Top of the World Highway

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Highway 9 shield

Top of the World Highway
Yukon Highway 9
Route information
Length: 127 km[1][2] (79 mi)
Existed: ca. 1955 – present
Major junctions
West end: AK-5 (Taylor Highway) near Jack Wade, AK
East end: To Hwy 2 at the West Dawson ferry terminal
Highway system

Territorial highways in Yukon

Hwy 8 Hwy 10
Top of the World Highway near Canada–US border in September twilight

The Top of the World Highway is a 127-kilometre (79 mi) long highway, beginning at a junction with the Taylor Highway near Jack Wade, Alaska traveling east to its terminus at the ferry terminal in West Dawson, Yukon, on the western banks of the Yukon River. The highway has been in existence since at least 1955 and is only open during the summer months. The entire portion of the highway in Yukon is also known as Yukon Highway 9. The Alaska portion is short and apparently not numbered. The Alaska Department of Transportation refers to it as Top of the World Highway.[3]

The US portion of the highway is not paved but for a few kilometers from the Border post at Poker Creek, about 10 kilometers. As of August 2016, the road wasn't paved as far "north" as Chicken, Alaska. Most of the Canadian portion is unpaved. The paved Canadian sections are from kilometer 0 (at Dawson) to km 9 (mile 0 to mi 5.4), km 74 to 76 (mi 46.0 to 47.2), km 79 to 82 (mi 49.1 to 51.0), km 83 to 94 (mi 51.6 to 58.4) and km 99 to 104 (mi 61.5 to 64.6) (at the Canada-US border).

The highway is so named because, along much of its length, it skirts the crest of the hills, giving looks down on the valleys. It is also one of the most northerly highways in the world at those latitudes. Two nearby, farther north highways are the Dempster Highway (Yukon Route 5) and the Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11). It is not particularly safe in winter, even for snowmobile use, due to the lack of trees for shelter.

A ferry connects West Dawson to Dawson in summer,[2] and residents living in West Dawson and nearby Sunnydale cross on the ice during the winter. A bridge is planned by the Yukon government, although there is significant division among Dawson area residents as to whether such a bridge should be built. The west-bank residents received improved phone service only in 2004 but do not have a public electricity supply.

A 50 km (31 mi) branch road off the highway was used to reach the town of Clinton Creek, Yukon, site of a former asbestos mine shut down since 1979.

The Poker Creek - Little Gold Creek Border Crossing features one of the few jointly-built single building customs ports of entry along the Canada–US border. There is a one-hour difference in standard time zones at this border, which is only open in summer during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. period (Alaska time). The Border Post has warnings as far south as Whitehorse, Yukon, alerting travelers that the Border is closed between 9pm and 9am (Yukon Time) and there's absolutely no entry between those times. The immense Alaskan Taylor Complex Fire of 2004 burned up to the Canada–US border and was visible from the westernmost portions of the highway.

Along The Top Of The World Highway


  1. ^ Molvar, Erik (August 1, 2005). Alaska and the Yukon. Scenic Driving (Second ed.). Globe Pequot Press. pp. 137–140. ISBN 978-0-7627-3634-8. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Google (December 19, 2010). "Top of the World Highway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ Alaska DOT, Taylor and Top of the World Highways

External links[edit]

Media related to Top of the World Highway at Wikimedia Commons