THE FAMOUS NORTHERN ROUTE
THE TRIP-OF-A-LIFETIME ROAD ADVENTURE
The trip-of-a-lifetime road adventure!
In the 1870’s with the discovery of gold, thousands of ‘stampeders’ made their way north. By 1898-99, Dawson City, at the junction of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, became home to 40,000 people and grew into the largest city west of Winnipeg. Though many made fortunes, few newcomers arrived in time to stake claims. During the height of the gold rush, the Canadian government set up basic administrative structures in the Yukon. The Royal Northwest Mounted Police not only served as law enforcers but customs officers, postmasters and welfare officers in the new territory.
In 1942, more than 30,000 U.S. Army personnel arrived in the Yukon for the building of the Alaska Highway. Along with the highway, airstrips were built to transport war supplies to Alaska. When the highway was complete, most of the Americans left, but the highway changed the territory forever. Sternwheelers became redundant and the First Nations people who had lived along rivers and lakes moved to communities along the highway. The permanent population of the Yukon had nearly doubled and continued to increase during the 1950’s and 60’s. Most of the territory’s economic activity was centred in Whitehorse so the capital was moved south from Dawson City in 1953.
The community of Watson Lake, the Gateway to the Yukon, is well known for its world famous Sign Post Forest. The tradition began in 1942, when a homesick U.S. Army G.I. working on the Alaska Highway was assigned to repair a damaged signpost that stated distances to various points along the highway. He added his own hometown, “Danville, Illinois, 2835 miles” to the post. Signs were added every year and today there are over 72,000 signs and counting!
Teslin as we see it now is a result of the arrival of US Army Engineers in 1942 for construction of the Alaska Highway. The iconic Nistutlin Bay Bridge is the longest bridge on the highway at 584 meters (1,917 feet).
Whitehorse was home to one of the largest construction camps during the building of the Alaska Highway, once open to civilian traffic, mining and tourism grew. Today the city boasts a vibrant arts and cultural community. A classic Main Street ambience, coupled with great shopping, restaurants and quality visitor service, make it a superb destination.
Continuing north your travels will take you to Haines Junction, a picture-postcard village on the edge of Kluane National Park and Reserve. Dramatic scenery and a wilderness adventure playground surround Haines Junction. Evolving from an Alaska Highway construction camp, Haines Junction today is a key destination for backcountry recreation adventures. Kluane National Park and Reserve is a world-class destination for accessible and remote wilderness tourism activates. Kluane is known for beautiful glacial landscapes, abundant wildlife and iconic adventurers like backpacking, mountaineering and Alsek River rafting.
The Alaska Highway from Haines Junction to Beaver Creek, Canada’s westernmost community is wild open wilderness. This stretch of the Alaska Highway parallels the park’s majestic front ranges to Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing and beyond to Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek’s proximity to the Canada/US border makes it a natural stopping point with a range of visitor services including a Yukon
Today, under the watch of a 24-hour sun, you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime. Yukon hosts some stellar races, often attracting thousands of competitors. Run through the mountains in the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay, take part in the 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival, or paddle in the Yukon River Quest Canoe and Kayak Race.
There has never been a better time to come and discover why Yukon is Larger Than Life!
BE SURE TO VISIT
Communities Along the Way
The Gateway to the Yukon! Watson Lake is known for its world famous Sign Post Forest. The tradition began in 1942, when a homesick U.S. Army G.I. was assigned to repair a damaged signpost that stated distances to various points along the highway. He added his own hometown, ‘Danville, Illinois, 2835 miles” to the post. Signs are added every year and today there are over 72,000 signs and counting!
Teslin is a popular destination for self-guided canoeing and wildlife viewing. Sport fishing on the large lakes in the region is popular with an abundance of Lake Trout and Northern Pike.
One of the largest construction camps during the building of the Alaska Highway. Once the highway was open to civilian traffic, mining and tourism grew. Today the city boasts a vibrant arts and cultural community.
Evolving froma an Alaska Highway construction camp, Haines Junction today is a key destination for backcountry hiking, wilderness backpacking and mountaineering.
One of the oldest settlements in the Yukon, a trading post was established in 1904 and a lodge for highway travellers in 1944. Activities include self-guided walking tours, hiking trails and the Kluane Museum of Natural History.
Home of the White River First Nation, Beaver Creek is Canada’s westernmost community. Its proximity to the Canada/U.S. border makes it a natural stopping point with a range of visitor services.