Top of the World Hwy - Tok, AK to Dawson, YT

The Taylor Highway and Top of the World Highway connect Tok, Alaska and Dawson City, Yukon.  This is a famous and historic route and many people come from around the world to drive it.  The road winds up, down, and on top of ridges.  There are great views and the history is interesting.

Be prepared for difficult cycling, with many ups and downs.  There is 4700m of climbing in 293km.

Elevation profile from Tok to Dawson ... it's a hilly one!

We had a bit of a tough time getting accurate information about the route.  So here are a few points we learned that you will likely find useful on your ride.


We were able to get a pamphlet in Tok which described the Taylor Highway in very good detail.  I'm sure you could get one in Dawson, too.


The Canadian side is unpaved with the exception of the last approx. 15km to Dawson.  This includes most of the descent.  There are also two sections of chip seal, each just several km long, on the Canadian side.

On the US side it's paved from Tetlin junction (mile 0) to two miles before Chicken (mile 65).  Then unpaved for 32 miles to Jack Wade Junction.  From Jack Wade Junction there is nice new pavement for 14 miles to the border.

Most of the dirt road is in good shape.  We didn't encounter any washboard, however there were a few gravelly sections on some of the steep hills.


The BLM campgrounds in the US have potable drinking water.  These are located at West Fork Campground and Walker Fork Campground.  Water is also available in Chicken.  There are frequent creeks in the US.  However, from mile 82 to 92 there is active mining on Jack Wade Creek and you probably wouldn't want to drink the water.

The Canadian border guard was happy to fill our water for us.  From the border we could not find any water sources until Dawson!  However, it's easy to flag down an RV and ask them to fill your bottles.  We had to do this our last night before Dawson.


Cooking shelters are available in the West Fork and Walker Fork campgrounds.  These were nice for us to get out of the rain.  There is an RV park in Chicken which offers camping.  Roadside campsites are plentiful on both sides of the border.  Be sure to pick a windy campsite to avoid mosquitoes!  The BLM campgrounds in the US are bad for mosquitoes.

The Border

The US/Canada border is open from 8AM to 8PM Alaska time.  You can cross the border with bear spray.  Officially you can't bring certain food across the border.  But we weren't asked about anything we were carrying ... good thing!


There are no groceries between Tok and Dawson.  You can get good food at the restaurant in Chicken and some candy bars at the store.


There is active mining on Jack Wade Creek from mile 82 to mile 92.  It's illegal to camp in this section and you wouldn't want to drink water from Jack Wade Creek.

The Yukon River

You need to take a ferry across the Yukon river into Dawson.  The ferry runs every few minutes, 24 hours a day.

Ferry across the Yukon River

Our Trip

We took about three and a half days to ride from Tok to Dawson.  Our first day we went from Tok to the West Fork Campground at mile 47.  It was 98km total.  We were thankful for the cooking shelter as it started raining at 6PM and rained right through until morning.

Our second day we stopped in Chicken for lunch and then continued on towards the border.  We stocked up on water at Walker Fork Campground and started up the long climb.  Halfway up the climb a truck pulled over and told us that there was a cabin in Boundary that cyclists could stay in for free.  We made it to Boundary but didn't find the cabin.  Instead we camped in a clearing across the road.

Our third day we got a late start as it was raining very hard in the morning.  The climb from Boundary to the border was tough.  The guards filled our water at the border.  Then the weather cleared and we had spectacular views.  We camped about 36km from Dawson at a nice spot on the side of the road.

It only took us a couple hours to finish off the ride on the final morning.

The Top of the World Highway

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