Canada // The North //

Watson Lake

Beyond the Liard Hot Springs the Alaska Hwy follows the Liard River, settling into about 135km of unexceptional scenery before WATSON LAKE, just over the Yukon border. The town isn’t big, but shops, motels and garages have sprung up here to service the traffic congregating off the Stewart-Cassiar and Robert Campbell highways to the south and north, respectively. There are also some peaceful hiking trails and plenty of fishing and boating opportunities.

Even if you’re passing through it’s worth taking a look at the Alaska Highway Interpretive Centre (May–Sept daily 8am–8pm; t 867 536 7469), which provides information on the Yukon and has displays on the highway’s construction. It also acts as the local tourist office and is situated on the highway behind the famous Sign Post Forest. This last bit of gimmickry was started in 1942 by homesick GI Carl K. Lindley, who erected a sign pointing the way and stating the mileage to his home in Danville, Illinois. Since then the signs have kept on coming, and at last count numbered around 72,000.

In Watson Lake you might want to dip into the Northern Lights Centre, the only planetarium and science centre in North America dedicated to exploring the myths, folklore and science of the aurora borealis. The price includes admission to the Scidome HD 360° Dome showcasing a space-related film that is displayed on a High Definition 360° dome.