How to do an Alaska road trip? even in severe winter

Take a winter Alaska road trip under the dancing Northern Lights and see the magical winter landscape.

Explore Alaska in the winter and enjoy the road trip of a lifetime. Driving in Alaska at the best of times requires pre-planning, but driving in the winter comes with a whole host of additional complications and dangers. Alaska can be fun to explore in winter as long as visitors are well prepared and respect the environment they are exploring.

The ultimate road trip in Alaska is arguably the adventurous Dalton Highway – the only Alaskan road to the Arctic Ocean. Much of the Alaska hinterland is inaccessible by road, and one major downside of winter road trips is that more roads are inaccessible. That means planning road trips around highways and roads that remain open.

Why Winter Alaska Road Trips Are Magical
Most of Alaska’s major highways are well-maintained and open during the winter – so if one sticks to these roads, driving conditions are usually pretty good.

Alaska can be explored year-round, including fall and winter. The snowy landscapes of Alaska’s winter are magical. In many ways, it is America’s last frontier, especially in winter.

The timeless winter landscape and the northern lights in Alaska’s winter are attractions that visitors stay forever.

Plan to visit some popular Alaskan winter festivals like Fur Rondy and the Iditarod Trail sled dog race.

Tips for Driving Safely in Alaska in Winter
Weather is always one of the biggest dangers of winter driving in Alaska. Always check the National Weather Service for warnings, advisories, and more at Winter weather often catches people off guard, and sometimes people can get caught in a winter storm and lose their lives.

Not all Alaskan roads are maintained during the winter — even parts of some major highways. These roads may be impassable in winter.

Unmaintained highways in winter:
• Denali Freeway
• Taylor Highway
• World’s top roads
• McCarthy Road (except for limited plough access to the airport)
• Name field
• Eureka Wall Road (MP 0 to MP 3)

Make sure one’s vehicle is well maintained and properly equipped for winter. Carry extra items such as flares, blankets, shovels, food and other survival essentials.

Since this is Alaska, expect wildlife crossings and keep an eye out for moose, caribou and other animals on the road. even has a reindeer notice.

When driving away from major cities (especially Anchorage), it’s best not to have less than half a tank of gas. If one is in a remote area and passing by a gas station – always top up.

It’s also prudent to let people know where a person is going so they can notify emergency services if someone doesn’t arrive. Keep in mind that cell coverage on the Alaska Highway System is spotty. Learn more about Alaska’s best safety practices at Many tips are common sense; they are also well known and can be the difference between life and death.

Take a Pre-Planned Winter Alaska Driving Trip
Take the stress out of planning a winter Alaska driving adventure with a pre-planned winter 4WD tour. This tour is designed for independent travelers. Eight-day Alaska winter driving tours are listed on

The tour runs from Fairbanks to Anchorage with stops at Chena Hot Springs, the Arctic Circle and Denali National Park. Guests can look up at the night sky and watch the dancing Northern Lights – one of nature’s most spectacular shows.

This tour is a bit like a winter safari in Alaska. Activities during the road trip include skiing, snowboarding, outdoor hot springs, snowshoeing, crossing the Arctic Circle, viewing the Northern Lights, and even flying over Denali.

• Duration: 8 days/7 nights
• Cost: USD 1,149 per person
• Seasons: January, February, March, April, October, November, December

The itinerary includes:
• Rental: 7-day SUV rental
• Accommodation: 7 nights medium level accommodation
• Museum: Aurora Snow Museum Tour
• Pass: to Chena Hot Springs

Meals, gas and some other expenses are not included.