The highway serves primarily recreational activities and area residences in this lake-dotted country. For about a month in late winter, an ice road to Lac de Gras is opened to trucking of mining supplies, the junction being along the Ingraham Trail. The road has taken a beating from the heavy trucks. This is shown on the first season of the American reality television series, Ice Road Truckers, which airs on The History Channel. The Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road also extends from the end of the Ingraham Trail to Contwoyto Lake in Nunavut, forming Nunavut's only connection to the road network in the rest of Canada.
The Ingraham Trail is named after Vic Ingraham, who was born in Minneapolis in 1896. He came to the NWT in 1932, looking for uranium around Great Bear Lake; he later opened the Yellowknife Hotel, which he ran until 1951.