Hear about traveling the Dempster Highway as the Amateur Traveler talks to Lisa from TheHotFlashPacker.com about this iconic drive into the Arctic Circle in Canada.
The Demster highway runs nearly 550 miles. It starts from near Dawson City, Yukon, and ends at Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories on the Arctic Ocean. This entire road is a gravel road. The last 90 miles of road was not completed until 2017.
Lisa says, “the drive is quite scenic. There is some wildlife, not a lot of wildlife. There are a few cities. Literally, I think there were only 3 cities and by cities, I mean towns along this 550-mile road. You are in the remotest of remote. I sometimes did not see cars for an hour. It is really a way you can get away from the crowds of tourists and see some really beautiful sights and get some culture as well. I was driving to Alaska. That was my plan for the summer. I saw these two roads that went up to the Arctic Ocean. I had never been over the Arctic Circle before. The other highway is the Dalton Highway in Alaska. ”
Dawson City can’t be missed. Where else can you run into a real gold prospector while watching the cancan dancers in Diamond Tooth Gerties? She did not “touch the toe” at Yukon Jack’s.
Lisa says the most scenic part of the drive is the first part of Tombstone Territorial Park. In August she was already seeing fall colors. A lot of people spend a few days in the park doing hikes like the Goldensides hike.
There is not a lot than before you get to Eagle Plains to the first gas station which is almost halfway up the highway. A lot of people only drive up as far as the Arctic Circle and then turn around. One of the highest passes on the trip is where you cross into the Northwest Territories. Then you descend into the flat area drained by the Peel and the McKenzie rivers. The rivers need to be crossed by ferries.
The last 90 miles from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk took 3 hours. When it rains as it did on that part of Lisa’s trip the road “just turns into slop”. “If it is dry you drive, but if it is wet you just find something else to do instead.” Lisa took the time to take a native art class in Inuvik.
Tuktoyaktuk has a couple of shops and a visitor center. You can camp there on the Arctic Ocean although Lisa did it as a day trip from Inuvik. Grandma’s kitchen is where you can try local delicacies like raw beluga or dried fish.
This is a trip without a lot of cell phone coverage. It is a trip without a lot of services or even tourist stops. This is a trip for adventurers.
This episode is sponsored by MyTravelCreditCard.com. Find our personal recommendations for which travel credit cards to use.
The Hot Flash Packer
The Dempster Highway
Tombstone Territorial Park
Connecting to the Dempster Highway
Diamond Tooth Gerties
Things to Do In Inuvik
Western Arctic Visitor Centre
Igloo Church (Our Lady of Victory Church)
Inuvik Community Greenhouse
Inuvik Centennial Library
Tuktoyaktuk Visitor Information Centre
Arctic Ocean Sign
NWT Dempster Highway Visitor Centre
Pingo National Landmark
First Light Image Festival
Inuvik Sunrise Festival
Driving the Dempster Highway
Dempster Highway Blog
Hi Chris, I love your podcast and started listening to get more info on Spain before arriving, among every other informative episode I’ve listened to so far.
I wasn’t sure where to comment on the web. so I decided to email instead,
Just quickly wanted to point out something that wasn’t brought up on your “Jamaica” episode
I was surprised that there was no mention of the large percentage of Irish immigration and history in Jamaica, as it is also something I wanted to learn more about, as far as culture
Please take our listener survey
Amateur Traveler Trips
Amateur Traveler trip to Turkey in September 2020