ARCTIC ADVENTURE DRIVE
Undertaken, January 2016
The 2016 Arctic Adventure Drive was undertaken to see how far North we could drive in the dead of winter in a small two passenger vehicle. This trip took us through British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories to the beginning of the Dempster Highway and the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road. In all we traveled 6,400 miles in 10 days through four Canadian provinces.
The Dempster Highway begins about 25 miles east of Dawson City, Yukon where it intersects the Klondike Highway and extends 457 miles to the North and East to the town of Inuvik, NT.
At the highway terminus in Inuvik begins the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road. The road to Tuktoyaktuk is an ice road constructed down the frozen Mackenzie River delta channels and the frozen Arctic Ocean between the communities of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. The road is the key supply line for the communities of Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik. Construction of a 140 km (87 mi) all-weather extension to Tuktoyaktuk began in April 2013 and was completed in 2017. The section of ice road over the ocean will no longer be seasonally constructed due to the new overland route.
The only fuel along the route can be found in Dawson City, Eagle, and Inuvik. Eagle is nothing but a truck stop along the route. Although it has a motel, restaurant, and gas station, its operating hours are limited. Plan ahead if you will need services from Eagle, particularly if traveling at night or in the winter.
Inuvik is a small town but carries most supplies that a traveler would need. Hotels, an airport, groceries, restaurants, fuel, beer, and pizza, are all available.
When driving the Dempster keep an eye out for wildlife. Its easier for animals to travel along a plowed road than forge through a snow covered countryside. Its not uncommon to come across a herd of caribou in the road.