Yukon Territory

South Canol Road, Johnsons Crossing to Quiet Lake

The South Canol meanders 220 km (143 miles) from Johnson's Crossing (Alaska Hwy)
to Ross River (Campbell Hwy). There are no services along the road. There are two semi-maintained territorial campgrounds and several unmaintained recreation sites.

For additional information about the South Canol Road (external links):

Google Earth Streetview also includes images from most of this route.

We drove the South Canol south to north in 2007 and then again in 2010.  In 2008 we drove the north half, from Ross River to Rose River #1 Bridge and then returned north because the bridge was closed.  This is one of our favourite routes in the Yukon.

Some years the gas station at Johnsons Crossing, km 1296 on the Alaska Highway, is open, some years it isn't. If it isn't, Teslin has the nearest gas station.  We usually fill up at Teslin, then again at Johnsons Crossing if it is open. We also carry extra fuel with us because sometimes Ross River is out of fuel. Figure it's best to be prepared.

South Canol Road open for season sign
This is an important sign to watch for ... early in the season the road may be closed due to snow - August 2010

Within a few hundred metres of turning onto the South Canol there is a rest area that is well worth visiting.  There are various signs with historical information and also some cool old vehicles scattered about.

The rest area on the South Canol near the Alaska Highway
South Canol rest area with historical information - August 2010

Signs at the start of the South Canol near Alaska Highway
These info signs at the start of the South Canol in August 2010

Indeed, there are no services until Ross River.  In 2008 Ross River did not have leaded fuel for a few days.  Fortunately, diesel was available so we were not affected.  In 2010 we carried enough fuel from Johnson's Crossing to bypass Ross River.

Northbound on the South Canol Road, Yukon
Northbound from the south end of the South Canol Road at km 13 - September 2007

The road is usually good gravel and varies from 2- to 1-lane.

kim 14 on the South Canol Road in Yukon
About km 14 northbound on the South Canol Road - August 2010

Initially the scenery is not overly spectacular; however, in the fall the colours add emphasis to the sights. 

kim 14 on the South Canol Road in Yukon
Meadow Creek alongside the South Canol - August 2010

Marsh along the South Canol Road, Yukon
Meadow Creek on the east side of the South Canol Road at km 14 - September 2007

The landscape is quiet and expansive.

km 29 northbound on the South Canol, Yukon
View from top of hill near km 29 on the South Canol Road, northbound - September 2007

The bridges are usually single-lane with wood decks and usually in good condition. Keep your eyes open for protruding nails or broken planks though.

Evelyn Creek on the South Canol Road, Yukon
Evelyn Creek at km 43 - August 2010

At about km 50 there is a turn-off to the right leading down to Sidney Lake, a good spot to overnight.  It was a tight turn around for our truck and fifth wheel, but do-able.  It is a popular spot though, so expect others to pull in too.

Sidney Lake on South Canol Road in Yukon
View of Sidney Lake alongside the South Canol Road - August 2010

There are few signs along the road.  However, there were ample places to pull over. 
The spot below made for a great lunch break in 2007.

Lunch stop on South Canol Road, Yukon
Lunch stop at km 50, high above Sidney Lake - September 2007

Quiet Lake Yukon Government campground (km 76) was VERY quiet in 2007 during the week. In 2010, it was busy on the weekend. The campground is maintained; the sites were not well-used.

Campground sign at Quiet Lake, South Canol Road, Yukon
Sign marking the entrance to the Quiet Lake campground on South Canol Road - August 2010

The sites also did not have a view of the lake.  In 2007 we camped at the boat launch as the campground was vacant and it was mid-week.  In 2010 the campground was busier and the boat launch well-used as it was a weekend.

Quiet Lake on South Canol Road, Yukon
Quiet Lake boat launch and impromptu campsite - September 2007

Quiet Lake is large and can get quite choppy when the wind comes up.

Quiet Lake on South Canol in Yukon
Looking north on Quiet Lake from the campground, with the concrete boat launch on the right - August 2010

The campground likely gets more use in winter than in summer.  The picnic shelter had an interesting sign posted on it.

Sign for dog mushers at Quiet Lake campground, South Canol
Sign on the picnic shelter at Quiet Lake campground - August 2010

Next page - Quiet Lake to Lapie Lake