Canada’s only all-weather road across the Arctic Circle is among the world’s most unique driving routes. With services at both ends, and one lone outpost in the middle, this unpaved two-lane highway is a driving adventure. The isolation and variable conditions can prove challenging, but the abundant wildlife, easy access to the tundra and expansive views are unmatched.
You’ll want an extended vacation to make the trek.
An enjoyable, safe journey up the Dempster Highway involves careful planning. Ensure you have good spare tires and do some basic vehicle maintenance. You’ll find everything you need at Whitehorse garages, stores and service suppliers before you head up the North Klondike Highway. You may also want to plan your accommodations in advance.
Take a couple of days to explore historic Dawson City and learn about the Klondike Gold Rush. More than a century after thousands of miners flooded into Dawson looking for gold, it’s a story that still captivates and entertains. Visit national historic sites, take a guided walking tour, and enjoy Dawson’s lively nightlife.
Embark on your journey to the Arctic. Visit Tombstone Park and hike right from the roadside. Dempster Highway accommodations are at Eagle Plains near the Arctic Circle, in Dawson City and in Inuvik. Camping gives you more options: try the Tombstone, Engineer Creek or Rock River Campgrounds.
Visit the Mackenzie Delta. Descend from the Richardson Mountains and ride two river ferries to reach the delta towns of Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Watch for caribou and moose, and learn about the cultural heritage of Delta communities.
Finish with a southbound migration, whether you take your time or drive through to Dawson City in a day, or soak in the tundra scenery and abundant wildlife. Early summer brings an abundance of young animals, mid-summer heralds long days under the midnight sun, and late summer visitors are treated to crimson and gold tundra vegetation.
This itinerary is compliments of Tourism Yukon.