The Sign Post Forest is Watson Lake’s most famous attraction. Travelers from around the world have been bringing signposts from their hometowns to the Sign Post Forest since 1942 and continue to do so today.
The tradition began during the Alaska Highway Project in 1942, when U.S. soldier Carl K. Lindley spent time in Watson Lake recovering from an injury. A commanding officer asked him to repair and erect the directional signposts, and while completing the job, he added a sign that indicated the direction and mileage to his hometown of Danville, Illinois. Others followed suit, and the trend caught on. In 1990, a couple from Ohio added the 10,000th sign in the Signpost Forest. Today, there are over 77,000 signs in the Forest, and the number grows each year as visitors contribute signs and continue the tradition. The Town of Watson Lake maintains the site, adding more sign posts as they fill up. Bring along a sign to add to the forest, or make one at the Visitor Information Centre.
While you’re there, you’ll also come across pieces of equipment that were used during the construction of the Alaska Highway. A time capsule and cairn was placed at the Sign Post Forest in 1992. It will be opened again in 2042.
Eager to learn more? The Alaska Highway Interpretive Centre, located close to the Sign Post Forest, interprets the rich history of the Alaska Highway through photos, murals, audio-visual material, and dioramas. It also provides important information about the Yukon to northbound travelers.