Skip to content

Stage 527 – McKinnon Lake to Watson Lake

Here’s a descender, or to be more precise, here’s a descender with a dirty great big climb just after halfway: but as long as you can get up that in one piece, the rest of the stage is a bit of a skoosh. It runs east across southern Yukon, crosses the Liard River at halfway, then makes the big climb before descending gently and finally becoming flat to the finish. The work is all about that climb.

The rollout is downhill for a mile before the road swings right then left to scoot around the southern edge of a small lake, climbing briefly as it does so. It’s then downhill for ten miles, the road bending gently to the right before hanging a long left/right combo over the open plain. There’s a rest area at four miles at the Nuggett City service area, then shortly after that, Route 37 (the Cassiar Highway) heads off south to Dease Lake (which is both a lake and a community) about a hundred miles away. The junction is only two miles from the British Columbia border and it’s the closest that Route 1 comes to BC on the stage.

Shortly after the junction, as the road passes by two small lakes on the left, it begins a long left hander that runs for two miles before straightening briefly and swinging back the other way to line up the crossing of the Liard River. On the western side of the river, the highway passes through Upper Liard before making the crossing, then as soon as the road reaches the bank on the eastern side, the big climb kicks in. Between eleven miles and thirteen miles, the road climbs two hundred feet on a left/right/left combination of sweeping bends. At the top, the road straightens out heading north east on a mile long descent before hanging a right and running straight and flat for a further three miles to Watson Lake. Curiously, Watson Lake (the lake) sits three miles north west of Watson Lake the community, but the much smaller Wye Lake does sit within the town itself. At the end of the day, I guess size matters.

Curving through the town on a gentle right hander, the road remains flat and as it leaves town heading south east, the Route 1 passes by the old Alaska Highway just before the finishing line. One final thing of note, which kind of confirms the stage as a descender: despite the climb at halfway, the highest elevation of the stage is at the start: enjoy it.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 662 feet / 202 metres

RGT Magic Road: P5vVjttPxzxD

Total distance: 20.48 mi
Max elevation: 2564 ft
Min elevation: 1941 ft
Total climbing: 651 ft
Total descent: -1000 ft

Help kids fighting neuroblastoma. Visit: