Top of the World Highway
|Top of the World Highway|
|Length:||127 km (79 mi)|
|Existed:||ca. 1955 – present|
|West end:||AK-5 (Taylor Highway) near Jack Wade, AK|
|East end:||To Hwy 2 at the West Dawson ferry terminal|
|Territorial highways in Yukon|
The Top of the World Highway is a 127-kilometre (79 mi) long highway, beginning at a junction with the Taylor Highway near Jack Wade, Alaska traveling east to its terminus at the ferry terminal in West Dawson, on the western banks of the Yukon River. The highway has been in existence since at least 1955 and is only open during the summer months. The entire portion of the highway in Yukon is also known as Yukon Highway 9. The Alaska portion is short and apparently not numbered. The Alaska Department of Transportation refers to it as Top of the World Highway.
As of July 2013, the US portion of the highway, and most of the Canadian portion, is unpaved. The paved sections are from kilometer 0 (at Dawson) to 9, 74 to 76, 79 to 82, 83 to 94 and 99 to 104 (at the Canada-US border).
The highway is so named because, along much of its length, it skirts the crest of the hills, giving looks down on the valleys. It is also one of the most northerly highways in the world at those latitudes. Two nearby, farther north highways are the Dempster Highway (Yukon Route 5) and the Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11). It is not particularly safe in winter, even for snowmobile use, due to the lack of trees for shelter.
A ferry connects West Dawson to Dawson in summer, and residents living in West Dawson and nearby Sunnydale cross on the ice during the winter. A bridge is presently planned by the Yukon government, although there is significant division among Dawson area residents as to whether such a bridge should be built. The west-bank residents only recently received improved phone service in 2004 but do not have a public electricity supply.
The border is the highest US road border, known as Little Gold Creek in Canada and Boundary (or Poker Creek) in the U.S., features one of the few jointly-built single building customs ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border. There is presently a one-hour difference in standard time zones at this border, which is only open in summer during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. period (Alaska time). The immense Alaskan Taylor Complex Fire of 2004 burned up to the Canadian border and was visible from the westernmost portions of the highway.
- Molvar, Erik (August 1, 2005). Alaska and the Yukon. Scenic Driving (Second ed.). Globe Pequot Press. pp. 137–140. ISBN 978-0-7627-3634-8. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- Google Inc. Google Maps – Top of the World Highway (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Top+of+the+World+Hwy%2FYT-9+N&daddr=State+Hwy+9%2FTop+of+the+World+Hwy&geocode=FRih0QMdLmOw9w%3BFcCq0gMdsFGT9w&hl=en&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=0&sz=15&sll=64.069929,-139.441953&sspn=0.011747,0.029483&ie=UTF8&ll=64.009682,-140.009766&spn=1.507053,3.773804&z=8. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- Alaska DOT, Taylor and Top of the World Highways