North Klondike Highway Travel Guide

  • By Kendell Tricker
  • 31 May, 2016

Canada's North Klondike Highway winds through the southeastern part of Yukon, cutting through massive boreal forests and running along the clear mountain lakes and rivers of the area, such as Lake Laberge and the famous Yukon River. Hikers, road trippers, and sportsmen frequent the highway to travel through the campgrounds and pristine wilderness along its path.

Splitting from the Alaska Highway at Km 1436, the North Klondike Highway gives its travelers access to frequent campgrounds, wildlife viewing areas and hiking trails, and an endless array of historic sites and landscapes for those just driving through. Whether you're looking for a day trip or a longer vacation full of back-packing and sight-seeing, the North Klondike Highway has a wide range of landscapes, walkways, and sights to see.

History of the North Klondike Highway

The 1896 Klondike Gold Rush brought ambitious miners from all around the world into the northern wilderness of the Yukon, shaping the land in a brief stampede of population surges and boom towns that formed the highways and towns still in the Klondike today. Many prospectors, rather than travel through the endless boreal forests of Canada, traveled over sea to Alaska's coastal town Skagway and then took the trail south over mountains and along river networks to the Klondike. Canada's Klondike Highway, set down in the 1950's, parallels that path and changed the unforgiving trails into a highway system used for tourists and commercial traffic.

The North Klondike Highway was almost impassable until the 1980's, originally made with gravel and hard on travelers and vehicles. Now the highway has been fully rebuilt and rerouted to make a scenic route that touches both the natural landscapes of the Klondike's forests and ranges, and the towns and historic sites based in the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush.

Road Conditions

The North Klondike Highway is paved which makes for an enjoyable and relaxing drive. Like any highway occasionally there are areas that are under construction. You can find out he latest road conditions by visiting the following address:

Something For Everyone

The North Klondike Highway is rich with history about the Klondike Gold Rush and is filled with enough hiking trails, historical sites, campgrounds, mountain landscapes and wildlife viewing opportunities to keep any nature lover, adventurer or history enthusiast busy year-round.

Use the following travel guide to help plan your visit to the Klondike region. 

Gunnar Nilsson Mickey Lammers Research Forest (Km 197)

Just after you cross the Takhini River Bridge going northbound, you will enter the Gunnar Nilsson Mickey Lammers Research Forest. Good for either a scenic drive as the North Klondike Highway turns away from the Yukon River or as a stopping point, the forest has an outreach centre on the edge of the highway so visitors can learn more about the adaptation, ecosystem, and acid rain studies underway. If you do choose to spend some time at Gunnar Nilsson Mickey Lammers Research Forest, there are several trails of different lengths and difficulties preserved throughout the forest and it features ten geocaching sites.

Fox Lake Campground (Km 238)

Starting around Km 238, the North Klondike Highway winds around Fox Lake for several kilometers. This lake is framed between a large boreal forests and mountains that bring backpackers, skiiers, and photographers to the area, and has one of the many government campgrounds that dot the Yukon. 

Fox Lake Campground is right against the North Klondike Highway, which gives travelers a great rest stop between Lake Laberge (frequented by both boaters in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter) and Conglomerate Mountain.

Conglomerate Mountain (Km 298)

At 3,361 feet high, Conglomerate Mountain was created by volcanic mud flows over 185 million years ago. It’s a great place to stop to stretch your legs or take a short walk. The rest area has interpretive signs and a short walking trail.

Montague Roadhouse (Km 322)

The Montague Roadhouse was used by people travelling the Overland Trail in the very early 1900s.

The remaining shell of the Montague Roadhouse has been stabilized but unfortunately the roof caved in many years ago. There are historic photographs and several interpretive signs that give you a glimpse into what it was like to travel the Overland Trail.

Carmacks (Km 356)

The Yukon River will be a frequent sight for drivers on the North Klondike Highway, but the best place to see the river is to walk along it at Carmacks, Yukon. Carmacks was originally founded as a trading post and coal mine, and still has coal, copper, and gold mines around it.

The small town has numerous paths along the river, floating benches and walkways, and its Riverfront Boardwalk Trail. The area around Carmacks is dotted with accessible campgrounds, mountains, and sixteen heritage sites (including the 1915 Telegraph Station) to give travelers a wide range of activities and memories. It is also home to the nearby Tantalus Mine, a overgrown and closed coal mine. Some parts of the above-ground mine are still in place, making the area near the mine an exciting site to walk around and carefully explore.

If you're traveling along the North Klondike road during the winter, you'll get a front row seat to part of the Yukon Quest sled dog race in February. Carmacks is a check-point for that long-distance race, as well as for the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a foot/ski/bike race.

Five Finger Rapids (Km 380)

Recreation Site. For the more adventurous you can take a close look at the rapids by taking the 219 stairs down to a 1-km trail to another viewing deck right above the river.Make sure you stop and take in the view from the deck at the Five Finger Rapids.

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