Dawson City, Yukon, Canada - August 27, 2020: Colorful Historic Buidings in a small touristic town during a cloudy summer day.

Northern Exposure: Driving from Whitehorse to Dawson City

By Tara Franco

Above the 60th parallel north, from May through July, day turns into night and back into day with an almost imperceptible shift. The setting sun barely skims the horizon before rising into a new dawn. Then and there, the days seem endless, as do the opportunities for adventure.

To make the most of it, rent an RV in Whitehorse and set out on the North Klondike Highway, which stretches 530 kilometres (329 miles) to Dawson City. It’s the same route followed by 19th-Century prospectors who came looking for gold, and there are still many treasures to be found along the way.

WHITEHORSE Stock up on supplies in Yukon’s capital city before hitting the highway. Stop at Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs, just a half-hour drive from the city, to indulge in some pre-trip R&R at the recently renovated spa. The hot pools are great for getting intel from fellow road-trippers on the best local scenic spots.

BRAEBURN A must-stop whether you’re coming or going is Braeburn Lodge, just over an hour north of Whitehorse, which serves up their world-famous cinnamon buns the size of dinner plates. Not for the faint of heart (or small of stomach), these treats have been attracting visitors for over 20 years.

CARMACKS This small town of roughly 500 residents punches above its weight in cultural and historical significance. Learn about the area and the Northern Tutchone First Nation people who live here, at the Tagé Cho Hudan Interpretive Centre. Or stretch your legs for a stroll on the boardwalk along the Yukon River.

DAWSON CITY At the end of the Klondike Highway, you’ll find the wooden sidewalks of Dawson City, once the centre of the Klondike gold rush. Visit the Danojà Zho Cultural Centre for its galleries and an overview of local history. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the Midnight Dome just outside of town. Then, if you’re still up for adventure, head an hour and a half up the Dempster Highway to Tombstone Territorial Park, where the tundra begins.

And it’s between pitstops when the allure of the Yukon really hits you. Unwind on long stretches of highway, past pristine boreal forests and snow-topped mountains—all under the bright northern sky.

Tips for the road:

Fuel up. It’s not always easy to find gas, so get it when you can. If you can do so safely, secure a couple of gas cans on the outside of your camper van or trailer to ease the stress between stops.

Boondocking. Camping on Yukon public land is permitted, provided that a few rules are followed (including camping at least 30 metres from the centre line of most roads). Not sure which spots are public? Use the GeoYukon interactive mapping app to find the right spot to lay your head.

Ride safely. AMA Plus RV and Premier RV Memberships provide all the benefits of an AMA membership, including AMA Roadside Assistance for your owned or rented RV. Visit ama.ab.ca/membership to learn more.

Buying an RV this summer? AMA members who purchase an RV from Go RV get a free one-year AMA Plus RV membership and membership in the Go RV Adventure Club—free firewood, propane, toilet paper and sani chemicals for the life of your RV.