If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that there are many different ways to experience Alaska on a motorcycle. If you stick to the pavement, you will be served up a buffet of dramatic scenes. Stay on the Alaska paved highway system and you will ride past cascading waterfalls, untamed rivers, precipitous fjords, and miles and miles of untouched wilderness – all with a backdrop provided by the tallest mountains on the continent.
During our North to Alaska Adventure alone, riders get a chance to witness a veritable conveyor belt of wildlife. One year, our group saw Big Horn Sheep, Moose, Caribou, Elk, Buffalo, and no fewer than 30 bears along the road as they ventured north! Indeed, Alaska and western Canada are still wild and represent the best preserved natural history terrarium in North America.
If riding the paved roads is invigorating, how about tempting yourself to explore off pavement? To me, this is where the adventure really begins. As soon as the tarmac gives way to gravel, you begin to journey through swathes of wilderness that conjure a unique blend of excitement and terror – a feeling of freedom and isolation that one only gets when they are truly removed from civilization. There may as well be a sign that warns “You are now part of the food chain.”
My favorite riding in Alaska is when you look up from a jeep trail and realize that you are surrounded by caribou. This happened to me when I was guiding our Alaska Backcountry Explorer. This ride not only takes you to iconic Alaska destinations, but it also leads you to places so remote and natural, so off the beaten path, that you can get off your motorcycle and be the first person to ever stand where you are now standing.
Admittedly, that feeling of remoteness is not for everyone. But, if you want to scratch the surface of the Alaskan wilderness, consider joining our Northern Lights Adventure. This ride is not so rugged as our Alaska Backcountry Explorer, but features dirt surfaced roads that lead to amazing natural landscapes like McCarthy and Kennicott in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Not to mention my favorite: the Denali Highway. You will experience a sense of wonder and majesty that only Alaska can deliver, without the challenging jeep trails and water crossings of our Backcountry ride.
If these two rides grab your attention and you find yourself on the fence between the two, ask yourself this: stream crossings and critters vs. northern lights and quirky destinations. I think your next Alaska adventure will rely on your answer, and whichever you choose, Alaska will deliver.
I sincerely hope you can make your next ride to Alaska. You will not be disappointed.