North Star

Ride on Top of the World
Matt Wordem
Price :
Surface :
Duration :
61 days
Support :
Self Contained
Difficulty :
Level 5

Get ready for the trip of a lifetime by taking on what is arguably the best combination of challenge and adventure that we offer. This Adventure Cycling classic was first run in the 1980s and has been a favorite ever since.

Beginning in Adventure Cycling’s hometown of Missoula, Montana, we’ll strike out northward through a continuum of spectacular country, including some of the wildest areas remaining in North America, as we traverse the remote roads of northern British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and the great state of Alaska. We’ll even spend the night in a small town named Chicken. Come share this amazing experience with a group of fellow adventurers and explore the farthest reaches of the North American continent. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else!

Photos by Matt Wordem | Matt Wordem | Rick Meyers

There are no scheduled departures for this tour.

"This was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has inspired, thrilled, and moved me in ways I never expected. The leadership was inspirational, friendly, and well-informed—exemplary in every way. Thank you so much, Adventure Cycling!"


Week 1. Missoula to Eureka, Montana

We’ll meet in Adventure Cycling’s hometown, the beautiful and vibrant college community of Missoula, Montana. Beginning our journey north, we’ll ride between mountains and lakes through the picturesque Seeley-Swan and Flathead valleys to the ski and summer recreation resort town of Whitefish. From there, we’ll continue north, passing through northwest Montana’s Tobacco Valley to Eureka, our last stop before crossing the Canadian border at Port of Roosville to begin our trip through southern British Columbia.

Week 2. Eureka to Banff National Park, Alberta

This week provides some of the premier scenic highlights of the entire tour, as we cross the Canadian border and ride north along the headwaters of the Columbia River to the resort town of Radium Hot Springs, make the long climb through Canada’s Kootenay National Park to Vermillion Pass, and cross into Alberta and Banff National Park. We’ll end this week with a layover day at scenic Lake Louise. 

Week 3. Banff National Park to Vanderhoof, British Columbia

Leaving Banff, we'll head north toward Jasper National Park with three unforgettable days of riding along the world-famous Icefields Parkway, which should be on the top-10 bucket list of every bicycle traveler. After a revitalizing layover day in the town of Jasper, we'll launch a 10-day, 550-mile journey westward on the Yellowhead Highway, quickly reentering British Columbia. The Yellowhead, which follows several major river systems, will provide us with unforgettable overnight stops in some of BC's most popular provincial parks, lakeside resorts, and summer vacation towns.

Weeks 4 and 5. Vanderhoof to Watson Lake, Yukon

For two gorgeous weeks we’ll turn north to tackle the Cassiar Highway, a backcountry byway short on services but long on amazing scenery. We’ll visit a string of provincial parks and small villages, including the First Nations village of Iskut, before reaching the Yukon Territory and the town of Watson Lake on the Alaska Highway.

Weeks 6 and 7. Watson Lake to Dawson City, Yukon

The meaning of the word “remote” becomes clearer than ever as we depart Watson Lake for a week of pedaling on the unpaved Campbell Highway, which arcs north and west into the vast emptiness of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Overnights at a series of lakeside campgrounds will be interspersed with visits to two small villages before we join the paved Klondike Highway and head directly north again before enjoying a well-earned layover day in Dawson City, which played a major role in the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s.

Week 8. Dawson City to Fairbanks, Alaska

Back on the road, we’ll head into the isolated country traversed by the unpaved Top-of-the-World Highway and toward the Canada-Alaska border. Eventually we’ll merge onto the Taylor Highway, which takes us to the Richardson Highway and the town of Tok. The Taylor Highway leg includes an overnight stay in the improbably named village of Chicken, Alaska, which will seem to us as much like the edge of the earth as Top-of-the-World did. The story goes that the town was originally to be called “Ptarmigan,” but townspeople couldn’t agree on the spelling, so Chicken was the name chosen. From Tok, three more days of northward riding will take us to the storied outpost of Fairbanks, the high point of our tour in terms of latitude. (From Fairbanks, it’s only 198 road miles to the Arctic Circle via the Dalton Highway.)

Week 9. Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska

After our layover day to enjoy Fairbanks, we’ll ride for two days to Denali National Park and Preserve, where we will spend two more days exploring the park’s scenic wonders by both tour bus and bicycle. Our North Star adventure formally ends upon our departure from Denali, but Adventure Cycling has arranged for that departure to be as special as the rest of the trip: you and your bike will board the Alaska Railway’s Denali Star and make tracks to downtown Anchorage, from which point you will head for home — changed forever, no doubt, by the remarkable journey you have just completed.


Additional Details
Start Location:
Missoula, MT
End Location:
Anchorage, AK
Missoula Intl. (MSO), Anchorage Intl. (ANC)
Total Days:
Riding Days:
Layover Days:
Average Daily Mileage:
Shared cooking
Level 5
Technical Difficulty:
Elevation Alert:
High Point: 6,813'
Restricted Bike Type:
eBike, eTrike

Know before you go

Special COVID-19 Requirements
This tour spends time in Canada. Please visit our Guided Tours During COVID-19 page for additional information and requirements for participating on this tour.