Carcross Adventures > Area Attractions & Locations
The Yukon's Stay and Play Community!
Carcross is at the heart of the stunningly beautiful Southern Lakes District of the Yukon and is a vital part of the Yukon experience that should not be missed. Attractions such as the White Pass and Yukon Route Historical Railway, the Mathew Watson General Store which is the oldest operating business in the Yukon, and Canada's oldest continually operated Post Office as well as numerous other attractions, such as the "worlds smallest desert" make Carcross a "must see".
Likewise, the region is rich in the cultural history of the Carcross-Tagish Tlingit First Nation People, who continue to call the region home and proudly host people from around the world as they share their unique culture and the immense beauty of the region with visitors.
|White Pass Scenic Railway|
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railway ( WP&YR ) has its northern terminus in the community of Carcross. Construction of the the railway commenced in 1898, the same year as the famed Klondike Gold Rush. Once completed just a short 26 months later, WP&YR became the dominate route to the interior of the Yukon. After departing Skagway, located on the famed Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska, the tracks climb close to 3000 feet while following only 20 miles of steep winding valley to reach White Pass. Here the train travels through an eerie treeless land of water and wind-scoured rock before descending into the cooler, drier interior of northern Canada. A ride on the rails is an excellent opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to see the physical beauty of the Yukon/Alaska region.
The Carcross Desert is not really a desert at all, but rather a large naturally forming sand-dune complex. Several rivers carrying large quantities of glacial silt from the Coast Mountain glacial fields drain into Lake Bennett. Here the predominate wind patterns out of the south move the sediment towards the north end of the lake, where wave actions deposits it on to the long beaches at Carcross. The wind dries the glacial silt and then transports its much like drifting snow away from the lake, forming the extensive sand dune complex.
Notes: The views from the top of the desert make the hike well worth the effort. You can park your car right along the highway and explore on foot, or The Carcross Adventure Company would be happy to drop you off and pick you up. It is only a 25-minute walk to the Carcross Desert from down town Carcross.
|Caribou Crossing Trading Post|
The Caribou Crossing Trading Post has a great deal of activities to entertain: opportunities to meet local mushers and interact with sled dogs, the north’s best taxidermy display of wildlife, food services, a walking trail, min-put etc. A great destination for families!
|Mathew Watson General Store|
The Mathew Watson General Store is the oldest continually operated store in the Yukon and has changed little in the last 100 years. It offers a great selection of unique souvenirs, clothing, books, as well as ice cream, coffee, and treats. Inside you will find the original architecture and an impressive array of artifacts. It is open from early May through to mid-September. More Information
|The Caribou Historic Hotel|
The Caribou Hotel is a recognized historic site with more than a century of history in the Yukon. It has recently been purchased by new ownership which has undergone a full restoration of the facility which will be reopened again for business in 2015 with the full splendor of the past. The hotel was famous for many things, one of which was a talking parrot named Poly that lived in the hotel and was known for its talented use of profanity. The parrot lived to the ripe old age of 126.
|The Skookum Jim House|
The Skookum Jim house is named after a famous Yukon person, Skookum Jim, who was from Carcross. Skookum Jim was a Tlingit First Nation man who was a participant in the original discovery of gold in the Klondike Region, setting off the largest gold rush western North America has ever seen. The building is home to an art gallery and interpretive display of the regions First Nation History.
|The Carcross Post Office|
The Carcross Post Office is the oldest continually operated post office building in Canada.
Emerald Lake is known for its beautiful emerald-green waters. In fact, there are numerous lakes with similarly beautiful waters in the Yukon. The colour of the water is created by the presence of white volcanic ash that has deposited itself in a layer on the bottom of the lake. This volcanic ash is the result of a massive eruption of a volcano near the Alaska/Yukon border near White River around 1400 -1500 years ago. This volcanic ash and its white colour reflect light in a specific way creating the intense green hues in the shallows.
Notes: Emerald Lake is located on the South Klondike Highway 12 km north of Carcross. If you are coming from Whitehorse heading south you will pass it before reaching Carcross. There is a wide pull-off for vehicles that allows for viewing.
|The Town of Carcross|
Carcross is a scenic little community. There are many old buildings, by Yukon standards that have lots of character and are very photogenic. The surrounding mountain and lake vistas are truly world-class. A historic walking guide to the community is available for fee at the visitor centre and with this guide you can explore the history of the town on foot at your own pace. The populations of the town is around 430.
The Carcross Carving Centre is the hub of traditional Tlingit First Nation carving activities for the region. A visit to the carving centre most days in the summer is rewarded by meeting the carvers. They are usually able to take a break from their work to show you their creations, past and current. This is truly a great opportunity to learn about Tligit First Nation culture, Totems and their significance to the traditional inhabitants of this region.
|The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad Depot|
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad Depot was built in 1910 and is a designated Canadian Heritage Railway Station. Today the depot acts as a visitor centre and as a ticket office for the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. Behind the depot is a warehouse called the Koolseen Centre, named after Patsy Henderson ( Koolseen) who was with Skookum Jim when gold was discovered in the Klondike.
|Montana Mountain: Mountain Biking & Hiking|
Montana Mountain has an extensive collection of mountain biking trails the are accessible right from downtown Carcross, including the Mountain Hero Trail, which was recently named by The International Mountain Biking Association as one of the worlds most epic mountain bike rides ( a very prestigious accolade)
Guided Mountain Biking
|The Duchess Railway Steam Engine|
This historic mini steam engine that was used to pull freight between awaiting sternwheeler steam-engine ships on Tagish and Atlin Lakes is a favourite for children because they are allowed to climb all over it and pretend they are the engineer.
Nares can be hiked a after short shuttle drive, by renting a bike and riding there yourself ( 25 minutes) , by boat drop off directly from Nares lake ( 15 minutes) , or by renting a canoe and paddling to the starting location (1 hour ). Nares ridge climbs constantly from the lake on grassy ridges. There is no trail, however, the topography funnels you on to the ridge and Carcross can easily be seen at all time during the hike.
Distance to Summit and Return: 6.75 km
Maximum Elevations Gain to Summit: 1034m ( 3392 feet)
Suggested Hiking Time to Summit and Return: 5-7 hours
Please Note: The Nares Mountain hike is beautiful with wide open views the whole way up so there is no need to get to the summit to have an amazing experience.
Bennett Lake is located due west of Carcross and the open expanse of water affords stunning views of the Coastal Mountains. The lake is linked to the Gold Rush of 1898 in that here, at its southern end in the Province of British Columbia a flotilla of several thousand make-shift boats luanched in just one day when the ice cleared Bennett lake and stampeders embarked on the down-river portion of their journey. The lake was given its name in 1883 by Frederick Schwatka, a United States Army officer, in honour of James Bennett Jr of the New York Herald, that had sponsored Schwatchka's expedition which sought the remains of the Lost Franklin Expedition. Today the abandoned town site of Bennett at the southern end of the lake is the ending place for hikers of the Chilkoot Trail, just as it was in 1898. The White Pass and Yukon Route Railway travels the eastern shore of the lake, providing an intensely scenic ride through the wilderness by rail.
|Nares River Pedestrian Bridge: Views & Fishing|
The Nares River pedestrian bridge offers some of the best fishing in the region and it is located downtown and affords fantastic views. Almost any day there are schools of grayling and whitefish that hang out in the flowing waters under the bridge. They are there because the outflow from the lake brings with it food, such as insects that have landing in the water. This makes for ideal fishing and it is very common to go home with several grayling, enough for a nice meal. If you take your catch to the Cabin Fever Adventures sales kiosk we will be happy to clean your fish for you ( for a fee) and provide you with some spices, tinfoil, and access to a barbecue to cook your fish up into a nice meal. Please see our rentals page for information on fishing rod rentals and licenses.
Tip: We suggest you go for a short walk and see if the fish are at the bridge ( they are easy to see) and then come back and rent your fishing rod and buy your 1 day fishing license ( if you don’t already have one)
|Bennett Lake Beach, Sand Dunes & Hiking Trails|
The Bennett Lake Beach in Carcross is the finest in the Yukon. It stretches 2km in length running in a northwest direction and affords stunning views of the rugged peaks of the Coastal Mountains in the western arm of Bennett Lake along its entire length. A series of trails used for cross-country skiing in the winter that include over 20km of routes are accessible from the beach in several locations. On these trails there are impressive lookouts over Bennett Lake and the area is interspersed with impressive sand dunes. Truly a unique landscape that is not found anywhere else in the Yukon.
The trails start just a five minute walk form our adventure shop. Armed with a picnic lunch and your camera you can enjoy a truly spectacular day in this area at next to no cost. The trails are an excellent choice for an experience as short as a few hours, or with the inclusion of the Carcross Desert and the 10km ski trail loop it is possible to enjoy the better part of a whole day on these trails. Cabin Fever Adventures has our own internally produced trail maps with GPS co-ordinates for rent for a small fee, or you can purchase your own copy as a souvenir.
|Kite Surfing, Windsurfing & Kite Boarding|
Kite Surfing at the Carcross beach is typically really good during the month of June, but can be awesome and day of the year with some luck. When the prevailing south west winds blow, the 2 km long beach provides fantastic boarding. There is excellent riding during the winter as well, and other great kite boarding in nearby locations such as White Pass.
|Scenic Unimog 4X4 Mountain Alpine Tours|
Cabin Fever Adventures offers an exclusive Unimog 4X4 tour up into the alpine of Montana Mountain for exploration of the amazing scenery and history of this mountain. Please see fully guided excursions for more details.
Montana Mountain also has alpine hiking opportunities that would take weeks to fully explore and a great deal of interesting historical artifacts remain on the mountain from the silver mining era.
Cabin Fever Adventures is focused on providing the widest array of economical day trips available from the most scenic community in the Yukon. The reason why we are able to to provide better pricing is our location in Carcross Yukon. Only a 45-minute drive from Whitehorse lies the community of Carcross. This scenic and sleepy little community is situated in the most ideal location in the Yukon for outdoor recreation. The community has everything the Yukon is famous for in one convenient location. The town is built on the shore of stunning Bennett Lake and is surrounded by four mountain peaks.
The entire family will be satisfied by an experience in Carcross and our self-guided options won’t break the bank.
|St. Saviours Church|
|Public Boat Launch and Docks|
Carcross has an excellent public boat launch. From this launch a vast area of the Southern Lakes waterways can be accessed including Tagish Lake, Bennett Lake, Nares and Marsh Lake. Please note this is a massive mountain lake system with over 1000 km of shoreline and these lakes have the potential to become quite rough. Please seek local advice before traveling any significant distance from the launch, on either Bennett of Tagish Lake. Excellent lake trout and grayling fishing are close at hand on Nares Lake, which is smaller and does not get very rough. Please see our rentals section of learn about our motor boat, canoe or kayak rental options and our fully guided page to learn about fishing charters.