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Overview

Dawson City is a classic end-of-the-road town. Some 530 kilometers (330 miles) north of the Yukon capital of Whitehorse, it's the pinnacle of a Yukon adventure. Built on a sandspit astride the silvery silt-filled waters of the swift-flowing Yukon River, Dawson was the destination of thousands of gold seekers during the Yukon gold rush of 1897-98. At its peak it was home to 20,000 hapless fortune-seekers, most of whom lost whatever had survived the amazing trek to the town. During the 20th Century, Dawson slowly moldered away as a few hardy prospectors continued pulling gold out of the nearby fields (which continues to the present day). But ...

Dawson City is a classic end-of-the-road town. Some 530 kilometers (330 miles) north of the Yukon capital of Whitehorse, it's the pinnacle of a Yukon adventure. Built on a sandspit astride the silvery silt-filled waters of the swift-flowing Yukon River, Dawson was the destination of thousands of gold seekers during the Yukon gold rush of 1897-98. At its peak it was home to 20,000 hapless fortune-seekers, most of whom lost whatever had survived the amazing trek to the town. During the 20th Century, Dawson slowly moldered away as a few hardy prospectors continued pulling gold out of the nearby fields (which continues to the present day). But bad fortune for the town has been good fortune for visitors as the long cold winters (eight months) preserved block after block of gold-rush-era buildings. The entire center is now a national park and you can spend hours wandering the dusty streets feeling tangible links to the past while the surrounding peaks cast long shadows in the night-long twilight of the long days. Jack London was here and you can visit his cabin and learn the role Dawson played in books like Call of the Wild. There's fun and frolic at a few hard-edged bars filled with the characterful locals of today and gambling at the municipal saloon/dance hall/casino.

Ryan Ver Berkmoes
About the Expert

Ryan Ver Berkmoes has written many books for Lonely Planet, including Bali & Lombok and the Southeastern Alaska and Western Canada sections for LP's Canada guide.

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Ryan Ver Berkmoes for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to early September with July and August the best months. Otherwise, much is both closed and frozen.