John Muir once said you should never go to Alaska when you’re young, as nowhere else will ever compare to it. There’s a lot of truth in that statement; America’s 49th looms large in just about everyone’s imagination as a vast expanse of wilderness waiting to be explored. One thing the state lacks, though, is a network of developed campsites, which means you’ll be boondocking
Fortunately, Cruise America
has plenty of vehicles that are well-suited for camping self-sufficiently while boondocking in Alaska. If you’re not sure where to start your boondocking Alaska adventure, we’ve got you covered there too. Keep reading to learn more about boondocking in Alaska and discover great locations where you can camp.
Can I Go Boondocking in Alaska?
is all about getting “off the grid.” What is Alaska if not an entire state that’s mostly “off the grid?” Boondocking is typically prohibited in urban areas. Fortunately, Alaska doesn’t have too many of those. What it does have is eight national parks, along with one of the US’s largest state parks, Chugach
, just outside of Anchorage. This is to say nothing of the vast swaths of forest land that flank the state’s highways.
In fact, almost the entire state is open to boondocking. Most of the highways have pull-outs on them where boondocking is permitted, and Alaska 511
is your North Star to navigate these highways and potential road closures. The Last Frontier is by far the most boondocking friendly state in the union.
It’s important to know that boondocking in Alaska is a very different experience from staying at developed campgrounds in the Lower 48. While it’s a given that you won’t find any water or electrical hookups at these sites, you probably won’t have the customary fire ring or picnic table. Campsites in Alaska are often little more than some flat ground and a somewhat passable road to reach it.
Top Locations For Boondocking in Alaska
Amazing boondocking sites can be found throughout the state, but they’re all going to be somewhat close to one of the state's major highways: the Alcan, the Seward, the Dalton, the Richardson, or the Haines Highway. Much of Alaska is vast openness, and while exploring that wilderness is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, your RV will have to stay near one of these roads.
Galbraith Lake Campground
Galbraith Lakes sits just above the Brooks Range in Alaska’s North Slope region on the Dalton Highway. The BLM site was once a massive glacial lake but has shrunk to a more diminutive size of three and a half miles long in the present day.
The major draw here is its remoteness. Be sure to carry a spare tire and know how to install it because help will not be coming quickly, if at all. However, you will be close to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a 30,000 square expanse that’s home to grizzlies, caribou, wolves, eagles, and dozens of other fascinating animals.
More information: Galbraith Lake Campground
Deadman Lake Campground
This site lies about half an hour west of the US/Canada border on the Alcan Highway. Compared to many sites you could choose from while boondocking Alaska, Deadman Lake is a wealth of amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, vault toilets, and a boat ramp. There is no drinking water, though, and as with many campgrounds in Alaska, the sites are all first-come, first-serve
The lake is the primary attraction, and many visitors come here for fishing. However, there’s also a short boardwalk trail going around the lake where you might catch sight of some waterfowl. For an interesting day trip, check out Mulukland in the town of Tok, an hour and a half to the west. The sculpture park and museum is a fascinating look at Alaskan history via quirky artifacts.
More information: Deadman Lake Campground
Not far from Deadman Lake Campground, Lakeview Campground is a good option if you’re boondocking Alaska with a smaller RV rental. The sites aren’t as long, but they have the same great amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, and toilets.
More information: Lakeview Campground
Tangle Lakes Campground
This lakeside campground is on the Denali Highway, about three and a half hours east of the Denali National Park and five hours northeast of Anchorage. Fire rings, picnic tables, and drinking water are available when your boondocking in Alaska at Tangle Lakes Campground. The Tangle Ridge Hiking Trail also leaves directly from the campground and has some spectacular views of the surrounding area. As such, sites have a small fee attached to them, unlike most of the boondocking sites in Alaska.
If you’re thinking about visiting Denali National Park before or after your stay at Tangle Lakes, know that the 130+ mile highway is almost all gravel and doesn’t get much traffic. Be prepared, and don’t expect the road to be in pristine condition.
More information: Tangle Lakes Campground
For more information on all available RV rentals in Anchorage
, including various different RV rental sizes depending on your trip’s needs, see our detailed guide.
Bartlett Cove Campground
The campground is considered part of Glacier Bay National Park, and you need to take a ferry ride from Juneau to reach the island campground. The campground is free, but it’s considered walk-in only. Campers must bring a tent, are not allowed to sleep in their vehicles, and there are no facilities for your RV rental. That being said, having an RV rental with you does give you more freedom to explore the island.
Campers must attend an orientation with the park service to learn the regulations of the campground, and you are not allowed to sleep outside of the designated campsites.
The main draw for this area is, of course, Glacier Bay. Many tour operators work in the area, ferrying passengers to the iceberg-laden bay. Experienced paddlers can bring their boats on the ferry and explore the bay without a guide, but this is not recommended for safety reasons.
More information: Bartlett Cove Campground
Soak in Alaska’s Landscape With Cruise America
The great wilderness awaits—go have fun and explore!
When boondocking in Alaska, it’s important to come prepared—and what better way to do that than with a Cruise America RV rental! In your Cruise America
RV keep your speed to 35 MPH and slower to avoid punctures and blow outs, and for your safety, avoid unnamed roads. But, most of all, have fun! Cruise America has incredibly reliable vehicles to rent
along with an abundance of resources
to assist you in your boondocking adventure.
With just a little bit of planning and the help of Cruise America, you can start exploring Alaska with your RV rental