Road trippers seeking trails less-travelled can rarely do better than Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. A 2-week loop can take you through Gold Rush relics, ice-crusted glaciers and mountains, and wildlife-stuffed national parks and forests. Epic scenery’s the main draw for wanderers heading here: and they’re never disappointed. Every stretch of road comes with dramatic vistas. The Alaska Highway leads to Kluane National Park, where glacier fields erupt into the St Elias Mountains, before historic towns trace your route into Fairbanks. George Parks Highway takes you to Denali National Park, with extremes of peaks and valleys and raging rivers and trickling streams on your way to Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak. The Matanuska Valley reveals lands where super-size vegetables grow from 20-hour summer days. The Klondike Highway cuts through Kaska Indian hunting grounds. And the fjord-hugging roads to Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site and the Top of the World Highway give the ultimate frontier feel for would-be nomads. These roads connect you to remote outposts for experiences like flightseeing over glacial parklands, panning for nuggets in gold rush towns, tracking moose, caribou, and grizzly bears in Denali National Park, citysurfing between Whitehorse, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, and riding the scenery skirting White Pass and Yukon Route Railway.
Epic adventures don’t have to push you to your limits. Two of North America’s wildest wildernesses, West Canada and Alaska, can be explored in utter luxury and comfort by cruise and rail. The scenery steals the show as you sail the north Pacific’s Inside Passage for seven nights, experiencing UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park, where creaking glaciers calve shelves of ice into the bay with thunderous plumes of water. Holland America’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam tries to live up to its dazzling route with 5-course dining menus, indulgent spa treatments*, and gallery worthy artwork; but Alaska’s ports of call lure you with promises of sights like Juneau’s massive Mendenhall Glacier; Skagway’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park; and Ketchikan’s hill and water-skimming homes. The inland scenery’s just as dramatic. Even near urban Vancouver, a North Shore tour reveals natural beauty at Grouse Mountain and the treetop Capilano Suspension Bridge. And there’s nothing understated about the Rocky Mountaineer’s views — or its luxury. Riding the rails for 2-days on this opulent train, you’ll pass forest-draped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and mighty rivers before arriving in Jasper, where the road takes over with journeys along Icefields Parkway to ride the Ice Explorer onto Athabasca Glacier, and through Yoho and Banff National Parks.