The Dempster Highway, Canada’s only all-season public road to cross the Arctic Circle, is among the world’s most unique driving routes. Starting near Dawson City, this 736 km unpaved two-lane highway traverses northern Yukon all the way to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
A scenic drive up the Dempster Highway begins with a visit to Tombstone Park and the new interpretive centre where naturalists offer walks, travel information and wildlife viewing tips. Tombstone is a haunting landscape remembered for its jagged peaks and colour-stained hills.
Rich in wildlife and bird activity, the Ogilvie and Richardson mountains are home to moose, sheep, grizzly bears, wolves and the Porcupine caribou herd.
"The Dempster" as it is known locally is lined with plenty of pullouts, day hikes and roadside diversions. This historic highway crosses the Arctic Circle and traverses the Continental Divide three times. In mid-August, the vegetation begins to change colour, igniting a crimson parade that turns the tundra into swaths of scarlet and gold.
With limited services, two ferry crossings and long stretches across open tundra, the Dempster Highway is an adventurous driving experience. Travellers are urged to be prepared for contingencies and are advised to carry spare tires and allow for delays.