Paris Of The North – Dawson City Yukon
A town known as the “Paris of the North” can’t be missed, right?!? Turns out Dawson City, Yukon in Canada has way more going on than we ever expected from this end-of-the-road destination. Unfortunately we only scheduled two days and one night in Dawson and for that we’re bummed. Normally if we like a place we’d stay longer but we made plans for Summer Solstice in Fairbanks so lingering isn’t an option at this point.
The town is famous for the gold rush boom and having Canada’s oldest casino called Diamond Tooth Gerties along with their dancing girls show. We did not see the show because they charge a fee to enter the casino and they require a 2 drink minimum to watch the show, no thanks. Another oddity that gets this town international fame is the Sourtoe Cocktail at the Sourdough Saloon. Local legend says its an old toe from an infamous rum runner that lost his toe to frostbite during a cross-border delivery, the story is colorful and fun but we didn’t feel the need to partake.
These days it’s a long stretch to compare Dawson City to Paris, France but the stories from the boom days are fantastic and there is still a ton of charm here. The dirt streets seem authentic along with the well maintained wood boards for sidewalks. The visitor center is the hub of this little town and the folks behind the desk are extremely helpful in directing visitors in their requested direction. We asked for places that feature organic, local produce and we specifically requested a local hot spot for dinner, a place for breakfast and a place for a good cocktail. We were not disappointed by any of the recommendations. The visitor center also had fast and free WiFi which we took advantage of for an hour to check in.
Sips, Bites & WiFi
Overall our food experiences here were surprisingly good (considering it’s at the end of the road) with a strong focus on local, regional, sustainable and all that jazz we appreciate. I can’t say anything was “Amazingly Good” but everything was “Pretty Darn Good” if that makes sense, we think that’s impressive for such a remote place.
Klondike Kate’s – We arrived an hour late!!!! We sat at 7:30ish and when we looked at the chalkboard the “happy hour” specials were prominently displayed…and dang they were the deal! Either way the prices were extremely affordable at this little eatery that was jam packed when we arrived, it’s obvious the food is good and the happy hour isn’t a secret for the locals.
Bombay Peggy’s Pub – We were told they serve up the “Best martini’s you’ll ever drink” so it was hook, line and sinker for us cause we’re always looking for creative cocktails. “Best” is a bit of a tall order, but we very much enjoyed ourselves and our cocktails here.
Alchemy Café served up tasty food using some local ingredients. The coffee was a perfect start to our day and for some reason I was drawn to the vegetarian miso noodle soup, don’t know why, but it was yummy! Nikki had the sourdough french toast made from the local sour yeast, it was totally unhealthy and yummy. There’s fast free WiFi here and the owner also repairs Macs! A random note: You MUST visit the bathroom here, it’s pretty funky.
Commissioner’s Tea – While we were in town the Commissioner invited the entire city over to his mansion for tea, and to our surprise just about everyone showed up. Apparently it’s been a tradition since 1912 to invite Dawson residents and visitors alike to this little afternoon soiree. Tea, sandwiches, cookies and cake all served by volunteers in traditional dress and proper cups (if you arrive early, otherwise you’ll get a standard mug). The event was sooo casually lavish we dropped in feeling under dressed but we were welcomed with smiles and a nice warm cup. Such a neat event to stumble upon and it was FREE, although all donations went to a local non-profit so we left some dough behind to say thanks!
Klondike River Campground (KM 697) is a short 12 minute drive into town but totally worth a visit. Free campfire wood, spacious, private sites and its way less expensive than the private parks in town.
Before we knew it we’d blown through our 36 hours in town and we were running late to catch the ferry over to the Top of The World Highway and a slightly nervous crossing into Alaska (we’re hoping the agents haven’t watched our Canada Border Crossing video).
Sternwheeler Graveyard – A trail from the Yukon River Campground in Dawson City leads to the river bank and eventually ends at a “graveyard” of old sternwheelers.
Midnight Dome – High above Dawson City is the rock formation known as Midnight Dome. I had this on our list but we totally spaced and forgot to do it! It’s not a big hike but the views are spectacular. Oh well, next time.
Fuel Prices – Fuel in Dawson City was more expensive at $1.39/liter so we just put the minimum amount in to get us to Chicken, AK where volume will switch back to gallons and prices will be much lower.
Road Conditions – The highway that runs through Dawson City was nearly perfect. The roads in town are mostly dirt, but there’s really no reason to drive through town, it’s plenty small enough to park on the main road and walk everywhere.
Weather – Temperatures were mild and pleasant with highs hovering in the upper 60’s and the lows in the mid 40’s.
Dates Visited – June 13 – June 14, 2015
See all our Alaska Travels and tips here: Alaska Bound
Have you been to Dawson City? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and go ahead, rub it in if you loved the dancing girls, won big at the casino or kissed the toe!
celebrating christmas in the new normal will be a total game changer for me and my relatives, its all virtual
Great intel…will use your advice to spend at least 2 nights in Dawson. I have a folder I’m putting together for the trip divided up into sections (Jasper / TOW / …..) also have a buy list of what I I’m calling my “crash box” needed items “Just in Case”. From your article here I have added: good RV air pump, tire patch kit. I’ll have things like a assortment of bolts, nut, screws (ha ha…sorry) U bolts…straps, wire ties…Just in case of a break down….or road debris damage. Traveling next year in a 26′ RV trailer & Tundra.
Well Jim, good news is…you’re going to have an awesome trip. Bad news is…you are now going to have to stop and help the less prepared on the side of the road (like us). 🙂
Loving the blog. Somehow your pictures keep getting more and more amazing. Bought our first RV this year and the Wynn’s are our go to source for help and recommendations. Thanks for all you do for the RVing community!
ohhh, we’re blushing Kristin 🙂 Thanks for the love and safe travels in that new rig.
Dawson City was one of our favorites cities. We had one of our best meals on our Alaska Adventure at “The Drunken Goat” Greek Restaurant in Dawson City. It’s fascinating to read about the gold rush and makes you really appreciate what they went through to get that far north.
Mark in Saint Louis
Just curious if you could add a section to you web site.
You could call it ‘Town and Camp Tours’ .
Basically you could put together a 60 second video consisting of 5 to 10 second videos films of the little town and camp sites you stay at.
For example : Chicken Alaska tour: Video of entering town example “ The Welcome to Chicken” Road sign. A video of the main part of town. A video of shopping in Chicken. ie I heard eggs are a dollar each in Alaska. A small video of gas station or restaurants in town.
I hope the drone flying is coming along so we can see more of your amazing videos from a unique perspective.
Travel safe, Mark in Saint Louis
I really shouldn’t look at your blog on an empty stomach! Everything looked so yummy. :- ) Cool beans about the free afternoon tea soiree. Stuff like that always makes us happy. Think Dawson might be on our list ….
Too bad you didn’t go to Diamond Tooth Gerties. It is a fun place and the money raised goes toward keeping the town in repair. The show is great and lots of fun. When we were there we went twice in one day so only had to pay once. Glad you went the top of the world. Anxiously waiting your views on that road and of Chicken.
We only had so much time and were really enjoying the other parts of town. Maybe next time. 🙂 The Top of The World Highway and Chicken are up next! Stay tuned because its a duzzy!
Sandra & the 2 Spaniels
You guys just have way too much fun! I always look forward to reading about your adventures.
Awe thanks! We like to think its our un-planning that leaves us open for unexpected surprises in each place. 🙂
Great stories, now when are you going to write Guide To Alaska, the Wynns way. Just put all of your
stories and stops together and you have your book. As always Happy Trails
Thanks Roy. We are thinking about the possibility of a book of some sorts after all of this. It is the ultimate road trip!
Thanks for sharing your adventures with all of us. I love the pictures that you include and it almost makes me feel like we are visiting too! It is very nice that your traveling and sharing your adventures, and I for one would like to thank you, so Thanks! Can’t wait for the next post each time.
We are most certainly not wordsmiths but we love sharing and so happy to hear you enjoy being a part of the adventure. Your comment makes my heart smile, so thank you!
We enjoyed our visit to Dawson City and agree that it deserves a couple of days. I could have used one more day to recover from our evening that started with Sour Toe and ended many hours later at Diamond Tooth Gerties. It was daylight when we left “Dirty Gerties”!
Ha ha…that sour toe will get you every time!
Jeff & Pat Plamann
We are really enjoying your Alaska stories and pictures. Best wishes!
Great pics and blog. The food sure looked good. My brother in law lived there for 10 years in the eighties driving fuel truck. He absolutely loved it and didn’t want to leave. Some smaller communities can be really welcoming.
So true. We tend to love these tiny towns more than anything else.
Hi Nikki and Jason
You guys Rock, love reading about your travels hope me and wife can do some of that soon. Take care have fun in alaska
Hey guys! Totally dig all the info that you throw out! I am learning so much from you two, keep up the great adventure.
Just what I love to hear! Hope to see you out here along side us one day soon!
Ron Haddix And Kitty my wife of 50 years we made it.
I first met you in Pacifica just south of San Francisco when you just got your new Monaco Front Engine
diesel. I enjoyed the tour as we also have A Monaco Monarch 31ft gas. We truly love your travel logs
and the joy you bring with the story’s and travel. I am so glad about the support you have to make us
see ,hear and feel the joy of your trips on the road you pass along to all of us. Wish you the very best.
Ron & Kitty Haddix
Well, talk about a blast from the past we love that little of Pacifica. And 50 years of marriage…wowee what an accomplishment. I look forward to the day I can say we made it too!
We love following you guys. You have such a great waY to maximize your time, money and energy. I know you have 2 cats and we have 1 little dog. We always feel so guilty leaving him behind in the RV when we explore non pet friendly things… How do you guys deal with that with your Kitty-kids? Please keep doing what your doing! We are finally full time and get so much energy and ideas from you. Thanks!!
HAHAHAHAH!!!!! Can’t believe the name tag of the person serving the sweets. That’s my name and I don’t see it very often.!!!!
That isn’t a very common name but she was the sweetest lady and my oh my were those sweets good!
I have always wanted to see Alaska but now not sure how: Was going to fly/cruise doing one of those travel agent things but not sure now that my wife and I are getting into rving. I am fast learning “the journey is far more important than the destination”. Should I plan on rving across Canada (from Maine to Alaska? Is this practical with an F150 and 26′ TT? With the destination being Fairbanks, is it even possible? So many questions…
Of course its possible! I am a firm believer that if you set your mind to it, you can do it. Maine to Alaska would be an amazing trip and you could dip in and out of Canada along the way!
I woke up this morning and was having a cup of coffee and I thought to myself, I wonder what the Wynns are up to this morning? My wife and I are following your adventures and have been inspired to go for the big adventure and get on the road. We are planning to start our adventures very soon (I am a pharmacist so I am working on how to get paid on the road from our coach). I can’t wait to get out there and explore. Love your Alaska trip. Cheers to you both.
Hey, I love that you thought of us while having your morning cup o Joe. Morning coffee is my absolute favorite part of every day! A pharmacist…seems like there’s got to be something lucrative you could do with that from the road!
My husband and I drove the ALCAN last summer and stopped off at Dawson City. Great little town with a ton of stuff happening. The Yukon was one of the most breathtaking places we’d ever visited. Great pics, thanks for sharing!