Northern & Western Canada
The Route

Northern & Western Canada

Phase 2

NORTHERN & WESTERN CANADA

My northern route will start from our most northern Canadian community of Inuvik on the Dempster Highway in the North West Territories and then pedalling into the Yukon at Dawson City.  From Dawson City I intend to take advantage of the close proximity of Alaska and do a very quick swing along the Top of the World Highway into Alaska and then back into the Yukon.  From the Yukon I will ride into BC down the Cassiar Highway to Prince George.  From Prince George I will ride back into Alberta to Jasper and then to Banff.   From Banff I will ride west back into BC through Yoho National Park towards Kamloops.  I will then continue towards Vancouver with a stop in Victoria before taking the ferry into Washington USA.

NORTHERN & WESTERN CANADA - Inuvik, Dawson City, Whitehorse, Prince George, Jasper, Banff, Kamloops, Greater Vancouver area, Victoria

The Dempster Highway - In 1958 the Canadian government made the historic decision to build a 671 km road through the Arctic wilderness from Dawson City to Inuvik.  Oil and gas exploration was booming in the Mackenzie Delta and the town of Inuvik was under construction.  The highway begins about 40 km east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km to Inuvik.  The Dempster Highway—Canada’s only all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle—was officially opened on August 18, 1979.

The significance of the Dempster Highway for me is that it is and was the beginning of the life as an expedition bike rider.  In 2004 I drove past (in a car) the turn off for the Dempster Highway with plans to one day to return here for a road trip.  While I never made it back to the Dempster a few years later the idea occurred to me that it might be neat to ride that highway on a bike.  I think this idea started from my interest in mountain bike trail riding.  I say this because it never occurred to me to do an extended bike trip anywhere or at any time in my life.  I never use to wonder or dream or even notice other expedition cyclists when I use to see them on the road in my younger years.  If anything I thought about what a dull boring life they must have.  Little did I know? 

This will be the start of my Arctic to Argentina adventure.

Dawson City - Dawson City, Yukon is the heart of the world-famous Klondike Gold Rush.  Dawson City became a bustling commercial center at the turn of the century, and for a time was the largest city north of San Francisco and west of Winnipeg.  Today, Dawson City is in many ways just as it was at the height of the Gold Rush in 1898.  The streets of this authentic frontier town are lined with wooden boardwalks.

In 2004 I stopped in Dawson City on a road trip and I consider Dawson City as one of the coolest towns in Canada. 

Jasper & Banff National Park - Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km², and is located west of Edmonton.  Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains. The park, located 110–180 kilometers west of Calgary encompasses 6,641 km² of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north.  Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, another national park I plan to ride through. 

My first bike ride in 2011 brought me through these 2 parks and it was a no brainer to ride through them a second time.  I think it is safe to say this section of Canada is one Canada’s most beautiful landscapes visible by road.

Vancouver & Victoria

Vancouver and Victoria offers too many attractions and sights to mention.  I will have to see what time permits me to check out at the time of arrival.