Km 1463 – 135th Meridian. You are now much further west than Vancouver Island or the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Golden Horn was named by first white men through the region in 1881. An extinct volcano, it is 5,610 feet high.
WHITE PASS & YUKON ROUTE RAILWAY:
• Originally 110.7 miles of track from Skagway to Whitehorse
• Narrow gauge – 36 inches (standard gauge is 56 _ inches)
• Construction began May 27, 1898, completed July 27, 1900
• Taken over by US Army during Alaska Highway construction
• Closed October 1982 when Cyprus Anvil Mine at faro closed – 175 people were laid off at WP&YR
• Tourism line opened May 12, 1988
Km 1455 - Turn onto the South Klondike Highway (Yukon Hwy 2).
Km 157 (from Skagway)
The South Klondike Highway as we see it today has only existed since 1980 (it officially opened in May 1981). The northern section, from the Alaska Highway to Carcross, had been a wagon road since at least 1905, and was substantially upgraded in 1942 as part of the Alaska Highway project.
Km 154 – Kookatsoon Lake is one of the few lakes that get warm enough for comfortable swimming, due to the fact that it’s very shallow.
Km 139 – Annie Lake Road leads into an area that is very popular with hikers and kayakers. There are also many old mines.
Km 139 – Robinson Roadhouse was built in 1906 and was the service centre for the mining rush in the Wheaton Valley.
Km 136.5 – this beautiful little lake has the not-so-beautiful name Rat Lake.
Km 136 – Lewes Lake. The sign is actually wrong, as the lake back there was named after a White Pass & Yukon engineer named Lewis.
Km 117 – Emerald Lake. We are now coming up to the most photographed lake in the Yukon – you’ll probably recognize it, as it appears on a lot of posters and brochures. The colour is due to the white lake bottom – called marl, it consists of decomposed sea shells and clay, and is typical of shallow lakes with low oxygen levels. Those conditions also mean that there are few or no fish in lakes with marl bottoms.
Km 116 – Spirit Lake on the left. No public access except for hikers.
Km 115 – Cinnamon Cache Bakery. Notice the moose sign – "Get Your Buns in Here."
Km 112 – Creation Legend. From here, you can see four peaks that are very important in local First Nations culture.
Km 108 – Carcross Dunes, usually known as "The World’s Smallest Desert." This very active dune system runs right from Lake Bennett to the base of Caribou Mountain. Strong winds blow off the lake, and the fine sand left from the post-glacial lake forms dunes that reach over 100 feet high.
Brief stop at Historic CARCROSS
POINTS OF INTEREST
• The Mounted Police detachment
• St. Saviour’s Anglican Church built in 1902
• The wreck of the sternwheeler Tutshi
• The Caribou Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in the Yukon
• The Barracks gift shop on the right was the Mounted Police barracks in the 1920s, and now features the work of local artists.
• The Isabelle Pringle Library has an excellent collection
• Lake Bennett – at the far end of the lake, 26 miles away, thousands of people spent the winter of 1897-1898 building boats that were launched when the ice broke in May 1898.
• The little post office has boxes for residents, who get mail 3 times a week.
• The footbridge was built to replace a wagon bridge that was built in 1905 to access the silver mines.
• The White Pass & Yukon railway bridge was the site of the driving of the Golden Spike to celebrate completion of the railway on July 29, 1900.
• The railway depot, still owned by the White Pass, is leased to the Yukon Government as a Visitor Reception Centre.
• Matthew Watson’s Store dates from 1910
• The little locomotive is the Duchess, brought North in 1899 to work on the 2.25 mile long railway between Atlin Lake and Taku Arm.
Km 106 – Nares River. Over 7,000 boats passed along this little river on May 29 and 30, 1898 on the way to the Klondike.
The old Carcross Cemetery, where 4 of the 5 people present when gold was discovered in the Klondike are buried. Tagish Charlie, Skookum Jim Mason, Patsy Henderson and Kate Carmack are all here – only George Carmack isn’t.
Frederick Schwatka conducted a survey of the entire Yukon River for the US Army in 1883, and named hundreds of features
Km 96 – Bove Island. The water flows off to the northeast, against the Yukon River flow.
The limestone mountain is Lime Mountain, and is part of the White Range.
Windy Arm mining boom: for the next few miles, you’ll see quite a few remnants of past silver mining, dating from 1899 to 1980.
Km 89 – Tramway. The tower on the left supported an aerial tramway that went to the top of the ridge on the right and about a mile beyond, a total of 4.5 miles.
Km 87 – Venus Mine. This was the site of a mill for the Venus silver mine during 1969-1970.
Km 85 – Pooley Canyon is a tight slot at the lower end, but about half a mile up, opens up into a magnificent canyon. It was named for pioneer miner John Pooley.
Km 84 – Venus Mill. This mill was built by Colonel Conrad in 1908 in a last-ditch effort to make his mines profitable by reducing shipping costs.
Km 81 – Yukon – BC border. From 1899-1901, this section of the border was surveyed and monuments set up, and a 6-foot-wide clearing cut along the line. Imagine climbing over those peaks 100 years ago.
Km 80.5 – Dail Creek. Note that it is incorrectly signed as Dall Creek – the peak above and to the north is Dail Peak, named after early miner George Dail. Dall sheep and mountain goats are often seen on the slopes of Dail Peak.
Km 78 – Silverdale. The south end of Windy Arm – the flats here was the site of another town-to-be during the Conrad mining rush...
Km 76 – a low pass that separates Windy Arm from Tutshi Lake ("too-shy").
Km 75 – Venus Mine. This was the final incarnation of the Venus silver mine. Built by United Keno Hill Mines, which operated very profitable silver mines in the central Yukon, this mill only operated for 8 days in 1981 before being shut down.
Km 73-74 - The south side of the pass down to Tutshi Lake is one of the best places to see black bear along the highway, particularly in the spring when these slopes produce grass earlier than other places.
Km 55 – Coast Mountains. Near the south end of Tutshi Lake, you will notice a dramatic change in the type of rock that the highway cuts through.
Km 46 – Tutshi River is popular with whitewater kayakers.
Km 44 – Log Cabin. Just before crossing the WP&YR tracks, the old town site of Log Cabin is in the forest to the north. It takes a trained eye to see where the main street, Customs House and North West Mounted Police post were. This is the access point for Chilkoot Trail hikers to get back to the highway. The historic trail is 33 miles long, takes 4-5 days to hike now.
Km 43 – Tormented Valley. Try to imagine getting across the granite cliffs and hundreds of lakes and ponds and you can see where the name came from.
Km 25 – Divide Lake. The falls to the right fill a small lake that drains in two directions. Some of the water flows 16 miles to the Pacific Ocean via the Skagway River, and some flows about 2,300 miles to the Bering Sea via the Yukon River.
Mile 14.9 (Km 24) – US-Canada Border. WHITE PASS FRASER RAILWAY STATION.
Train passengers board train – through passengers on to Skagway.
Mile 14.4 – White Pass Summit, 3,292 feet (1003 m.) This is 427 feet higher than the railway goes – it is in the next pass to the east (also part of the White Pass). The pass was named for Thomas White Canadian Minister of the Interior in 1887. The highway now drops steeply for 11.5 miles.
Mile 11.1 – Captain William Moore Bridge. This 110-foot-long cantilever bridge was built to cross an active earthquake fault – only the far end is anchored securely so that when the ground shifts (as it does several times a year) the bridge isn’t torn apart. This is the only bridge of its type in North America.
Mile 7.7 – Pitchfork Falls. Once a popular photo stop, the falls have been pretty much ruined by the construction of a hydro-electric power generation plant in 1999. The falls are often called "Pipeline Falls" now.
Mile 6.8 – US Customs.
Mile 2.9 – Liarsville. A tent camp here is reported to have been as far as many reporters sent to the Klondike goldfields went.
Mile 2.3 – Dyea Road leads to the site of the town that served the Chilkoot Trail during the gold rush. The Slide Cemetery at Dyea is the final resting place of many of the people killed in a huge avalanche in the pass on Palm Sunday (April 3), 1898.
Mile 1.6 – Skagway River. To the left is a good view of the Klondike Gold Dredge, a historic dredge from the Sixtymile gold district in the Yukon. The WP&YR shops are on the left – everything from building new passenger cars to rebuilding steam engines goes on in there. Behind the shops about .5 mile is the large Skagway Pioneer Cemetery. You don’t have to walk very far in the cemetery to realize how hard the community was hit by an outbreak of spinal meningitis in 1898.
Mile 0 - SKAGWAY: (approx 11:10 AM AK Time)
• Skagway is Tlingit for "home of the North Wind."
• Winter population is 890
• Dry in comparison with the rest of SE Alaska – only 29 inches of precipitation a year, less than half that of Haines, only 15 miles away.
• Located on Lynn Canal, named by Captain Vancouver in 1790 for his home port, King’s Lynn.
• Captain William Moore homesteaded 160 acres here in 1887, when he was 65 years old. A famous riverboat captain on the Fraser River during the Cariboo Gold Rush in BC, he was the first white man to know about the White Pass route through the Coastal Mountains, and he and Skookum Jim from Carcross helped the Canadian government conduct the first survey of the route.
• SS Portland reached Seattle with Klondike gold on July 17, 1897, and 12 days later the first stampeders arrived at Skagway. A town site was surveyed, and Moore forced off his property. The population peaked at 10-15,000 over the winter of 1897-1998.
Return to Whitehorse by highway coach departing 3:30 PM. ( AK Time)
Some Info About Yukon and Whitehorse:
• Population: 30,418 (Dec. 2001) – was 33,519 in 1997
• Area: 483, 450 sq. km (slightly larger than Oregon and Idaho combined, or Germany, Switzerland and Austria combined).WHITEHORSE
• Population: 22,545 (Dec. 2001) – was 24,018 in 1997
• Elevation: 2,305 feet (703 m.)
• Main employment is in government service.
• Weather (from Environment Canada records)
- July is warmest month, with average daily high of 20.3C (70F)
- January is coldest month, with average daily low of –23.2C (-10F)
- Record high was 34.4C (94F) in 1969
- Record low was –52.2C (-51F) in 1947
- Very dry – only 6.3 inches of rain and 57 inches of snow. Only precipitation of any kind on 122 days.
• Maximum daylight (June 21): 19 hours 11 minutes
- Minimum daylight (Dec. 21): 5 hours 40 minutes.
• Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, Mile 1422 in Delta Junction, Alaska
• Built March – November 1942 by 50,000 soldiers and civilian contractors with 11,000 pieces of equipment.
• Cost about $135,000,000 (just over $56,000 per mile)
• The US built the highway and maintained it for 6 months after the war, then turned it over to Canada.
• The construction of the highway resulted in huge social changes in formerly remote Yukon and Alaska communities.