This highway loop could be travelled in as little as two days, but to really experience the communities along the way, plan for at least a week or more. Here are some of the accommodations along the way once you pass the AB/NWT border and before heading back south into BC.
Enterprise is the first NWT community you’ll encounter and your first stop on the waterfalls route. Take a break and stretch your legs at Alexandra Falls, located within Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park.
Just a short distance away from Enterprise is Hay River, offering more facilities and services. If you’ve packed your camping supplies or are travelling by RV, the Hay River Campground is situated on the south shore of Great Slave Lake and features a vast sandy beach strewn with enormous driftwood. If you’d rather have a solid roof over your head, check out the hotels and B&Bs in town. The Ptarmigan Inn has an especially good dining room with fresh caught local whitefish.
If you make the side trip to Fort Resolution, you’ll be greeted with a few options ranging from a cosy campground at Little Buffalo River Crossing, to a motel or B&B in Fort Res. Or try a nearby campground that offers fishing and canoe rentals.
Back on the Mackenzie Highway, past Hay River, you reach Kakisa. Spend at night at Lady Evelyn Falls campground for one of the prettiest waterfalls you’ve ever seen, and a campground with excellent amenities.
In Fort Providence try the Snowshoe Inn for a comfy place to stay, a great and satisfying meal, and one of the best gift shops in the North. Here you’ll find porcupine quill work on moosehide and beautiful Dene beading. Or stay by the highway service centre near Fort Providence. Big River Centre offers accommodation, dining, gas and vehicle repair services.
Behchoko's Winterhawk B&B is a charming place to stay while getting to know the Tlicho lands.
If you opt for the Hwy 3 side trip to Yellowknife, your accommodation options are many. You can camp at Fred Henne Territorial Park, book a room at ne of manya full service hotels, or stay in a cozy B&B on the lake.
The drive from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson is a long stretch. Once there you may want a comfy place to bed down. Stay in one of the inns in town, or treat yourself to a few days in the wilderness paradise that surrounds Nahanni Mountain Lodge, a fly-in lodge on Little Doctor Lake.
If you choose to take a day trip to Wrigley at the northern end of Highway 1, note that there are no services or facilities in Wrigley. Before you leave Fort Simpson, check the operating hours of the Liard River ferry and the ferry on the Mackenzie south of Wrigley. The Mackenzie ferry usually operates from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., so plan your trip accordingly, though the Fort Simpson link operates longer hours.
South of Fort Simpson, on the way to British Columbia, spend a night in the beautiful mountainous Dehcho region. Pitch your tent on the banks of the Liard River at Blackstone Territorial Park or make your way to Fort Liard and book a housekeeping suite at the local motel.