. 4 hours 36 minutes
11 Meziadin Junction to Hyder, Alaska - Return 140 km / 87 mi Approx. 1 hour 18 minutes - one way
12 Meziadin Junction to Dease Lake 331 km / 206 mi Approx. 4 hours
13 Dease Lake to Teslin Lake 487 km / 303 mi Approx. 6 hours 33 minutes
14 Teslin Lake to Skagway 241 km / 150 mi Approx. 3 hours 19 minutes
15 Skagway
16 Skagway to Haines (by ferry) 31 km / 19 mi Approx. 1 hour 29 minutes
17 Haines to Haines Junction 268 km / 167 mi Approx. 4 hours 38 minutes
18 Haines Junction to Whitehorse 154 km / 96 mi Approx. 1 hour 39 minutes
19 --

Trip Details

You’re in for a memorable ferry ride today – enjoy the gulf islands, salty ocean breeze and keep your eyes peeled for orcas. The Tsawwassen Ferry to Duke Point is the best choice for reaching Nanaimo quickly. The ferry ride is about two hours long. If the weather is fair, there is nothing better than to stand out on deck while watching the landscape of the coastal mountains go by.
 
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Explore Nanaimo, “The Harbour City”, renowned for its excellent waterfront shopping, dining, vibrant arts and cultural scene.
 
Drive a short distance to the Qualicum Beach Region - Canada’s beach playground - with miles of sandy beaches. Take a day trip to Horne Lake Cave Provincial Park and explore the fascinating geology and history of the amazing caves or try skydiving with SkyDive Vancouver Island for a tandem flight over the ocean, mountains and valleys.
 
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Drive one and a half hours north on the scenic coastal highway 19A and stop for oysters at Fanny Bay, enjoy the hub of arts and culture downtown Courtenay, visit Cumberland a former historic coal mining town or drive up into the alpine of Mount Washington for a spectacular view over the Comox Glacier and the Straight of Georgia.
 
Campbell River the "Salmon Capitol of the World" offers exceptional whale, bear and wildlife watching. Spend some time watching the fishermen bring in their catch at the wharf or enjoy the 4km beachside seawalk.
 
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Leave the hustle and bustle behind and drive two hours north through the untouched wilderness of the most northern part of Vancouver Island and step back in time when you reach Telegraph Cove.
 
This historic and picturesque waterfront village is among the last surviving boardwalk communities on the west coast and deserves a longer stay. You have the opportunity to kayak with the whales on day or multi-day tours, or explore famous Knight Inlet and perhaps see grizzly bears in their natural environment.

Drive out to Nimpkish Lake and get into the most exciting sport of Kitesurfing. With steady winds this is the best place to learn. RV Parking is available on site. Just a short boat ride away is Alert Bay, on Cormorant Island. The village is home to the world’s tallest totem pole, where more than half of the village’s residents are First Nations people.

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Spend the next two days exploring the quaint surrounds of Telegraph Cove.
 
Go whale watching in the serene waters of Johnston Strait and the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, one of the most predictable places to see killer whales in the wild. Hike the Blinkhorn/Dave Farrent Trail with amazing views over the ocean, or visit the Whale Interpretive Center. You have the opportunity to kayak with the whales on day or multi-day tours, or explore famous Knight Inlet and perhaps see grizzly bears in their natural environment.
 
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Continue your journey north-west on Highway 19 to Port Hardy.
 
This small town at the northern tip of the island welcomes you with a hand-carved wooded sign at the edge of the town. Topped with wooden sculptures of bears and salmon, the sign reminds you of the many activities available to those who wish to stay a while. Take some time and join a guided hike with Cove Adventure Tours to experience some remote white sandy beaches, caves and the rugged northern backcountry.
 
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From Port Hardy, you'll continue your journey north by sea through the inside passage, enabling you to sit back, relax, and watch the spectacular scenery from the comfort of the ferry. Note that the ferry to Prince Rupert doesn't sail every day, so make sure you have your reservations made well in advance.
 
Check the BC Ferries website for the most up-to-date information.
 
The ferry arrives in Prince Rupert late evening so be sure to book your RV site in advance. Many campgrounds in Prince Rupert stay open late for ferry arrivals.
Activities in the Prince Rupert area include hiking, wildlife watching, fishing and boating. A short distance away, in Port Edward, visit the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site, the longest running cannery in BC's history. Almost 90 years of continuous salmon production and fish processing ended there in the late 1970s and the site has been preserved as a museum.
The land option (Highway 16) will take you inland to Kitwanga where you can join the Stewart-Cassiar Highway through to Meziadin Junction.
 
Spectacular scenery abounds and there's always the possibility of viewing bears, moose and other wildlife en route. There's a great provincial park campground at Meziadin Junction where we recommend you spend a couple of nights if you have the extra time. Book in advance, especially if you're looking for a lakeside site.
Today is all about the scenery. Be sure to have your passports on you, as the journey requires a border crossing. There is no US border inspection station here, making it the only land border crossing where a person may legally enter the United States without reporting for inspection, however you will need a passport to re-enter Canada.
 
The road from Meziadin Junction to Stewart, known as the Glacier Highway (37A), takes you past more than 20 glacier formations including Bear Glacier – a must-see for every visitor. Bears, moose, fox, porcupine and mountain goats frequent the area. The 65km highway is completely paved. Just past Stewart is Hyder, across the border in the USA.
 
Stewart is a small service town sitting at the head of the Portland Canal. The canal forms a natural boundary between Canada and the USA. One of the main attractions is the drive to the Salmon Glacier and Granduc Mine. Unfortunately this road is not suitable for large vehicles such as RVs. If you wish to travel the Glacier Road, check with Seaport Limousine in Stewart to see if they offer tours.

Another big tourism draw here is bear watching.  Three miles north of the town, the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site offers safe viewing platforms for visitors to view bears in their natural habitat as they fish for chum and pink salmon in the waters of the Fish and Marx Creeks. The bears frequent the area from June to September.
 
Return to Meziadin Lake Campground for another night by the lake.
The spectacular scenery continues today as you drive between Meziadin Junction and Dease Lake. Be aware that services are not plentiful so take the opportunity to fill your gas tank whenever you can.
 
You will pass more provincial parks en route, many of which offer great opportunities for hiking and camping. Just north of Dease Lake you’ll find Waters Edge Campground. If you prefer to travel a little further than Dease Lake today and get a head start on tomorrow’s journey, consider Boya Lake Provincial Park for your overnight stop. There’s a beautiful campground here with sites right on the lake. Make sure you book in advance.
 
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Highway 37 takes you out to the junction with Highway 1 about 15 minutes west of Watson Lake. We recommend you take the 22km detour into Watson Lake to stock up on food and drink and to visit Watson Lake’s most famous attraction – the Sign Post Forest. The “Forest” began in 1942 when a homesick US soldier decided to add his home town sign of Danville, Illinois to a sign post showing the way to Watson Lake. Today, the Sign Post Forest has over 72,000 signs … and counting.
 
Continue on to Teslin, home to the Inland Tlingit First Nations. Be sure to visit the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre and the George Johnston Museum. The lake itself is a popular destination for fishing and boating in summer months.
 
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Today’s drive is all about the scenery on your way to Alaska. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, particularly bears. Highway 1 continues along Teslin Lake then veers west at Johnsons Crossing. A little further on, you come to a junction at Jakes Corner where you can go northwest to Marsh Lake and Whitehorse (if you’d like to shorten your trip) or take Hwy 8 to Tagish and Carcross (en route to your destination of Skagway today).
 
Continue towards Carcross and, at the junction of Highways 8 and 2, take the Klondike Highway a short distance north and you’ll reach the Carcross Desert. Often considered the smallest desert in the world, Carcross Desert measures approx. 1 square mile.
 
Return to Carcross, a small community comprising fewer than 300 people, and stop to visit the Matthew Watson General Store, the oldest operating store in the Yukon. Continuing southeast on Hwy 2 towards Conrad and Fraser, there’s a number of scenic lookouts along the road, many overlooking lakes.
 
Skagway is home to many gold-rush era buildings, which now form part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.
 
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The number one attraction in Skagway is undoubtedly the White Pass & Yukon Railway. The train excursion will take up only a half-day - be sure to book well in advance.
 
For a fun and entertaining way to learn more about Skagway, take the Skagway Street Car Tour. Hear local history from a professional guide, visit a lookout over the town, the Gold Rush cemetery and the start of the Chilcott Trail. Take a flight over famous Glacier Bay deep into the jagged Fairweather Mountain Range or join a guided bicycle tour, retracing the historic Gold Rush, coasting down the White Pass Summit.
 
If you have an extra day to spend in Skagway or would like to do something other than the train trip and streetcar, consider a day trip with Alaska Fjordlines to Juneau. This gives you the best of the inside passage in just one day, including wildlife and whale viewing, a tour of Juneau’s highlights, exploring on your own and a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier before sailing back to Skagway. Check the CanaDream app for partner discounts.
 
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Time this morning to explore more around the town of Skagway before catching the noon ferry to Haines. Make a reservation online to ensure availability.
 
The trip takes only 45 minutes so there’ll be plenty of time in the afternoon to get acquainted with Haines. Haines has activities for the whole family including bike tours and rentals, fishing, hunting, flightseeing, golf, kayaking and rafting.
 
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The 240km journey to Haines Junction today will take you back into Canada and landing you on the edge of Kluane National Park. In the front ranges, you can enjoy casual strolls or challenging day hikes.
 
Haines has activities for the whole family including bike tours and rentals, fishing, hunting, flightseeing, gold, kayaking and rafting.
 
River rafting is also an option. The Tatshenshini River journey takes you through the ice age with glaciers, icebergs, wildflowers and wildlife. Kluane National Park is home to 17 of Canada’s 20 highest peaks. Much of the park is inaccessible by road, making it ideal for day or multi-day hikes, flightseeing and exploring by water.
 
Let Kluane Glacier Air Tours take you on a spectacular flight above the world's largest non-polar icefields and circle Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Refer to our CanaDream app for details and discounts.
 
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If you are planning to drop off your RV today in Whitehorse, plan to get an early start. It’s less than 2 hours to our Whitehorse location. If you have another day, Whitehorse is an easy town to negotiate with an RV. Some suggestions for places to visit are Miles Canyon, Yukon Wildlife Preserve, MacBride Museum, S.S. Klondike, Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon Transportation Museum, Kweanlin Dun Cultural Centre and Yukon Brewing Company.
 
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