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RFI: Minnesota to Tuktoyaktuk

Yukon NorthWest Territories Arctic Circle Dempster Highway

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#1 JaSAn

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:35 PM

I am planning a trip to Tuktoyaktuk in August/September, 2019. I can leave St. Paul, MN anytime after the 28th of July and need to be back in Minnesota by the end of September. Current thinking is to be north of Dawson City, YK in the last week of August and heading down the Cassiar Highway by the second week of September.


My first iteration of a route:


To Tuktoyaktuk, NWT​
Head north to Can 16​
Can 16 past Edmonton, ALB​
Connect to Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, BC​
Turn off onto Campbell Highway at Watson Lake, YK​
Pick up Klondike Highway at Carmacks, YK​
To Dawson City and the Dempster Highway to Tuk​

Tuk to Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Kluane NP

Back to Dawson City​
Turn west onto Top of the World Highway to Tok, AK​
Follow the Tok Cutoff to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park​
Back to Tok​
Alaska Highway to Kluane NP​

Kluane NP to Montana

Continue South of Alaska Highway to Upper Liard Village, YK​
Take the Cassiar and Yellowhead Highways to Prince George, BC​
Can 16 to Jasper, ALB​
Hwy 93 to Montana Interstate 90​
INT 90/94 to home​

Any information on the route, side trips, places to camp, places to see, et.al. are welcome. And how many days should I budget to spend in these places.

Thanks, jim
(Also posted on Expedition Portal)


Edited by JaSAn, 10 February 2019 - 11:36 PM.

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#2 klahanie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:52 AM

Jim, I'll look at your route. Could you tell us a bit about your "style" of travel (cannon ball run, country back roads moseying) and what you'd like to see and do (geography, First Nations, city attractions). Also have you been over any part of the planned route before (don't want to repeat) ?


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#3 JaSAn

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:53 AM

ROF traveling in a 2012 Ram 2500 and Grandby.  I prefer 'blue' highways and backroads, dispersed camping, going at a slow pace.  It doesn't bother me to go 25 miles in a day and stop.  If a spot interests me I'll stay a while and explore on foot.  I like museums (the only city attraction that would interest me), hiking (I love to walk), geography, broad vistas, flora and fauna.  I understand there are a few culinary delights I should not miss.

 

I have spent significant time in the Banff, Jasper, Robson, Yoho, Glacier, and Mt.Revelstoke areas.  Nothing north of that, except flying into Anchorage, taking the train to Talkeetna, and flying into the Alaska Range to climb.

 

Since this is probably the only time I will drive the Alaska Highway and visit the Yukon I would like to concentrate on that, but I am open to other interesting stuff along the way and the only constraint I have is cold and snow in the mountains coming back south.

 

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

 

jim


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#4 klahanie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 06:47 PM

^Thx. I have some thoughts from our trips and will post in pieces. Some you'll already know or can find easily enough. Disclaimer: I can't relate to a 2 month trip or a 25 mile day so be forewarned I'm not considering your time scheduling. Plus - good for you - you've already seen some wonderful Rockies scenery that I can't expect to top...

 

Dempster I expect this is high on your list but I'll still encourage you to take the time to see and experience what you can. You'll want at least 2 days each way to Inuvik. Definitely stop in at the Tombstone Visitor Centre and ask (or likely wait around to ask) about hiking, walks and stops along the hwy, as well as the hiking within the Park. We haven't done much hiking there because of bad weather. You can't always walk far from the road because of the tundra but frequent stops to just get down from the truck and soak in the surroundings is recommended. Could be chilly tho ..

 

In addition to the online travelogues and guides, you may want to study this book, which we picked up at the Centre for "next time".

 

The CG in Inuvik can be busy and noisy but is well located for the few hours walking around town and a bite to eat.

 

Tuk we did a tour arranged with the flight (back then). Next time I'd deal directly with the operator (Eileen)  - first one on this list. You'll have wheels to self tour but in a place like this, I'd encourage you to engage with the locals. That goes for the whole North and I say that in the most respectful, non patronizing way. Truth is it's been the chance encounter with local folks that makes the trip. And it all starts with a, "hey, how's it going, eh?"  ;)

 

Robert Campbell Hwy. Again stop into the info centre here. Great resource. Gas is not always cheapest here. Driving the RCH from Watson per you plan, I'm tempted to recommend the Tungsten and/or N Canol roads. They are a rare opportunity to drive remote. Best if you could plan it to camp overnite, deep in. Say a half day drive in and out, each road IIRC. Barring that I'm tempted to recommend driving up the S Canol from Hwy 1 instead of turning off at Watson Lk. Yes you'll redrive some hwy on the return trip but... an opportunity... and a nice drive.

 

The camping is pretty good at the west end of the RCH, off Frenchman Rd.

 

More to come ... I think I have posted this site before to whet the appetite ..


Edited by klahanie, 11 February 2019 - 06:53 PM.

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#5 trikebubble

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 06:57 PM

I posted over on the Expo site, but figured I'd copy&paste my reply here as well if anyone is interested.

 

We did the South Canol Road from North to South last July on our way back down from Tuk. Going your direction, you'd take it North from Johnson's Crossing then it takes you up to Ross River on the Campbell Hwy and you can follow the Campbell Hwy over to Carnacks.
The South Canol Road is fantastic, and was easily the most remote part of our journey. I'd give it some serious consideration.  (edit:  We stayed at Quiet Lake Yukon Territorial campground on the South Canol.  What a beauty of a camp spot, just amazing....and free firewood.  Not "dispersed" persay but for such a beautiful spot it was worth the $12 to help support the Yukon's amazing campgrounds)

I'd also put thought into spending a couple days in Dawson City. It is fantastic. We stayed at the campground right in the town and just walked around playing tourist. It is one of the coolest little towns I've ever been to.

If you take the Cassiar you have to go see The Salmon Glacier. We over-nighted in Stewart, but when we drive up to see the glacier their was a couple camped out at the view-point. If I went again, I'd camp up there for sure.

And make sure to stop here for the best cinnamon buns in the Universe. http://tetsariver.com/
 

Edited by trikebubble, 11 February 2019 - 07:00 PM.

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#6 takesiteasy

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:18 PM

This trip is on my bucket list. I can't help with your itinerary but I will be watching and interested in your future trip report.


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#7 klahanie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:53 PM

Leaving YK for now... Winnipeg, has the MB Museum, (good) and the acclaimed Museum for Human Rights (heavy subject matter). If you go to the latter can park at The Forks to eat and walk around a bit, even walk to, and inside, the Legislative Bldg a distance away. There's also the Mint, and a bunch of other attractions.

 

SE of Winnipeg  (N of Steinbach) there is a sizable Mennonite Heritage Park, incld  a windmill

 

MB has good provincial CGs. You'll need to buy a park pass as well as CG fee. North of Winnipeg, Birds Hills PP is close by and ok (we've only overnight camped). If you do visit, consider departing north thru Lockport (pelicans) and Lower Ft Gary site (fur trade).

 

We usually camp a Spruce Woods. It's large, usually quiet but a bit off the hwy. So if you go (and pay for the park pass) be sure to hike around the sand dunes. Also check out taxidermy in the park visitor centre.

 

On #16, check out the Neepewa Dam ruin (walk around). Note they have a goofy parking pay system otherwise would have payed (honest Canucks) instead we chanced it.

 

Riding Mtn PP is ok (there is a Bison enclosure and also reportedly lots of wildlife), the main town site is a small resort town. You don't want to camp near there.

 

Minnedosa has a heritage museum and village, if you like that sort of thing.


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#8 klahanie

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 04:33 AM

Sask I like SK. There' interesting geography closer to the Itn'l border and I'm partial to the parkland west of Prince Albert,and the boreal forest to the north of it.

 

Have driven hwy16 but am drawing a bit of a blank. For sure there are many range roads (prairie grid) and small towns off of it, most trying to offer an attraction or something to the outsider. But these take time to explore. Often you have to ask around locally for the gems. Most blast thru SK to get to somewhere else. No prob. Understood.

 

And there's the difficult issue of camping. My tip for the gentle reader is look to Regional Parks.

 

Saskatoon has a number of museums including one of the four WDMs in the province. Each has a theme. We've been to a couple. I think the one in North Battleford has a bunch of restored autos in the collection. Ya, you can only do so many of these venues. But I guess they are different enough to us, being from the Coast.

 

Usually we avoid cities but still want to take a break from the hwy. For eg. north of Saskatoon is Wanuskewin, a place to walk around, learn something of Treaty Six Nation's culture and enjoy some great food.

 

Then it's back to the hwy ...


Edited by klahanie, 12 February 2019 - 04:34 AM.

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#9 klahanie

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 05:28 PM

Elk Island NP is pretty good and close to Edmonton.Likely busy so at the gatehouse we'd prob ask about overflow camping (a tip - fewer neighbours). There's a ~ 10 mile level hike that goes thru the Bison compound. Or you can do the "safari" type park drive about. Like most PPs and NPs they are some shorter walks, lake shorelines, interpretive stuff etc.

 

In Edmonton I remember the RAM having some good natural and human history displays. Moved to a new, better bldg recently.

 

I now notice in the OP, mention of posting this tread on that big site. Lot's of knowledge and expertise there. So I'll throw out an idea for consideration that the pilgrims, in their rush, might not. Namely, if you have done a iron butt to Edm, to consider looking into doing a waterfalls loop to Hay River then west on NWT1 then south to Ft Nelson. Figure on adding ~600 miles. Long drive and you'd miss the start of the AK Hwy. but it has some rewards.

 

I'll leave off now. in case I'm whistling,

 

Enjoy the planning !


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#10 Vic Harder

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:36 PM

If you are into auto museums, the Reynolds museum in Wetaskawin (near Edmonton) is outstanding.  June 8 they trundle all the cars outside, each with its own driver/mechanic to wax poetic with you about "their" car. 


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