The Dempster

A part of this trip was to drive the Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk. The weather and resulting road conditions (and my driving skills) put a stop to that 2 or 3 hours north of the Arctic Circle. 

Pro tip: if planning to drive the Dempster, ignore everything anyone says. About anything. Go instead to the NWT tourism office in Dawson City and talk to staff there.  They know the score.

Motorcycles are strongly dissuaded from camping the route (which sux as there are excellent ⛺️ sites on way) due to the weight. I dropped off all of my gear (NWT tourism stored everything for me - they are 👍) and pared down to a minimum to make the bike as light as possible. Going motel to motel with bare essentials is the only way. 

The first 1/2 of the Dempster ends at Eagle Plains (there is no services until then). The surface is rough gravel and dirt (beware kms 250-350 as they use shale on the road) and relatively good.


Eagle Plains (aka Midway) is the only game in town. It’s the first set of services (376 km from the start) and has the motel, car wash, mechanic, tire install, and bar.


Day 2 itinerary: Eagle Plains to Innuvik (the second 1/2 of the Dempster). Then Innuvik to Tuktoyaktuk and back on day 3, and return on days 4/5. That’s the plan. Here’s leaving Eagle Plains:


The Arctic Circle is about 36 kms north of Eagle Plains (woot!) and further on is Wright Pass which on this day was a cloud of rain with zero visibility (no 📷).

Further on conditions worsened (aka went to shit) as rain turned the road into long stretches of mud with the consistency of axle grease. 


After slopping around for a few hours (and dumping the 🏍 twice) I found a place to turn around, took the promo shot at the Arctic Circle and returned to Midway.


[Insert a long string of extremely offensive swear words]

Next up is return to gather up gear in Dawson City, then Top of the World Highway, Chicken USA and Kluane Park.