Highway 35 shield
Highway 1 shield
Mackenzie Highway
Alberta Highway 35
Northwest Territories Highway 1
Mackenzie Highway highlighted in red.
Route information
Length1,160 km (720 mi)
Length469 km (291 mi)
South end Hwy 2A in Grimshaw
Major intersections Hwy 2 near Grimshaw
Hwy 986 near Grimshaw
Hwy 697 near Paddle Prairie
Hwy 58 at High Level
Northwest Territories
Length690 km (430 mi)
Major intersections Highway 2 at Enterprise

Highway 3 near Fort Providence

Highway 7 near Fort Simpson
North endWrigley
Highway system
Hwy 33
Alberta Highway 35.svg
Hwy 36
Highway 10
Highway 2

The Mackenzie Highway is a Canadian highway in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. It begins as Alberta Highway 2 at Mile Zero in Grimshaw, Alberta.[1] After the first 4.0 km (2.5 mi), it becomes Alberta Highway 35 for the balance of its length through Alberta and then becomes Northwest Territories Highway 1.

Route description

The Mackenzie Highway is designated as part of Canada's National Highway System, holding core route status from its terminus at Grimshaw to its intersection with the Yellowknife Highway, and northern/remote route status for the remainder of the route to its northern terminus at Wrigley.

Originally begun in 1938, prior to World War II, the project was abandoned at the outbreak of war. It resumed in the late 1940s and completed to Hay River, Northwest Territories, in 1948/1949, but some sections, particularly in the vicinity of Steen River, remained difficult.

In 1960, it was extended from Enterprise, approximately 39 km (24 mi) south of Hay River, to the northwest, then north past Fort Providence to Behchoko (at the time, known as Rae-Edzo) and southeast to the City of Yellowknife, which became the capital of the Northwest Territories in 1967. Much of the extension is now known as Northwest Territories Highway 3, or the Yellowknife Highway. The 39 km (24 mi) stretch from Enterprise to Hay River is Northwest Territories Highway 2.

Around 1970, the highway was extended west from what is now the southern terminus of Highway 3 to reach Fort Simpson, and in 1971, when the section to Fort Simpson was opened to traffic, work began to prepare a road grade from there to Wrigley, but the work was abandoned. The roadway, which starts at a junction 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from the island that includes "downtown" Fort Simpson, was finally opened in 1994 and includes the N'dulee ferry and ice crossings.

On November 8, 2013, the portion of the highway from the Alberta/Northwest Territories border to Enterprise was designated the Highway of Heroes.[2]

There are social and economic studies being done on the extension of the highway north from Wrigley to join the Dempster Highway; the territorial government has completed 34 bridges across all but six of the widest river crossings that serve the ice road and await the all-weather route.[3] In June 2018, an announcement of $140 million funding would result in a bridge over Great Bear River and extend the Mackenzie Highway's all-weather road north by 15 km to Mount Gaudet.[4]

Just east of Fort Simpson's airport, the highway crosses the Liard River by ferry (summer) and ice bridge (winter). 45 km (28 mi) further east of the crossing, the location known as Checkpoint is the site of a former gas station at the junction with the Liard Highway (Northwest Territories Highway 7, British Columbia Highway 77) from Fort Nelson, British Columbia.

Major intersections

Province / TerritoryMunicipality / RegionLocationkm[5]miDestinationsNotes
AlbertaM.D. of Peace No. 135Grimshaw00.0 Hwy 2A east (55 Avenue) – Peace River
Hwy 2 south – Fairview, Grande Prairie
Mile Zero Mackenzie Highway.
42.5 Hwy 2 east – Peace River, EdmontonHwy 2 branches east;
Mackenzie Hwy follows Hwy 35;
south end of National Highway System Core Route.
Hwy 35 south terminus
Northern Lights138.1 Hwy 737 west (Warrensville Road)
2012 Hwy 986 east – Little Buffalo, Red Earth Creek
Dixonville3924 Hwy 689 west
6239 Hwy 690 east – Deadwood
Manning8251 Hwy 691 east
12075 Hwy 692 east – Notikewin Provincial Park
179111 Hwy 695 east – CarcajouSouth end of Hwy 695 concurrency.
186116 Hwy 695 west – Keg RiverNorth end of Hwy 695 concurrency.
219136 Hwy 697 east – Tompkins Landing Ferry, La Crete, Fort Vermilion
MackenzieHigh Level278173 Hwy 58 west – Rainbow Lake, AssumptionSouth end of Hwy 58 concurrency
279173 Hwy 58 east – Fort Vermilion, La Crete, John D'or PrairieNorth end of Hwy 58 concurrency
363226Crosses Hay River
364226Zama Road – Zama City
60th parallel469
AlbertaNorthwest Territories border
Hwy 35 north terminus • Highway 1 south terminus
Northwest TerritoriesSouth SlaveEnterprise8352 Highway 2 north (Hay River Highway) – Hay River, Fort SmithHwy 1 turns west.
167104Kakisa Access Road – Kakisa
168104Crosses Kakisa River
186116 Highway 3 north (Yellowknife Highway) – Fort Providence, YellowknifeNorth end of National Highway System Core Route;
south end of Northern & Remote Route.
Dehcho324201Crosses Trout River
376234Jean Marie River Access Road – Jean Marie River
Checkpoint412256 Highway 7 south (Liard Highway) – Fort Liard, Fort NelsonHwy 1 turns north.
457284Crosses Liard River
MV Lafferty Ferry (mid/late May to late October) • Ice bridge (late November to mid April)[6]
Fort Simpson472293Fort Simpson Access RoadHwy 1 branches northwest.
489304Crosses Martin River
N’Dulee Crossing548341Crosses Mackenzie River
MV Johnny Berens Ferry (late May to late October) • Ice bridge (mid December to mid April)[6]
627390Crosses Willowlake River
Wrigley690430winter roadNorman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake Highway 1 north terminus (Mackenzie Highway)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Photo gallery


  1. ^ "Discover the Peace Country – Grimshaw". Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  2. ^ "Portion of Highway 1 to be designated the Highway of Heroes". GNWT. 2013. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  3. ^ "Executive Summary of the Benefit Cost and Economic Impact Analysis Mackenzie Valley Highway Extension" (PDF). NWT DoT. 1999. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  4. ^ "Mackenzie Valley Highway project to get $102M boost from federal gov't". CBC News. 2018-06-27.
  5. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Highway 1". Department of Transportation. Government of Northwest Territories. Retrieved 15 July 2016.