Canol Road

Canol Road Locator Map
Connects: Johnson’s Crossing, Alaska Hwy., to NWT Border
Route#: Yukon Highway 6
Length: 286 miles
Road Surface: Gravel
Season: Closed in winter
Highest Pass: Macmillan Pass, elev, 4,480 feet/1,366m
Map (1 detailed pdf file available):
Alaska Highway Junction, YT to Nortwest Territories Border

The Canol Road was part of the Canol (Canadian Oil) Project: it was built in 1942-44 to provide access to oil fields at Norman Wells, NWT. Rebuilt in the 1950s, the road is maintained to minimum standards in summer. Services are available only at Johnson’s Crossing and at Ross River. The Canol Road it is not recommended for large RVs or trailers. Not recommended for any size vehicle in wet weather. Drive with headlights on at all times.

The Canol Road between Johnson’s Crossing on the Alaska Highway and Ross River on the Campbell Highway is referred to as the South Canol Road, while the road between Ross River and the YT–NWT border is referred to as the North Canol Road.

The 137-mile/220-km South Canol Road is a narrow winding road. There are some 1-lane bridges, sections of rough road, occasional road closures due to washouts and no services. Driving time is about 4 hours one way. The 144-mile/232-km North Canol Road is also a narrow, very winding road with possible washouts, no services, and 1-lane bridges; inquire about road conditions in Ross River before driving. The North Canol ends at the YT–NWT border, where vehicles may turn around. From the border to Norman Wells it is 230 miles/372 km of unusable road that has been designated the Canol Heritage Trail by the NWT government.

The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from Alaska Highway junction (J) shown.

  • J 0 Junction with Alaska Highway; turnout with interpretive signs on history and construction of Canol Road. Food, gas and camping at nearby Johnson’s Crossing.
  • J 47.8 Quiet Lake South Yukon government campground.
  • J 61.2 Quiet Lake North Yukon government campground.
  • J 136.8 Campbell Highway junction.
  • J 141.8 Access road leads 7 miles to ROSS RIVER (pop. 313); all services. Pelly River Barge carries passengers and vehicles across river to North Canol Road.
  • J 286 Road ends at YT-NWT border.

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