The Deh Cho Connection is a 3,000 km circle route through northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia. Start from Grimshaw, Alberta and travel north to the Northwest Territories. Then follow the Mackenzie River west to the Dehcho region and finally south into B.C. Or begin your road trip adventure in Dawson Creek, BC and head north from there. The epic road adventure takes its name from the Mackenzie River, which is known as Deh Cho or “Big River.”
The Mackenzie Highway, or Hwy 1, is paved for 220km from the NWT border to the junction of Highway 3, as well as 60 km leading to Fort Simpson. The rest is gravel. The Fort Smith Highway, or Hwy 5, is 267km and paved. Travel slowly as bison encounters are very likely along this route. The Yellowknife Highway, Hwy 3, is 339 km, paved highway. The Liard Trail, Hwy 7, is a 254 km gravel highway that begins at the BC border and ends at Checkpoint, where highway 7 connects to Highway 1, the Mackenzie Highway.
How long does it take to drive?
The Deh Cho Connection drive could take at least 18 hours, but when you factor in all the side-trips and excursions you take while visiting the communities along this route, you'll want to give yourself a week or two to explore the area.
What are the road conditions?
This route is largely paved, but as always, check with the Department of Transportation for current conditions. Updated road conditions and warnings are available by checking the Highway Conditions Website or by calling 1-800-661-0750.
Know the RCMP numbers in case of emergency assistance:
Hay River: 867-874-1111
Fort Smith: 867-872-1111
Fort Providence: 867-699-1111
Fort Simpson: 867-695-1111
Fort Liard: 867-770-1111
Is your vehicle road-ready?
- Make sure your car or truck is in good working order
- Check the weather conditions and pack appropriately: extra warm clothes, sleeping bags and bug spray
- Things to carry: extra fuel, a spare tire (or two!), jumper cables, first aid kit, tow rope, axe, knife and candles
When you're out on the road
Wear your seatbelt and keep headlights on. Be aware of changing conditions and drive with caution. Reduce your speed around other vehicles as it will minimize the chance of flying rocks that can damage windshields. Share your travel plans with others and check in so they know you've reached your destination safely. Remember that there is no cellular service in the NWT once you are a few kilometres outside of a community.