Connects: Klondike Highway to Inuvik, NWT
Route#: Yukon Highway 5, NWT Highway 8
Length: 456 miles
Road Surface: Gravel
Season: Open all year
Highest Pass: North Fork Pass Summit, elev. 4,229 feet/1,289m
Map (1 detailed pdf file available):
Klondike Highway Junction to Inuvik, Northwest Territories
The Dempster Highway begins about 25 miles/40 km east of Dawson City, YT, at its junction with the Klondike Highway, and ends at Inuvik, NWT. Facilities are few and far between. It is strongly recommended that motorists carry a full-sized spare tire (or 2 spare tires if they are an unusual size) as well as extra water and gas.
Construction of the Dempster Highway began in 1959 and was finally completed in 1978, although it did not officially open until Discovery Day weekend in 1979. It was named for Inspector William John Duncan Dempster of the RCMP.
Although in relatively good condition, this highway requires drivers pay attention at all times for sudden changes in road surface, including frost heaves, potholes, boggy or slick stretches, crushed shale (hard on tires) and other drivers. Drivers should pull-over (if space allows) for oncoming trucks or to allow trucks to pass. Drive with your headlines on at all times. Free ferries transport motorists across the Peel River and the Mackenzie River. Crossing is by ice bridge in winter (closed during freeze–up and break–up). Current Highway & Ferry Conditions are posted online.
The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from Klondike Highway 2 junction (J) shown.
- J 0 Dempster Corner, junction with Kondike Highway 2 (see Milepost J 298.3 Klondike Loop). NOTE: Next gas northbound is at Eagle Plains, 229 miles/369 km from here.
- J 44 Dempster Interpretive Centre; open mid-June to Sept., natural history displays.
- J 44.5 Yukon government Tombstone Territorial Park; 36 campsites.
- J 46 Tombstone Range Viewpoint.
- J 49.3 North Fork Pass Summit, elev, 4,593 feet/1,400m, highest point on Dempster Highway.
- J 63.7 Two Moose Lake turnout and viewing platform.
- J 120.4 Yukon government Engineer Creek Campground; 15 campsites.
- J 252 Arctic Circle Crossing; picnic tables, litter bins, outhouses.
- J 277 Yukon government Rock River Campground; 20 campsites.
- J 288.9 YT-NWT Border. Historical marker, good photo-op.
- J 303.5 Wright Pass Summit.
- J 334.9 Peel River Crossing via CF Abraham Francis, operates approx. 15 hours a day from about late May/early June to mid- or late October., with on demand ferry services and/or crossing by ice bridge rest of year.
- J 336 Nitainlaii Territorial Territorial Park campground and interpretive centre. Book NWT campgrounds online at Northwest Territories Parks.
- J 341.9 FORT McPHERSON (pop. 791); food, gas, diesel, lodging. Attractions: Lost Patrol Gravesite at Anglican Church. Local industry includes Fort McPherson Tent & Canvas factory.
- J 377.9 Mackenzie River ferry crossing via MV Louis Cardinal, operates approx. 15 hours a day from early June to late October, with on demand ferry service and/or crossing by ice bridge rest of year.
- J 426 Vadzaih Van Tsik Campground; 11 campsites.
- J 434.5 Gwich'in Territorial Campground; 15 campsites.
- J 453.8 Jak Territorial Park Campground; 36 campsites.
- J 456.1 INUVIK (pop. 3,430) has all services; visit Town of Inuvik. Stop by Western Arctic Regional Visitors Centre across from hospital on Mackenzie Road. Lodging at Capital Suites and Arctic Chalet. Sightseeing with Arctic Adventure Tours and Tundra North Tours.