On Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys to Alaska, Holland America Line guests become immersed in the cultures of The Last Frontier and Canada’s Yukon. The overland exploration includes Dawson City and Whitehorse in the Yukon, where guests can learn more about local customs and the history of the region and its people. If you’re not on a Land+Sea Journey overland tour, you can still visit the Yukon on a call at Skagway aboard the amazing White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.
These exceptional shore excursions vary in experience, yet all showcase highlights of each locale. Come explore Dawson City, Whitehorse and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad with us on Yukon Heritage Day.
Once the pulsing heart of the Klondike Gold Rush, Dawson City today is a cluster of wooden sidewalks and charming frontier-era shops on the banks of the Yukon river. There are plenty of reasons to take cruise tours to Dawson City. Though gold rush lore is the main draw, it has a rich history well before the discovery of gold and subsequent stampede in 1896. The Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin or “people of the river” have frequented the area for thousands of years and there’s much heritage to learn and appreciate. The town was also a muse for literary legends, Robert Service and Jack London.
Present-day Dawson still has active gold mining and a thriving tourism and arts scene. Many adventurers stop in Dawson to stock up on supplies before heading to the ragged peaks of the Yukon’s Tombstone Territorial Park. Not only can you step into the shoes of a prospector and pan for gold, Dawson City is likely the only place in the world where you can drink a cocktail with a real human toe plunked into it.
Tombstone Park Tour
Experience the Dempster Highway and Tombstone Territorial Park. Enroute to the park, your guide will impart the local history and changing landscape of the area. If you are lucky, you may see wildlife while enjoying the beautiful flora and fauna of the region. After venturing out in the wilds of the Yukon, the tour will stop at the Tombstone Interpretive Centre where you will have the opportunity to unwind while wandering through the new exhibits and have a chance to talk with park rangers. Then, hit the trails for a one-hour guided flat terrain hike along the North Klondike River or a more challenging hike up the Goldensides Trail to a fantastic lookout point.
Gold Bottom Mining
You are invited to visit this operating placer gold mine located in the historic gold fields of the famous Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Learn how placer mining is done and how to stake a claim then learn about selling the gold the miners discover and compare the historical methods to the modern technologies. You’ll have an opportunity to try your hand at gold panning in the creek. There is no guarantee that you’ll find gold as you’ll take your chance just like the old-timers did! Will you find the lucky strike or head home empty handed? Either way, you will enjoy this great local tour to the Klondike gold fields!
Northern Canada’s largest city sprang from frontier roots. During the Klondike Gold Rush, prospectors washed up here, past two major river obstacles: Miles Canyon and the Whitehorse Rapids (named for whitecapped waves that resembled stallions’ manes). To prevent mass starvation, the government required every Stampeder to haul along a year’s supply of goods. The recommended list included 10 pounds of coffee, 150 pounds of bacon and 400 pounds of flour — part of a total 1,095 pounds of grub. Sundries like picks, ropes and a dozen heavy wool socks quickly brought the load up to a ton. Whitehorse boomed because it was as far north as would-be miners and their freight could travel by train; from here, sternwheelers did the rest, 740 kilometers (460 miles) down the upper Yukon River to the mining town of Dawson City. Now the territory’s capital, Whitehorse stands at Historic Mile 918 of the Alaska Highway and has the world’s lowest level of metropolitan air pollution, according to Guinness World Records 2013.
Miles Canyon Nature Walk
Hike along the shores of the impressive Yukon River through beautiful Miles Canyon. On this easy, non-paved interpretive walk, your local guide will point out important areas during the Klondike Gold Rush and share colorful stories of the Yukon past and present. Discover interesting facts of Yukon’s natural history and learn the importance of the many plants and wildlife.
Taste of Yukon & Sled Dog Tour
Looking for an authentic Yukon experience? Learn about the prized athletes – Muktuk’s 100+ Alaskan Huskies! See what it takes to be a competitive musher at the home of Yukon Quest legend Frank Turner. You’ll meet a certified expedition guide, hear about their ethical and eco-friendly operations, learn about the Yukon Quest and how integral dog sledding is to the Yukon history – you will gain genuine insight into lifestyle here in the Yukon wild, that’s for sure! You will be served a home-cooked meal featuring bison and elk, arctic char, potatoes, carrots salad and dessert.
Backcountry ATV Adventure
A fun way to experience our great northern lifestyle. Drive your own ATV or share a Side-by-Side and explore the backcountry of Whitehorse. On the first miles on the Copper Trail we quickly learn how to handle the quad and discover how easily we make it through all terrain, before we head up Mount McIntyre to our View Point over Fish Lake. On our way downhill from Mount McIntyre we continue our tour on the Copper Trail to our pick up point at Mount Sima.
This Alaskan port allows guests to explore The Yukon on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad shore excursion. Board a deluxe motor coach and experience the magic and the mystery of the famed Yukon Territory. Climb the South Klondike Highway to the top of the White Pass — 3,292 feet above sea level — then enter Canada and the unspoiled and untamed beauty of the Yukon Territory.
Tour Yukon’s most extensive Wildlife Museum, strolling among the creatures of Yukon’s past and present. At the Dog Musher’s Village, visit with Iditarod dog mushers and take pictures with sled dogs and husky puppies; or join them for a dog-cart ride with actual Iditarod and Yukon Quest dogs. Back at Fraser, British Columbia, board the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad for a truly unforgettable ride down this historic and breathtaking narrow-gauge track.
If you’re looking to experience the Yukon, take a look at our 2022 Alaska Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys, open for booking!