Mountains of Northern Yukon

 
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FACTS

Country: Canada

Location: Yukon Territory

Round trip: Varies

Start elevation: Varies

Final elevation: Varies

Map: Yukon Road Maps: Energy, Mines and Resources, Canada, Topographical maps (1:50000). 

Contributor: Alan Tracey





                 


getting there

From Whitehorse, Yukon, take the Klondike Highway north to about 45 km southeast of Dawson City, then north on the Dempster highway which is an all-weather gravel road.



FEATURED

MOUNTAIN RANGES


Ogilvie Mountains


Richardson Mountains


Taiga Mountains



        

 
 


The Dempster highway's southernmost extent is its junction with the Klondike highway near the geographical centre of the Yukon.  From here it leads northward for about 740 km where it terminates at Inuvik on the Mackenzie River delta.  Within this expanse, the Dempster highway traverses the Ogilvie and Richardson Mountains.  These ranges are extensive but do not contain high mountains.  The highest mountain is found within the Ogilvie range and is Mount Frank Rae at 2,362 m. Other familiar mountains within the Ogilvie range are Tombstone Mountain (2192 m) and Mount Monolith (2134 m).  The mountains of the Richardson range generally rise little more than 1200 m, the highest peak reaching 1574 m.  Although these are not high mountains, because of their northern location, they mostly ascend well above treeline.  Additionally, much of the area traversed by the Dempster highway was not glaciated during the last ice-age but, even so, it provides an easy terrain for hiking and is generally suitable for day hikes throughout most of the length of the road.  A number of plants in the Yukon are found only in the unglaciated regions.  To mention a few, they include Oxytropis arctica var. arctica, Braya humilis ssp. arctica, Salix fuscenscens and Pedicularis lapponicum.


Heading north, the southern regions of the Ogilvie Mountains, adjacent to the Dempster highway, consist mostly of sedimentary rock with some igneous rock intrusions.  In particular, the rugged mountains of the Tombstone Range consist largely of exposed igneous rock.  Where the highway traverses the Northern Ogilvies this base gives way to the limestone of the Taiga Mountains.   Further northwards, the highway ascends Eagle Ridge, traverses Eagle Plains, crosses the Arctic Circle and finally follows alongside the western flanks of the sedimentary mountains of the Richardson Range before crossing them and dropping down to the Peel River. 


Throughout the length of the road there are numerous "Borrow Pits" which provide gravel for road surfacing.  These provide convenient parking and camping places as long as they are not being actively utilized.  From them, numerous day hikes are readily available.  There are also a number of other parking/camping areas available, see for instance, the book mentioned under the map section.  The Dempster highway provides access to a rich plant biodiversity with about 1000 plant species being found along this road.


REFERENCE: Along the Dempster, 2002 Oak House Publishing, Vancouver, by Walter Lanze.