The Alaskan roadhouse experience

Last month, Up Here Magazine ran a feature on the end of the roadhouse. Even if you’ve never stopped at a roadhouse while driving long distances, you’re likely familiar with the sight of them: generally a larger main building with a few gas pumps and a small restaurant, and several cabins fanning out on either side. These days, many of them are sagging in the weeds and boarded up.

Up Here cites highway improvements and a drop in tourists for the shuttering of so many roadhouses along the Alaska Highway (or “Alcan”).

Though I usually camp off the side of the road when I dive the Alcan (I’ve made the 2500 mile drive from Seattle to Anchorage five times), I’m familiar with many of the grilled cheese sandwiches available along the way. I even had a toothless, bearded old sourdough recently offer to buy me and my friends shots at a roadhouse along the Richardson Highway. Authentic roadhouse experiences are clearly still available.

Though there are more derelict than functioning roadhouses these days, there is still a few you can visit in Alaska:Eureka Lodge: Billing itself as a lodge, which surely appeals to Anchorage residents wanting to take a long weekend in the mountains, Eureka nonetheless offers the standard roadhouse atmo. Cabins, a restaurant and lounge, a grocery and liquor store and gas pumps make this place a great stopover as you’re rolling into southcentral Alaska.

Steese Roadhouse: Way up on the Steese Highway outside of Fairbanks, this joint doesn’t even have a website. It has all the roadhouse standards, and is pictured above.

Silver Fox Roadhouse: Free coffee, cabins, and local gossip. The roadhouse also appeals to hunters and fishermen.

There are plenty more out there that simply aren’t on the web – maybe it’s time to plan a road trip and discover this dwindling part of American travel.