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Dawson City, Yukon: A Guide To The Town That Time Forgot


by Reine Anderson



Welcome to Dawson City, Yukon – a charming town that seems to be frozen in time. Tucked away in the vast wilderness of Canada’s North, Dawson City is a place where history comes to life and adventure awaits at every turn. With its rich heritage, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant cultural scene, it’s no wonder that Dawson City has become a popular destination for tourists from around the world.


Located at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers, Dawson City was once the epicenter of the Klondike Gold Rush, which attracted thousands of fortune seekers in the late 1800s. Today, the town still retains its gold rush charm, with well-preserved buildings and a nostalgic atmosphere that transports visitors back in time.


Getting to Dawson City is an adventure in itself. You can choose to fly in to Dawson City Airport, or take the scenic route by driving along the iconic Klondike Highway. The journey is filled with breathtaking vistas of snow-capped mountains, winding rivers, and dense forests, making it a memorable experience for nature lovers.


Dawson City experiences a subarctic climate, with long, cold winters and brief, mild summers. If you’re planning to visit, be sure to pack warm clothing and prepare for some chilly temperatures, especially during the winter months.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey to explore the best attractions, activities, and dining options that Dawson City has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience, Dawson City is sure to captivate your heart.


History of Dawson City

The history of Dawson City is deeply intertwined with the Klondike Gold Rush, which started in 1896 when gold was discovered in Bonanza Creek. The news of this gold discovery spread like wildfire, attracting thousands of aspiring miners from all corners of the globe.


Originally inhabited by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people, the area that would become Dawson City was first settled by European fur traders in the 1840s. It served as a trading post and a transportation route for goods traveling between Alaska and the rest of Canada. However, everything changed with the arrival of gold prospectors.


In just two years, the population of Dawson City surged from a mere handful to over 30,000 people, making it the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco. The booming town became a hub of excitement and opportunity, drawing people from diverse backgrounds in search of their fortunes.


Life in Dawson City during the gold rush era was anything but glamorous. Miners endured treacherous journeys to reach the Klondike region, facing harsh weather conditions, dangerous terrain, and the constant fear of running out of supplies. Once they arrived, they faced grueling work in the goldfields, battling freezing temperatures and back-breaking labor.


The gold rush brought not only wealth but also a sense of lawlessness and chaos to Dawson City. Gambling, prostitution, and other vices were rampant, earning the town a reputation as a wild and lawless frontier. Despite the hardships, many people were drawn to the promise of striking it rich, hoping to build a better life for themselves and their families.


While the gold rush eventually declined, leaving many disillusioned and financially ruined, Dawson City managed to preserve its rich heritage. Today, it stands as a living testament to the determination and resilience of those who sought their fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush.


Walking through the streets of Dawson City, you’ll find beautifully restored buildings that reflect the architecture and design of the gold rush era. Many of these buildings have been converted into museums, shops, and restaurants, giving visitors a glimpse into the town’s fascinating past.


Exploring the history of Dawson City is like stepping into a time machine. You can visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site, where you’ll learn about the hardships faced by gold seekers and witness mining demonstrations. The Dawson City Museum is another must-visit attraction, showcasing artifacts and stories from the gold rush era and beyond.


The history of Dawson City is deeply rooted in the gold rush, and its legacy continues to shape the town’s identity. Today, it is not only a historical destination but also a thriving community that embraces its past while looking towards the future.


Getting to Dawson City

While Dawson City may be tucked away in the remote wilderness of Yukon, getting there is easier than you might think. Whether you prefer to fly, drive, or take a scenic journey by river, there are several options to reach this historic town.


If you’re traveling from outside of Yukon, the most common way to reach Dawson City is by flying into Dawson City Airport (YDA). Several airlines offer regular flights from major cities such as Whitehorse, Vancouver, and Calgary. The short flight to Dawson City provides stunning aerial views of the rugged landscape, giving you a taste of the scenic beauty that awaits.


For those seeking a more adventurous and scenic route, driving to Dawson City is a popular choice. The iconic Klondike Highway connects Dawson City to Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. The highway offers awe-inspiring views of mountains, rivers, and forests, making it a journey to remember. Keep in mind that the highway conditions can vary, especially during winter, so be sure to check for any road closures or hazardous conditions before setting off.


If you’re up for a unique and unforgettable experience, consider taking a riverboat tour to Dawson City. The Yukon River, which flows through the heart of Dawson City, was once the primary mode of transportation for gold prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush. Today, you can follow in their footsteps by embarking on a guided riverboat tour from Whitehorse to Dawson City. The journey showcases the untamed beauty of the Yukon River and allows you to immerse yourself in the history and wilderness of the region.


Once you’ve arrived in Dawson City, getting around town is best done by foot or bicycle. The compact size of the town makes it easy to navigate, and you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the historic charm at your own pace. If you prefer, there are also car rental options available for those who want to explore the surrounding areas or venture out on longer trips.


Whether you choose to fly, drive, or take a riverboat tour, the journey to Dawson City is part of the adventure. The anticipation builds as you make your way through the breathtaking landscapes, eager to immerse yourself in the history and charm that await in this enchanting town.


Climate and Weather

Dawson City experiences a subarctic climate, characterized by long, cold winters and brief, mild summers. The town’s location in the northern part of Canada means that it is subject to extreme temperature variations throughout the year.


Winter in Dawson City lasts from November to March, and temperatures can plummet well below freezing. Average daytime temperatures range from -10°C to -20°C (14°F to -4°F), but it’s not uncommon for temperatures to drop even lower during the coldest months. The town is known for its long, dark nights during the winter season, with only a few hours of daylight each day. However, the pristine beauty of the snow-covered landscape and the magical Northern Lights dancing across the sky make it a unique and mesmerizing winter destination.


Spring arrives slowly in Dawson City, generally starting in April and continuing through May. Temperatures start to warm up, but it can still be quite chilly, with average daytime temperatures ranging from -5°C to 5°C (23°F to 41°F). Spring is also the season of melting snow, which can cause occasional flooding in low-lying areas.


Summer in Dawson City is short but refreshing. It typically begins in late June and lasts until August. During this time, temperatures can range from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it the most pleasant time to visit. The long summer days bring extended daylight hours, giving you ample time to explore the town and enjoy outdoor activities under the midnight sun.


Fall in Dawson City begins in September and lasts through October. The temperatures start to drop, and you can expect crisp, cool days with average temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F). It’s a beautiful time to visit if you want to experience the breathtaking autumn colors that blanket the surrounding forests.


When visiting Dawson City, it’s important to pack clothing suitable for the climate. In winter, be sure to bring warm winter coats, hats, gloves, and insulated boots to protect against the cold. Layering your clothing is key, as temperatures can vary throughout the day. In the summer, pack lightweight and breathable clothing, along with sunscreen and insect repellent for protection against the sun and bugs.


Whether you embrace the winter wonderland or bask in the warmth of summer, experiencing the unique climate and weather of Dawson City adds to the overall adventure and charm of this historic town.


Attractions in Dawson City

Dawson City is a treasure trove of attractions, offering a diverse range of experiences that cater to history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and culture seekers. From museums and historic sites to unique experiences and natural wonders, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town.


One of the must-visit attractions in Dawson City is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site. Step back in time as you explore the restored buildings and exhibits that depict the struggles and triumphs of the gold rush era. Pan for gold along the Bonanza Creek, where the gold rush began, and gain a deeper understanding of the hardships endured by the prospectors in their quest for fortune.


No visit to Dawson City is complete without a visit to Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall. This lively casino transports you back to the days of the gold rush, with can-can dancers, blackjack tables, and a raucous atmosphere. Test your luck, enjoy a live performance, and immerse yourself in the vibrant entertainment that this iconic establishment offers.


For a deeper dive into the history and culture of the region, head to the Dawson City Museum. Housed in a beautifully restored building, the museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that tell the story of Dawson City’s past. From indigenous history to the gold rush era and beyond, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the town’s rich heritage.


Another fascinating attraction is the SS Keno National Historic Site. This preserved riverboat provides a glimpse into the transportation methods of the gold rush era. Take a guided tour aboard the ship and explore the historic quarters, engine room, and cargo holds, learning about the role that riverboats played in the development of Dawson City.


Literature enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Robert Service Cabin, the former residence of the renowned poet and writer. The cabin has been preserved as a museum and offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and work of Robert Service, who was inspired by the rugged beauty and unique character of the Yukon.


For a truly unique and daring experience, stop by the Downtown Hotel and try the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail. This peculiar tradition involves drinking a cocktail garnished with a preserved human toe. While it may sound bizarre, this unusual ritual has become a legendary part of Dawson City’s culture and attracts adventurers from around the world.


These are just a few highlights of the many attractions that await you in Dawson City. Whether you’re exploring the history of the gold rush, immersing yourself in the cultural scene, or seeking unique experiences, you’ll find a wealth of options to keep you entertained and intrigued in this captivating town.


Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site

The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site is an essential stop for history enthusiasts and those seeking to immerse themselves in the fascinating era of the gold rush. Located in Dawson City, this historic site provides a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of the men and women who flocked to the Klondike region in search of fortune.


The site offers a variety of exhibits and experiences that bring the gold rush era to life. Begin your visit by exploring the interpretive center, where you can learn about the history of the gold rush through informative displays, artifacts, and multimedia presentations. Discover the stories of the prospectors who made the arduous journey to the Klondike, facing harsh conditions and treacherous terrain.


One of the highlights of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site is the opportunity to try your hand at gold panning. Experienced guides provide instruction on the traditional techniques used by miners during the gold rush. Grab a pan, dip it into the water, and swirl it around to separate the gold from the gravel. It’s a chance to connect with the past and experience firsthand the excitement and anticipation that gripped the gold seekers of the time.


Take a stroll along the Bonanza Creek, where the first gold discovery was made. Follow in the footsteps of the early prospectors, imagining the bustling activity that once filled the creek. The site features well-preserved historic buildings, including cabins and a blacksmith shop, which provide a glimpse into the daily lives of those who called this rugged land home during the gold rush.


For a deeper understanding of the mining operations of the time, take a guided tour of the Dredge No. 4. This massive floating factory played a crucial role in the gold mining industry, extracting gold from the creek beds. Step aboard and explore the dredge, marveling at the engineering ingenuity of the era and learning about the backbreaking work that went into extracting the precious metal.


Visiting the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site is a chance to step back in time and gain a profound appreciation for the determination and resilience of those who sought their fortune in the Klondike. The site offers a captivating blend of history, education, and hands-on experiences that make the gold rush era come alive. Whether you’re an avid history buff or simply intrigued by the allure of the gold rush, this historic site is a must-visit destination in Dawson City.


Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall

Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall is one of Dawson City’s most iconic and entertaining attractions. Step into this lively casino, and you’ll be transported back to the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, immersing yourself in the vivacious spirit and vibrant atmosphere of the era.


Named after a legendary dancer, Diamond Tooth Gerties offers an authentic glimpse into the wild and lively entertainment scene of the gold rush days. The hall features a variety of games of chance, including blackjack, poker, roulette, and slot machines, providing plenty of opportunities for a thrilling night out. Test your luck at the tables, and who knows? You might strike it rich, just like the prospectors of the past.


One of the highlights of the Diamond Tooth Gerties experience is the can-can show. Watch as talented can-can dancers take to the stage, performing energetic and captivating routines. The lively music, colorful costumes, and high-kicking dancers bring an authentic touch of the gold rush entertainment that once filled the streets of Dawson City.


Throughout the evening, Diamond Tooth Gerties hosts a variety of live entertainment, including live music performances and comedy acts. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show as you soak up the lively atmosphere and revel in the excitement of the gold rush ambiance.


While you’re at Diamond Tooth Gerties, be sure to indulge in the tasty treats and refreshing beverages available at the bar. Savor a delicious cocktail or sample some local beers, enjoying the lively atmosphere and mingling with fellow visitors. It’s the perfect way to enhance your experience and add an extra touch of enjoyment to your evening.


Diamond Tooth Gerties is more than just a casino and entertainment venue – it’s a place where history comes alive. The hall’s decor, reminiscent of the gold rush era, adds to the nostalgic charm, immersing you in the allure and excitement of the past. It’s a unique and immersive experience that offers a glimpse into the roaring entertainment scene that captivated gold rush adventurers.


No trip to Dawson City is complete without a visit to Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall. Whether you’re a fan of casino games, lively entertainment, or simply want to experience the authentic spirit of the gold rush, you’ll find it all at this iconic venue. Embrace the vibrant energy, raise a glass to the past, and enjoy an unforgettable night of fun and excitement.


Dawson City Museum

The Dawson City Museum is a fascinating attraction that offers a deep dive into the rich history and heritage of Dawson City and the surrounding Yukon region. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building, this museum is a treasure trove of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that bring the stories of the past to life.


As you step inside the museum, you’ll be greeted with a comprehensive overview of Dawson City’s history, starting from the First Nations settlements that existed long before the gold rush. Explore the Indigenous history and culture of the region, gaining a deeper understanding of the people who have called this land home for centuries.


The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including the Klondike Gold Rush, pioneer life, transportation, and natural history. Learn about the challenges and triumphs of the gold rush era through captivating displays that showcase the lives of the prospectors who flocked to the region in search of fortune.


One of the highlights of the Dawson City Museum is the extensive collection of artifacts that provide a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who lived in the area during the gold rush. From personal belongings and tools to clothing and household items, these artifacts offer an intimate look at the struggles, successes, and ordinary moments of those who shaped the town’s history.


Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the museum’s vast collection of historic photographs, which document the evolution of Dawson City from its early days to the present. These images transport you back in time, showcasing the vibrant streets, bustling businesses, and the spirit of the gold rush era.


The museum also hosts temporary exhibits that delve into specific aspects of the area’s history and culture, ensuring that there is always something new and engaging to discover. These exhibits provide a deeper exploration of topics such as Indigenous art, contemporary issues, and the impact of the gold rush on the environment and society.


Visiting the Dawson City Museum is like embarking on a journey through time. You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the region’s past, its people, and the forces that shaped its development. The museum’s knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer questions and provide insight, enriching your experience and enhancing your appreciation for the rich history of Dawson City and the Yukon.


Whether you’re a curious history enthusiast or simply intrigued by the unique stories of the past, the Dawson City Museum is a must-visit destination during your time in Dawson City. Immerse yourself in the town’s fascinating history, broaden your knowledge, and gain a deeper appreciation for the people and events that have shaped this remarkable community.


SS Keno National Historic Site

The SS Keno National Historic Site is a fascinating attraction in Dawson City that offers a glimpse into the rich history of river transportation during the Klondike Gold Rush. This well-preserved riverboat provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the engineering marvels and challenges of navigating the Yukon River during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


The SS Keno is a paddlewheel steamboat that was once part of a fleet that plied the Yukon River, carrying supplies, passengers, and, most importantly, gold. The boat’s construction was completed in 1922, and it played a vital role in transporting goods up and down the river, connecting remote communities and mining operations.


Today, the SS Keno has been meticulously restored and converted into a captivating museum. Step aboard and wander through the various sections of the boat, including the engine room, cargo holds, and the beautifully preserved captain’s quarters. The museum showcases the intricate workings of the steam engine, providing insights into the challenges faced by the crew members as they powered this mighty vessel through treacherous waters.


During your visit, knowledgeable guides are on hand to provide fascinating stories and details about the boat’s history, the river transportation industry, and the people who relied on these riverboats for their daily lives and livelihoods. Gain a deeper appreciation for the skill and dedication required to navigate the Yukon River during the gold rush era.


Exploring the SS Keno allows you to visualize and understand the crucial role that riverboats played in shaping the development of the region. At this national historic site, you can step into the shoes of those who worked on the river, experience the conditions they faced, and gain a firsthand understanding of the challenges and triumphs of river transportation.


Located on the banks of the Yukon River, the SS Keno offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Take a moment to soak in the natural beauty and tranquility of the river as you reflect on the stories and memories preserved within the walls of this historic vessel.


Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of engineering marvels, or simply curious about the unique transportation methods of the past, the SS Keno National Historic Site is a must-visit attraction in Dawson City. Immerse yourself in the history, appreciate the preservation efforts, and gain a deeper understanding of the important role that riverboats played in the development of the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush.


Robert Service Cabin

The Robert Service Cabin is a historic landmark in Dawson City that pays homage to the renowned poet and writer, Robert W. Service. This small log cabin, nestled in a tranquil setting, offers a glimpse into the life and work of the man often referred to as the “Bard of the Yukon.”


Robert Service, originally from Scotland, arrived in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Inspired by the rugged wilderness and the colorful characters he encountered, Service penned poems and stories that captured the essence of life in the Yukon during those adventurous times.


The Robert Service Cabin, preserved as a museum, provides visitors with an intimate look at the living space where Service resided during his time in Dawson City. Step inside the modest cabin and be transported back to the early 1900s, surrounded by the simple furnishings and personal items that depict life in the remote Yukon wilderness.


As you explore the cabin, take in the collection of artifacts that help bring Service’s life and work to life. Photographs, letters, and other personal items offer insight into his experiences and the impact that the Yukon had on his writing. Delve into his poetry, which often delved into themes of adventure, hardship, and the extraordinary characters that populated the gold rush era.


The grounds around the Robert Service Cabin are beautiful and serene, allowing visitors to truly appreciate the stunning natural surroundings that inspired the poet. Take a leisurely stroll along the pathways, perhaps even finding a quiet spot to sit and reflect on Service’s words amidst the tranquil setting of the Yukon wilderness.


The cabin itself is situated near the downtown area of Dawson City, making it easily accessible for visitors exploring the town’s other attractions. It’s a must-visit destination for literature enthusiasts and anyone seeking a deeper connection to the legacy of the Klondike Gold Rush era.


Whether you’re a fan of Robert Service’s poetry or simply intrigued by the history and culture of the Yukon, a visit to the Robert Service Cabin is a rewarding experience. Immerse yourself in the life and work of this celebrated poet, gain insight into the essence of the gold rush era, and find inspiration in the beauty of the surrounding landscape that captivated Robert Service’s imagination.


Sourtoe Cocktail at the Downtown Hotel

For those seeking a truly unique and daring experience in Dawson City, look no further than the Sourtoe Cocktail at the Downtown Hotel. This peculiar and infamous tradition has become a legendary part of the town’s culture, attracting adventurers from around the world.


The Sourtoe Cocktail is not your average drink. It is a cocktail garnished with a bizarre and unusual ingredient – a preserved human toe. The tradition dates back to the 1970s when Captain Dick Stevenson discovered a severed toe preserved in a jar. As a way to attract customers to the hotel’s bar, he challenged patrons to drink a shot with the toe touching their lips, adding the warning: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe.”


The Downtown Hotel has since continued the tradition, acquiring a collection of several toes, some lost due to accidents or mishaps and others donated by generous individuals. Each Sourtoe Cocktail is carefully prepared with a secret recipe, allowing you to choose the spirit of your preference.


Partaking in the Sourtoe Cocktail is an experience that pushes the boundaries of adventure and thrill-seeking. It’s not for the faint of heart or those with a weak stomach. But for those willing to embrace the bizarre, it’s a story that will undoubtedly be shared and remembered for years to come.


Getting your lips around the toe might seem like a daunting challenge, but thousands have embraced the tradition and become members of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. Upon completion, you’ll receive a certificate, joining a peculiar brotherhood of individuals who have pledged their dedication to this unique ritual.


While partaking in the Sourtoe Cocktail may seem unusual, it is rooted in the eccentric and adventurous spirit that embodies Dawson City. It has become an iconic symbol of the town’s history and allure, offering visitors a chance to connect with the wild and lawless reputation that Dawson City once held during the gold rush era.


If you’re up for a truly unforgettable experience, head to the legendary Downtown Hotel and raise a glass to the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail. With each sip, you’ll join the ranks of those brave enough to embrace the strange and unusual traditions that make Dawson City an extraordinary destination.


Activities in Dawson City

Dawson City offers a multitude of activities that cater to a wide range of interests and preferences. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a taste of the town’s rich history, there’s no shortage of things to do in this charming northern community.


Gold panning is a quintessential activity in Dawson City, allowing visitors to try their luck at finding gold, just as the early prospectors did during the Klondike Gold Rush. Join a guided tour or head out on your own to the nearby creeks and rivers where gold can still be found. With a pan in hand, sift through the gravel and experience the excitement of uncovering a glimmering speck of gold.


For a unique perspective of the town and its surrounding landscapes, consider taking a riverboat tour along the iconic Yukon River. These guided tours provide a relaxing and scenic way to explore the area, offering stunning views of the rugged wilderness and a chance to learn about the river’s role during the gold rush era.


Hiking enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to explore the natural beauty surrounding Dawson City. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails to discover hidden gems like the Midnight Dome, a popular spot offering panoramic views of the town and the Yukon River Valley. Explore the beautiful landscapes that inspired artists and writers throughout history.


No visit to Dawson City is complete without experiencing a can-can show at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall. This lively entertainment venue showcases energetic dance routines, live music, and a vibrant atmosphere that transports you back to the gold rush era. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening of entertainment and revelry.


Dawson City is also known for its vibrant festival scene. If you happen to visit during the summer months, you may have the chance to witness or participate in events such as the Dawson City Music Festival, the Thaw di Gras Spring Carnival, or the Discovery Days Festival. These festivals celebrate the town’s rich cultural heritage and provide a lively and festive atmosphere.


For those seeking a dose of history and culture, a visit to the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC) is a must. Explore the galleries, attend art exhibits, and engage in workshops that showcase the talents of local and visiting artists. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene of Dawson City.


These are just a few of the many activities available in Dawson City. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors, attending festivals, or immersing yourself in the town’s history and cultural offerings, there’s no shortage of ways to make the most of your time in this captivating northern destination.


Gold Panning

Gold panning is an exhilarating activity that allows visitors to step back in time and experience the excitement of the Klondike Gold Rush firsthand. In Dawson City, surrounded by the same creeks and rivers that captivated fortune seekers over a century ago, you have the opportunity to try your hand at this age-old method of extracting gold from the earth.


Guided tours are readily available throughout the area, providing an immersive and educational experience. Knowledgeable guides offer demonstrations and provide all the necessary equipment, including pans and buckets, to get you started. They’ll share stories of the gold rush era, providing insight into the challenges faced by the prospectors and the techniques they employed in their search for precious metal.


The process of gold panning is simple yet captivating. You start by filling your pan with gravel and sediment from the riverbed, and then gently swirl the pan in the water, allowing the currents to wash away the lighter material. With patience and a little practice, you’ll develop the skills to identify the glimmers of gold among the remaining particles, often referred to as “paydirt.”


As you sift through the gravel, the anticipation builds. Each swirl of the pan brings the possibility of finding a glittering speck of gold. Finding your first flake or nugget offers a rush of excitement and a connection to the prospectors who once flocked to the area in search of untold riches.


Gold panning is not only a recreational activity but also a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the wilderness. As you stand in the cool waters of the creeks, surrounded by towering trees and breathtaking landscapes, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the untamed beauty of the Yukon.


Whether you’re a seasoned prospector or a first-time gold panner, the experience of seeking gold in the rivers near Dawson City is unforgettable. It offers a glimpse into a bygone era and a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those who ventured into the Klondike in search of dreams and fortune. Plus, the thrill of finding even a tiny fleck of gold will leave you with a lasting memory of your time in this historic region.


So, roll up your sleeves, grab a pan, and venture into the creeks and rivers surrounding Dawson City. Whether you strike it rich or not, the experience of gold panning is a true Yukon adventure that will leave you with stories to share and a newfound appreciation for the intrepid prospectors of the past.


Riverboat Tours

Embarking on a riverboat tour in Dawson City is a captivating way to explore the pristine wilderness and immerse yourself in the rich history of the region. The Yukon River, which played a crucial role during the Klondike Gold Rush, beckons visitors to experience the beauty and serenity of its waters while appreciating the historical significance of river transportation.


Guided riverboat tours offer a unique perspective on the landscape and give you the opportunity to learn about the river’s role in shaping the history and culture of Dawson City. As you meander along the Yukon River, your knowledgeable guide will share captivating stories and anecdotes about the gold rush era, the people who traveled these waters, and the challenges they faced.


These tours often take you to places that are only accessible by boat, revealing hidden gems and untouched landscapes. Cruise past towering cliffs, dense forests, and picturesque riverbanks, providing ample opportunity to spot wildlife and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.


One of the highlights of riverboat tours is the chance to witness remnants of the past, such as abandoned mining equipment, riverside settlements, and historic points of interest. Imagine the bustle and activity that once lined the shores, as you envision the riverboats of the past carrying miners, goods, and gold downriver.


During the tour, you may also have the opportunity to disembark and explore the surrounding areas on foot. Guided hikes allow you to delve deeper into the wilderness, discovering hidden trails and experiencing the untouched beauty of the Yukon up close.


As you cruise along the river, take in the tranquility and vastness of the landscape. The uninterrupted beauty of the rugged mountains, pristine waters, and endless skies evokes a sense of awe and appreciation for the untouched wilderness that still exists in this remote corner of the world.


Whether you choose a short riverboat excursion or a full-day tour, the experience of gliding down the Yukon River is an unforgettable adventure. Immerse yourself in the history, culture, and natural wonders that define Dawson City and the Yukon, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


So hop aboard a riverboat, relax as you journey through scenic landscapes, and let the gentle currents carry you into the heart of the Yukon’s past. Riverboat tours offer an enchanting and immersive experience that allows you to truly appreciate the beauty, history, and spirit of this remarkable region.


Hiking and Outdoor Adventures

Dawson City is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of hiking and outdoor adventure opportunities. With its pristine wilderness, breathtaking landscapes, and vast network of trails, this region beckons adventurers to explore its untamed beauty.


Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a leisurely walker, there are plenty of trails to suit every skill level. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey of exploration and discovery as you immerse yourself in the natural wonders that surround Dawson City.


For panoramic views of the town and the stunning Yukon River Valley, head to the top of the Midnight Dome. This popular hiking spot offers a rewarding trek up a steep but well-maintained trail. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.


For a longer adventure, set out on the Dome Road Trail, a multi-day hiking route that takes you through alpine meadows, dense forests, and pristine valleys. Marvel at the diversity of flora and fauna, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the wilderness as you camp under the starlit skies.


If you’re seeking a more leisurely experience, the Five Finger Rapids Trail is a picturesque option. This easy, well-marked trail winds along the banks of the Yukon River and offers spectacular views of the rapids and surrounding landscapes. Keep an eye out for wildlife and learn about the historical significance of this important section of the river.


For those with a taste for adventure, several river rafting and canoeing options are available. Paddle along the Yukon River, navigating its gentle currents and immersing yourself in the serenity of the waterways. Rafting and canoeing tours provide an opportunity to spot wildlife, explore secluded areas, and connect with the natural environment on a more intimate level.


For a unique outdoor experience, consider embarking on a multi-day trek along the historic Chilkoot Trail. This challenging trail takes you through rugged terrain and dense forests, retracing the footsteps of the Klondike gold seekers. Along the way, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the arduous journey they took as you cross the border into Alaska.


It’s important to come prepared when venturing into the wilderness surrounding Dawson City. Carry necessary supplies, such as water, snacks, appropriate clothing, and bear safety essentials. Also, be mindful of the weather conditions and potential wildlife encounters.


Whether you’re conquering mountain peaks, strolling along scenic riverbanks, or embarking on a multi-day wilderness trek, the hiking and outdoor adventures in and around Dawson City offer a chance to reconnect with nature, challenge yourself, and create lasting memories. So, lace up your boots, breathe in the fresh air, and set out to explore the untamed splendor of this remarkable region.


Diamond Tooth Gerties Can-Can Show

One of the iconic attractions in Dawson City is the Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall, where you can experience an unforgettable performance of the renowned can-can show. This lively and energetic production takes you back to the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, capturing the spirit of the era and providing a delightful evening of entertainment.


The can-can show at Diamond Tooth Gerties is a showcase of high-kicking dancers, vibrant costumes, and lively music. As the curtains rise, you’ll find yourself transported to a world of exuberance and excitement. The dancers, trained in the traditional can-can style, captivate the audience with their synchronized choreography and infectious energy.


Immerse yourself in the joyous ambiance as the dancers take to the stage, kicking their legs high and demonstrating impressive flexibility and skill. The can-can, known for its high-energy and fast-paced movements, captivated audiences during the gold rush era and continues to dazzle visitors to this day.


The show at Diamond Tooth Gerties features a variety of dance routines, ranging from classic can-can numbers to other toe-tapping and crowd-pleasing performances. You’ll be enthralled by the talented dancers as they showcase their skills and bring the vibrant history of Dawson City to life through their captivating performances.


Throughout the show, live musicians accompany the dancers, infusing the performances with a lively musical backdrop. The combination of the dancers’ energy, elaborate costumes, and the infectious melodies provide an unforgettable experience that will have you tapping your feet and clapping along with the rhythm.


Attending the can-can show at Diamond Tooth Gerties is not just a spectator experience; it’s a chance to become fully immersed in the lively atmosphere. Feel the excitement build as the dancers interact with the audience, inviting participation and creating a sense of camaraderie and celebration. You might even find yourself joining in on the fun!


As you revel in the can-can show, take the opportunity to indulge in the various refreshments available at the bar. Raise a glass to the lively entertainment, and savor the vibrant atmosphere that permeates Diamond Tooth Gerties.


Whether you’re a fan of dance, history, or simply in search of a lively and enjoyable evening, the can-can show at Diamond Tooth Gerties is a must-see attraction in Dawson City. It’s an opportunity to experience the vibrant entertainment scene of the gold rush era, immerse yourself in the spirit of the past, and create lasting memories of your time in this extraordinary northern town.


Festivals and Events in Dawson City

Dawson City is a town that knows how to celebrate its rich cultural heritage and embrace the spirit of the North. Throughout the year, this vibrant community plays host to a variety of festivals and events that showcase its history, art, music, and unique character. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, these festivities offer the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Dawson City.


One of the most renowned events on the calendar is the Dawson City Music Festival, which takes place annually in July. Musicians from across Canada and around the world gather to perform in this multi-day celebration of music. The festival showcases a diverse range of genres, from folk and bluegrass to rock and jazz, providing something for every music lover to enjoy.


Another lively event is the Thaw di Gras Spring Carnival, held in March. As winter gives way to spring, locals and visitors come together to celebrate the changing of the season with a host of activities and events. From snow carving competitions and ice slide races to live music and a colorful costume ball, this carnival is a fun-filled way to bid farewell to winter and welcome the arrival of spring.


The Discovery Days Festival, taking place over the August long weekend, commemorates the discovery of gold in Bonanza Creek. This family-friendly event features a range of activities, including a parade, live entertainment, art exhibits, gold panning competitions, and historical reenactments. It’s a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the vibrant history that shaped Dawson City.


Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, a multidisciplinary arts festival that showcases the vibrant creative community of Dawson City. The festival features visual art exhibits, live performances, workshops, and interactive installations. It provides a platform for local and visiting artists to showcase their talents and engage with the community.


The vibrant cultural scene of Dawson City is also celebrated during the annual Great Klondike International Outhouse Race. This quirky and lighthearted event sees teams racing outhouses on wheels through the streets of Dawson City. It’s a hilarious spectacle that brings together locals and visitors alike for an afternoon of laughter and friendly competition.


These are just a few examples of the many festivals and events that take place in Dawson City throughout the year. From music and arts to historical celebrations and unique competitions, these gatherings reflect the town’s vibrant spirit and offer an opportunity to connect with the community, embrace its heritage, and create lasting memories.


Whether you’re a music enthusiast, an art lover, or simply looking for a good time, the festivals and events in Dawson City provide a chance to celebrate the rich cultural tapestry of this captivating northern town.


Where to Eat in Dawson City

Dawson City may be a small town, but it boasts a vibrant culinary scene that reflects its rich history and diverse cultural influences. From hearty comfort food to international delicacies, there are plenty of dining options to satisfy every palate. Here are some top recommendations for where to eat in Dawson City:


The Klondike Rib & Salmon is a popular spot, known for its mouthwatering smoked ribs and fresh salmon dishes. Indulge in tender, flavorful ribs that have been slow-cooked to perfection, or savor the delicate flavors of Yukon salmon prepared in various creative ways. With its cozy atmosphere and generous portions, this restaurant is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


The Drunken Goat Taverna offers a taste of the Mediterranean right in the heart of Dawson City. This Greek-inspired eatery serves up flavorsome dishes such as souvlaki, moussaka, and spanakopita. Combined with warm hospitality and a vibrant atmosphere, dining at the Drunken Goat transports you to the shores of the Mediterranean.


If you’re in the mood for a classic pub experience, head to the Sourdough Saloon. This lively establishment serves up a variety of pub-style fare, including juicy burgers, crispy fish and chips, and hearty sandwiches. Pair your meal with a locally brewed beer, and soak in the friendly atmosphere that permeates this beloved local watering hole.


For a taste of the Far East, visit Bonanza Dining Room & Grill, which offers a fusion of Asian cuisine. Enjoy the flavors of sushi, Thai curries, and stir-fried dishes, expertly prepared with fresh ingredients. The cozy and inviting atmosphere makes this restaurant a great spot for a relaxed and flavorful meal.


For a unique culinary experience, indulge in the famous sourdough pancakes at the Downtown Hotel’s restaurant. These fluffy pancakes, made with the hotel’s renowned sourdough starter, are a popular breakfast choice among locals and visitors. Drizzle them with maple syrup, add a side of crispy bacon, and start your day off on a delicious note.


To satisfy your sweet tooth, visit the Klondike Kates Café and Bakery. Known for its delectable pastries, freshly baked bread, and rich coffees, this charming café is the perfect place to indulge in a sweet treat or enjoy a leisurely brunch. The aroma of freshly baked goods and the cozy atmosphere make it a local favorite.


These are just a few of the many dining options available in Dawson City. Whether you’re craving comfort food, international flavors, or a taste of local specialties, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings in this charming northern town.


As you explore the culinary offerings of Dawson City, be sure to embrace the friendly hospitality and welcoming ambiance that accompanies each dining experience. The town’s rich history and vibrant culture are reflected in its diverse culinary scene, making every meal an opportunity to savor the flavors and immerse yourself in the unique charm of this remarkable destination.


Where to Stay in Dawson City

Dawson City offers a range of accommodations that cater to various budgets and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for every visitor. From historic hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, here are some top recommendations for where to stay in Dawson City:


The Downtown Hotel is an iconic landmark in Dawson City, known for its colorful exterior and lively atmosphere. This historic hotel offers a range of room options, from comfortable standard rooms to spacious suites. The Downtown Hotel is also famous for its quirky tradition of serving the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail, making it a memorable place to stay for those seeking a unique experience.


If you prefer a more quaint and intimate setting, consider one of the charming bed and breakfasts in Dawson City. These establishments offer personalized hospitality and cozy accommodations in historic homes. The Cottages at the Midnight Sun and Bunkhouse and Triple J Hotel are popular choices, providing a serene and homey atmosphere.


For a touch of luxury, the Aurora Inn is a top-notch boutique hotel that offers stylish and comfortable rooms. Located in a beautifully restored heritage building, this inn combines modern amenities with historic charm. Enjoy the warm and inviting ambiance, exceptional service, and convenient location near downtown Dawson City.


If you’re traveling with a group or seeking a more independent option, consider renting a cabin or cottage. The Klondike Kate’s Cabins and Dawson City Wilderness Cabin Rentals offer cozy cabins with rustic charm. These private retreats allow you to enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of the surrounding area while providing all the comforts of home.


For those who prefer the convenience of camping, the Dawson City RV Park and the Gold Rush Campground are excellent choices. These well-equipped campgrounds offer spacious sites, modern facilities, and a friendly atmosphere. Set up your tent or park your RV, and enjoy the outdoor experience while still being close to all the attractions and amenities.


Regardless of where you choose to stay in Dawson City, most accommodations are located within close proximity to the town’s main attractions, restaurants, and shops. This makes it convenient to explore the town on foot and immerse yourself in the unique charm of this historic destination.


When planning your stay, it’s important to book in advance, particularly during the busy summer months when Dawson City sees an influx of visitors. Whether you’re seeking a cozy bed and breakfast, a historic hotel, or a wilderness cabin, you’ll find a range of options that cater to your needs and provide a comfortable base for your Dawson City adventure.


Wherever you choose to stay, the warm hospitality of Dawson City will make you feel right at home. Immerse yourself in the rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture of this remarkable town, and create lasting memories during your stay in Dawson City.


Practical Tips for Visiting Dawson City

Visiting Dawson City offers a unique and memorable experience, but it’s essential to come prepared and be aware of a few practical tips to make the most of your trip. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when planning a visit to Dawson City:

  • Weather and Clothing: Dawson City experiences a subarctic climate, so pack accordingly with warm clothing, especially if you’re visiting during the winter months. Layering your clothing is key to adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day.
  • Transportation: Dawson City is a walkable town, and many of its attractions are within walking distance. However, it’s a good idea to have a vehicle for exploring the surrounding areas and visiting attractions that are further away, such as the Bonanza Creek and Midnight Dome.
  • Services: While the town offers essential services, it’s a good idea to plan ahead by withdrawing cash before arriving, as ATMs may have limited availability. Also, make sure to stock up on supplies and groceries, especially if you’re planning outdoor adventures or staying in a cabin or campground.
  • Wildlife and Safety: Dawson City is located in a wilderness area, so be aware of potential wildlife encounters. It’s advisable to carry bear spray when hiking or venturing into remote areas. Familiarize yourself with bear safety guidelines and always be respectful of the wildlife and their habitat.
  • Seasonal Considerations: Summer is the peak tourist season in Dawson City, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices. However, this is also the time when many festivals and events take place, adding to the festive atmosphere. If you visit during the winter, be aware of shorter daylight hours and extreme cold temperatures.
  • Reservations: Dawson City sees an influx of visitors, especially during the summer months. It’s recommended to make reservations for accommodations, tours, and popular restaurants well in advance to secure your desired dates and ensure availability.
  • Respect the Community and Culture: Dawson City is a place of rich heritage and cultural significance. Respect the local customs, traditions, and historic sites. Learn about the local First Nations communities and their contributions to the region.

By keeping these practical tips in mind, you can enhance your visit to Dawson City and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Embrace the unique spirit, immerse yourself in history, and create lasting memories in this remarkable northern town.



Dawson City, Yukon is a captivating destination that offers a journey back in time, immersing visitors in the rich history, natural beauty, and unique charm of the North. From its gold rush heritage to its vibrant cultural scene, there is something for everyone in this charming town.


Exploring the streets of Dawson City feels like stepping into a living museum. The well-preserved buildings, museums, and historic sites transport visitors back to the exciting days of the Klondike Gold Rush. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site and the Dawson City Museum provide captivating insights into this transformative era, while the SS Keno offers a glimpse into the river transportation methods of the time.


But Dawson City is not just about history. It offers a wealth of outdoor adventures, from gold panning along scenic creeks to hiking through breathtaking landscapes. Riverboat tours along the Yukon River provide a unique perspective on the region’s history and natural beauty, while the can-can show at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall entertains with its lively performances.


Throughout the year, Dawson City hosts a variety of festivals and events that celebrate its heritage, arts, and culture. From the Dawson City Music Festival to the Thaw di Gras Spring Carnival, these gatherings showcase the lively spirit of the town and provide an opportunity for visitors to connect with the local community.


Practical tips, such as being prepared for the weather, making reservations in advance, and respecting the local culture, can enhance your visit to Dawson City and ensure a smooth and memorable experience.


With its unparalleled blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty, Dawson City beckons travelers seeking a unique and immersive Northern experience. So, pack your sense of adventure, embrace the captivating heritage, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this enchanting town that time forgot.