• Polar Bear - Hudson Bay Canada  - credit Sue Holden
    Hudson Bay Canada - credit Sue Holden

The Golden Circle

Combining Yukon in Canada with Alaska in the USA.

Summary

The Golden Circle – a taste of Yukon and Alaska

In the final years of the 19th Century, gold was discovered in the Klondike, attracting thousands of gold-seekers to brave the harsh environment to seek their fortunes. This itinerary revisits several of those sites, combining Yukon in Canada with Alaska in the USA. 

Day 1: Whitehorse
Day 3: Southern Lakes
Day 5: Skagway
Day 6: Haines
Day 7: Glacier Bay
Day 9: Haines
Day 10: Haines Junction
Day 12: Carmacks
Day 13: Dawson City
Day 14: Whitehorse

Description

Description

 A Taste of Yukon and Alaska

Here we suggest a spectacular mountain self-drive journey which offers a taste of Alaska and Yukon. Drive through dramatic rocky landscapes, past deep blue lakes and experience the excitement of the Klondike Gold Rush. This is a trip for adventurers with opportunities for canoeing, Kayaking, hiking and superb wildlife viewing…

Day 1: Whitehorse
Arrive in Yukon’s capital, Whitehorse and pick up your hire car at the airport. This vibrant city, on the banks of the River Yukon, is flanked by forests and mountains. Steeped in culture and history, it boasts good restaurants, cafes shops, great museums and an award winning local microbrewery.

Two nights in Whitehorse

Day 3: Southern Lakes
Leave Whitehorse and spend a couple of days exploring the Headwaters of the Yukon River. Discover secluded bays, valleys and mountains. Stay in a beautiful lakeside lodge with opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, golf or just relaxing in the stunning surroundings

Two nights in the Southern Lakes

Day 5: Skagway
Visit the historic town of Carcross before driving through the dramatic rocky landscapes of White Pass. Cross the border into the US before descending to the coastal town of Skagway in Alaska. Gateway to the Klondike and the challenging Chilkoot Trail, this gold-rush town was infamous for its lawlessness – it now thrives on tourism and is often packed with cruise ships tourists. Take a walking tour around the historic downtown area and visit the Gold Rush Cemetery. For a different perspective, take a ride on the historic White Pass Railroad.

One night in Skagway

Day 6: Haines
Early morning start to catch the Alaska Marine Highway to Haines – this small town sits between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. The Chilkoot is a Mecca for brown bear – they are often viewed here feeding on the salmon.

One night in Haines

Day 7: Glacier Bay
Leave your car in Haines, then begin a 2 night trip to Glacier Bay – this remote and beautiful National Park is only accessible by air or boat. Famous for its tide water glaciers, deep fjords and rain forests, the area is also renowned for its wildlife – sightings can include eagles, seals, sea lions and brown bears. Start you adventure with a short flight to Gustavus then transfer to your lodge where you can enjoy guided hikes or kayaking. Your stay here includes a full day cruise into Glacier Bay.

Two nights at Glacier Bay

Day 9: Haines
Your day begins with a half day whale-watching cruise into Icy Strait – this area is North America’s most famous humpback whale feeding grounds. In the afternoon transfer back to Haines for an overnight stay.

One night in Haines
If time allows you may consider adding an extra night here to take a float trip into the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve which boasts the largest congregation of bald eagle in the world.

Day 10: Haines Junction
Return to Canada through the Alpine heights of Haines Pass. This breathtakingly beautiful and dramatic drive takes you to Haines Junction, gateway to Kluane National Park. This vast wilderness park in southwest Yukon is home to grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves and mountain goats. This is a top wilderness adventure destination with opportunities for rafting, guided hiking, canoeing, fishing, horseriding and mountain biking. Spectacular glaciers flow down Kluanes broad sweeping valleys – a flightseeing trip over the massive glacier and over Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan is highly recommended.

Two nights at Haines Junction

Day 12: Carmacks
Return towards Whitehorse along the Alaska Highway then turn north and begin your drive up the Klondike Highway towards Dawson City. The Klondike is widely considered to be the location of the greatest gold rush ever. In 1897, the discovery of gold near Dawson City triggered a stampede of thousands of hopeful prospectors.

One night in Carmacks

Day 13: Dawson City
Continue to Dawson City, taking time to visit where the gold rush all started in Bonanza Creek. Dawson City is bursting with both historic and First Nation Cultural Sites. Spend an evening at the famous Diamond Tooth Gerties.

One night at Dawson City

Day 14: Whitehorse
Return to Whitehorse along the Klondike Highway to begin your journey home or continue your adventure – here are some suggestions

  • Spend a day or two on the Silver Trail and discover a beautiful, wild region with a mining history to rival the Klondike.
  • Take a flight to the Land of the Midnight Sun, North Yukon. Kayaking, canoeing, guided hiking and tours of the Dempster Highway are all possible from here.
  • Relax for a few nights in a log cabin on a secluded lake nestled in the northern foothills of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Accessible only by water or air, relax in beautiful surroundings or experience the ultimate in wilderness adventure – fishing, canoeing, hiking, wildlife viewing or photography, snowshoeing…

The Golden Circle - Kluane Nat Pk.Yukon

Credit Yukon Tourism


The Golden Circle - Kluane1

Credit Yukon Tourism


The Golden Circle - Moose Yukon

Credit Yukon Tourism


Morning Glacier Bay Alaska

Credit Jackie Appleton

Little Gems

Little Gems

Haines is a tiny town on the Lynn Canal – one of the deepest and longest fjords in the world.  In the autumn, brown bears gather on the banks of the Chilkoot Inlet fishing for the salmon returning to their spawning grounds.  This is the best bear viewing the writer has ever seen and should not be missed!

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