Can’t Miss Adventure Drive: Check Out the Alcan 5000

A lot of people seek out adventure. But what type of adventure or where one looks for it can and does differ. Some people look for hot weather and beach escapes. Others seek out high mountains and huge snow drifts.

What type of adventure you look for depends on a lot of different things – including the car you drive. For some, like Jeep enthusiasts, adventure looks a little more dangerous than other forms of adventure.

The Alcan 5000 is that type of adventure. Jeep lovers around the country are anxious to drive the Alcan 5000. It’s cold. It’s dangerous. And it’s a beautiful adventure. But it is not for the faint of heart.

The Alcan 5000 is a road trip adventure unlike any other. It’s steeped in history and requires a lot of preparation. Most people who venture out on this dangerous adventure trust their Jeep Wranglers. 

But even with one of the toughest off-road vehicles the Alcan 5000 is still a true test of the adventurous spirit. Still, veterans and newcomers alike need to be as prepared as possible including understanding Jeep Wrangler insurance cost.

History of the Alcan 5000

The Alcan 5000 is not a new adventure. The first Alcan 5000 took place in 1984 and was put on by Jerry Hines. Hines was a pro-rally driver and got the idea for the Alcan 5000 after he participated in a rally in Mexico.

Hines also always had the adventure bug, like many people do. But a lot of rallies aren’t easily accessible. Thus, can the idea for the Alcan 5000. Hines wanted more adventurers to have the chance to experience a true challenge.

The first few Alcan 5000 rallies only ran every four years. Soon, however, the once every four years rallies grow too big. Hines decided to add an Alcan 5000 winter rally and alternate between summer and winter. Now the Alcan 5000 runs every two years.

That first rally covered 4,700 miles as was the most northerly rally at the time. The exact route changes, but both the winter and summer routes start in Seattle, Washington and finish in Fairbanks, Alaska or Anchorage, Alaska.

Both rallies invite a pretty big draw. The winter rally averages around 30 teams, but the summer rally grows to 50 teams. The winter rally is much more dangerous with teamings having to navigate snowy and icy conditions. Summer, on the other hand, attracts different kinds of vehicles, including motorcycles.

Where is the Alcan 5000?

The Alcan 5000 runs through Washington State and Alaska. Alaska is the most northern state in the United States. And, because of that, Alaska has some of the highest highway passes. The Alcan 5000 likes to go as far north as possible. 

The winter Alcan 5000 rally is held over 10 days and covers 5000 miles. The 2024 Alcan Winter Rally starts in Kirkland, Washington, just outside of Seattle, and ends in Anchorage, Alaska. Each day there is a set distance to drive and a clear finish with overnight lodging accommodations. 

This year the rally ends just in time for participants to enjoy two different Alaskan festivals – the Iditarod and Fur Rondy Festival.

What is the Alcan 5000?

The Alcan 5000 is considered a rally, but it’s not a “traditional” type of rally. When people hear “rally” they often think of rally cars – races that involve speed and no small amount of danger.

The Alcan 5000 delivers on the danger, but it’s not a speed rally. This rally is more about precision, timing, and touring. Yes, there are timed stages, but for the most part, this rally is all about the driving. Participants in this rally are really looking for a challenging, off-road adventure. 

What can you expect on the Alcan 5000?

Alaska is known for some beautiful views. In fact, Sterling Highway is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska. But the Alcan 5000, especially the winter rally, is rarely a peaceful drive through a postcard-like, picturesque foliage. 

The Alcan 5000 is known to be a brutal mental and physical challenge for drivers and teams. Over the years participants have battled treacherous and icy road conditions, bitter temperatures, howling winds, large snowfalls, and the uncertainty of wildlife sightings or encounters. 

On top of the harrowing conditions, participants can expect to have some mechanical issues. Any mechanical issues will have to be dealt with by the team, and there is little to no chance of getting replacement parts out in the Alaskan wilderness. 

What do you need to bring?

As you can imagine, the packing list for the Alcan 5000 is lengthy. But it’s important that participants are as prepared as possible. This race is demanding and incredibly dangerous, if not done responsibly.


The first step in preparing for the Alcan 5000 is to make sure you have all the necessary clothing and personal items. 

Participants need to dress in tons of layers. Race programmers encourage at least 3 layers of clothes at all times. But it’s also vitally important to have a good, warm hat and at least one pair each of mittens and gloves. Then it’s time for your feet. Participants will need a good pair of socks and boots, plus a change of each. 

Food and Drinks

Teams participating in the Alcan 5000 will need to be fully stocked with essential food and drinks. Yes, there are daily lodge stops, but the rest of the time the teams are driving in tough, tough conditions. 

It is vital that each team brings plenty of water. Even in fridge conditions, your body can and will dehydrate quickly. When it comes to food, think common road trip snacks. You want fats and carbohydrates to keep your body going, so grab plenty of your favorite snacks – and lots of them.

Equipment and Tires

It’s just as important to bring extra supplies for the vehicle you’ll be driving. Everything from oil to antifreeze is a must in these cold, cold temperatures. Plus, you’ll need to have the right kind of tires fitted to your vehicle. Remember this rally is run in the dead of winter, so tires are pretty important.

Personal Effects

There are also a few personal effects to include in your packing list. There’s the obvious – a current driver’s license, proof of insurance, and a valid passport. This race does cross into Canada, so valid identification is a must. 

You’ll also need cash in some form. Cash is always an option, but American cash isn’t going to get you far in Canada. Credit cards are the best option.And finally, you’ll want something to help pass the time. Consider CDs and audio books to keep you entertained and awake during those long hours of driving. 

And that’s the Alcan 5000. Just a grueling trek through thousands of miles of Alaskan wilderness, sometimes in bitterly cold temperatures. But that’s part of the fun and the adventure. It’s a group of like-minded people trying their best to complete the journey and have a few amazing stories to tell.

Author bio

Laura Gunn writes and researches for the insurance comparison site,

Her husband is an avid Jeep owner and enthusiast who dreams of driving the Alcan 5000.