Skip to main content

Due to COVID-19, border restrictions are in place. Learn more.

Driving the great adventure on the wild Dempster highway

Dempster Highway driving

Driving the great Dempster adventure

The Dempster Highway is the most fun you can have while sitting down. North America’s most adventurous road trip transports visitors in more ways than one. They will see jagged peaks, crowds of caribou, the Arctic Circle, tight-knit Indigenous communities and the supersized Mackenzie River. And they'll feel a sense of adventure like no other. Driving the Dempster Highway really is one heck of a ride.

Traversing the Tombstones

Traversing the Tombstones

Shortly after the Dempster Highway begins, fang-like peaks rear up, piercing the bright blue horizon. This is epic Tombstone Territorial Park, full of mind-bending mountains, alpine wildlife, tantalizing hiking trails and fine sites for scenic camping. 

Entering the Arctic realm

Entering the Arctic realm

The Dempster is Canada’s only highway to straddle the Arctic Circle. From here on north, the summer sun never sets, spinning itself dizzy in the sky. Here, adventurers cross into the true polar zone, a mythic region only a fraction of the travellers on Earth have ever entered. 

Exploring tight-knit villages

Exploring tight-knit villages

As the Dempster exits the Richardson Range, it visits two charming villages. First is the friendly old trading hub of Fort McPherson, home to the graves of the legendary Lost Patrol. Next is a tiny town with a big name – the Gwich’in settlement of Tsiigehtchic, with a scenic lookout over the Mackenzie and Arctic Red rivers.

Wowing roadside wildlife

Wowing roadside wildlife

The Dempster passes through a Canadian Serengeti – wild, wide-open country, teeming with frontier beasts. Travellers keep eyes peeled for grizzlies patrolling the mountain slopes, moose plodding through swamplands, and – at certain times of year – herds of caribou so dense they block the highway and darken the far horizon. 

Learn more about the delirious Dempster Highway

Get our Free Explorers' Guide

Is the Northwest Territories on your must-see list? Order or download our free Explorers' Guide to plan your trip of a lifetime.