The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway

Located in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories in Canada, Highway 10, popularly referred to as the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway (or ITH), is the vital road link connecting Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway

Is there a road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk?

Recognized as the first all-weather road to reach Canada's Arctic Coast, the Northwest Territories Highway 10 spans 138 km (86 mi). It begins at the Dempster Highway's termination in Inuvik, travels through the scenic tree line and expansive tundra, finally culminating at the Arctic Ocean in the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, located in the Inuvik Region.

When was the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway built?

Though the idea of constructing such a highway had been deliberated for several decades, the project only gained final approval in 2013. Construction commenced in 2014, and by November 15, 2017, the road was officially inaugurated for public use. The ITH's development has been groundbreaking, granting Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Coast unparalleled year-round vehicular accessibility.

How long to drive to Tuktoyaktuk from Inuvik?

Depending on road conditions, anticipate a 2-3 hour drive to traverse the distance. The experience of this journey is distinctively unique in winter as opposed to summer. Although its northernmost point rests at 69°27’, making it fall short of Alaska's Dalton Highway in terms of northern reach, the ITH stands out as North America's sole highway offering direct road access to the Arctic Ocean. Notably, public access beyond Deadhorse, AK, on the Dalton Highway is restricted. Furthermore, the ITH has replaced the erstwhile Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road.

Essential Tips for Traveling the ITH

The journey is undeniably picturesque, with the road encompassing eight bridges and retaining a gravel surface throughout its length. Prior preparation is paramount:

  1. Amenities: Given the sparse facilities along the highway, be proactive. Equip yourself with essentials like a full-sized spare tire, additional water, and gas.

  2. Traffic: Traffic is generally light, emphasizing the need for self-sufficiency.

  3. Winter Precautions: For winter trips, equip your vehicle with essentials like a shovel. Also, pack a stove, matches, emergency snacks, and a sleeping bag. Ensure you're dressed adequately for frigid conditions.

  4. Connectivity: For a majority of the journey, cellular connectivity is unavailable. Prepare accordingly