The South Klondike Highway is not only the most scenic route to the Yukon and Interior Alaska, it also is a vital commercial link. You will be driving this highway with large trucks hauling various commodities, and large buses carrying other tourists. Also watch for bicycle tours and sightseers. Drive safely and enjoy the ride.
Skagway is 110 miles from downtown Whitehorse. The South Klondike Highway junction is 12 miles south of Whitehorse. Travellers then cross another 46-miles of Yukon, 37 miles of British Columbia and 15 miles of Alaska. The descent from the 3,292 ft. White Pass highway summit to Skagway’s sea level is accomplished over a distance of 14 miles. The route is very scenic and wildlife is commonly seen along the many lakes and waterways. The White Pass & Yukon Route offers rail tours on its historical narrow gauge railroad through the White Pass if you prefer to relax and enjoy the same sights experienced by gold rush stampeders.
More information and maps
Advisory: Use extreme caution when driving the narrow Dyea Road. Observe the speed limit, and pull off in turnouts to allow oncoming traffic to pass.
Turnout allows view of railroad and the remains of the Brackett Wagon Road on the east side of the canyon.
U.S. Customs & Immigration Border Station
Open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Alaska time). All persons entering the U.S. from Canada must report here. Passports required.
Bridal Veil Falls
Capt. Moore Bridge.
Just before the border, highway tops out at 3,290 feet above sea level. Displays on International Borderlands.
“Welcome To Alaska” Sign & Klondike Gold Rush Monument
International Border Falls, B.C.
Fraser, B.C. & Canada Customs
Open 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Alaska time). All persons entering Canada from the U.S. must stop and report. Highway follows railroad. Old water tower is last one standing on the railroad. Turnout just past Customs features display on the Yukon and B.C. View of Bernard Lake.
Tutshi River & Falls • Yukon Suspension Bridge
Beginning of a beautiful stretch of highway that runs along the west side of the lake (pronounced “Too Shy”) for about 10 miles.
Tutshi Picnic Area
Road rises to high point between Lakes Tutshi and Tagish and passes site of a 1980s stamp mill for the Venus mines that never operated.
Windy Arm, Tagish Lake
B.C.-Yukon Border Pullout
Road to the left leads to Carcross, which has a population of about 250 residents. Formerly known as Caribou Crossing for the caribou that forded the narrows, the town grew and thrived during the gold rush and was the site of the driving of the golden spike completing the railroad on July 29, 1900. The Carcross Visitor Center is in a new building on the left as you enter the town, and is at the gateway to the new Carcross Commons development that includes the restored Skookum Jim house and various shops and eateries. Other attractions include the old WP&YR Depot, and a display set in the remains of the sternwheeler “Tutshi,” which burned in 1990. The sternwheeler used to ply the lakes between Carcross and Ben-My-Chree, a once-popular resort and garden spot. The tiny locomotive next to the rail depot is the “Duchess,” which ran on a $2 shuttle railroad on land between Tagish and Atlin Lakes, between connecting steamboats. Other historic structures include Matthew Watson’s Store, the old RCMP Barracks, and the Caribou Hotel, which is being restored.
Just past Carcross turnoff: gas station, store, diner, laundromat & RV park. Last services before Skagway or Alaska Highway.
Tagish Road Junction
Turn right to go to Tagish (21 miles), Jake’s Corner (34 miles), and Atlin (95 miles). Straight ahead is Whitehorse (45 miles). Either will connect with the Alaska Highway.
Affectionately known as the “World’s Smallest Desert.” Nice view of Mt. Caribou behind the sand dunes.
Popular Yukon attraction, formerly called Frontierland.
Spirit & Emerald Lakes
Bear Creek/Mount Lorne Trail
Just before crossing the creek, there is a parking area to left for the 5K hiking trail to Mount Lorne. Trailhead is across the highway.
Road leads to remains of Robinson, a town that sprang up around a railroad siding following a nearby gold discovery between 1909 and 1915. Rest rooms. A half mile later is Annie Lake Road, which continues about a mile to Annie Lake Golf Links and another 10 miles to Annie Lake and the Wheaton River.
Popular day use picnic area and swimming hole.
Alaska Highway Junction
Distance to Whitehorse is 12 miles to the left. Gas stations toward town on the highway. Campgrounds to the south and north. Whitehorse, a full-service city of 23,000, is capital of the Yukon. Attractions include the restored Riverboat SS Klondike, Yukon Visitor Center, and McBride Museum downtown. Along the highway are the Beringia Center and Yukon Transportation Museum. Eight miles west of Whitehorse is the junction for the North Klondike Highway 2 to Dawson City and the Klondike gold.
BY VERN V. HIRSCH & JEFF BRADY
The late Vern Hirsch was the project engineer for the Alaska section of the Klondike Highway during its construction from 1976 to 1978. He took editor Brady up the highway soon after it opened that fall and pointed out the sights for this highway log, which has been updated over the years and copied by other publications. Whether you arrive here with help from this log, the Milepost or some other guide, you can thank Vern for moving you along the Klondike well-informed.