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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. Situated on the highway behind the famous Sign Post Forest, it also acts as the local tourist office. The first tree in this “forest” was planted in 1942 by homesick GI Carl K. Lindley, who erected a sign pointing the way to his home in Danville, Illinois, and stating the mileage. 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 showcasing a space-related film that is projected on a High Definition 360° dome.

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