Klondike Gold Rush - Southern Lakes Region
On the journey to the Klondike
The Southern Lakes area was home to two of the discoverers of Klondike gold, Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie—both of these gold rush legends are buried in the Carcross cemetery. In Carcross Commons, the Skookum Jim House has exhibits with captivating information on the gold rush era, the challenges the gold seekers faced on the Chilkoot Pass and the journey on toward Dawson City. Co-discoverer Dawson Charlie once owned the Caribou Hotel, a Carcross landmark that today is a designated historic site for its architectural, historical and social history values.
Across the street from the Caribou Hotel, the White Pass & Yukon Route depot welcomes in train and highway travellers. Spend some time in this historic building and browse the interesting exhibits on the “Scenic Railway of the World.” Learn about this remarkable railway’s role in the gold rush, and why it’s now designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark—a distinction it shares with the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam and other astounding structures around the world.
Carcross sits on the shores of beautiful Bennett Lake. On the far end of the lake, hikers on the world famous Chilkoot Trail pass the once-bustling gold rush townsite of Bennett. St. Andrew's Church is striking as it stands in its wilderness setting. Built in 1899, it is the only building from the gold rush era left on the Chilkoot Trail.
Hiking the trail requires planning well ahead of time, but it’s the unique chance to walk in the footsteps of the goldseekers—thankfully, with a lot less to carry. Also known as the “Trail of ‘98”, this extraordinary trek begins in Dyea near Skagway, Alaska. If the Chilkoot Trail isn’t on your agenda, grab your passport and head to Skagway. Whether you go with a Yukon tour operator, or drive the scenic 100 kilometres from Carcross, this trip is definitely worthwhile. Skagway is part of the U.S.’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, and includes six walkable blocks jam-packed with gold rush history.