SDWH01 Yukon Golden Circle – Whitehorse Road Trip

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Whitehorse is the capital of northwest Canada’s Yukon territory. To the south are the basalt cliffs of Miles Canyon, site of a former gold rush town. From the canyon, the Yukon River Loop Trail winds north past the Whitehorse Fishway fish ladder toward the S.S. Klondike, a restored sternwheeler that once plied the Yukon River. North, the Takhini Hot Pools’ mineral springs offer views of the northern lights in winter

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Itinerary

Whitehorse ( Overnight: Whitehorse )

Arrive in Whitehorse and pick up your rental car. A day to explore the sights of Whitehorse: The McBride Museum - Covering half a city block, this log-cabin museum is crammed with relics from the gold-rush era and has a large display of Yukon wildlife and minerals, all lovingly arranged by a nonprofit society. Within the museum compound you'll find Sam McGee's Cabin (read Robert Service's poem on the cremation of same) and the old Whitehorse Telegraph Office. The SS Klondike - Take a tour of the largest of the 250 riverboats that chugged up and down the Yukon River between 1929 and 1955. Actually, the one on view was built in 1936 to replace the first Klondike, which ran aground. The SS Klondike is now permanently dry-docked beside the river and is a designated National Historic Site.

Whitehorse –Skagway ( Driving Distance: 110miles | Overnight : Skagway )

Time to explore the sights of Whitehorse: The McBride Museum, SS Klondike and the Yukon Beringia Center. During the last ice age, a land bridge joined Asia to Alaska and the Yukon, forming a subcontinent known as Beringia. Bordered on all sides by glaciers, Beringia was once home to woolly mammoths and other fascinating Pleistocene-era animals. This museum presents the archaeological and paleontological past of Beringia, with life-size exhibits of ice-age animals, multimedia displays and dioramas on its prehistoric ecosystems. The South Klondike Highway winds through the subalpine landscape of Tormented Valley to Tutshi Lake, Tagish Lake and the much photographed Emerald Lake. It offers some spectacular scenery as it descents by 11 percent grade from the White Pass to Skagway.

Skagway ( Overnight: Skagway )

Today you have the chance to board the historic narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Railway and ride along the White Pass Trail to the White Pass Summit. The entire distance between the gold-rush community of Skagway to the summit was completed in only two years in 1900's. The steamer pulls the train a couple of miles, then diesels take the cars - some of them originals more than 100 years old - up steep tracks that were chipped out of the side of the mountains. In the afternoon walk around the historic townsite and check out the old buildings. You may even visit the grave of "Soapy Smith" and walk part of the famous Chilkoot Trail. Included: White Pass & Yukon Railway Summit Tour

Skagway – Alaska Ferry to Haines - Haines Junction ( Driving Distance: 170 miles | Overnight: Haines Junction )

Spend this morning in Skagway and explore the old town buildings. Take the afternoon Alaska Ferry to Haines. It is a spectacularly scenic and relaxing ferry ride along the Lynn Canal, a fjord that is as beautiful and pristine as any in the world. Arrive in Haines, located in the Valley of the Eagles. The Haines Highway winds from Haines over the Chilkat Pass - the highest summit on this highway. You pass Klukshu, a native summer fishing camp offering great photo opportunities. Arrive in Haines Junction, gateway to Kluane National Park. The Kluane area covers the largest non-polar icefields in the world. Visit the sheep mountain visitor center with its interpretive programs about the flora and fauna. Viewing telescopes are available where you can spot dall sheep on the mountain slopes.

Haines Junction – Tok ( Driving Distance: 290 miles | Overnight: Tok )

This morning go on a short hiking trip before driving north along the shores of beautiful Kluane Lake. Stopover at Sheep Mountain and look out for dall sheep gracing alongside the mountain slopes. Your journey continues on the famous Alaska Highway through endless wilderness areas with occasional wildlife spotting on the way. Feel free to stop at the designated photo stops to enjoy more panoramic views. Cross the Canadian/US border and arrive in Tok, often referred to as the "Dog Mushing Capital of Alaska". Tok was born as a construction station on the highway. With its location at the intersection of the Alaska Highway and the Glenn Highway to Anchorage and Prince William Sound, the town has built an economy of gas stations, gift stores, cafes, and hotels to serve highway travelers.

Tok – Dawson City ( Driving Distance: 190 miles | Overnight: Dawson City )

The Yukoners call it the 60 mile. To Alaskans it is the Taylor Highway, but to everyone who has driven this beautiful road, it is known as the "Top of the World Highway". The name fits as much of its route meanders along the tops of mountains and ridges with endless views of alpine valleys. During the summer months the sun sets forever and you'll have hours of light to set-up that special sunset photograph. Arrive in Dawson City: It all began with Robert Henderson, who, in 1894, found gold in Rabbit Creek (later renamed Bonanza) not far from where the Klondike River empties into the Yukon. By 1904, an estimated $100 million in gold had been shipped from the Klondike. At its height, Dawson City had a population of 35,000, but the "stampede" of `98 died out almost as quickly as it began.

Dawson City ( Overnight: Dawson City )

A full day to explore the goldrush town Dawson City and the gold fields: Visit the historical buildings, Jack London and Robert Service cabins and old stores that were the pulse of the gold rush capital in its hey-days. As you walk through the heart of Dawson City, your imagination will run to the likes of Klondike Kate, Arizona Charlie Meadows and Diamond Tooth Gertie strolling down Dawson's boardwalks. Their spirit is as alive today as it was in 1898. From the one-time capital of the Yukon you'll follow history up Bonanza Creek (pan for gold) to Discovery Claim and Grand Forks once boasted a population of 10,000 where the Eldorado Creek and Upper Bonanza come together. Take a guided tour of the Gold Dredge #4 and visit the Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall for evening entertainment.

Dawson City – Whitehorse ( Driving Distance: 330 miles | Overnight: Whitehorse )

Time to explore the sights of Whitehorse: The McBride Museum, SS Klondike and the Yukon Beringia Center. During the last ice age, a land bridge joined Asia to Alaska and the Yukon, forming a subcontinent known as Beringia. Bordered on all sides by glaciers, Beringia was once home to woolly mammoths and other fascinating Pleistocene-era animals. This museum presents the archaeological and paleontological past of Beringia, with life-size exhibits of ice-age animals, multimedia displays and dioramas on its prehistoric ecosystems. The South Klondike Highway winds through the subalpine landscape of Tormented Valley to Tutshi Lake, Tagish Lake and the much photographed Emerald Lake. It offers some spectacular scenery as it descents by 11 percent grade from the White Pass to Skagway.

Whitehorse

Spend some time exploring the downtown area of Whitehorse or enjoy a relaxing walk at Miles Canyon. If time allows, visit the Yukon Beringia Center. During the last ice age, a land bridge joined Asia to Alaska and the Yukon, forming a subcontinent known as Beringia. Bordered on all sides by glaciers, Beringia was once home to woolly mammoths and other fascinating Pleistocene-era animals, as well as to cave-dwelling humans. This museum presents the archaeological and paleontological past of Beringia, with life-size exhibits of ice-age animals, multimedia displays, films, and dioramas on its prehistoric people. Try your hand at hurling an atlatl, which is a sling and spear weapon that early hunters used in these parts 10,000 years ago. Your vacation ends with the return of your rental car.