Dawson City, Canada’s Klondike City, is a small town with a big presence in the Yukon. It sits in the heart of the Klondike region – made famous by the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800’s. Today it’s home to about 1,300 people yet it hosts 60,000 visitors a year.
Canada’s Klondike City
Why, might you wonder would people visit a town that’s a six hour drive from Whitehorse, and basically in the middle of nowhere?
Dawson City is full of history, it’s wildly colourful and to top it off it’s exceptionally scenic with its location on the Yukon River. You can count on plenty to do over a few days! Did you know you can also do a loop drive on the Top of the World Highway to Jack Wade, Alaska from West Dawson? That road gives you the option of visiting Kluane National Park or you could continue and explore more of Alaska. The Dempster Highway is also nearby.
Here are some ideas of what you can do on a quick visit to Dawson City.
We were in Dawson City for all of 18 hours at the end of our backpacking trip in the Tombstone Mountains. We did manage to fit in many of the sights. After dinner at the Aurora Inn (where we also stayed and can recommend), we drove to the top of the Midnight Dome. Impressive vistas up and down the Yukon River will have you racing for your camera. Try to time a visit with sunset – which is far easier to do at the end of the summer.
The next morning – September 1st – we woke to frost on the car. Fortunately a credit card works as a good scraper and in no time we had the windshield cleared and were off to explore the town. Normally we’d walk the town, street by street, but we had a long drive ahead of us so we had to make do with driving instead.
Streets are lined with colourful houses and businesses. What a treat for the eyes!
We made our way down to the waterfront where we were greeted with the sight of a floating cabin and a red canoe. I’d love to know the backstory to this photo.
A few hours float on the Yukon River via the paddle-wheeler would be a great way to see the area.
The SS Keno is a National Historic Site. The boat, built in 1922, was used to carry silver, lead and zinc from the mines in Mayo.
Tours of the Palace Grand Theatre by Parks Canada are offered and there are regular live performances scheduled. It would have been fun to hear the stories of what happened on the backstage.
As you drive into Dawson City, you can’t miss the kilometers of dredge tailings. The sight of them might give you gold fever – and if that’s the case, you might want to try your hand at gold panning. Goldbottom offers mine tours and the chance to pan.
John and I found the city to be friendly and inviting; we both wished we had another day to take some of the tours and explore the nearby hills on foot.
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