Yukon is a territory unlike any other. Today, it's the least-populated province or territory in Canada, but that wasn't always the case. During the Klondike Gold Rush, prospectors poured into Yukon, hoping to strike it rich. Dawson City is the best place to experience what things were like during this thrilling period when people flocked to the region from all over the world. Rather than go from boom town to ghost town like many settlements, Dawson City was able to keep mining gold well past the Klondike period, though in a lot of ways, it feels like the town is frozen in time. Today, people still come from all over, in search of history and local attractions... and yes, they still come to pan for gold, too! Hit the Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to experience this very special town.
Not only is Whitehorse the capital of Yukon, it’s the territory’s only city. The Alaska and the Klondike Highway cross here. You'll find museums, restaurants, and diverse experiences found nowhere else. Whitehorse is the largest city in Northern Canada, and although it may seem like your average town upon driving through, gems can be found throughout, and open blue skies and gorgeous pines are always in eyesight.
KM 10 Takhini Hotsprings Rd, YT, CA
For over a century, people have been in awe of the mineral-rich natural waters found in this beautiful area. The two connected pools give you choice in your experience, and the best part? You'll have mountain views the entirety of your visit. Visitors of all kinds flock to Takhini to experience the healing powers that are said to come from the water, and even doctors have claimed that the waters eliminate toxins from the body. Whether you're into improving your wellbeing, or just soaking it all in and relaxing during a getaway, Takhini is a welcoming haven that offers affordable Day and Family passes so anyone and everyone can enjoy their time. Exploring the dynamic Yukon Territory is fun, but everyone needs to sit back and unwind after a few days of moving and grooving, and these hot pools do just the trick.
Mile 919. 28 Alaska Highway (Between Raven's Ridge and the Kopper King), YT, CA
It's no secret that this area of the country is rich in history, and Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum is passionate about that fact. You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy this experience, though. A train will weave you through boreal forests, teaching you all about the Yukon, while allowing you to see some neat sights. The museum itself is a great resource for anyone wanting to take advantage of being in a prime mining spot that influenced so many lives. Copperbelt Railway is a great afternoon for families, especially those with small children, who will be thrilled to ride and learn. A play area and room for picnics are on-site for those wanting to continue the fun.
Mile 55, Klondike Highway, YT, CA
Just east of Braeburn Lake and right off the Klondike Highway, Braeburn Lodge isn't typical. This location is home to extremely delicious cinnamon buns and other Canadian cuisines, so if you need a bite to eat, definitely swing through. Home to a different kind of host, Braeburn offers a great place to take a break from the road. Come inside to cool off or warm up, or get a large amount of food for a reasonable price if that suits your fancy. Feel free to get a cinnamon bun to go and enjoy it next to scenic Braeburn Lake.
35607 North Klondike Hwy, YT, CA
Located right on the site of Hotel Carmacks, across from that gorgeous Yukon River, this stop is ideal for any traveller needing a place to stay or a great meal. The Gold Panner Restaurant is housed in a small cabin with a cozy patio and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast platters, omelettes, and pancakes galore will satisfy the early riser ready to get a head start on an adventurous day. Lunch and dinner favourites such as different kinds of seafood, steak, and pasta are perfect for any time of day and any kind of mood. The hotel itself has been around since 1947, and this stop is a down-to-earth gem that allows you to further enjoy your time in Yukon without a care.
Just north of the Yukon River bridge, YT, CA
The lives of the Northern Tutchone, the First Nations people of the central Yukon Territory, are honoured at the Tage Cho Hudan Interpretive Centre in Carmacks. While the small building may not appear as much, what's inside is well worth your stop while travelling through. The information and history to be obtained in this cultural hub are astounding, and the knowledgeable people are welcoming and willing to teach you anything you're wanting to know. The community offers a fantastic stopover for those wanting a break, and additionally wanting to learn a thing or two. Why not take advantage of an opportunity to learn more about the lands you're exploring?
The McQuesten River is situated just west of Dawson’s famous gold fields and the North Klondike Highway, and oh boy, is it a sight to see. This beautiful river offers many different activities, like canoeing, kayaking, animal spotting, and also fishing, for avid anglers. You can also pack a bag and hike the many nature trails, or even hike along the waterside for breathtaking views of the river. If you choose to kayak or canoe, this river is great for practice, so don’t worry if you don't have much experience. The flowing river does have a few quick turns and fast spots, but don't let this intimidate you; the river is pretty forgiving. After a hard day of adventuring, pop into Dawson City or Carmacks to take a load off. These two towns are relatively close by to lodge in, so make sure to scope out the area ahead of time for a great place to stay.
Tombstone Territorial Park, YT, CA
This mountain range in the Yukon Territory of northwestern Canada is truly a sight to see. The Ogilvie Mountains, reaching up to 2,362 meters and spanning thousands of square kilometres, are a massive granite thrillseekers paradise. Climbers, hikers, and mountaineering enthusiasts flock to this range, when weather permits, of course. If you aren't quite feeling up to climbing these behemoths, that is totally okay. Flatter trails wind through the parks the range spans, so bring along your hiking boots, binoculars, and camera for easy hikes offering breathtaking photo ops. The Tombstone Territorial Park is the most popular park that touches the range, so if you would like a place to visit in particular, that is the place to be.
Dempster Highway, YT, CA
Next up is the previously mentioned beautiful Tombstone Territorial Park, which does flirt with the Ogilvie Mountains. North of Dawson City and home to Tombstone Mountain, this over-2,200-square-kilometre park is also home to flora and fauna not common at this latitude, due to the colder weather. This park is also unique in that there are many different programs, tours, and guides offered that allow you to see the various landmarks within the site. Take a hike with a local who discusses the history of this wonderful area; take a guided hike to a beautiful historic landmark; take part in a campfire-building program or other nature-oriented experience, or simply take a nature walk to soak in all the beauty of this wild area.
Dawson, Yukon, Canada
Home to the native Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people, this city is a literal goldmine of experiences. Back in the time of the gold rush around 1886, Dawson City was a hot spot for those trying to make it big. Today, visitors still come to see what it was like to pan the rivers during the Klondike Gold Rush, and think about how the First Nations people adapted to the new people visiting the area. In addition to the rich history, there is also a great art scene in town, inspired in part by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and beautiful landscapes. Between the vibrant art scene, rich history, and beautiful landscapes, Dawson truly encompasses the best qualities of the area.
4th and Queen St, YT, CA
No luck panning for gold within the rivers of Dawson City? Fret no more. Come to Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall to claim riches that have already been established. Opened in 1971 by the Klondike Visitors Association, this casino is actually Canada's oldest. Take part in a hand of blackjack, play poker with some friends or rivals, or leave it all up to chance at hit-or-miss slots. Either way, you can live how the original settlers did by gambling or catching the all-too-familiar dancers that perform the time period’s dance, the cancan. With this being said, you may have to leave the children or young ones at home for this experience.
For those interested in the Gold Rush, the history behind the gorgeous area of the country you’ve been visiting, or obtaining neat information wherever you go, a stop at the Dawson City Museum is a must. It houses countless exhibits and displays of culture and discovery, boasting the largest collection of history in the Yukon! At the Dawson City Museum you’ll receive a small-town welcome, but be amazed by what you’ll learn inside. This museum truly allows you to look back in time and feel the entrepreneurial spirit that filled the Yukon Territory so many years ago. Save a little on admission by pre-booking, and expect to spend a good hour or two soaking in all of the goodness!
The Yukon is known for its rich history in gold, in addition to being the home of beautiful landscapes and so many historical happenings. You don’t need to fly across the globe to achieve ultimate adventure; Canada is abundant in outdoor fun and people who welcome and encourage you to get outside and explore.