Drive to Arctic Circle in “high miles” 4th Gen 4Runner


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Some overlanders outside the bar in Chicken.


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Replaced the O2 sensor while in Fairbanks…devoured by mosquitoes while crawling under my rig (in the rain). I had to roll with a Bosch part versus a Denso. Let’s hope it lasts. Cleared the code and all is well.

Hoping to catch some fish on my way to Haines. I am convinced there are no fish in the Yukon…

20 days so far of highly mobile rig based living in a 4Runner. I really see the allure of purpose built rigs like Sprinter vans, etc. The prices of those are just crazy though…


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Hoping to catch some fish on my way to Haines. I am convinced there are no fish in the Yukon…

I haven't ever fished that stretch of highway, but any clearwater creek you see in that region has the potential to hold grayling. I don't know what you brought for tackle, but small spinners, dries, nymphs, even egg patterns are pretty reliable. They do live a starvation diet, after all. Look for cut banks, and fish close to them. I've had luck when nothing would rise to a fly where I've sunk a nymph through the same drift to produce a grayling, had a school look up (5–10 fish will often sit together) and start hitting dries again.

This mini-pub has some suggestions between Delta Junction and Northway: Roadside Fishing in the Eastern Interior of Alaska


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In Haines, AK. Ferry rides from here on. Exploring Haines, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan and then back to Washington. This part of the world is a bit different for off pavement exploring. There just aren’t many off pavement roads.


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I do recommend throwing in a few hotels to stoke the local economies. Haines, with the sun out, is jaw droppingly beautiful. With no cruise ships it is lovely.

Skagway has huge ships in it all the time.

The trip continues but now it’s the ferry mostly.

5,000 miles over 23 days. This is no trip for the under financed. I have spent thousands on fuel. I am in awe of the tanks the Europeans bring…wild rigs.


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I did make do with a stock roof rack and Plano cargo boxes. My 3rd Gen 4Runner has a K9 roof rack. My change will be to purchase a K9 rack for the 4th Gen 4Runner and Roam boxes or something like them. The unstrapping and strapping of boxes is maddening. Flip open and go is key.

MR E30

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I will be traveling up to AK next summer, and I look forward to all of these sights and experiences.

Glad you're having a good time.


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Since when is 160k high miles 😂, that’s how many my 4th gen had when I bought it. No hesitation to take it anywhere although these days it is commuter status and could use some love 250k miles in


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In Ketchikan for a week before the sail back to Washington. Cruise ships dominate these southeast Alaska towns.

I am cursing my Exped Duo M…slow leak that can’t be found. That thing is going back for a full refund and I am switching to a proper foam bed solution.


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Well…last day in Ketchikan before the ferry sails back to Bellingham and then home. 40-some days on the road.

Here are my take-aways:

-Don’t over pack! I did massively. In fact, given the touristy nature of some of the towns consider buying clothing on the way. Go lean on packing.

-The Alcan highway is easy and so is the Klondike highway. Paved with the typical stretches of under construction gravel.

-Dispersed camping is pretty rare and certainly not far off the highways. iOverlander was a great tool. Oddly dispersed camping was often in unused gravel pits.

-Roadside toilets and garbage cans are very well provided throughout Canada. The only exception being on the road from Inanuvik to Tuk. Services on that road are sparse…but it is a short drive.

-Buy gas in Tuk to keep them in business and to enjoy the $9.27 a gallon!

-Reserve in advance camping at Tuk. This will put you on a schedule. Camping at Tuk is on the Arctic Ocean and completely out in the open so keep a tidy camp.

-I had to use towels and the like to make my 4Runner dark. The sun is up in summer above the Arctic Circle and it will keep you awake.

-Factor in some time/money for staying in towns and hotels/VRBO’s. I wish I had 90 days to do this trip. I would have traveled less miles daily for sure.

-Southeast Alaska towns will be PACKED with cruise ships! Avoid the crowds by going out around 3 PM or later. The ships all depart between 3 to 6 PM. Expect literally 5000 or more people every day. One day in Ketchikan there were 16K “cruisers” in town. Skagway after 6PM was awesome. No one around and the local bars were a hoot. Things do shutdown at 5PM. Haines is about the only town we visited not crushed by daily cruise ships.

-Tools. I brought a well equipped but basic set of tools. 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 boxed Craftsman sockets I keep in the car (color coordinated in gray). Two sets of open/box ends, pliers, screw drivers. Only used the 1/2 ratchet and had to buy an O2 sensor socket. So…either the tools were a talisman against evil or not needed. I did baseline my Toyota’s maintenance as per folks suggestions and it performed as expected.

-The Dempster. Easy drive really. Local gravel roads in Washington are much worst. Expect the road to be graded near towns. The freshly graded road is soft and requires some attention. It rained off and on which kept the dust down. I pulled over when big trucks came my way. One small chip on the wind shield and zero tire problems (BFG KO2 load range C). I did air down on the way up but then I aired back up and drove 55 mph ( or 60) on the way down. I have onboard air and a tire repair kit.

-Buy food fresh and local. Again, I overpacked and hauled around stuff like I was going dispersed for 30 days. It’s just not how it is where roads just connect one place to another and nothing more.

-I carried ten gallons of extra fuel. Totally unnecessary but I do have a 23 gallon fuel tank. In my 3rd Gen 4Runner I would have needed it (15 gallon tank). Do the math…can you go about 230 miles on a tank? Dawson to Eagle Plains is the longish stretch. I DID rescue a poor guy on a BMW motorcycle who ran out of gas south of Fort Nelson. I would say you need enough fuel to get one gas station past the one you wanted. Some of them were out of business or out of fuel. Eagle Plains is not one of those.

It was a great trip. Do it in whatever you have…it will make the trip. Just figure your kit out so you can unpack/pack in the shortest period possible. Me, I have work to do in that regard. I totally get the Van craze now. I just can’t stomach the cost. I could buy eight V8 4Runners for the price of one new Sprinter Van. Still…park and snooze is pretty sweet…

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