Navigating The Iconic Taylor Highway, an Alaska's Historical Trail
Taylor Highway, also designated as Hwy #5, offers travelers an unforgettable scenic journey through the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, in the U.S. state of Alaska. This route is deeply rooted in gold mining history.
How long is the Taylor Highway?
The road is 249km (155 miles) long, running south-north from Tetlin Junction (a small community in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area on AK-2 road), to Eagle (a city on the south bank of the Yukon River, near the Canada–US border). Constructed from June 1946 to October 1953, the Taylor Highway is a route through gold mining history.
Is the Taylor Highway open?
Known also as Alaska Route 5, this highway remains off-limits for automobile traffic from October through April. For those considering a journey on this route, it's vital to confirm with car rental agencies as not all vehicles are permitted. Moreover, the serpentine nature of the highway, especially on its hairpin bends, warrants caution and reduced speed.
Is Taylor Highway in Alaska paved?
Venturing onto the Taylor Highway demands preparedness. Notorious for being a tire-wrecker, its terrain is primarily gravel, replete with steep, narrow gradients and significant gaps between service points. Although the initial 60 miles (97 km) are paved, some segments are marred by frost-induced damage. Beyond milepost 64, the highway's unpaved nature becomes more pronounced. Additionally, the vulnerability of some stretches to washouts, combined with unpredictable conditions ranging from good to poor, implies that travelers must proceed with caution. The narrowing and winding nature of the highway, especially beyond Jack Wade Junction, demands undivided attention. It's worth noting that not all rough patches are marked, and road shoulders might be unstable or soft.
Is the Taylor Highway remote?
The drive is rather remote and there is very little traffic. Keep in mind that there are very limited services or facilities available along the road. Travelers should fill their gas tanks and use dump stations before traveling the highway. Services are limited essentially to Tok, Chicken and Eagle.
Pic: Ea Duvall