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Alaska & Yukon

To the Gold Rush Country with Target Travel.

To the Gold Rush Country with Target Travel is heading to a remote area of the world that Target Travel has lots of experience with since Roy’s first visit in the seventies. To the Gold Rush Country with Target Travel is an alternative to an antiseptic Alaska cruise, we would like to suggest something far more authentic. This is a pallet of many experiences, with breathtaking scenery, wildlife and the added interest of the goldrush. You will need at least three weeks to do it justice. Many of our clients ona sabbatical add this elmenst to their trip.

To the Gold Rush Country with Target Travel, a rough outline:

Head north along the Pacific Coast up the Inside Passage using the state-run ferry service of the Alaskan Marine Highway. A pleasant two-day, one-night trip with the scenery getting more dramatic, the highlight is the zig-zag through the Wrangle Passage. From June you may wish to consider a side trip, with a hop by small aircraft across the mountains for a couple of days at the spectacular Glacier Bay. A cruise in the bay itself is a must, but the lodge is a very peaceful and relaxing place as a stopover point, add to that a Whale Watching trip to look for the humpbacks perhaps?

Re-join The A.M.H. for the most scenic part of the coast up the Lynd Canal to Skagway. This was the main frontier town for the Klondike Goldrush and still has the pioneer atmosphere with its wooden sidewalks. This was the point where each hopeful prospector had to haul one ton of supplies up the sheer mountain side of the Chilkoot Trail to be inspected by the Mounties at the Canadian Border at the top, before they were let into the Yukon. The historical aspect of this is fascinating, as they had to then fell timber and build boats & rafts, for when the ice melted. To then sail or paddle the treacherous 500-mile trip downstream via the rapids of Whitehorse to the gold fields at Dawson City, was an extraordinary feat of endurance. In Skagway, we have a charming small inn built in the 1800’s, a former brothel.

Out of Skagway now runs one of the world’s most scenic railroads, which winds its way north. From Whitehorse it’s possible to describe a circle by road, using a combination of the Alaskan; Klondike, and Top of the World Highways, with Dawson City at the top of the loop. Most of the route is paved road although part of it near Chicken is a gravel road. It is suitable by car, or for some real adventure by motorhome (RV). Despite the size of the vehicles, there are no traffic or manoeuvering issues in this part of the world, and being self-contained you can stay in almost any place you wish and take advantage of the views. The circular route will encompass The Kluane National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary; jade blue lakes and some of the most dramatic scenery in the world.

Dawson is in effect the capital of the Klondike and is also still a frontier town with wood boardwalks and saloons. Parts of the town are especially photogenic as the thawing permafrost has caused numerous old wooden buildings to lean and topple at dramatic drunken angles. You can travel out of town and up the famous Bonanza Creek to see the gold workings and vast old wooden dredgers.

At this point, you can continue the circle clock-wise and return to Whitehorse to fly south or home via Europe (this pre-covid service is yet to return).

Alternatively, if you have time you can continue into Alaska and end in Anchorage. We at Target Travel strongly suggest you do add this if you can…

It requires a return west from Dawson, past Chicken to Tok, and then crossing the border into Alaska. Through the wilderness with an overnight at Copper Center. Then we suggest a side trip by plane to McCarthy. This small town still has the huge mine that was left intact at its sudden abandonment, there are some nice guided walks here, but the highlight for many was been a trek and overnight camp on a glacier. The next leg has you continuing to Valdez and taking a ferry across the beautiful Prince William Sound, arguably more dramatic than Glacier Bay. From Whittier you drive to Anchorage, then connect home with a flight south.

IMPORTANT- If you want to do this one-way trip, then it’s imperative you book before the previous year’s end, to ensure a one-way rental 4×4 is available, there is only one firm that offers this and they have very limited vehicles. Leave it too late and this one-way trip will not be open to you.

To make it a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we at Target Travel would like to suggest a side trip to see the bears hunting salmon at the Katmai National Park. You fly via King Salmon and change onto a float plane for arrival on the beach at Katmai in the Aleutian Range. This has to be at either end of the season, it could be early summer to see the hungry bears recently out of hibernation hunting the jumping salmon on their way upstream to spawn. Or – at the end of the summer, when the dying fish are floating back down the river and the bears are filling themselves up ready for hibernation. The bright red bodies filling the water make this a more photogenic time. We have done this side trip and can strongly recommend this as a very memorable experience.

IMPORTANT – due to the very short season in Alaska and The Yukon, June to August, it’s imperative this trip be booked 12-6 months ahead, as accommodation is very limited and often block-booked by the cruise ship companies for their escorted tours.

We would like to stress that this is a rough framework for heading to the Gold Rush Country with Target Travel, it can be expanded or contracted into the best fit for you. We are very enthusiastic about Alaska and The Yukon, please call us at Target Travel to discuss.

A great book- If you wish to learn more about the Gold Rush, then we would like to strongly recommend you read the following book. Black Sand and Gold, by Ella Lung Marinsen, published by Binford & Mort
ISBN 10: 0832301892 / 0-8323-0189-2, ISBN 13: 9780832301896

Glacier Bay National Park


White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

Kluane National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Dawson City

Travel Yukon

The floating King Pacific Lodge