In Search of Gold in The Yukon, Canada

Friday, 24th March 2017

Liz Lunnon

canada yukon wilderness road ctc

Our Head of Worldwide Product, Liz Lunnon, took a journey to the Yukon Territory, exploring the highlights of Canada’s wild west…

The very name ‘Yukon’ immediately conjures up images of a vast and remote territory, immortalised by Jack London’s novel Call of the Wild, images of the Yukon Quest – an epic annual 1000 mile dog-sled race that runs between Whitehorse and Fairbanks – and of course scenes from the infamous Klondike Gold Rush. The Klondike stampede was sparked by the discovery of gold in 1896, and the rest is history…

gold panning yukon canada

Bonanza Creek

Heading into the Klondike hills it’s impossible to walk along the edge of Bonanza Creek without keeping an eye out for something sparkly! Bonanza was the site of the first find, following which thousands of men risked their lives in a bid to strike gold too. But it wasn’t easy to reach the goldfields. The route from the south included an arduous winter climb over mountains, ususally via the terrifying Chilkoot Pass or the equally challenging White Pass. On arrival on the other side in Carcross, hand-made rafts had to be built before continuing the journey down the mighty Yukon River to Dawson City, gateway to the Klondike. Countless lives were lost en route, and perhaps the saddest part is that those who did finally make it safely to the Klondike goldfields found that they were too late – most of the gold had already been taken. By 1899 the gold rush was over.

However, over a century later we find that’s actually not strictly true, as another gold rush is currently underway to extract previously undiscovered gold in the area. We saw no evidence of this though – times have changed and desperate fossickers struggling with basic equipment have been replaced by highly efficient corporations and modern equipment.

The journey is certainly a lot easier these days too; the White Pass can now be enjoyed in comfort on a leisurely scenic rail journey between Skagway, Alaska, and Carcross in the Yukon. But it’s still possible to see the original narrow trail clinging to the sheer hillside below – and it’s sadly easy to understand how Dead Horse Gully got its name.

dawson city buildings yukon canada

Dawson City

Dawson City can now be reached by regular scheduled flight, and the raucous settlement that sprang up in the late 1890s is today a quiet and uniquely charming place to stay. The tiny city still features its original wooden buildings, and all new buildings are built in the same style, giving the streets the air of a film set. Its hard to believe people live and work behind these picturesque facias, but they do. The locals are intensely proud of their pioneering heritage and everywhere you go memorabilia stands testament to the epic 1897-99 gold rush.

Alas I didn’t find my fortune in the Yukon, but I was lucky enough to enjoy a wealth of priceless experiences throughout the Territory, from Whitehorse to Tombstone Territorial Park to the breathtaking Kluane National Park. All worth more than any gold nugget!


Experience the Yukon with the experts

To find out more about our range of holidays to the Yukon contact our team of Canada Travel Specialists for help in planning your Yukon adventure.

Browse all Yukon holidays

 

Popular blog posts

UPDATED Aurora Prediction Alert – December 2018!

In October our northern lights experts predicted the chances of seeing the northern lights would be extremely high from the 2-7 November 2018 due to a strong auroral storm occurring. It happened and looks likely to occur again in early December...
  • Northern Lights

Friday, 9th November 2018

Jess Weatherson

Cathy Harlow: Hiking in East Greenland Tour Highlights

In summer 2019, Wanderlust award-winning guide Cathy Harlow is travelling again to the wild and remote East Greenland coast to guide our nine-day ‘Hiking in East Greenland’ adventure. There’s so much about East Greenland that inspires Cathy but there are a few truly special experiences that make this trip stand out, read on to find out more…
  • Adventure
  • Inspire Me

Wednesday, 24th October 2018

Cathy Harlow

Icehotel 2018/19 Designs Unveiled!

With every new year comes a brand new edition of Sweden’s iconic Icehotel and after months of deliberation, the designs for the 29th Icehotel have finally been revealed (we heard one was even designed on the back of a napkin!). Let us give you a sneak peak of what is to come!
  • Icehotel

Tuesday, 21st August 2018

Becky Masih

7 Beautiful Views of the Yukon

From the contrasting shades of Emerald Lake to dramatic aurora displays over the Yukon Valley, here are 7 of our favourite views in the Yukon...
  • Inspire Me

Monday, 30th January 2017

Destination Specialist

7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Yukon

Over three times the size of England, but with just 6% of the population, the Yukon is a truly remote and untouched wilderness. Read on for more fun facts about the Yukon.
  • Inspire Me

Wednesday, 25th January 2017

Destination Specialist

Exploring the Yukon: Tombstones & Glaciers

Liz, Head of Worldwide Product reveals her highlights of exploring The Yukon in northwest Canada, a fascinating territory of epic landscapes.
  • Travel Stories

Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

Liz Lunnon

Bears, Gold, Whales & Wine in Canada

Inspired by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour of Canada in September 2016, we're put together a collection of holidays in British Columbia and The Yukon that gives keen travellers the chance to follow in the footsteps of the royal family...
  • Inspire Me

Wednesday, 21st September 2016

Destination Specialist