- The Far North of Canada and the United States is a land of history and wide open spaces
- This is a trip inspired by a great epic, the struggles of the Klondike gold diggers
- Included in the itinerary - Canoeing down the Yukon River and hiking in the Kluane National Park
- Smartphone app with all your details, access to our clued-up local Concierge and all our usual additional services
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INTO THE WILD
In the far north of North America, the land surrounding the Yukon River experienced one of the most spectacular gold rushes the world has ever seen. On 17 July 1897, the steamship Excelsior arrived in San Francisco with a cargo of half a million dollars. The discovery of precious minerals lifted some of the economic gloom at the end of the century. 500,000 people gave up everything and headed to this new El Dorado. Alaska and Yukon were inundated with fortune-hunters. Jack London's story 'Call of the Wild', which chronicled this mass chaos, is fascinating. London was one of the first pioneers, arriving as early as 25 July 1897. The shock was severe: even in July the country was very inhospitable due to the early onset of winter.
Experience two weeks here for a trip to the extremes, travelling through two untamed regions, linked by their geography and history. This journey crosses the border several times but it always follows the same thread, that of the great outdoors and the Gold Rush, as you discover the Klondike and Kluane regions of Yukon and the eastern and south-eastern interior of Alaska. Over the course of the trip, there's canoeing on the Yukon River and trekking in the Kluane National Park. Both are group activities: never venture into the wild alone in bear territory. However, groups are always small and personal, and a guide can't have a group of more than six people under Yukon's regulations. We have carefully chosen the accommodation for its prime location and touches of charm, rustic chic and cosiness. And if necessary, feel free to contact our local Concierge, who can be reached at any time, for support and advice.
Flight to Whitehorse, Yukon
Collect your hire car at the airport and spend two nights at comfortable accommodation in downtown Whitehorse. The small town and State capital owes its poetic name to the Yukon River rapids, which reminded early adventurers of the manes of white horses. The old seasonal camp, located on the banks of the river, at the foot of the mountains was established during the Gold Rush, and then with the opening of the Alaska Highway, which connects Dawson Creek, British Columbia (in Canada) to Fairbanks, Alaska (in the United States). This is a long road that snakes between glaciers, built in just eight months during World War II, when the Americans feared a Japanese invasion from the north after Pearl Harbour.
Things to see and experience - Take the S.S. Klondike steamboat from Whitehorse to Dawson. Go on a tram ride. Visit the Yukon Transportation Museum, the MacBride Museum, specialising in Yukon's natural history, and the Fireweed Market every Thursday in Shipyard Park. On 21 June, experience summer solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day, celebrating the heritage of the First Nations. See the Frantic Follies Gold Rush Show.
Whitehorse & Around
On the itinerary - Half-day canoeing on the Yukon River.
Things to do and experience - Explore Miles Canyon by boat on the Yukon River as it powerfully carves its way through gorges, or on foot on hiking trails on both sides of the river. Bathe in the Takhini Hot Springs. Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, home to caribou, bison, lynx and mountain goats. Go trout fishing on Fish Lake.
Whitehorse - Keno
Head north through Yukon Territory (just under 250 miles, approximately five and a half hours) on the historic Gold Rush road. The winding road crosses landscapes typical of these subarctic parts: lowland deciduous and pine forests, hills and lakes. Step back in time in Keno, a small mining town with abandoned houses and a derelict, overgrown petrol station. The bar/restaurant/antiques shop is steeped in history and run by the Mayor, the son of an Italian family who came to work at the mine.
Things to do - The Silver Trail, which describes the region's mining history and showcases the culture of the First Nations.
Spend a night in Keno in a charming, modern and very comfortable hotel. Be aware that bathrooms and loos tend to be communal in Yukon and outhouses are a real tradition here. In the past, trappers' cabins only had one room, which served both as a bedroom and a kitchen; toilets were relegated to the outdoors.
Keno - Dawson City
Head northwest to Dawson City (143 miles, approximately three and a half hours), following the Silver Trail, which once had silver mines all along it. Along the way, take the Dempster Highway, which crosses the tundra-covered Tombstone mountain range, home to abundant wildlife.
Spend two nights in Dawson City, in a downtown hotel that has retained some of the style of the Gold Rush era.
At the edge of the Yukon River and at the foot of a wooded and mountainous region, Dawson City epitomises the Gold Rush era that made it the region's capital at the end of the 19th century. Today, it's charmingly rustic with wooden houses dating back to the Gold Rush and dirt roads lined with raised boardwalks. There are plenty of bars, where you can play blackjack while watching chorus dancers in colourful costumes as if the Gold Rush was still in full force.
Things to see - Jack London's cabin and Bombay Peggy's Inn & Pub, a former brothel that tells the tale of a time of 'Gold Rush and Golden Girls'.
Dawson City - Tok, Alaska
Take Yukon Highway 9 otherwise known as Top of the World Highway to Tok, a remote village in the Tanana Valley, Alaska. This winding road, open only in the summer, stretches some 187 miles, connecting the Yukon River Valley to the Tanana River Valley (approximately five to six hours), via paved sections and well-used dirt tracks from mountain peaks and hills. The small town of Tok is where the roads to Fairbanks, the Canadian border and Anchorage meet. It's also famous for dog-sledding.
Spend a night in a friendly B&B with small cabins that are rustic, comfortable and offering all the amenities.
Tok - Haines Junction & Kluane National Park, Yukon
Canada/Yukon Highway to Haines Junction on the edge of the Kluane National Park and Reserve. This route follows the Alaska Highway for just under 300 miles (approximately six hours) through alluvial plains and glacial valleys.
Spend two nights in a small rustic cottage near Kathleen Lake, on the edge of the park, and near the small mountain village of Haines Junction.
Kluane National Park
A land of rugged towering mountains, huge fields of ice and lush valleys, and home to the country's highest peak, Mount Logan (17,220ft), Kluane National Park, is a pure delight for nature lovers.
Included in the itinerary - Half-day trekking with a local guide , from Kathleen Lake. Explore Icefield Ranges, Kathleen Lake, Rock Glaciers and King's Throne peak.
Optional - Fly over Kluane glaciers in a bush plane.
Haines Junction - Haines, Alaska
Continue south-east, crossing the Alaska border until Haines (150 miles, approximately three and a half hours). Snowy peaks give way to extensive forests and glacial fronts alternate with lakes, all the way to the magnificent Mud Bay fjords.
Spend a night in Haines, on the shores of one of the deepest fjords on Planet Earth, the Lynn Canal.
Worth a visit - A former Native American village with Tlingit totem poles, and the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
Haines - Skagway
Ferry ride to Skagway (approximately 45 minutes) on the Lynn Canal is the perfect opportunity to admire this magnificent fjord, bordered by steep banks, glaciers and waterfalls. Spend two nights in Skagway, in a small hotel with a Gold Rush feel.
The small port town of Skagway was the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush and the wooden buildings, old station and saloons are a throwback to this era. Skagway is now the gateway to Klondike National Park. Next to the ghost town of Dyea is the famous Chilkoot Trail, where so many men lost their lives, and is now a favourite of history-loving hikers. Access to the trail is limited to 50 hikers a day.
Skagway - Yukon River Valley (Yukon)
Head to the Yukon River Valley south of Whitehorse, for three nights in a cosy, warm and friendly cabin nestled in the forests and mountains, close to the Yukon River. It's the perfect place to relax in front of the fire in winter, or on the large terrace on summer days. The lodge also has a spa and a Finnish sauna for those in search of wellness.
Things to see and experience - Hiking and cycling. Explore the Southern Lakes region. Visit Carcross and the smallest desert in the world.
Yukon River Valley - Whitehorse - Return Flight
Return to Whitehorse airport, return your hire car and catch your flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
A la carte
KLUANE NATIONAL PARK - FLY OVER THE GLACIER
Fly over the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park mountain range in a bush plane. Admire a land of frozen sea and glaciers from above, a truly unforgettable experience... Depending on the flight, experience the powerful Kaskawulsh and South Arm glaciers from above, with Pinnacle Peak and Mount Kennedy in the foreground, or Mount Logan on a grand tour through the heart of Kluane, home to some of Canada's highest peaks, including the world's largest non-polar glaciers. The Pacific Grand Mountain Tour also flies over the Kluane glaciers and Mount Kennedy and Mount Hubbard, following Lowell Glacier. Finally, Kluane National Park's ultimate tour offers the opportunity to approach the world's largest massif, Mount Logan, and enjoy views beyond the St. Elias Mountains.
This tour is for small groups and coordinated with an expert pilot.
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