Welcome to the north west of Canada. This section is comprised of the provinces of northern BC, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. We have decided to not provide routes for the north west of Canada. This was not an easy decision but after much debate it was decided to provide this chapter of the web site to detail the different gravel roads that are available in the provinces of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Creating a route just didn’t seem to work as the classic gravel roads in this area are separated by very long paved roads and many of the gravel roads are dead ends.
The north west offers some of Canada’s most famous roads. Roads like the Dempster are known around the world to overland travellers. These roads represent everything this site hopes to provide, long remote non paved roads. An expedition to the north west offers an abundance of choices, heck just getting to the north west is often an expedition onto itself. If your looking for remote gravel roads, the north west offers this is abundance.
Photo by Russel Higginson, South Canol Road, Yukon
There are five main gravel roads in the north west that we have provided information about, of course there are several shorter roads that are available for exploration, where possible we have added these as offshoots to the main road links below.
Robert Cambell Highway
There are many unique features to travelling this far north in Canada. The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis can be seen in the skies. A light show like only mother nature can provide. The northern lights are created by a collision of charged particles that have been directed by Earth’s magnetic field. The web is full of information about the northern lights that is well worth reading if you’re planning a trip of this way. In short the northern lights create crazy coloured swirling patterns in the sky at night. Early spring and fall are the best time for viewing the spectacle.
Daylight hours are extended in this region during the summer months. In July you can expect 18 hours between sunrise and sunset. Sometimes it never really gets dark. A good site to visit to check on the daylight hours for your trip is LINK. The flip side of this is the long dark winters experienced in this area, less than 4 hours of sunlight can be expected in January. Something to consider is bringing is a sleeping mask or something to cover your eyes. Many folks have a hard time falling asleep at night in a tent when it’s bright and sunny outside. Back to back days of improper sleep can detract from your experience.
Grizzlies on the Dempster, photo by Mike Stahl
Many folks have helped us in creating this chapter, a special thanks goes out to Sue Thomas and her excellent website www.suethomas.ca Many others contributed pictures and provided the information we have gathered, thanks to each and every one of you. We haven’t reinvented the wheel here, we have collected as much useful information as we could find and have provided one location for folks to utilize for their trips up to the northwest.