Author Topic: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?  (Read 4391 times)

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Offline John Nettles

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Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« on: April 01, 2023, 10:30:54 pm »
I will be riding the Icefields Highway (Jasper to Banff) as part of my tour this summer.  Since I am starting in Alaska, I won't know the exact arrival dates in Jasper until a few days or so out but anticipate arriving in Jasper around Thursday, August 3rd +/- a day or two. 

I have not been to this area since 2001 and have heard it is really hard to get a campground in an RV/Car without a reservation.  But how about bikes? I called them and they of course said to get a reservation and they do not have a "no turn away policy" or hike/biker sites.  That is what I really wish ACA would do with their advocacy! 

For those that have ridden the Icefields Highway in the past few years, did you have reservations every night, just showed up and all OK, or what?? 

Tailwinds, John
 

Offline jamawani

Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2023, 12:10:53 am »
Although some people say there's no turn-away policy in Banff/Jasper - I'm not willing to take the risk.
And Parks Canada rangers have never confirmed any such policy.

Hosteling International - Alberta maintains a series of well-spaced hostels in the parks.
The Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper hostels are upscale, pricey, and booked pretty solid.
The remote hostels, although smaller and with limited amenities, less so.
I have found it possible to book a reasonable schedule using hostels
when I was a day or two away from the parks.
Of course, that meant I had to stick with a park schedule despite any weather.

Also, there are backcountry park campsites you can bike to via rough fire roads.
U.S. national parks don't let you bike into the wilderness - Canadian parks do.

Big Bend Campsite on the Athabasca River in Jasper NP
has to be the finest camping the North America.
But - - it's pretty tough biking in and you must be bear aware.


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2023, 01:43:55 pm »
Thanks John!

I did not know that backcountry camping was allowed.  Worst case is I will go campsite to campsite asking "do you mind if I share".  I really don't want to do that but will if needed.  I am surprised that Canada Parks does not have hiker/biker sites as they are pretty "with it" on other aspects such as electrified fencing around campgrounds with a lot of tents to keep the bears out.

Offline zzzz

Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2023, 04:26:12 pm »
Hi John:

I've ridden the Icefields Parkway twice in the last 7 years, once N to S and once S to N, but I was CC'ing it so I don't have much info of use to your post.

On one of those trips I rode to Alaska. Sorry for the thread drift but I'm curious if you're taking the Alaska Hywy or going via the Cassier?

Pete


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2023, 04:31:54 pm »
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I am taking the Alaskan between Tok and Whitehorse and then the Cassiar down toward Terrace.  I wanted to do the Top of the World Highway and the Dempster Highway but my wife put a 4.5 month limit on my trip from Homer to Deadhorse to Mexico so I had to cut those out.

Offline zzzz

Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2023, 06:15:31 pm »
Are you still starting in Deadhorse but instead of going all the way to Homer you're making a left turn at Fairbanks on 2 for Delta Junction (and Tok)?

Since you're passing thru Tok if there's any way you can spare the time to take the Richardson Hywy to the Tok cut-off you won't be sorry.

My trip was a circuitous route from Banff to Dawsons Creek and then I took the Alaska Hwy all the way up to Fairbanks. Once I got to Fairbanks I rented a car and did a bunch of hiking.

If you are relying on information from the Milepost, be wary as that whole area looked to me to be under pretty serious economic duress with lots of businesses for sale or recently closed.

I hope the weather is favorable to you up there but take really good rain gear because you'll surely be using it often enough.

Pete


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2023, 07:17:11 pm »
Are you still starting in Deadhorse but instead of going all the way to Homer you're making a left turn at Fairbanks on 2 for Delta Junction (and Tok)?

Since you're passing thru Tok if there's any way you can spare the time to take the Richardson Hywy to the Tok cut-off you won't be sorry.

My trip was a circuitous route from Banff to Dawsons Creek and then I took the Alaska Hwy all the way up to Fairbanks. Once I got to Fairbanks I rented a car and did a bunch of hiking.

If you are relying on information from the Milepost, be wary as that whole area looked to me to be under pretty serious economic duress with lots of businesses for sale or recently closed.

I hope the weather is favorable to you up there but take really good rain gear because you'll surely be using it often enough.

Pete
I am riding from Homer north to Fairbanks, taking the shuttle to Deadhorse, then south to Fairbanks (that way I crossed Alaska with the most favorable winds) then left to Watson Lake.  I know what you mean about the distressed businesses.  I figure I will care my own food (lots of pasta and peanut butter tortillas unfortunately) and if I come across a restaurant, it will be a pleasant surprise.  I do have really good rain gear but hopefully it will act as the rain deterrent it has in the past. 

I had hoped to ride out in Denali NP to the furthest CG but a bridge washed out a year or two ago so you can't get that far into the Park which was a bummer.

As far as Mile Post goes, who knows if it will even be available before I leave.  They have shoved back this year's edition I think 4 times so the "current" date is 4/17.  I am actually more interested in MP just for the info on "good camping at pullout X" type stuff. 

Hopefully will be an enjoyable trip as I have wanted to do this for 45 years.  An article in the May? 1976 issue of National Geographic about the founders of ACA riding their bikes from Alaska to Argentina had a major influence on my life.  At least with the passage of time, many of the roads they slugged through are now paved.

I think it will be an enjoyable ride but if I don't enjoy it, I will most likely bail as I have done plenty enough touring in 45 years to do something I don't need to prove to anyone.  Or I just may do a major skip and say go to Jasper early. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline zzzz

Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2023, 07:59:23 pm »
Funny you should say the well spring for the trip is something you read 45 years ago. The reason I rode the length of the Alaska Hywy was a because of a book I read in elementary school about it being built.

I will mention 1 more thing and then leave you be. I don’t know where the bridge is that got washed out on the park road but the advice I got, and followed, was that there is no more stunning views of Denali then from Elysian. That’s about 1/2 way in (45 miles?) on the park road. The day I was there not a cloud was in the sky and the sight was fantastic.

I hope the trip is great for you! Best of luck!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2023, 10:16:08 pm »
Funny you should say the well spring for the trip is something you read 45 years ago. The reason I rode the length of the Alaska Hywy was a because of a book I read in elementary school about it being built.

I will mention 1 more thing and then leave you be. I don’t know where the bridge is that got washed out on the park road but the advice I got, and followed, was that there is no more stunning views of Denali then from Elysian. That’s about 1/2 way in (45 miles?) on the park road. The day I was there not a cloud was in the sky and the sight was fantastic.

I hope the trip is great for you! Best of luck!
Here is where it is out https://www.nps.gov/dena/learn/news/pretty-rocks-bridge-announcement.htm and https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

I may still go a ways in but haven't decided.  A lot depends if I am ahead or behind schedule that early.  I have to be in Fairbanks by a certain date to meet my wife so we will see.
Tailwinds, John



Offline BikeFreak

Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2023, 04:58:00 am »

I am riding from Homer north to Fairbanks, taking the shuttle to Deadhorse, then south to Fairbanks (that way I crossed Alaska with the most favorable winds) then left to Watson Lake. 

May I ask: Why not take the airplane directly to Deadhorse? I would have a hard time driving in a shuttle all the way to Deadhorse and then see the same scenery going back on a bike.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2023, 10:43:30 am »
Actually, I am going to Homer, riding to Fairbanks, shuttling to Deadhorse, then riding to Fairbanks.  The reason doing that direction is due to a variety of factors including the weather temps, "prevailing" (rarely seems to be prevailing the way it supposed to be) wind directions, and mosquitos (less in mid-June than late June).  However, the primary reason I am doing the Deadhorse to Fairbanks direction is my wife is meeting me on X date and if I am running behind on the Deadhorse to Fairbanks section, she can always drive up, pick me up, and then take me back to that point later on a lot easier and quicker than if I was northbound.

If she were not meeting me, I would probably do like most do and just fly on to SCC and start from there.

Good question!  John



Offline eorogers

Re: Reservations along the Icefields Highway?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2023, 12:28:54 pm »
Let us know how camping goes on the Icefield Hwy - I am planning that in the next couple of years and have the same questions :-)

Eric