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Watson Lake is a town of 800 people (2016) in southeastern Yukon, close to the British Columbia border. Watson Lake is a common stop for those driving up from British Columbia.

Understand[edit]

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 (Indigenous) residents, while the town extends 8 km out to the turn-off of Airport Road.

Climate[edit]

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

By car[edit]

Highways near Watson Lake:

  • Highway 1 (Alaska Highway) (historical mile 635), heading northwest from Fort Nelson (highway is numbered Highway 97 in British Columbia) or heading southeast from Whitehorse.
  • Highway 37 (Stewart-Cassiar Highway) intersects Highway 1 about 21 km west of Watson Lake. Highway 37 travels north from northwestern British Columbia. While Watson Lake has mobile wireless service, there is no wireless coverage along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, until reaching the other end at Kitwanga, about 720 km away. Dease Lake is one of the few communities along the way.

By plane[edit]

The Watson Lake Airport provides corporate and charter services only.

Get around[edit]

Map of Watson Lake

Local taxi services are available.

See[edit]

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

Do[edit]

  • 1 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. Open during the summer season only. There are are also some rudimentary displays about the northern lights, and Canada's astronauts. 1-hour shows start at: 1PM, 2PM, 3PM, 6:30PM, 7:30PM and 8:30PM. In the winter, the centre is used for community events, movies, and space science education. Adult $10.50, concessions available.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

  • Wolf It Down Restaurant, Mile 650, Alaska Highway (23 km west of Watson Lake), +1 867 536-2307. Bakery and home-style meals, at Nugget City.
  • 1 The Nugget Restaurant (Frank Trail, beside Andrea's Hotel), +1 867 536-2233. Daily 11AM-8PM. Chinese and Canadian food.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • 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, lousy wireless internet/Wi-Fi. Open year round. From $155.
  • 2 Dragon's Den Hotel/Motel, 711 Frank Trail, +1 867 536-7744, . 2 queen size bed, non-smoking and smoking rooms, pet-free and pet-friendly rooms. Chinese restaurant and lounge are on site. Satellite TV, wi-fi, kitchenettes, open all year round.
  • 3 Air Force Lodge, 136 Adela Trail, Watson Lake, +1 867 536-2890, . Check-in: 3PM-midnight, check-out: 10:30AM. Open May-Sep. It is the oldest building in Watson Lake. It was built at the Watson Lake Airport in 1942 as a barracks for the pilots flying during Second World War, and was later moved to the town. $109 single, $109 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.
  • 4 Stampeder's B&B Cabins, 606 Adela Trail, +1 867 536-2157. 2 beautiful fully loaded cabins, wireless internet, satellite TV, open year round. No breakfasts served at this time due to COVID-19 pandemic. Single or double $144, triple $164.
  • 5 A Nice Motel, 705 Frank Trail (downtown), +1 867 536-4639, . 10 rooms with 1 queen bed, kitchenettes, wired internet, satellite TV, fireplace. $150/night.
  • 6 Big Horn Hotel, Frank Trail (downtown), +1 867 536-2020, . Jacuzzi room, kitchenettes, single/double rooms, satellite TV, wireless internet. Open year round.

Connect[edit]

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.