Yesterday & Today Historic Milepost Interpretive Sites
Mile ‘0’ — Dawson Creek
In the spring of 1942, located at the end of the railway, Dawson Creek became a major terminus for troops, supplies and equipment arriving from Edmonton destined for the north.
Today ... Photo opportunity at the Historic Mile ‘0’ Cairn & Milepost. What an amazing feat … It is hard to image how they worked in such harsh conditions!
Mile 21: Kiskatinaw Bridge
A 531 ft (162 metre) curved structure, one of the first of its kind in Canada.
Today ... See the oldest curved wooden bridge still in use today and an opportunity to drive the original Alaska Highway – watch for the frost heaves!
Mile 36: Taylor and the Peace River Bridge
1st Main Army Camp 341st. Before the Peace was bridged in ‘42, a ferry from Taylor served as the major link across the river. The original Peace River suspension bridge, the longest bridge on the highway, collapsed in 1957.
Mile 47: Fort St. John – “Camp Alcan”
In 1942 Fort St. John’s population “exploded”. What had been home to 200 became a temporary base for more than 6,000.
Mile 52: Charlie Lake
Today ... Site of a recent memorial erected to commemorate the loss of 12 American soldiers who drowned here in 1942 while crossing the lake aboard “pontoon barges”.
Mile 101: Blueberry Control Station Site of Blueberry Control Gate, a 24-hour military checkpoint operated by US army personnel through the war years.
Mile 148: Suicide Hill - One of the most treacherous hills on the original highway noted for its ominous greeting: PREPARE TO MEET THY MAKER.
Mile 162 Sikanni Chief River Bridge: This bridge was one of the ﬁrst to be completed on the Alaska Highway. This 300 foot wide bridge was built in less than 84 hours. Today ... The African American soldiers were honoured for their efforts during a Juneteenth Memorial Day Service on May 30, 2010. More on page 51.
Mile 300: Fort Nelson: Called “Zero” by the troops because it was the beginning of the road to Whitehorse and Fort Simpson. Home to about 2,000 troops during construction. Today ... The Alaska Highway Veterans & Builders Monument is located at the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum.
Mile 392: Summit
At Mile 397, crews had to blast through the rock to create a road. Today ... The highest point on the Alaska Highway (4,250 ft: 1,295 m). What a spectacular view!
Mile 456 Muncho Lake: The road around the lake was a particular challenge. Workers had to cut their way through the lake’s rocky banks and use horse-pulled stone boats to haul the rock away. Today ... The road winds around the deep green blue waters of Muncho Lake. Travelers can rest at Provincial camp sites, a lakeside lodge or cabin and enjoy back country tours or explore the many hiking trails.
Mile 496: Liard River Hot Springs site of a major construction camp. The natural hot springs were used by troops daily, but once a week they cleared out, leaving the hot springs to the women of the camp. Today ... One of our favourite spots! From warm to hot to hotter, these natural hot springs are a piece of paradise… we even saw moose and buffalo on the highway!
Mile 524: Fireside
Site of a huge fireplace that burned night and day to warm passing soldiers and construction workers. An officers barracks was also located here. Today ... this area was partially destroyed in 1982 by the second largest fire in BC history. Evidence of the fire can be seen from here all the way to Lower Post.
Mile 627 BC: Yukon Border Crossing
The highway crosses the BC-Yukon border six times between Contact Creek and Mile 627. Mile 627 marks the official border crossing.
Mile 635: Watson Lake Sign Post Forest - a tradition started by a US Army soldier working on the highway. Today ... a collection of over 72,000 signs and counting!
Mile 804: Teslin Deileen Aayi
The construction of the Alaska Highway brought a new way of life to the Yukon’s native people. The impact on the people of Teslin is a good example of the benefits and drawbacks associated with development. Today ... The impressive bridge opens into the remarkable heritage of the Teslin Tlingit People displayed at the museum and heritage centre — it’s worth the stop.
Mile 883: Camp 4-E Marsh Lake Camp Marsh Lake is part of the Yukon River system: approximately 20 miles (32 km) long and was named in 1883 by Lt. Frederick Schwatka, US Army, for Yale Professor Othniel Charles Marsh.
Mile 996: Canyon Creek In 1942, during construction of the Alaska Highway, the old bridge was dismantled and a new one built in 18 days. It has been described as the most ambitious and important bridge to be built by the US Army Corps of Engineers (18th Battalion).
Today ... still accessible to walk across.
Mile 1016: Haines Junction
The Haines Road is a 160 mile (257 km) link connecting the Alaska Highway at Haines Junction, Yukon with the seaport of Haines, Alaska. Today ... the road is well known as a scenic attraction and along with the coastal ferries, forms a major route through the Yukon. Today ... Kluane National Park Visitor Info Centre (Haines Junction) – Spectacular views!
Mile 1061: Soldier’s Summit
Near this site on November 20, 1942, a ribbon cutting ceremony in –35˚ was held to officially open the Alaska Canada Military Highway. Follow the path from the parking lot to the original signing site to see and learn more about this ceremony.
Today ... A very informative and scenic interpretive walking trail. A number of small parking areas border Kluane Lake from here to mile 1064 (1712 km).
Mile 1083: Destruction Bay
Relay Stations. Driving the early Alaska Highway was difficult and often dangerous, causing wear and tear on both man and machine. Destruction Bay was one of the many relay stations spaced at 100 mile intervals to give truck drivers a break and a chance to repair their vehicles.
Mile 1130: The Donjek River Bridge
Glacial rivers, like the Donjek, posed a unique problem for the builders of the Alaska Highway. These braided mountain streams would flood after a heavy rainfall or rapid glacial melt, altering the water’s course and often leaving bridges crossing dry ground.
Mile 1202: Beaver Creek: The Final Link
Near this Yukon community, American soldiers encountered extensive permafrost. When builders scraped off the insulating layer of overburden, they transformed the permafrost into an ice-bottomed mud bog. On October 28, 1942, the 97th Engineers met the 18th Engineers here, forming a continuous link between Dawson Creek, BC and Fairbanks, Alaska.
Haines Road Mile 48: The road constructed by the US Public Roads Administration between Haines Junction, Yukon and Haines, Alaska was a challenge to build and to drive. The narrow roadway and hairpin turns wound through a mountain pass infamous for severe storms. Various measures were taken to make the road travel-safe, including five staffed checkpoints along the road.
Mile 1271: The Alaska Skyway Alaskan airfields, like the Northway strip a few miles from here, played a significant role in the development of the Alaska Highway.
Mile 1376: ”The Crooked Road” Road builders were under pressure to finish the road “with all the physical capacity of the troops”.
Mile 1392: Black Veterans Memorial Bridge This bridge commemorates the contribution of five US Army regimental units of black soldiers who worked on the Alaska Highway - 3,695 in total.
Mile 1420: Delta Junction Located at the junction point of the Richardson Highway connecting Valdez with Fairbanks, Delta Junction was established as a highway construction camp in 1918. The Richardson Highway was established as a wagon road in 1920. Delta Junction is the official end of the Alaska Highway. Today ... take a photo at the end of the Alaska Highway at the Visitor Center.
Mile 1523: Fairbanks is located approximately 1,488 miles (2,394 km) north of Mile ‘0’ of the Alaska Highway, Dawson Creek, BC and served as an important air base during World War II. Today ... Land of the midnight sun and gold rush fever.