A unique homage to a unique man
Although Robert Service is more closely associated with Dawson because the Klondike Gold Rush was the main source of inspiration for many of his poems, he also spent four years in Whitehorse working at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He actually wrote several of his most famous poems while living and working in Whitehorse, and in 2010, the city unveiled a monument at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Main Street, next to where the CBC branch used to be (it's now a TD Bank). Taking on the shape of a writing desk, the monument called "Stories Untold" was designed by local artist Molly Keizer. People are invited to take a seat behind the desk, which features an excerpt from one of Service's most famous poems, "The Cremation of Sam McGee", written in Whitehorse.
- Arts and Culture
Robinson Roadhouse and Emerald Lake
Back in the Gold Rush days, and even for several year afterwards until completion of the Klondike Highway in the 1950s, the road between Carcross and Dawson City was dotted with roadhouses. These were generally located 20-30 km apart, and provided very basic accommodations to people traveling by stage coach. It would generally take about 5 days to complete the trip (as opposed to about 6-7 hours by car today), so these roadhouses provided a welcome refuge to people seeking a hot meal and a warm bed after traveling in the cold all day. Wood stoves provided that much needed heat, but they were also responsible for many fires, and several roadhouses burned to the ground over the years. There are two roadhouses remaining on the Klondike Highway: Montague Roadhouse, located near Carmacks on the North Klondike Highway (Km 332), and Robinson Roadhouse, located between Carcross and Whitehorse on the South Klondike Highway (Km 139.5). Both sites feature information pannels.
Not far from Robinson Roadhouse, at Km 118, it's also worth stopping by the lookout point to see the amazing deep blue and light turquoise water of Emerald Lake.
- Historical Travel
Yukon is well known for its innovation and I have provided a web site to that effect. On of the key innovators has been the Yukon Energy Corporation. You can read there story on the web site I provided.
But if you have never seen a wind turbine before or if you like a very step hike or 4 x 4 off roading you can to go to the top of Haekel Hill and kill a number of birds with one stone as the saying goes.
The views on top of the mountain it should be called are also amazing. To get there get on the Alaska Highway and head west. Just a couple of kilometers away you will see a turnoff on your left hand side if your heading west for a camp. It doesn't say Haekel Hill so you have to just believe me on this one.
Once you get on this road you will have to follow it again for another few kilometers it will seem longer than it is if you don't beleive my directions. It is one this road I saw plenty of bald eagles and MacIntyre Marsh.
Then on the right hand side of the road you are going to see a gravel turnoff with a big rock on the corner with a plague on it. Take this turn go on past the buildings and very quickly there is a fork in that road. Go right.
Be warned the road isn't good!! But it is worth it, I have more pictures of the view in my Whitehorse Travelogues. Also don't worry if it seems at times you are traveling away from the wind turbines, the road is winding.
Now I remember some specific names after looking at the map again, you turn off the Alaska Highway at Fish Lake Road enroute as well to Sky High Wilderness Ranches.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
- Adventure Travel
Whitehorse Pass & Yukon railway
For railway enthusiasts the Skagway rail yards are about 20 mins walk from the Cruise liner docks where there are numerous pieces of rolling stock always on view.
Some of the passenger rail cars date back to 1883 with virtually identical units still being manufactured as recently as 2004.
Full details and dates of manufacture of both engines and rolling stock is listed on :-
Along the Two Mile Hill road we discovered a very colourfull graveyard. The signs at it were very clear: this is not a touristic place, please don't disturb this graveyard.
We can't imagine who would ever disturb a graveyard. We always visit graveyards whereever we go but always with respect, like we would visitors to visit the grave of my mother, and someday our own graves.
If you are in for a serious hike or a challenging off road adventure preferrably with a 4 x4 the views on top of Grey Mountain are worth it.
It will take you at least 30 minutes in a vehicle and I would suspect several hours on foot.
You get exceptional views of the Yukon River and the valleys. I highly recommend it especially on a day like I had.
To get there cross the bridge over the Yukon River leaving the downtown area. Pass the hospital and when you come to some lights turn left onto Alsek Street. Then it is your second left onto Grey Mountain Road and Viewpoint. It will only be paved for a short distance.
There are more pictures of the views from Grey Mountain in my Whitehorse travelogues.
- Mountain Climbing
- Hiking and Walking
Set against the spectacular backdrop of Canada's highest mountains, Haines Junction is a popular holiday destination for Yukoners as well as tourists. The community is located at the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Haines Road, 158 kilometres west of Whitehorse.
The Haines Junction area was a crossroads long before the highways arrived. It is located on an early trade route used by the Coastal Tlingit and Chilkat peoples. The Southern Tutchone used it as a temporary staging area for trapping, hunting, and fishing. The village itself was established in 1942, during construction of the Alaska Highway. Currently, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation has its administrative centre at Haines Junction.
Haines Junction is best known as the access point to Kluane National Park, a dramatically beautiful wilderness park, famous for its glaciers, mountains, and wildlife. The park encompasses a portion of the St. Elias Mountains, including Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak.
- Road Trip
Before the Gold Rush, this area was a First Nations' campsite. Be sure to visit Canyon City today and take a tour of Miles Canyon where you can easily imagine the gold-filled excitement of the past as you enjoy nature's treasures of today. In 1900, construction of the White Pass & Yukon Route railway from Skagway to a point past the rapids was completed and Whitehorse came into being at its railhead. Today you can still ride the WP & YR train, the only international narrow gauge operating in North America. From Skagway and there are connections by bus from Whitehorse.
Atop Grey Mountain
Must see the turbines at the Whitehorse Rapids hydro dam. There is viewing from the top of the fish ladder
See for miles from the Grey Mountain Lookout. This site is located in Riverdale - 6.5 kilometres up the gravel road.
Picnic on the rock cliffs of historic Miles Canyon. Trails here are accessible form the Chadburn Lake trails or from the Miles Canyon Road.
Walk up Haeckel Hill to see the wind turbines and the view of miles of the Yukon River Valley stretched out over the landscape. The trail head is located off Fish Lake Road - before you reach the fish hatchery.
The graceful Arctic grayling...
The graceful Arctic grayling is found in most lakes and streams in the Yukon, it readly takes flies and can put up a good fight, not unlike a trout. Notice the large dorsal fin. This one was taken in the Lapie River.
Million Dollar Waterfalls,...
Million Dollar Waterfalls, about an hour drive south of Haines Junction (2 hours north of Whitehorse). The road is good after Haines Junction. The campsite is around $8 a night and lacks water or electricity, but has outhouses. Take a quick walk to the amazing falls which filter down into the Blanchard River. Check out website www.tatshenshiniyukon.com . Most recommended is staying there a few nights and then taking the 15 minute drive down (right on the BC-Yukon border) where you can do a day excursion of white water river rafting. It costs abut $90 Can for a boat, a guide, all your gear (helmet, wet suit), lunch and 4 hours of great rafting. You start out on the level 2 Blanchard River to get accustomed to things and then move onto the level 4 Tatshinshini River. It is best done in larger groups. We went with about 30 people in 7 boats. You do occasionally have someone over board (12 degree water hurts to fall into- everyone survived though). The guides were very enthusiastic (ours had a helmet that said CARNAGE on it and had horns coming out of it- he was great though) and I highly recommend this place!
Head to bookstore in...
Head to bookstore in Whitehorse and grab a copy of one of the many great books of hikes in the Whitehorse area (a subjective term). There are literally hundreds of possibilities that vary in length and difficulty.
Corral a local if possible. Watch the weather and brush up on your bear awareness. Then start with a few short hikes to limber up.
Give yourself plenty of time, but be aware that you will leave with a list of things you want to see/do when you return.
Haines Junction Wildlife
During our drive to Haines Junction there was plenty of wildlife to see at road side, so logic would tell me that you should also be very carefull driving!
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Definitely go on a few small...
Definitely go on a few small road trips.. The BC and Alaska borders are within a few hour's drive, and it's neat crossing into a new territory.
This is the entrance to the...
This is the entrance to the Lapie Canyon where the Campbell Highway crosses it. One of the best rivers for Arctic Grayling in Yukon.