Full Journal (photos, more info, etc.): The CANOL ROAD
Video: HERE (new window, the road is from 0 to 3:45)
- Bike: Light Bikepacking or heavy touring works fine. You can get away with small tires but there will be some rough sections
- Start: Johnson's Crossing (127km east from Whitehorse)
- End: MacMillan Pass, border with Northwest Territories (or continue on the Canol Heritage Trail, first ~100km are in great condition and rideable)
- Distance: 452km (5248m of climbing)
- Time: 4-7 days (I did it in 4.5)
- Maps: good maps can be found at almost any visitor center or downloaded online as PDF (Google South Canol and North Canol)
- GPX track: not necessary (but you can download it from the map above - click the [ ] button and then the 3 dots on top left and "downoad kml")
- Weather: "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes." - that sums it up. Can be rainy/snowy/sunny. Nights are cold even in summer.
- Road conditions: Gravel/dirt. It can get muddy or rough in sections
- When to go: July and August (July is rainy, September and later can be cold and snowy)
- Camping: There are few campgrounds on the way km 77, 99, 164, 332(basic). Lots of other camping spots, pullouts, etc. There is a hotel and camping at Ross River
- Services: Lodge/Restaurant at km0 across the bridge. Ross River (km 226 has general store, post office, laundromat/showers (ask at the band office), library, lodge and free camping by the ferry.
- Ferry: after Ross River(km226) opens around 8-9am*
- Getting there: Fly, bus, drive, bike or hitchhike to Whitehorse, Yukon or Johnson's crossing (mile 886, Alaska Highway)
- Getting back: Backtrack ~226km to Ross River and try to get a ride from Ross River to Whitehorse (should be easy, note: people drive the Campbell highway north to Carmacks and then south to Whitehorse and NOT the South Canol road). There is barely any traffic on North Canol so you will likely have to ride back to Ross River or continue on the Canol Heritage Trail to Norman Wells*(more info on that in the next post). You can arrange for a ride or plane back, both will not be cheap (takes 7+ hours to drive from Ross River, one way)
- Dirt road riding, possible with heavy loaded touring bike. Few short steep sections but generally the grade is very mellow.
- There is little traffic on the road, especially after Ross River.
- Aside from Km0 (Johnson's Crossing) and km226 (Ross River town), there are two road maintenance camps at km99 and km419
- no phone service except near Ross River
- as you cross the Campbell highway, Ross River sign is pointing the wrong way. Continue straight across and up the hill
- bear country! At most campgrounds you can stash your food at the back of the metal garbage bins, in other parts its difficult to find good trees