Road Trip: Alaska and the Yukon Territory - American Cowboy | Western Lifestyle - Travel - People

Road Trip: Alaska and the Yukon Territory

This 441-mile exploration through the great northern wilds will have you tapping into your inner frontiersman.
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Credit: Dieter Braun

Credit: Dieter Braun

1) This last frontier adventure begins in Skagway, Alaska—gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush. Take a boat tour to the Davidson Glacier, a scenic wonder and hot-spot for seal and eagle sightings, and even bears. Try lunch at the Klondike Rib & Salmon, where the favorite is fish and chips, made with world-famous Alaskan Halibut. Head to the depot for a ride into the wilderness, largely unchanged since the days of the Stampeders, on the White Pass & Yukon Railway. If your time doesn’t allow for rail travel, visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park to hike the Chilkoot Trail and tour the abandoned boomtown of Dyea.

2) Cross the border into Yukon Territory and head to Carcross, which boasts two of the territory’s oldest and continuously operating businesses—the 1898 Caribou Hotel and the 1905 Post Office. The Post Office no longer stamps passports, but you can send mail with official stamps from the Yukon Territory. Grab some homemade goods and free coffee from the Chilkoot Trail Authentic Sourdough Bakery before visiting the Golden Spike Monument and The Duchess, the little engine that replaced the horses in 1900, the same year the White Pass and Yukon routes were completed. Before heading out, visit the stunning museum located at the Caribou Crossing Trading Post for an up-close-and-personal view of the wild animals of the North, past and present, including a woolly mammoth. 

3) Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon and the territory’s largest city. Well worth your time are visits to the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, as well as a visit to the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, where you can tour the 1929 sternwheeler that traveled the Yukon River, carrying ore and passengers as far as Dawson City and back. The Yukon Wildlife Preserve offers a great way to see the native wildlife like Caribou, Canadian Lynx, and Muskoxen. As fall arrives, plan to hike Miles Canyon trails while the leaves are turning, book a Northern Lights tour, or help get the sled dogs in shape for winter with a training tour at MukTuk Adventures, starting in September. 

4) Whitehorse to Dawson is a hefty jaunt, but it can be broken up with a stop for surprisingly good burgers and onion rings from the Coal Mine Campground inCarmacks, or with a visit to the Selkirk First Nations Cultural Centre, at Fort Selkirk in Pelly Crossing. Arriving in Dawson, stretch your legs on a hike across the tundra in Tombstone Territorial Park. For fans of the tale, White Fang, visit the Jack London Museum to step back in time to when London resided in the area, gaining inspiration for his wild tales. If you’re getting the Gold Rush itch, head down Bonanza Creek Road to Claim #6, a public claim where visitors can give panning a legitimate go. Finally, no Gold Rush experience is complete without a visit to Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, with three productions each night, one more risqué than the next, landing you in the hot seat of saloon-going gold panner by the end of the night.