Tucked away in the wilds of the Yukon’s vast territory, the town of Dawson is a haven of art, culture and history. Located some 500 km northwest of Whitehorse, Dawson beckons adventurers looking to explore a unique part of Canada that few ever get to see.
On this 4-day autumn excursion, you’ll experience the history of the Gold Rush as you visit the town’s must-see attractions, explore the remoteness of the spectacular Tombstone Territorial Park, soar over the towering spires of the Ogilvie mountains on a private flight and take part in a special cultural experience with the local Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. This is an unforgettable journey.
Dawson is a walkable city full of eclectic charm and quirky character. This 4-day getaway offers a good mix of guided private tours that take you to both the must-see and more remote places around Dawson, with plenty of free time built in to explore the town on your own. You’ll find cool boardwalk streets with old facades that will have you believing you’ve stepped back in time to the Gold Rush era. Keep your camera handy at all times as there are plenty of photo opportunities around town.
Dawson also offers amazing local food experiences. We suggest a visit to Bon Ton & Company, a restaurant that serves amazing locally sourced food in a contemporary setting that rivals eateries in Vancouver or Toronto, as well as Red Mammoth for a more casual meal of local and delicious cuisine.
Day 1: Arrive in Dawson from Whitehorse
Your Dawson adventure begins with a very scenic flight from Whitehorse on Air North. Right away you will know you are in for something special as you soar over the vast and rugged northern landscape.
After landing in Dawson, you’ll have time to relax at your hotel before joining a late morning Parks Canada walking tour of the town and visiting the Danoja Zho Cultural Centre. This 1.5 hour tour will give you the foundation to understand what a special place Dawson is and the role it has played in Canadian history.
In the afternoon, you’ll be whisked away on a private tour of the many sightseeing highlights around Dawson that will help to bring its famous Gold Rush history to life. Dawson is the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush, which began when three men discovered gold on what is now known as Bonanza Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River. This tour will show you all the important spots including the Goldfields, Dredge number 4 and Bonanza Creek.
In the evening you’ll have time to explore on your own. We recommend a visit to ‘Gerties’ – the Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall is a local institution with a unique Klondike period style, cancan entertainment and a friendly vibe.
Day 2: Dempster Highway by Land & Air
Today you’ll take a journey to one of the most scenic highways in the world: the 740 km Dempster Highway joins Dawson to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories and is the only all-season road to cross the Arctic Circle. It is known for its incredible scenery, wide open spaces and stunning remoteness.
Your private tour will begin with a scenic drive along a portion of this world-famous highway and into Tombstone Territorial Park – a place of rugged wilderness set among stunning mountains . There will be spots to get out of the car and explore on foot with spectacular viewpoints and a scenic stop for a hearty picnic lunch. Be on the lookout for wildlife as fall is a great time to spot Dall’s sheep, caribou, moose, wolves and bears.
The highlight of the day, however, will be your one-hour private flight in a Cessna over the spectacular Ogilvie mountains. An unforgettable experience that will give you a unique view over the vast landscape.
In the evening, we suggest you wind down with another unique Dawson experience – a Sourtoe Cocktail at the Downtown Hotel’s Sourdough Saloon. The Sourtoe Cocktail is a time-honoured tradition in Dawson, with a legend that dates back to the 1920s. More than 100,000 people have dared to try it and join what is known as “Sourtoe Cocktail Club” which includes getting your name in the ledger and a certificate to take home. And yes, it does include drinking a cocktail with a genuine dehydrated toe dropped in the drink. Even if you are not interested in the drink, a visit to the Saloon is a must for the atmosphere and history.
Day 3: Indigenous culture in Dawson
This morning, you’ll have a special opportunity to learn firsthand about the culture and history of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation during either a private experience with a local artist or a foraging walk and plant talk with a local medicine maker.
The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation was one of the Indigenous groups most affected by the Gold Rush and settlers in their traditional territories and have been working actively to reclaim their traditional cultural ways.
In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore on your own and then head out on a private visit to the Top of the Midnight Dome – a breathtaking lookout point that offers 360 degree views of the region. From here you can see the beauty of the Yukon River and the Klondike Valley, as well as the Ogilive mountains in the distance.
For your last evening in Dawson, we suggest a special dinner at Bon Ton & Company if you have not yet dined there. It is truly a worthwhile dining experience.
Day 4: Flight from Dawson to Whitehorse
Time to say goodbye to Dawson. You’ll have a transfer from your hotel to the airport where you will catch your flight back to Whitehorse.
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