Dawson is the jumping off point for the 741-kilometer (460-mile) Dempster Highway that leads across the Arctic Circle to Inuvik  in the Northwest Territories . Unpaved all the way, it traverses endless tundra and snowcapped mountain ranges; it crosses the migration path of the Porcupine caribou herd; and, in winter, you can drive clear through to the Arctic Ocean on the frozen Mackenzie River.
But it’s also one of the most remote public roads in North America, one for which you must be prepared with a full gas tank and spare tires. You also need to turn around at the end and return to Dawson along the same route.
Request information packages from either of the territorial tourism bureaus before leaving home, then make a stop at the Dempster/Delta Visitor Information Centre (Front St., Dawson City, 867/993-6167, mid-May–mid-Sept. daily 9 a.m.–8 p.m.). The ferry crossing of the Peel River operates mid-June–October. For a schedule and general highway conditions call 800/661-0750 or go online to www.dot.gov.nt.ca .
Numerous campgrounds and three lodges dot the route. A good spot to spend the night before hitting the highway is Klondike River Lodge (867/993-6892), east of Dawson at the start of the highway. Tent sites are $12, hookups $28, and motel rooms $135 s or d. They also have gas pumps and a small restaurant.
The Arctic Circle is reached at Kilometer 403 (Mile 250) and the Yukon/Northwest Territories border at Kilometer 471 (Mile 293). Fort McPherson, 550 kilometers (342 miles) from Dawson, is a Gwich’in Dene village of 800 with a visitors center and other highway services.