Ready for a truly unique Canadian winter experience? This 4-day excursion to Dawson is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that brings you into the heart of the Yukon wilderness.
Located along the scenic Yukon River about 500 km northwest of Whitehorse, Dawson is famous for its central role during the Klondike Gold Rush. You’ll get to experience the quirky culture of this cool northern city during a time when few tourists are around. Meet the locals for a drink at the bar, have a private cultural experience with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nations, fly over the Ogilvie Mountains and see the spectacular Northern Lights on this exceptional getaway.
Dawson is a walkable city full of eclectic charm and quirky character. This 4-day getaway will take you to the must-see and the more remote places around Dawson and provide you with two opportunities to view the Aurora Borealis at night. Depending on the weather and your own wishes, you can book your two Aurora viewing dates on any of the three nights you are in town. On your third night, you may wish to discover Dawson’s amazing local food culture. 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.
While the town sees plenty of tourists in the summer, you’ll find it quiet and authentic in the winter months. On your downtime, stroll the 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.
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 frozen 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. 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, Bonanza Creek and the top of the Midnight Dome for a scenic view of the Yukon River, the valley and the mountains in the background.
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.
Your guide will pick you up at 11:00pm for Aurora Borealis viewing at an intimate site in West Dawson. You’ll notice immediately that in this northern climate, the nights are usually very crisp and clear – the perfect formula for seeing an incredible Aurora.
You’ll have access to an indoor facility that is heated and very comfortable. You’ll be offered coaching to take great photos of the Northern Lights and provided with hot drinks as you await the beautiful nightly show (fingers crossed). You will return to the hotel at 2:00am.
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 or snowshoe with spectacular viewpoints and a scenic stop for a hearty picnic lunch. Be on the lookout for wildlife.
The highlight of the day 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.
If this is one of the nights you choose for the Aurora, your guide will pick you up at 11:00 pm for another chance to see the Northern Lights at the West Dawson viewing area.
Day 3: Indigenous Cultural Experience in Dawson
Today you will start with a visit to the Dawson City Museum, where you’ll get a chance to learn more about the Klondike Gold Rush history and view the extensive collection of artefacts housed here. Then move on to another incredible experience with a special opportunity to learn firsthand about the culture and history of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation during a private experience with a local artist.
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 evening you will either enjoy free time or head out on your Aurora viewing experience if you’ve chosen this as your night to see the Northern Lights.
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.