Robert Campbell Highway

Adventure along the remote Robert Campbell Highway

Robert Campbell Highway is a remote and challenging scenic drive, linking Watson Lake, Yukon on the Alaska Highway and Carmacks, Yukon on the Klondike Highway. 

The road, also known as Yukon Highway 4 or Campbell Highway, is 583 km (362 mi) long and mostly gravel-surfaced. It is about 60% gravel as of 2018, and the road condition can vary dramatically according to recent weather and maintenance. The route explores the remote and often rugged wilderness landscape throughout the central portion of the Yukon. It’s named for Robert Campbell, the first white man to penetrate what is now known as Yukon Territory and the the region's first Hudson's Bay trader. Campbell traversed much the same country as the highway when he explored from the Liard River watershed to the Yukon River watershed by way of the Pelly River in 1843. The road was completed in 1968 and goes through the remote, spectacular wilderness of the Yukon. Due its unique location and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. There are endless kilometres of forest, many rivers and creeks, some rugged canyons, wildlife sightings, wetlands and many long stretches of road with no civilization or services. There are a couple simple things to keep in mind when traveling the Robert Campbell Highway. Two important ones are to always have your seatbelt and headlights on. The drive leads through one of Yukon’s most lightly developed, sparsely populated regions in the territory.

Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. Heavy or prolonged rain can cause local flash floods that cover the road with water or wash out culverts or bridges. The Robert Campbell Highway crosses many creeks and rivers, many with bridges - some are one way wooden bridges, metal bridges or log bridges. Some of the scenic highlights enjoyed along the trip include the deep rugged walls of the LapieCanyon and the many opportuntiies for wildlife sightings. There are opportunities to view wildlife like porcupines, beaver, moose, Black Bears and various birds. The conditions of the road are pretty challenging and dangerous in some ways. To call some sections a “highway” is really stretching the truth. Flooding and washouts make the situation of the road even worse and some residents say that the road is in such bad shape that they fear driving on it. In some parts, the road is narrow and it has lots of rocks on it instead of gravel, and potholes everywhere. Here, you can drive long stretches without seeing another vehicle and often have roadside pull-offs all to yourself.

 

NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.