Driving to Fort Smith allows visitors to appreciate the vastness of Canada’s northern boreal forest. It also provides many opportunities to see northern wildlife. Keep an eye out for bison, bears, moose, lynx, and foxes. Never feed the wildlife: a fed bear is a dead bear.
- Hay River to Fort Smith: 272 km
- High Level to Fort Smith: 583 km
- Yellowknife to Fort Smith: 740 km
- Edmonton to Fort Smith: 1,365 km
Driving distances from other communities, via the winter road through Wood Buffalo National Park:
- Fort Chipewyan to Fort Smith: 228 km
- Fort McMurray to Fort Smith: 499 km
- Edmonton to Fort Smith: 955 km
Travelling by car is a great way to see the North, and to visit Fort Smith. NWT highways are all two lanes, and Highways 1 and 2 are paved. Two-thirds of Highway 5 is chipsealed, while the remaining third is gravel. The roads are well-maintained, and conducive to travel by car, van, truck, and camper trailers.
Summer (June through August) visitors should travel with mosquito jackets and/or mosquito repellent, as an unexpected stop on the highway may result in a mosquito feeding frenzy.
Autumn (September through October) and spring (April and May) are lovely times of year to visit Fort Smith as the bugs are few and far between and weather is less extreme, though much cooler than the summer.
When travelling in the winter (October through April), please remember that temperatures can be very cold (as low as -40 Celsius) and it is very important to be prepared for unexpected stops. As well as your regular safety kit, be sure to pack warm outdoor clothes, matches and candles, and a very warm sleeping bag.
Once you arrive in Fort Smith, having a car isn’t necessary as many facilities and points of interest are within walking distance. However, access to a vehicle is useful for taking day trips into the surrounding area. The many beautiful hiking trails in the area become accessible with a vehicle. Rental vehicles are available through Visa Rentals and Leasing.
Frontier Coachlines provides reliable scheduled passenger bus transportation between Hay River and Fort Smith.
Frontier is affiliated with Greyhound Canada, the largest provider of intercity bus travel in Canada. In the Northwest Territories, Greyhound goes as far as Hay River. From Hay River, bus travellers are automatically transferred to Frontier.