The day came to leave Dawson City, we hated to do it! The weather was getting really nice and I would have loved another drive up the Dempster Highway, but, it was time to head to Carcross!
First stop was overnight at Carmacks. Carmacks is situated on the Yukon River, along the Klondike highway. The population is around 500. There is active mining in the area.
The sunset that nice was amazing, the best one we saw the whole trip! (not because we weren’t up that late!)
South of Whitehorse we arrived at Robinson Roadhouse. In 1899 the White Pass and Yukon Route railway built a railroad siding at Robinson. In 1900 gold was discovered nearby and a few buildings were constructed, including a post office. The mining fizzled out, the town was abandoned, but postmaster Charlie McConnell stayed and established one of the first ranches in Yukon. There were quite a few old buildings still standing. I love finding these kinds of places!
Next we passed beautiful Emerald Lake, also known as Rainbow Lake . The beautiful colours are the result of blue-green light waves reflecting off the white layer of ‘marl’ (white calcium carbonate clay) from surrounding limestone hills.
Soon after we arrived in Carcross. The campground is on the highway, by a gas station/store. Carcross is situated between 2 large lakes, Nares Lake on the east side and Bennett Lake on the west. Nares Lake is right across the road from the campground.
Carcross itself is a hidden gem! Population is approximately 400. I was very surprised when I took our Lab, Mickie, for a walk later and decided to follow the road to town, a short distance away. What a treat! You may have heard the name Carcross mentioned in the news lately. It was one of the stops for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, (Prince William and Kate), on September 28 of this year.
The WP&YR (White Pass Yukon Route) railroad is a frequent sight in town, bringing many visitors into the tiny town from the cruise ships in Skagway, Alaska. The train crosses the bridge into town and then winds its way through town to the ‘commercial’ area where there are restaurants and gift shops. There is a resident carver and people doing traditional music!
Then it continues along to the train depot. The building was designated a national heritage railway station in 1991. It was originally built in 1910 for the White Pass & Yukon Railway, and was in service from 1910 until 1982. Service was later re-instated in 2007. Passengers have some time to explore the town before returning to Skagway.
But that is not all that Carcross has to offer! There is a lot of history there and areas of town that look just as they must have 100 years ago!
As I said Bennett Lake borders one side of town. The beautiful white sandy beaches would be the envy of any beach town!
While visiting the area we decided to do a day trip down into Skagway, Alaska. Although we did not get a lot of rainy days on our whole trip, it did rain down on us this day!! The closer we got to Skagway the harder it rained! That did not stop us from enjoying the beautiful trip down though. The first highlight was the Old Venus Mill along the side of the road! It was built in 1908 to serve Venus mines on the nearby Montana Mountain. It proved uneconomical and was closed by 1911.
The next area that fascinated us was called Fraser, it is where the Canadian Customs is. The views coming into this area are amazing, it is called Tormented Valley, and is a moonscape of stunted trees and small lakes.
Getting closer to Skagway we saw a beautiful waterfall, I believe it is Pitchfork Falls.
We had taken an Alaska Cruise years before and stopped in Skagway with the ship. There is not much in the town that does not center on the cruise ship industry. On this day there were 7 ships in port bringing the normal 1000 population to over 10,000!
The WP&YR depot is there as well.
The scenery on our return trip, along windy arm, was stunning!
Another interesting thing to see and experience while in Carcross is a visit to the Carcross Desert. It is often referred to as the smallest desert in the world but in fact it is not a desert at all, but a series of northern sand dunes. The area’s climate is too humid to be considered a true desert.
On our last evening we were blessed with this beautiful sunset!
Then it was time to move on to our next destination, but along the way we stopped at our 3rd cinnamon bun ‘tasting’ at Jakes Corner, milepost 866 on the Alaska Highway. 34 miles from Carcross.
It was time for the verdict……..drum roll………….Our clear winner was BRAEBURN LODGE, near Carmacks!!! Our friends, who had also sampled all 3, thought Jakes Corner won, hands down!! Needless to say, they were ALL excellent…….if we are ever through that way again we will probably need a rematch!
Now it was time to head south on highway 7, 62 miles, to the BC town of Atlin. Another area we were really looking forward to seeing. We had heard it was known as the ‘Switzerland of Canada’!!
Until next time……….