Dawson City, Yukon - Heart of the Klondike Gold Rush
Dawson City is the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush! An incredible community that has preserved its past, Dawson City invites you to turn back the pages of time and experience our rich living history. Meander the wooden boardwalks and visit national historic treasures. Join interpretative programs and amazing special events. Tour the Klondike Gold Fields and try your luck panning for gold. YES! We still have operating gold mines. Participate in unforgettable First Nations tours and Wilderness Adventures. Spend a night on the town in one of the most entertaining communities of the North, home to Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino – Canada’s first legalized gambling hall. Without a doubt, you’ll need a week to see it all!
One ton of goods and a hard grind up the Chilkoot Trail got you into the Klondike. Gold seekers heading to the Klondike in 1898 were required to pack and carry their goods over the Chilkoot Pass. The list of supplies required for each man included 400 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of beans, and 100 pounds of sugar, to name just a few. The average man took about 40 trips to haul his ton of supplies 33 miles to Bennett. That’s 2,600 exhausting miles over the icy trail, up the golden stairs at the summit, through blizzards, and sub-zero conditions. Most gold-seekers took at least three months to complete the task.
Air North, Yukon’s Airline is the simple, comfortable and affordable way to reach the Yukon with scheduled jet service from Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa & Yellowknife – as well as frequent jet and turboprop flights between Whitehorse and Dawson City. Get the gold without the rush!
Take the scenic drive…
A comfortable six to seven hour drive from Whitehorse along the North Klondike Highway. You’ll enjoy rolling hills and river valleys. If you’re heading to Alaska, include Dawson in your itinerary by driving the Top of the World Highway, which connects to Tok.
Restaurants in Dawson
Expect the unexpected while looking for a place to eat in Dawson City. The Klondike boasts some of Yukon’s greatest diversity in restaurants choices. All under the midnight sun. Dawson City Restaurants…
Dawson City Trivia
- Gold is 19 times heavier than water.
- In 1904 the Klondike was the largest gold producer in Canada and the fourth largest in the world.
- The engines that turned the massive paddle wheels on Yukon’s riverboats burned a cord of wood per hour. The 500 mile journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City took only 40 hours while it took as much as 4 days the other way.
- More than 250 sternwheelers plied Yukon waters from 1896 to the mid 1950’s. At one time, there were up to 70 of the majestic riverboats on the Yukon River alone. The 500 mile journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City took only 40 hours while it took as much as 4 days the other way
- A Dawson City team set two Stanley Cup records. In 1905, the Yukon team played the Ottawa Silver Sevens in Ottawa and established the worst goals against record with a 23-3 loss. Ottawa’s one-eyed Frank McGee scored the most goals by one player in the playoffs – 14.
- The Yukon River is 2200 miles (3520 km) long, the 4th longest in the world.
- A gold nugget was unearthed in the Klondike that weighed over 72 oz. It was nearly 6″ long. In 1898, the nugget was valued at $1,158. Today, it would be worth well over $30,000.
- The Klondike got its name from the Indian word “Thron Diuck” meaning “Hammer Water”. Early settlers had difficulty with the pronunciation and thus it became KLON-DIKE.
Dawson City was the largest city north of Seattle and west of Winnipeg.
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One million people, it is said, laid plans to go to the Klondike.
One hundred thousand actually set off and about thirty thousand made it. What was moose pasture and a fish camp to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in for many generations was transformed into a metropolis in 2 years.
Dawson grew slowly throughout the winter of 1897, but once the Yukon River thawed in May of 1898, boats arrived in the hundreds and pulled to shore at all hours of the day and night.
The Klondike Gold Rush was touched off by the August 16, 1896 discovery of placer gold on Rabbit (later Bonanza) Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River. Miners already on the scene staked every creek (or “pup”) in the Klondike River and Indian River watersheds, including the fabulously rich Eldorado.
Not until the middle of July, 1897 did the outside world learn of the strike, when some of the newly rich pioneers arrived by steamboat on the West Coast. The description
of “a ton of gold” in Seattle’s Post-Intelligencer triggered
a veritable stampede.
Dawson may be a small town, but its arts scene thrives with the help of Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC), the Dawson City Arts Society (DCAS), the Dawson City Music Festival (DCMF), and the northernmost art school in North America, the Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA).
The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in is a Yukon First Nation based in Dawson City. The citizenship of roughly 1,100 includes descendants of the Hän-speaking people, who have lived along the Yukon River for millennia, and a diverse mix of families descended from Gwich’in, Northern Tutchone and other language groups.