Connects: Watson Lake, YT, to Klondike Highway
Route#: Yukon Highway 4
Length: 362 miles
Road Surface: 40% paved, 60% gravel
Season: Open all year
Map (1 detailed pdf file available):
Watson Lake, YT to Junction with Klondike Highway
Named for Robert Campbell, the first white man to enter what is now known as Yukon, this all-weather road leads 362 miles/583 km northwest from the Alaska Highway at Watson Lake, to junction with the Klondike Highway just north of Carmacks. The Campbell Highway is both gravel and chip seal pavement, with ongoing road improvements. This road can be rough and slippery in winter. Drive with your headlights on at all times. Expect dust and washboard on gravel sections. Watch out for soft shoulders. Be prepared for rough road in construction and mining areas.
You have a good chance of seeing black bears along this road as well as some lake scenery (although many views are obscured by trees and brush). This is a wilderness drive with long distances between services. There is very little traffic on the highway between Watson Lake and Ross River. Services on this highway (food, gas, lodging) are available in Watson Lake, Ross River, Faro and Carmacks. Watch your gas tank. Motorcyclists should carry auxiliary tanks.
The Robert Campbell Highway was completed in 1969, and closely follows sections of the fur trade route established by Robert Campbell. Campbell was a Hudson Bay Co. trader who was sent into the region in the 1840s to find a route west into the unex- plored central Yukon. He followed the Liard and Frances rivers, building a chain of posts along the way. His major discovery came in 1843, when he reached the Yukon River, which was to become the major transportation route within the Yukon.
The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from Watson Lake (WL) shown.
Watson Lake Sign Post Forest (pictured above) is located at this junction. The Watson Lake Visitor Information Centre is inside the Watson Lake Recreation Centre; parking and access to both the recreation/visitor center and signpost forest from the Campbell Highway. Check Campbell Highway road conditions at the visitor center before driving.
WL 6.3 Airport Road leads west 1.7 miles/2.7 km to Watson Lake Airport. The terminal at the airport was built in 1942 and is a designated Heritage Building. Inside, historical photographs on the aviation history of this area are displayed.
WL 50.5 Simpson Lake Yukon government campground.
WL 67 Junction with Nahanni Range Road/Yukon Highway 10; turnout with outhouse, litter bin, Roads to Resources POI sign. The Yukon government does not recommend this road for tourist travel. There are no services along Nahanni Range Road.
WL 106.5 Frances Lake Yukon government campground.
WL 144.8 Turnout to east is Finlayson Lake Viewpoint with picnic area, observation platform and information panels on Finlayson caribou herd.
WL 220.5 Junction with South Canol Road which leads south 129 miles to Johnson’s Crossing on the Alaska Highway. Not recommended for tourist travel.
WL 225.4 Access road leads 7 miles/11.2 km to ROSS RIVER (pop. 411);Dena General Store is a one-stop shop with a full-service grocery, Canada Post Outlet and gas station with diesel (24-hour cardlock/credit card service).
The footbridge across the Pelly River at Ross River is a 70-year-old suspension bridge that was repaired in 2018. It is a favorite photo stop for visitors and offers essential pedestrian access for community members. The government-operated Pelly Barge (seen below) across the Pelly River runs almost underneath the bridge on an underwater cable.
WL 226.4 Lapie River Canyon Yukon government campground.
WL 257.5 Turn on paved Mitchell Road and drive 5.6 miles/9 km northeast for the community of FARO (pop. 375); gas, food, lodging, and camping. Campbell Region Interpretive Center (see below), located across from John Connolly RV Park, is a must-stop, with historical displays, local and regional information and free Wi-Fi.
WL 290.9 Drury Creek Yukon government campground.
WL 311.8 Little Salmon Lake Yukon government campground.
WL 337.5 Frenchman Lake Yukon government campground 2.8 miles north.
WL 345.6 Turnout with litter bins and outhouses to north. Eagles Nest Bluff (pictured below) to south overlooks Yukon River.
WL 362.2 Junction with the North Klondike Highway (Yukon Highway 2). Turn south on the Klondike Highway for Carmacks (2 miles/3.2 km), the nearest gas stop; turn north for Dawson City (222 miles/357 km). See Milepost J 103.5 in the Klondike Loop for highway log.