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The Town of Watson Lake is located in the southeastern Yukon. As the ”Gateway to the Yukon” Watson Lake is situated at kilometer 1016.8 (mile 635 ) on the Alaska highway at its junction with the Campbell Highway, making it the first community north of 60th parallel as you enter the Yukon The junction of the Stewart/Cassiar highway with the Alaska highway is 26 kilometers (16 miles) west of the community.

60 04’ N latitude, 128 42’ W longitude

Magnetic Declination
25 51’E

The town boundaries encompass 124.5 sq. Km with the town core occupying 5.18 sq. km

695 meters (2280 feet)

Watson Lake is located in the Boreal Forest region of the Liard Basin, amid marketable timber stands (needle leaf with some western deciduous species). The Simpson Range of the Pelly Mountains lies just to the north. Soils are well-stratified and gravel except in the southwest part near the Alaska Highway where impermeable clays and silts occur close to the ground surface. There is also bedrock near the surface in developed areas and gravely moraine deposits.

A specific geologic formation in the Watson Lake area is the Liard plateau, a board plateau of even top ranges of hills created by intensive folding of the sedimentary strata from the Paleozoic Age. Part of the Slewyn Gold belt, the Plateau is transversed by the Tintina Trench, a mineral rich fault line slashed below the plateau. The greater part of the Trench valley in the Watson Lake region contains the Liard River.

Because of its location and physiographic features, Watson Lake is subject to great variation in climate from year to year. Although Watson Lake is located in the southeastern Yukon, Prolonged cold spells can occur in the winter, primarily because the town is far inland from the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean and lies in the shelter in the Liard Basin. No permafrost exists in the community or in the immediate vicinity. However, there are some scattered permafrost pockets in certain isolated areas. Frost penetration in the woodlands is approximately one meter and in clear areas it is three and half meters. In general the climate of Watson Lake is characterized by long, cold winters with dark nights, and by mild summers with long sunny days which helps to offset the limited growing season. The coldest month is January and the warmest weather is usually in July. The driest is April and the wettest month is September. Also December is the month with the greatest average snowfall.


Mean high -21.3 C (-6.3 F)
Mean low -32.0 C (-25.6 F)
Average           -26.7 C (-16.1 F)

Mean high 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Mean low 8.8 C (47.8 F)
Average           14.9 C (58.8 F)

Extreme Record High           33.9 C (93.0 F)

Extreme Record Low            -58.9 C (-74 F)

Annual rainfall – 238.9 mm
Annual snowfall-228.8mm
Total annual precipitation-425.2 mm
Average days of precipitation per year 153

Prevailing Winds
Westerly direction at an average velocity of  8.5 km/hr

Hours of Sunshine
June 21 18 hours and 55 minutes
December 21 5 hours and 50 minutes

Approximately 1200