Yukon Territory

Dempster Highway, Dawson City YT to Inuvik NWT

Yukon map with Dempster Highway

Canada’s first all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle. It is a 735 km (455 mile) two-lane, gravel-surfaced, all-weather highway from the Klondike Highway near Dawson City to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

In September 1993 we drove to the Arctic Circle and back to Dawson City, same day.

In June 1996 we visited Inuvik for the longest day of the year.

July 2011, drove to Tombstone Mountain Park to camp overnight.

To the Arctic Circle in June 2015

We hope to make a trip with the truck & camper in winter.

There is an excellent 52-page mile-by-mile guide published by the Yukon government,
"The Dempster Highway Travelogue" is at
http://www.env.gov.yk.ca/publications-maps/documents/Dempster_Travelogue_2014.pdf

At the start of the Dempster Highway there is an information sign that provides information about the route, people and landscape. In the picture below, that is the Dempster Highway on the left of the picture and our truck and fifth wheel in the pull-off.

Dempster Highway sign in Yukon
Sign at the start of the Dempster Highway - July 2011

Sign at the start of the Dempster
This notice is posted at the beginning of the Dempster Highway - June 2015

In some places, the views go on forever. The signs are the only obstructions!

Dempster Highway sign
Road sign indicating 261 km to Eagle "Lodge" and 633 km to Inuvik - June 2015

Tombstone park sign on the Dempster Highway in Yukon
Tombstone Park boundary - July 2011

The government  campground in Tombstone Park is a nice spot to stay. There are no services. The hiking is great though. There is also an interesting visitor info centre there.

North Klondike hiking trail in Tombstone campground, Yukon
Hiking trail from the campground - July 2011

Many of the old information signs are no longer in place. I liked them.

Tombstone Mountain sign, Dempster Hwy, Yukon (YT)
Information sign at Tombstone Mountain - September 1993

Below, three different seasons at Tombstone Mountain. I hope to add a winter scene soon.

Tombstone Mountain, Dempster Hwy, Yukon
Spring at Tombstone Mountain - June 1996

Tombstone Mountain on the Dempster Highway in Yukon
Summer at Tombstone - July 2011

Tombstone Mountain, Dempster Highway, Yukon
Fall colours at Tombstone Mountain - September 1993

Tombstone Mountain on the Dempster Highway, Yukon
Close up of Tombstone Mountain - July 2011

North of Tombstone but still within the park, the landscape is stunning!

Dempster Highway scene in Yukon
Scenery along the Dempster Highway north of Tombstone - July 2011

Dempster Highway in Yukon and a river beside it
Dempster Highway and river - July 2011 - 64.606917, -138.351800

Some of following pictures might be out of order. My notes from the trip refer to before Eagle Plains and after Eagle Plains, but not the specific locations.

Dempster Highway
Northbound on the Dempster - N65.01403° W138.19815° - 30 June 2015

Sign for Engineer Creek Campground
Sign for Engineer Creek campground - N65.35170° W138.26799° - June 2015

Dempster Highway, Yukon
Ogilvie River in the distance - September 3, 1993

Airstrip
The Dempster Hwy is an airstrip at approx km 391 - N66.50866° W136.55070°

Thirty-five kilometres (22 miles) north of Eagle Plains is the Arctic Circle.
The signage has changed significantly since 1993.

Approaching the Arctic Circle
Approaching the Arctic Circle viewpoint and rest area - N66.56546° W136.30786° - June 2015

Arctic Circle, Dempster Hwy, Yukon
Arctic Circle - September 3, 1993

Arctic Circle, Dempster  Highway, Yukon
Arctic Circle - September 3, 1993

Arctic Circle sign on the Dempster Highway in Yukon
Arctic Circle - June 1996

Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle viewpoint - June 2015

On June 22 at the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set below the horizon.

Arctic Circle sign along the Dempster Highway in Yukon

The Yukon-Northwest Territories border is at kilometre 465 (mile 290).
Inuvik is another 270 km (170 miles) northward.

I need to make this trip again, with the GPS so I can confirm the locations of my photos.

Dempster Hwy, sign at border NWT
Mileage sign leaving the Yukon/NWT border heading to Inuvik, 270 km - June 20, 1996

Also set your clocks one hour ahead for Mountain Standard Time.

Dempster Highway, Yukon, NWT
Looking north at the Yukon-Northwest Territories border - June 20, 1996

Dempster Highway, Yukon NWT border
Looking south from the NWT-Yukon border, with smoke - June 22, 1996

The smoke from the forest fires created some interesting hues in my images.

Dempster Highway in forest fire smoke in Yukon
Looking south at the NWT-Yukon border (with smoke from forest fires) - June 22, 1996

Dempster Highway scene in the rain
June 20, 1996

At the Peel River ferry, the sign and loading area are not overwhelming. We chuckled when we saw the bulldozer, ready to make any alterations to the "loading ramp". The ferry came back across the river and we eagerly awaited the "signal from the ferry personnel". The "signal" was almost undetectable; it has a very small flick of the fellow's hand as he stood by the ferry.

The Peel River ferry is a cable crossing with scheduled hours from early June to mid-October, depending on the river ice.  In winter, there is an ice-bridge at this location.

Dempster Highway, Peel River ferry crossing, NWT
Peel River ferry crossing northbound - June 20, 1996

Dempster Highway, NWT in the rain
Southbound on the Dempster about 10 pm June 22, 1996, in a tremendous rainstorm

Dempster Hwy in the NWT
Travelling in the rain

At Inuvik we stayed at the Happy Valley territorial campground. It was tidy and within walking distance of "downtown". There isn't much of a downtown -- it is more of a "main drag" through town with some stores, a hotel, a community centre.

We set the alarm clock to wake us up in the middle of the "night".

Inuvik at 1 a.m., June 21, 1996
1 a.m. in the morning in Inuvik - June 21, 1996

Inuvik at 1 a.m., June 21, 1996
1 a.m. in the morning in Inuvik - June 21, 1996

With so much daylight, we left Inuvik late in the afternoon and drove until about 10 p.m., stopping near Eagle Plains on our way southbound.