Found this article about driving to the Arctic Ocean. I think it would be a fun drive
- from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk
Up until quite recently, travellers to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories had only a few less-than-convenient options to get to the famed whaling town that sits right on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. You could fly or boat in from Inuvik, a larger community to the south of Tuktoyaktuk, but if you wanted to drive you’d have to wait until the Mackenzie River froze over and turned into an ice road.
But this all changed in November of 2017 when the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway opened, becoming the first all-weather road to the Arctic Coast and essentially connecting all three of Canada’s oceans via our public highway system. At 138 km, the road isn’t long and only takes a couple of hours to drive, but it isn’t quite like the highways that visitors from the southern part of Canada are used to driving.
I had the pleasure of making the drive from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk this past fall (which is a beautiful time to drive it, as you’re neither experiencing 24-hour sunlight nor 24-hour darkness). For anyone who hasn’t explored the northern part of this country, this drive is a good way to get started — you can fly into Inuvik from points south (Edmonton is a good connection point) and rent a car, or do an epic road trip from British Columbia or Alberta. Here are some tips to ensure a successful journey along this unique northern highway:
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Plan to stay in Inuvik
The igloo-shaped church in Inuvik is one of the town’s key attractions [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
There are a few bed and breakfast-style accommodations in Tuktoyaktuk, but they fill up quickly in the summer, so it’s a good idea to stay in Inuvik, which has a handful of traditional hotels. The
has an on-site lounge and restaurant, which makes it a good bet. Depending on the time of year, you can get early to make the drive to Tuktoyaktuk and easily get back before dark, and dinner (the restaurant situation in Tuktoyaktuk is a bit spotty). And while I don’t recommend driving drowsy, if you can stay up late to catch the Aurora Borealis, you won’t regret it.
Don’t plan to stop — unless it’s to enjoy nature
Don’t expect to find any restaurants along the road to Tuktoyaktuk [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
There are plans to build rest stops on the highway, but at this time there are no bathroom facilities and nowhere to buy drinks, snacks or gas. That said, the road is quiet enough that you can pull over and take in the beauty of your remote surroundings. You’re likely to see wildlife and will definitely see plenty of lakes that reflect the light of the northern sun. You’ll also lose any cell or radio service, so download some music or a podcast onto your phone if you want something to listen to.
Take it slow and choose a vehicle that can handle the road
It’s best to take a heavy, reliable vehicle if you’re driving from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
The speed limit on the road is 70 km/h, but you may want to take it even slower. The aforementioned wildlife can be a surprise if they’re crossing the road and you do want to be able to take in the scenery as you move along. More importantly, the relatively narrow road is covered in loose gravel and has steep sides, which means speedy cars may slip around and risk flying off the road. For this reason, also make sure you take to the road in a fairly formidable vehicle. I was in a Chevy Silverado truck, which handled the road easily, and I would not have felt as secure in a smaller or lighter car.
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Do keep in mind, however, that locals won’t necessarily be taking it easy and will not hesitate to pass slowpokes. The likelihood of getting a rock chip on your windshield is high, but c’est la vie!
Be respectful of Inuvialuit culture
The end of the road: the author stands in front of the Arctic Ocean [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
While it is a thrill for southerners to see the Arctic Ocean, be aware that Tuktoyaktuk is a functioning town and that it’s important to be respectful to the people who live there. Tuktoyaktuk is a small and friendly community and, in general, people are happy to see visitors. Be sure to spend some money, buying goods from local artisans or visiting the Grandma’s Kitchen food trailer for a bite to eat. And while the new road does give people more access to goods and services, it’s not a bad idea to bring some gifts from the south — a box of Timbits never goes unappreciated!
Sounds a great trip, but I might wait till the Cybertruck is available