Here's why to roll to Wrigley on the scenic Heritage Route
The Northwest Territories has a number of famous drives – the fabled Dempster Highway, the legendary ice road to the diamond mines, or Highway 5 through Canada’s largest protected area, Wood Buffalo National Park.
But there’s one stretch of rambling road that nearly no one ever drives – and that’s both a blessing and a shame, because it’s one of the wildest, most compelling routes in the North.
Called the Heritage Route, it’s technically the final stretch of Highway 1, linking the hub of the Dehcho region, Fort Simpson, to the tiny, rustic village of Wrigley in the shadow of the Franklin Mountains.
The Heritage Route is a dusty, lonesome, soulful drive – perfect for escapists seeking the freedom of the open road and looking to experience the true flavour of the untamed Northland.
This 220-kilometre route was the last public highway to open in the Northwest Territories, back in 1994. It was meant to run down the Mackenzie Valley clear to the Dempster, linking up our southern and northern road systems.
But the wallet and the will were lacking, so the road dead-ended at Wrigley – and there, for now, it remains.
You could get from Fort Simpson to Wrigley and back in a long day of driving – but why rush it? The trip is bliss, and should be savoured.