The remote Top of the World Highway is a very scenic drive in the U.S. state of Alaska. Built in 1955, the winding road is only open during the summer months.
Is the Top of the World Highway paved?
The road, also known as Yukon Highway 9 and the 60 Mile, is mostly unpaved. Completed in 1955, it's one of the most northerly highways in the world at those latitudes. The road is sometimes narrow with frequent surface breaks, potholes, washboard and little to no shoulder. It winds along the top of the mountain range for a truly breathtaking drive, wandering around the high points of a series of ridges far above treeline, and the views just go on and on forever. The highway was all paved in the late 1990s, but hasn't been maintained, so about half of it is gravel. The route is wide and has few steep drops, but that's not the case once you cross the border into Alaska.
How long is the Top of the World Highway?
The road is 127-kilometre (79 mi) long linking the Taylor Highway and West Dawson, Yukon. Ideal time to travel is daylight. Not adviced night drive. It’s not an easy drive, so experience driving on mountain roads is required. If narrow, winding mountain roads are all in a day's work for you, you're going to have a lot of fun. If you're not, just keep your speed down and make lots of stops to enjoy the views. Expect tight turns and washboard when it rains. Drive at moderate speed. You’re not on a race. Wet weather can make the surface slippery and you must be mindful of soft shoulders and the absence of guardrails. Not all rental vehicles are allowed on this road, so check with your rental agency before you travel.
Is the Top of the World Highway open?
The road is maintained only during late spring to early fall corresponding to operation of the ferry service at Dawson City. The highway remains open until snowfall but note that the CAN/USA border is opened seasonally from May-September, 9am-9pmYukon time (8am-8pm Alaska time). When it closes there is no crossing the border. There is very little traffic, but if someone comes up behind you, make whatever effort you can to let them by so everyone has a good trip.
How long does it take to drive the Top of the World Highway?
Allow plenty of time for travel as the road is winding and narrow in many places. The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. As most of this road is unpaved, travel time can vary depending on the vehicle you’re using and weather conditions. Unlike most highways, which follow valleys in mountain ranges, this road winds its way along the top of the range, giving you exhilarating views and a unique scenic drive. Take your time and enjoy the drive. For most of the ride you drive along the peaks and crests of mountains and hills, leaving you a view of the valleys below.