Dempster Highway

Dempster Highway

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 on the Dempster. 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. Facilties are few and far between on the Dempster.

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.

Road conditions range from fair to excellent. There are stretches of rough road and sections with clay surfacing that can be slippery in wet weather. 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/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: Fill your tank in Dawson City. Next gas northbound is at Eagle Plains, 229 miles from here.
  • J 44.4 Dempster Interpretive Centre; open mid-June to Sept., natural history displays. Also 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 229.3 Milepost 231. EAGLE PLAINS (pop. 8). Eagle Plains Hotel (email); food, gas, diesel, lodging, camping, phone 867-993-2453.
  • 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.
  • 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; 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.
  • 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 Mackenzie Hotel (email), Capital Suites and Arctic Chalet and Arctic Adventure Tours.

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