Antarctica & Arctic
This circle route from Whitehorse explores the modern and ancient cultures of the Yukon and provides a perfect introduction for travellers who wish to discover the beauty of this rugged and historic region.
Destinations > Western Canada > Footsteps of the Yukon Pioneers
13 nights accommodation, sightseeing and activities as specified and 14 days car rental.
Daily, 12 May - 24 Aug '18
Cross the Arctic Cirlce and glimpse life at the top of the world, explore hidden gems such as Tombstone Territorial Park, pan for gold in Dawson City and traverse the wilds of Kluane National Park. This self-drive itinerary packs in history and adventure for independent travellers looking for an immersive experience.
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Cross the Arctic Circle
Wildlife in Kluane National Park
Historic Dawson City
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Arrive in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory. This northern city offers all the modern conveniences and amenities, as well as the historical and cultural remnants of the days of the Gold Rush.
Departing eastward along the Alaska Highway into the interior of the Yukon, pass through small towns and villages that have carved unique communities out of a rugged wilderness. Arriving in Watson Lake, take some time to visit the ‘signpost forest’ – a collection of over 10,000 signposts donated by visitors from around the world, or the World War II historical display at the airport.
Turning northward on to the Campbell Highway, follow the path of several rivers and long lakes, many only previously seen by the most avid outdoorsman. Arriving in Faro, this small town set under the gaze of the mountains invites travellers to visit the Campbell Region Interpretative Centre to learn about the history and geography of the surrounding area. Visitors may also enjoy a visit to the former lead-zinc mine – once the largest producer in the world.
Journeying farther northward, you embark on a day of discovery travelling through the wilderness of the Yukon heartland, home to large mammals such as moose, caribou and grizzly bears. Later in the day, arrive in the famous former prospector town of Dawson City.
Today you embark on a true Yukon journey. Striking out into the province’s heart, the stark flatlands are intersected by the Dempster Highway and Mount Richardson in the background creating a haunting beauty that is unique from southern regions. Today is an excellent opportunity for a visit to Tombstone Territorial Park. Once inhabited by
Ice Age giants like mammoths and scimitar cats, today it’s still home to numerous northern species like grizzly, caribou and wolves.
Following the general path of the Mackenzie River, Canada’s longest waterway, continue north to edge of the Arctic Circle! The town of Inuvik rests in the watershed of the river as it empties out into the Arctic ocean, creating a unique landscape that defines the culture and art of the Inuit people.
One of Canada’s oldest nations, the Inuit people have survived in this harsh climate for thousands of years. Experience the unique food, crafts, artistic expressions and skills that have enabled them to prosper in this far northern community.
The road back to Eagle Plains is no less stunning on your return. Perhaps stop at Fort McPherson and see the historic churches that serviced the early traders and pioneers of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In these early days, the special pelts and animal products of the region were highly prized in Europe, making such northern outposts profitable ventures.
Today on the road back south, perhaps take some time to drop in at the Tombstone Territorial Park Visitor centre and learn about the park’s unique history while sampling some delicious local tea. If time permits in Dawson, the Bonanza Creek with Discovery Claim and Dredge 4 National Historic Site provides an in-depth look into the industry that made the town famous. The Midnight Dome offers dramatic views of the town at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers.
Beginning with a short crossing of the Yukon River by ferry, today your journey takes you along a picturesque route following the Top of the World Highway and the Taylor Highway as it traverses the wilds of Yukon over the international border to Alaska, USA. The small crossroads town of Chicken provides the ideal midway point to stop
and experience a slice of local life. Continue on as you loop back south back into Canada and arrive in the small town of Beaver Creek for the evening.
Today’s shorter driving distance back on the Alaska Highway allows time to independently explore natural wonders such as the shores of Lake Kluane, or the snow-capped mountains and glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains of spectacular Kluane National Park. Well-marked hiking trails and scenic viewpoints showcase some of the unique landscape of these protected parklands. Arrive later in Haines Junction and perhaps take some time to explore the First Nations Daku Cultural Centre, a highlight of this frontier town.
Departing for Whitehorse, stop midway at the village of Champagne where ancient local culture comes to life on your Long Ago People’s Place First Nations Guided Tour. Visit the traditional living structures of a First Nations Village and be amazed by demonstrations of hunting practises and food preparation that were practised for centuries by the original inhabitants of the area. Tour includes tea and traditional bannock break.
The day is free to independently discover why Whitehorse has cultivated a name as the Yukon’s hub of local guided and independent sightseeing and local touring activities. We suggest taking a daytrip to remote Skagway, or to visit some of the local sites such as the SS Klondike, Beringia Centre, the Transportation Museum or the MacBride Museum.
Today your Yukon experience comes to an end as you check out of your hotel and proceed independently to the airport.
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