Posted by: sunnyharvy | July 13, 2015

I SURVIVED the Top of the World Highway


The title of this post is what the bumper sticker says that I bought for Al once we arrived in Chicken, Alaska. The Top of the World Highway name isn’t completely arbitrary– for most of the ride you drive along the peaks and crests of mountains and hills, providing broad views of the lush valleys below. This 79 mile gravel-road is only open in the summer months. It is the roughest road we’ve ever driven, the likes of which we hope to never see again.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. To get out of Dawson we first had to take a brief free ferry ride across the Yukon. There is no other way to get to the highway from Dawson.


Consequently the line can get long. We were at the end of this one.


As you can see, the little ferry doesn’t have much capacity, especially when most everyone is driving a humongous vehicle (or two).


Our turn to board at last.


My not very happy driver (doing a great job I must say).



OK, you get the idea. 20 mph was pretty much the norm that day.


The highway crosses into the USA at Poker Creek, Alaska. Not likely to see any terrorists trying to cross at this remote location. Heck, the official didn’t even ask me if I had any fruit!


The US Government teased us with 13 miles of extremely smooth pavement after the crossing, but some of the worst road conditions ensued. One of Al’s disgruntled comments was, “I’ve seen better roads in Ethiopia.”

The reward near the end of the road? Beautiful downtown Chicken, Alaska, an extremely small hamlet with a good sense of humor but no electricity, telephones, or flush toilets.





Old gold mining dredge


The town mascot


Have you visited Rooster, Denmark or Suck Egg Hollow, Tennessee?
Wait a minute. How did Lizard Lick get on there?





They call their annual music festival “Chickenstock.” It reportedly draws a huge crowd of about 500 folks.


US Post Office, Chicken, Alaska – mail received twice a week…maybe.





Our not-so-healthy breakfast after a free overnight camp compliments of downtown Chicken.



Back on the rough road again.


Patchwork highway would be a better name for it.


At least they are trying…


  1. I love Chicken!! Fortunately I can go along with you in my mind!! Al looks so happy with his big ol’ cake!

  2. I just drove the Top of the World Highway on 1 June 2022. There are some wonderful BLM parks on the route from Chicken to the Alcan.
    As for the drive on the Highway, we went West to East. I strongly discourage that route. I was on the outer edge of the road with my camper most of the 6 hour drive. Yes, 20mph is about right for the drive. We were fortunate that any time a vehicle was coming at us we were at a safe spot to give them room to drive by. There are 10% grades on the gravel road, thus putting my 4×4 to the test as I was pulling a 10k plus weight camper. My wife and I were so scared driving the road we were not able to enjoy the views mentioned. I was focused on staying on the road while my wife watched for vehicles. For us, it was the worst part of our trip to Alaska in 2022. No guard rails, no shoulder, no lane markings, steep drop offs, blind curves, and mostly a 1 1/2 vehicle wide road were more than my nerves can handle. There are a lot more nicer drives in Alaska that are a lot safer. Consider Haines Junction to Haines for a much safer and more spectacular drive.

    • I would only recommend the drive to folks who have a Class B, nothing larger, especially not towing a big trailer. We were happy we drove it from East to West for the reasons you mention. Glad you survived.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: