Download GPX file for this article
60.062892-128.716256Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Watson Lake is a town of 800 people (2016) in southeastern Yukon, close to the British Columbia border.


Watson Lake is near the Liard River, at the junction of the Robert Campbell Highway and the Alaska Highway. The Stewart-Cassiar Highway's northern end is 22 km (14 miles) west of Watson Lake. Watson Lake is the main centre of the small forestry industry in Yukon and has been a service centre for the mining industry, especially for the Cassiar asbestos mine in northern British Columbia and the Cantung tungsten mine on the Yukon-Northwest Territories border in the Mackenzie Mountains.

Watson Lake and the neighbouring Upper Liard settlement are the home of the Liard River First Nation, a member of the Kaska Dena Council. The Two Mile area immediately north of the core of town is a concentrated area of First Nations residents, while the town extends 8 km out to the turn-off of Airport Road.


Like most of Yukon, Watson Lake has a subarctic climate. Watson Lake experiences annual temperature average daily highs of 21 °C (69.8 °F) in July and average daily lows of −27 °C (−16.6 °F) in January. Watson Lake has more precipitation than other parts of Yukon with an average annual snowfall of 197 cm (77.6 inches) and 255 mm (10.04 inches) of rainfall, resulting in larger trees and a more viable forest industry.

Get in[edit]

View of Watson Lake Airport

Alaska Highway (historical mile 635) from Fort Nelson or Whitehorse, the Stewart-Cassiar Highway from northwestern British Columbia connects to the Alaska Highway just west of Watson Lake. The Watson Lake Airport provides corporate and charter services only.

Get around[edit]

Local taxi services are available.


Sign Post Forest
  • 1 Signpost Forest, At the intersection of the Alaska and Robert Campbell Highways. In 1942, a homesick U.S. Army G.I. working on the Alaska Highway posted a sign with the name and distance of his home town. The tradition has continued and by the end of 2017, now the signpost forest had accumulated over 80,000 signs. Sign Post Forest (Q2377153) on Wikidata Sign Post Forest on Wikipedia


  • Northern Lights Centre, On the Alaska Highway in Watson Lake, +1 867 536-7827, . If you can't see them outside, see them inside. This centre features a northern lights multimedia presentation in a 100-seat theatre. It also features other interactive displays discussing the science and folklore behind the northern lights. Open during the summer season only. In the winter, the centre is used for community events, movies, and space science education.





  • 1 Downtown RV Park, 105 8 St N, +1 867 536-2646.
  • Cozy Nest Hideaway, 1175 Campbell Hwy (10 minutes (8 km ) from town on the #4 Hwy), +1 867 536-2204. A beautiful and friendly bed and breakfast on the lake. Open year round. No pets, no smoking indoors. $100 single, $110 couple in the house; in the summer a cabin is available for $90 single, $100 couple.
  • Andrea's Hotel, 609 Frank Trail, +1 867 536-7712. 2 queen size beds, all non smoking, not pet friendly. Restaurant and lounge also available. Satellite TV, wireless internet/wifi. Open year round.
  • Dragon's Den Hotel/Motel, on the Alaska Highway, +1 867 536-7115. 2 queen size bed, non-smoking and smoking rooms, pet-free and pet-friendly rooms, Chinese restaurant and lounge opening soon. Satellite TV, wi-fi, kitchenettes, open all year round.
  • Air Force Lodge, 136 Adela Trail, Watson Lake, +1 867 536-2890, . Open May-Sep. It is the oldest building in Watson Lake. It was built at the Watson Lake Airport 1942 as a barracks for the pilots flying during Second World War, and was later moved to the town. $89 single, $99 double.
  • Nugget City, Mile 650, Alaska Highway (23 km west of Watson Lake), +1 867 536-2307. RV park, cottages, and tenting area. Restaurant, gift shop, and vehicle service centre on-site. Laundromat, RV wash, available Wi-Fi connection, Roger’s repair service nearby offers tire repairs. Most sites have large pull-throughs which allow any size vehicle with tow car. Sites are mostly 30 amp, but there are a few 50 amp sites. Each unit has water and electricity. There is a sani-dump on-site. Pets welcome, on leash only.
  • Stampeder's B&B Cabins, 606 Adela Trail, +1 867 536-2157. 2 beautiful fully loaded cabins, wireless internet, satellite TV, open year round. Single or double $140, triple $160.
  • A Nice Motel, 705 Frank Trail (downtown), +1 867 536-7222. 10 rooms with 1 queen bed, kitchenettes, wired internet, satellite TV, fireplace. $150/night.
  • Big Horn Hotel, Frank Trail (downtown), +1 867 536-2020. Jacuzzi room, kitchenettes, single/double rooms, satellite TV, wireless internet. Open year round.


Finding a pay phone should not be a problem in Watson Lake. If all else fails, there is one just inside Super A Foods and inside Andrea's Hotel, along the Alaska Highway.

Go next[edit]

You've probably encountered Watson Lake while travelling along the Alaska Highway. Heading north 264 km (164 mi) towards Whitehorse, you will find Teslin with beautiful scenery and a good photo opportunity as you approach the Teslin River Bridge (second longest bridge along the Alaska Highway). Heading south 210 km (130 mi) towards Fort Nelson, stop for a relaxing sit in the natural Liard River Hot Springs (open year round).

Routes through Watson Lake
TokWhitehorse  W Yukon Highway 1.svg E  → becomes BC-97.svgMuncho Lake Prov. ParkDawson Creek
END   N Yukon Highway 37.svg S  → becomes BC-37.svgDease LakeTerrace

This city travel guide to Watson Lake is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.