Canol Road

Teslin, Yukon

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Like the Alaska Highway, the Canol Road was conceived during the early stages of World War II as a means of supplying strategic military outposts in Alaska. Military planners envisioned a pipeline stretching from the oil field of Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, to a refinery in Whitehorse, Yukon. From there, the fuel could be shipped overland to the Alaskan front. The Canadian Oil Pipeline, shortened to “Canol,” was built with four-inch pipe along native travel routes through the heart of the Mackenzie Mountains. A gravel road paralleled the pipeline, bearing convoys of construction workers and maintenance staff. This road through the wilderness has been opened to tourist traffic as far as the border with the Northwest Territories. Beyond the border, it is managed as a Heritage Trail suitable for backpackers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. The Canol Road is described here in two sections, the South Canol from the Alaska Highway to Ross River, and the North Canol, which extends northward from Ross River to MacMillan Pass on the Northwest Territories border. The latter is open only in the summer. If you are bound for MacMillan Pass, you would be wise to carry extra fuel. The northern section of the road is winding, making for slow travel. One-lane bridges cross most of the streams.

Canol Road Professional Review and Guide

"Like the Alaska Highway, the Canol Road was conceived during the early stages of World War II as a means of supplying strategic military outposts in Alaska. Military planners envisioned a pipeline stretching from the oil field of Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, to a refinery in Whitehorse, Yukon. From there, the fuel could be shipped overland to the Alaskan front. The Canadian Oil Pipeline, shortened to “Canol,” was built with four-inch pipe along native travel routes through the heart of the Mackenzie Mountains. A gravel road paralleled the pipeline, bearing convoys of construction workers and maintenance staff.

This road through the wilderness has been opened to tourist traffic as far as the border with the Northwest Territories. Beyond the border, it is managed as a Heritage Trail suitable for backpackers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. The Canol Road is described here in two sections, the South Canol from the Alaska Highway to Ross River, and the North Canol, which extends northward from Ross River to MacMillan Pass on the Northwest Territories border. The latter is open only in the summer. If you are bound for MacMillan Pass, you would be wise to carry extra fuel. The northern section of the road is winding, making for slow travel. One-lane bridges cross most of the streams."

Activity Type: Scenic Drives
Nearby City: Teslin
Distance: 287
Season: Best late spring through fall
Local Contacts: Ross River Forest District
Driving Directions: Directions to Canol Road

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May 2018