Driving north on Highway 3, the Frontier Trail will take you through rolling, polished Precambrian rock, dotted with thousands of clear lakes and rivers.
The Frontier Trail Route is paved all the way to Yellowknife.
Interesting communities to visit along this route are Fort Providence, Behchokǫ̀, N'Dilo and Yellowknife. Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, is located on the north shore of Great Slave Lake and offers all the amenities of a southern city.
Territorial campgrounds along this route are located at Fort Providence and at Fred Henne Park in Yellowknife.
Watch for bison on and beside the highway along this route.
Drive with caution.
Kilometres/miles reflect distance from junction of Highways 1 and 3.
Dory Point Territorial Park Day Use Area
Kilometre 21.2 (Mile 13.2)
Located a short way from the Deh Cho Bridge, on the south bank of the mighty Mackenzie River, which is flowing out of Great Slave Lake.
The Deh Cho Bridge – Mackenzie River Crossing
Kilometre 23.6 (Mile 14.7)
Officially opened on November 30, 2012, this 1.045 km/0.65 mile bridge crosses the Mackenzie River near the community of Fort Providence.
The Deh Cho Bridge provides visitors and northern residents travelling this stretch of highway with a safe, reliable all-weather road, available 24 hours per day, 365 days of the year. Previously, this road was crossed by a ferry or an ice road during freeze up.
There are no tolls on the bridge for passenger vehicles.
Of Special Interest
- A gas station, restaurant and an arts and crafts store is located a few minutes after crossing the Deh Cho Bridge, just before the turn off to Fort Providence
The Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary
Kilometre 25.6 (Mile 15.9)
For the next 80 km/50 miles or so, the area of land from the highway east to Great Slave Lake is set aside for freeroaming wood bison. The bison often roam on and around the highway. Keep a lookout and use caution if bison are on the road.
A collision with an animal can be fatal to both parties. Treat these animals with respect. They may look slow and docile, but can move with amazing speed and aggression. Keep your distance.
Fort Providence Territorial Park
Kilometre 33.4 (Mile 20.7)
There are 33 powered campsites and 11 non-powered day use sites situated on the north bank of the Mackenzie River, only a 2 km/1.2 miles drive off Highway 3. Enjoy spectacular sunsets, great fishing and bird watching, and the amenities and attractions of nearby historic Fort Providence.
Kilometre 36.4 (Mile 22.6)
This community is 5 km/3 miles down an access road west of Highway 3. Fort Providence (pop. 797) is a scenic and historic community located on the banks of the Mackenzie River. A Roman Catholic Mission was established in 1861 and Our Lady of Fort Providence church is a major landmark. An excellent craft shop features moose hair tufting, a local specialty.
Of Special Interest
- Long history as a trading post and a mission to the Dene people
- Mission priests once farmed extensively here
- West of town are two historical cairns: one commemorating Sir Alexander Mackenzie's 1789 voyage, the other acknowledging the contribution of the Grey Nuns to the community
There are no services along Highway 3 for another 224 km/139 miles, so if you are going to Yellowknife, gas up!
Chan Lake Territorial Park Day Use Area
Kilometre 123.8 (Mile 77)
A picturesque spot for a picnic, located at the northern end of the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. Wildlife abounds: Watch for bison on the road, sandhill cranes in the vegetation on the road side and waterfowl on Chan Lake.
Kilometre 227.3 (Mile 141.2)
No visitor facilities, but a turn off leads to a trail going down the creek. Good pickerel/walleye fishing, but fishing is closed May 1 to June 30 for conservation.
North Arm Territorial Park Day Use Area
Kilometre 232 (Mile 144.2)
Stop here for a great view of Great Slave Lake. Be sure to look around you – the scenery abruptly changes from the rocky Canadian Shield to Mackenzie Lowlands and is a haven for waterfowl.
Access to Behchokǫ̀
Kilometre 239 (Mile 148.5)
Turn off to the community of Behchokǫ̀. No services at this location.
Kilometre 245 (Mile 152.2)
The main community of Behchokǫ̀ (pop. 2,154) is 11 km/7 miles west of Highway 3. The community of Behchokǫ̀ is the headquarters of the Tlicho Region and the largest Dene community in the Northwest Territories. Behchokǫ̀ hosts some very large Dene cultural celebrations and events throughout the year and is located on a river system that links the Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake. The community features some unique modern architecture that takes design cues from the traditional caribou hide lodge or teepee. There is a gas bar, restaurant, grocery store, and bed and breakfast accommodations.
Yellowknife Golf Club
Kilometre 334 (Mile 207.5)
Yellowknife Golf Club is just off the highway to the north and is an 18- hole golf course, with sand fairways, artificial greens, pro shop and licensed clubhouse. It is home to the famous June 21 Midnight Sun Golf Tournament.
Continuing along the highway to Yellowknife, after passing a sandy area on the right, you will notice several buildings at the end of the airport runway. These are diamond sorting plants. To the left is the Folk on the Rocks site, a popular summer music festival usually held the third weekend in July.
Kilometre 335.6 (Mile 208.5)
The Yellowknife Airport is situated on the right side of the road across from Long Lake.
Fred Henne Territorial Park Day Use Area
Kilometre 336 (Mile 208.8)
A roadside turn-out to the north provides access to this popular recreational area on the shores of Long Lake. Here you will find picnic sites, a boat launch, kitchen shelters, a sandy beach, a playground and change houses. Being one of the smaller lakes, Long Lake warms up enough in the summer to make it a favourite place for water activities, including swimming, boating, tubing, water skiing, windsailing and jet skiing.
Junction of Highway 3 and Old Airport Road
Kilometre 336.7 (Mile 209.2)
Turn right onto Old Airport Road to reach Yellowknife via the commercial area. Continue left on Highway 3 a short distance to reach Fred Henne Territorial Park access on the left. Continue past the park to reach downtown Yellowknife.
Fred Henne Territorial Park
Kilometre 337 (Mile 209.4)
Something for everyone: Choose from 89 powered sites, 29 non-powered sites and 19 tent pads. Swim off Long Lake's sandy beach, hike the 4 km/2.5 mile Prospector's Trail, camp, picnic, canoe, wakeboard or enjoy the amenities and attractions of Yellowknife, located just 3 km/1.8 mile away. This park provides urban convenience in a wilderness setting.
Of Special Interest
- There is an excellent 4 km/2.5 mile hiking trail that starts just to the left of the shower building. This Prospectors' Trail will take you around several fascinating geological features
Junction of Highways 3 and 4
Kilometre 337.3 (Mile 209.6)
Continue on Highway 3 to reach Yellowknife, turn left to visit territorial parks on the Ingraham trail.
Kilometre 338.8 (Mile 210.5)
Yellowknife (pop. 20,960) is a modern city, with shopping facilities and all the services you would expect to find in larger southern communities.
Located on the shores of the beautiful Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife is an unusual blend of many southern and northern cultures. It is a city of contrasts, with modern high-rise towers overlooking the rustic heritage buildings of Old Town. Yellowknife is a modern city that still acts like a small town and this gives the city its unique flavour.
There is easy access to fishing, canoeing, hiking, camping, golfing and nature viewing. Annual summer events include an arts festival, folk music festival and golf tournaments. The city also features many parks and playgrounds, a racquet club, curling rink, pool, movie theatre and golf course. Many well-established outfitters and interesting lodges are headquartered or serviced out of Yellowknife. Tour packages for all tastes, including fishing, sailing or canoeing, are easy to arrange.
Of Special Interest
- Visit the many cultural and historical displays at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre museum
- Take an informative tour of the Legislative Assembly Building
- See a local play or an internationally known singer at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre
- Visit nearby Indigenous communities of Behchokǫ̀, N'Dilo and Detah
- Many restaurants serve northern foods such as caribou, muskox and Arctic char
- Visit the local farmers market at City Hall on Tuesdays from early June to mid-September
- Experience the historic Wild Cat Café in Old Town Yellowknife