Yukon Sights by Sue Thomas

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon to Northwest Territories

Also see my page dedicated to the South Canol

12 September 2007

The Simpson Lake Yukon gov't campground (km 81 on the Campbell Hwy) was a pleasant beginning to our day. The start of the Nahanni Range Road is only 25 km north of the campground.

Nahanni Range Road sign, Yukon
Information sign at the start of the Nahanni Range Road

This sign at the start of the road was an accurate sign, other than the typo on it.

Nahanni Range Road sign, Yukon
Sign at the start of the Nahanni Range Road

Today, blue skies and good gravel road greeted the truck. Clear blue skies are amazing in the north in the autumn.  The air has a sweet scent that fills the lungs and the world seems a better place!

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Nahanni Range Road

The first 80 km provided reasonable road conditions and nice scenery.
We didn't know yet that the best was another 50 km ahead.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Nahanni Range Yukon gov't campground sign, km 84

The campground was in the middle of a large forest fire that burned about five years ago.
Even so, it would have been a good overnight spot.

Nahanni Range Road campground, Yukon
Campsite at Nahanni Range Yukon gov't campground

Nahanni Range Road campground, Yukon
Campsite at Nahanni Range Yukon gov't campground

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Hyland River from the Nahanni Range campground

It was only midday so we carried on after lunch. Didn't know where we'd be tonight.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Hyland River where it intersects the road at km 110 (mile 68)

This warning at km 134 was taken seriously ...

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Warning sign alongside the road

We carried on, fully understanding the risk of traveling on remote roads in Canada's north. We were prepared to take care of ourselves for an extended period if necessary. We had fuel, food & water and first aid kit, plus way-too-many heavy tools to repair the truck should something break.

Further along the road, the blue skies and clear day provided perfect picture opportunities. My little 3.2 megapixel Canon A70 point & shoot camera did a good job.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Lake along Nahanni Range Road

Lake on Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Looking south over a lake along the Nahanni Range Road

View moving northeast towards Northwest Territories...

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Looking northeast towards our destination

Overall, the road was in good condition. This area had been freshly graded.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
View looking west as we head towards the Northwest Territories

The road climbed towards the Northwest Territories.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Looking back at the Yukon

The road narrowed as it climbed. On one side was a wall and on the other side was a severe drop with no roadside barrier. Steve inched the truck along as we didn't know if there would be oncoming traffic around any of the corners.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Small lake near the highest point along the pass

We wondered where the border between Yukon and Northwest Territories would be.
A "Notice to Hunters" was the only marking.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Sign marking the boundary between Yukon and NWT

The next sign we saw (below) gave several warnings with a downhill graphic,

Not sure what was ahead we crept slowly up to the edge. There was no place to turn around with a fifth wheel behind us! Soon we realized the sign should have said "90 degree left turn and if you miss the turn you will fall a long way over a vertical bank".


Continuing along, the scenery was spectacular. Amazing colours!

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Looking towards the Northwest Territories and the Ragged Mountains

The Cantung tungsten mine is at the end of the road.
There isn't much to see other than the signs indicating "No Trespassing".

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
End of the road at Tungsten

We heeded the "No Trespass" signs. There was a fine spot to set up camp a few kilometres back.

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon
Boondock site alongside the Nahanni Range Road, near Tungsten

The evening was very quiet with a few planes flying overhead. A couple of workers from the mine passed by on their way to retrieve a moose they shot the night before. They told us the planes were flying between the Cantung mine and Mactung at Macmillan Pass (end of the North Canol Rd).

They also told us not to wander too far without reflective gear as some hunters liked to shoot into this valley from the road we drove in on, They thought some of the hunters wouldn't expect to see two humans and a dog out for an evening stroll and might assume we were something else in the dusk. So they thought it best we be brightly decorated. We didn't meet anyone else that night; nor were we used for target practice.

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