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Dempster Highway

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Dempster Highway

The Dempster Highway officially opened in 1979 linking Inuvik with southern communities. It is the only gravel highway connecting Inuvik to Whitehorse, Yukon some 1253 km away. The highway is open approximately June 10 to October 14 in the summer, and December 15 to April 30 in the winter.

The highway closes for approximately 6 to 8 weeks in the fall when the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers freeze and again in the spring when they thaw.


  • phone 1-800-661-0750 for Northwest Territories 
  • phone 1-867-456-7623 for Yukon Territory
  • GNWT Department of Infrastructure highway conditions map 
  • GNWT Department of Infrastructure Twitter feed
  • Yukon 511 Twitter feed

Ferry service operates on both the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers. The Peel River ferry operates on demand from 9:15 a.m. - 12:45 a.m. The Mackenzie River ferry operates every hour on the hour from the Inuvik shore from 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Highway 10, more commonly known as the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway is a road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada's Northwest Territories. Its is the "first all-weather road to Canada's Arctic Coast". The idea for the highway had been considered for decades; however, final approval was not until 2013, with construction beginning in 2014. It was officially opened on 15 November 2017 and is a 144.7 km drive. There is also a seasonal Ice Road to Aklavik (112 km) from Inuvik. In the summer and fall, air service and boat are the only ways to access the community of Aklavik.

Inuvik operates on Mountain Standard Time, the same time zone as Alberta.

In 1958 the Canadian government made the historic decision to build a 671-kilometre road through the Arctic wilderness from Dawson City, Yukon, to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Oil and gas exploration was booming in the Mackenzie Delta and the Town of Inuvik was under construction. The road was billed as the first-ever overland supply link to southern Canada, where business and political circles buzzed with talk of an oil pipeline that would run parallel to the road. The two would ultimately connect with another proposed pipeline along the Alaska Highway.

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For more information on Dempster Highway Events, please contact the Tourism Development Officer with the GNWT Industry, Tourism and Investment department in Inuvik at 867-777-7196.