So you want to bike to Tuktoyaktuk: Here's what you need to know - Slightly North of Sanity - CycleBlaze

June 13, 2017

So you want to bike to Tuktoyaktuk: Here's what you need to know

Maybe you've been planning a ride from Alaska to Argentina, or vice versa, and are underwhelmed by what you've heard about Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay and the Dalton Highway. Maybe you're intrigued by the prospect of being one of the first to tour on a brand new road. Maybe you want to bike the ice road and haven't heard about its demise. Maybe you just really love mosquitoes.

Whatever your interest in Tuktoyaktuk, usually referred to as Tuk, you're going to need some up-to-date information. I might expand on this later, but for now this information will get you started.

The most important thing to know is that during the 2017 summer season, there is no road access to Tuk. If you bike into Inuvik this summer, you'll have to arrange a boat or flight tour in order to get all the way to the ocean, and no, you probably can't bring your bike. Expect to pay in the range of $600-$800 per person, depending on the tour.

The new, all-season road is being finished this summer and will open on November 15, 2017. Not a day earlier. If you are caught attempting to bike the road, my best guess is you will be dragged back to Inuvik and fined. As the road is located on the barrens and the sun is up 24 hours a day, there is absolutely nowhere to hide.

A glimpse of the new road through the barrens. Still some ice and snow in mid-June.
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If you want to bike the new road on or after November 15, 2017, here are a few tips:

1. There is no cheap accommodation in Tuk. B&Bs are somewhere around $200 or so and food is almost as expensive. Prices for food should drop with the road opening, but it's hard to say what will happen to accommodation. At present, there likely isn't enough accommodation for all the tourists. There is no campground, either. Accommodation options will probably respond to tourist demand in the coming years.

2. The road is 125km through the barrens. I don't know if they've constructed any rest areas, but I do know there are no services. If you already biked the Dempster, this will be more of the same, but with more murderous mosquitoes; July is the worst month. Summer is surprisingly slow to arrive in Tuk and the barrens, given the relatively short distance from Inuvik: expect cold and wind all year round. The prevailing wind is from the north, right off the Arctic Ocean and its ice, and there are no trees or landforms to mitigate the wind. Oh, and Tuk had three polar bears in town last fall and freeze-up. This is a real risk.

3. You have free access to the Arctic Ocean from Tuk. Well, technically, it's the Beaufort Sea, but it's still part of the ocean.

4. In case you don't have an updated map, simply follow Navy Road out of Inuvik.

If you want to bike the ice road, you can't. It's gone. The ice road from Inuvik to Aklavik will still be constructed.

This is all that's left of the ice road from Tuk. Mid-June 2017
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