Forty kilometers (25 miles) east of Dawson City, the famed Dempster Highway heads north 735km (457 miles) to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, on the Mackenzie River near the Arctic Ocean. The most northerly public road in Canada, the Dempster is another of those highways that exudes a strange appeal to RV travelers; locals in Inuvik refer to these tourists as "end of the roaders." It's a beautiful drive, especially early in the fall, when frost brings out the color in tiny tundra plants and migrating wildlife is more easily seen. The Dempster passes through a wide variety of landscapes, from tundra plains to rugged volcanic mountains; in fact, between Highway 2 and Inuvik, the Dempster crosses the Continental Divide three times. North Fork Pass in the Ogilvie Mountains, with the knife-edged gray peaks of Tombstone Mountain incising the horizon to the west, is especially stirring. The Dempster crosses the Arctic Circle -- one of only two roads in Canada to do so -- at Mile 252.
The Dempster is a gravel road open year-round. It's in good shape in most sections, though very dusty; allow 12 hours to make the drive between Inuvik and Dawson City. There are services at three points only: Eagle Plains, Fort McPherson, and Tsiigehtchic (formerly known Arctic Red River). Don't depend on gas or food outside of standard daytime business hours. At the Peel and Mackenzie rivers are free ferry crossings in summer; in winter, vehicles simply cross on the ice. For 4 weeks, during the spring thaw and the fall freeze-up, through traffic on the Dempster ceases. For details on ferries and road conditions, call tel. 877/456-7623 in the Yukon or 800/661-0752 in the Yukon or Northwest Territories.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.