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You’ve heard of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, the Black Forest in Germany, and the Redwood Forest in California. These breathtaking landscapes are awe-inspiring. But have you heard of the Sign Post Forest in Canada?
Although not the same kind of awestruck experience as these other famous forests, it’s still a stop worth making as you drive along the Alaska Highway.
You won’t be captivated by natural beauty, but you will smile as you walk around and view the 10,000+ signs travelers have hung for over 80 years!
Let’s dive in and take a look at the Sign Post Forest!
What Is Sign Post Forest?
Sign Post Forest isn’t a forest at all. Instead, it’s a collection of signs at Watson Lake along the Alaska Highway.
The “trees” are actually tens of thousands of street signs, welcome signs, and license plates from all over the world. It has become a tradition to leave a sign commemorating your hometown at the Sign Post Forest when you travel the Alaska Highway.
There are over 10,000 signs spread across a couple of acres, and the signs keep multiplying yearly. Even if you don’t bring your own sign, it’s quite a wonder to walk through the Sign Post Forest and read the hometowns of so many visitors.
Where Is Sign Post Forest?
The Yukon is one of the three Canadian territories. It borders the province of British Columbia to the south, the Northwest Territories to the east, and the state of Alaska to the west.
Right after you cross the border from British Columbia into the Yukon on the Alaska Highway, you’ll find the Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake. It’s one of the most famous landmarks on the popular highway.
What Is the Alaska Highway?
Built during World War II to connect the Lower 48 to Alaska, the Alaska Highway begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ends at Delta Junction, Alaska.
Over the decades, the road has undergone reconstruction numerous times, so although it was once 1,700 miles long, it’s now less than 1,400 miles.
RVers often travel this famous drive. The entire road is paved, although there are many miles of wilderness. Cell service is limited, so if you travel the Alaska Highway, ensure your RV is in good repair and you have plenty of supplies and tools. Services are few and far between.
How Did Sign Post Forest Begin?
In 1942, a signpost with distances to various locations. Carl K. Lindley, a Private with the 341st Army of a bulldozer along the Alaska Highway damaged Engineers, had been injured while working on the highway and was given light duty as he recovered. He was ordered to repair the signpost at Mile 635.
Instead of simply putting back up the original signpost, he decided to add another sign, a personal sign pointing towards his hometown of Danville, Illinois. That was the beginning of Sign Post Forest.
Ever since 1942, travelers have been adding their own signposts, paying homage to their hometowns worldwide. You won’t find Lindley’s original sign, but you will find a replica pointing toward Danville, Illinois.
What Types Of Signs Are At Sign Post Forest?
If you can write on it and screw it to a post, it’s at the Sign Post Forest. You won’t find just street signs or wooden signs.
You’ll discover frisbees, plates, kayak paddles, and more – all denoting a visitor’s hometown. These 10,000+ markings are a sight to see along the Alaska Highway!
How To Leave Your Mark At Sign Post Forest
So how do you leave your mark at Sign Post Forest? You must come prepared if you’re planning a trip through the Yukon into Alaska.
Otherwise, you’ll be looking for anything to write your hometown on and figuring out how to get it screwed into one of the signposts.
Order a Custom Sign Ahead of Time
First, if you want to represent your hometown, order a custom sign beforehand. Bring it along with you as you journey from British Columbia to Alaska. Some people include their names; others include mileage. Make it personal and get creative!
Keep in Mind: With how large Alaska is, many wonder why it’s even a U.S. state. Isn’t Alaska Closer to Russia anyway?
Bring Your Drill, Screws, and Ladder
Next, you’ll need to bring your own supplies. There won’t be a drill sitting on the side of the road. So bring a drill, screws, and a ladder. Find the perfect place to hang your sign in the Sign Post Forest, and take a selfie to share with the world.
Schedule Plenty of Time to Walk the Forest
Finally, don’t rush in this landmark. Take your time to walk through the forest. Do you see any other signs from your state? Where is the farthest location?
Enjoy walking through the Sign Post Forest like a traditional forest with pines, oaks, and maples. Watson Lake is also a place where you can refuel and recharge should you need any supplies.
Pro Tip: Are you looking for a map to track all of your visits to the US National Parks? We’ve got you covered!
Is Sign Post Forest Worth Visiting?
Travelers along the Alaska Highway look forward to stopping at the Sign Post Forest in Walton Lake.
One visitor wrote, “Stopped here on an Overlanding Trip to Alaska and had a lovely walk amongst all the signs. It’s amazing how many different states and license plates you will see. I highly suggest you bring one from your home state to the collection!”
Personally, we loved this stop. We thought we would pass through quickly and add our sign, but we spent over an hour here. The hunt to find an open space for your sign is really fun, and you can lose track of time checking out all the other signs afterward.
So is the Sign Post Forest worth visiting? Absolutely! It’s so much fun to walk around. And you leave with a sense of pride that you represented your hometown along this popular stretch of highway.
What will your signpost say when you visit Watson Lake?