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“Gold”! When this was hollered in 1896 in the Yukon, it resounded around the world and the stampede to northern Canada was on. Until the discovery of gold, the vast north that we now know as the Yukon Territories was thought of as a cold and unhospitable wasteland, inhabited only by First Nations people and fur traders. However once the cry of “gold” sounded the rush was on in spite of the challenging environment and limited accessibility. Towns sprang to life and men risked everything at a chance to strike it rich. These Klondike glory days were short lived and left historic cities like Dawson City and Whitehorse behind while many towns and mines were abandoned.

What made gold so treasured? As # 79 of the 118 atomic elements recognized in the world today, gold has stood the test of time and has remained a symbol of wealth. It has been used for centuries to create beautiful jewelry and for coins and as a monetary standard around the world. Gold made the top of the list because it is shiny and sun like, it doesn’t tarnish like other metals, is non-corrosive and can be molded and shaped at much lower temperatures.

While it may have been the call of “gold” that created the first dash to the Yukon, today travellers visit this vast wilderness for a look back at the history, the panoramic views, and the wildlife. Herds of Caribou and all three of Canada’s bear species, polar, grizzlies and black bears still roam the forests and tundra of the Yukon. While many areas of north America that were touched by the gold rush have continued to flourish and are interlaced with highways and cities, about 80% of the Yukon Territories remains untouched today.

Our Yukon tour, including a cruise back to Vancouver from Anchorage Alaska will give you a window of opportunity to see this vast and beautiful territory. Travelling by coach you will travel through Caribou country before reaching the rolling hills of the Peace River region and meeting up with the Alaska Highway. Imagine, as you travel the Alaska Highway, built in 1942, what it must have been like to make this journey on a dusty gravel road only 25 years ago. Tour highlights will include:

Hot Springs: There will be time to relax in two of Canada’s hot springs. Liard Hot Springs, is the second largest in Canada and is located in Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. Takhini Hot Springs, is located just outside of Whitehorse.

Whitehorse: We stay three nights in the community of Whitehorse. Located on the shores of the Yukon River, Whitehorse got its named for the white water rapids that churn along the city’s shores. Whitehorse is the capital and the largest city in the Yukon.

Dawson City: The epicenter of the Klondike Gold Rush, the First Nations camp located here exploded to a flourishing city of 40,000 in just two years. The boom was short lived and 11 years later when the gold rush was over there were less than 8000 left. Today Dawson City is a National Historical site and showcases 35 restored buildings offering visitors a glimpse in the days gone by.

Gold Panning, Follies and Vaudeville: The Klondike gold rushers spent long days panning for gold and there will be time for you to try your luck on Bonanza Creek before enjoying a real gold miners’ entertainment of follies and vaudeville.

Anchorage, Alaska: We will travel across the Top of the World Highway as we journey into Alaska and head towards Alaska’s largest city Anchorage for an overnight stay. In Seaward, we board Holland America’s Noordam for our cruise south. We will pass through beautiful Glacier Bay with ports of call in Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan before entering the Inside Passage and continuing on to Vancouver.

This tour takes a step back in time, delivers insight into the life and times of the Klondike pioneers and offers an opportunity to see wildlife and untouched landscapes.

Itinerary from BC Interior

Itinerary from Victoria

Travel Yukon – Larger Than Life

Written by: Joan Niemeier