Carcross in the Yukon Territory
Carcross also is known as Caribou Crossing and is located on the South Klondike Highway between Skagway Alaska and Whitehorse Yukon.
From the time that the first prospectors came over the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike gold rush of 1896, this place has been known as Caribou Crossing due to the large herds of caribou that cross the narrow between Bennett Lake and Tagish Lake twice a year on their annual migration. Now it is known by its shorten name of Carcross.
I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting Carcross while on a cruise of Alaska in September and stopping in Skagway. Our shore excursion included a memorable ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railway from Skagway (see this Hub: http://hubpages.com/hub/Ride-the-White-Pass-Yukon-Railway ) to inside British Columbia and from there a small bus took us into the Yukon Territory to the Carcross area.
Today the population of Carcross is 430 with about 50/50 Native and non-Native.
When you first cross the border into the Yukon Territory the unspoiled northern scenery is breathtaking and our first stop was to view the unique and colourful BoveIsland situated in TagishLake.
Next we passed through Carcross to EmeraldLake to view this spectacular emerald coloured lake.
Next we returned to Carcross for lunch at a restaurant connected to the WildlifeMuseum. This is the only restaurant that we saw in Carcross and it is open only during the tourist season to cater to cruise ship visitors from Skagway. It served an excellent cafeteria style chicken lunch.
Connected to this restaurant is the unforgettable WildlifeMuseum which features dozens of full size, real looking, wild animals from the area carefully restored by a taxidermist to showcase the “Wild Yukon”. The animals include Caribou, Bison, Polar Bear, Wolves, Reindeer, Muskox, Mammoth, Moose, Dall Sheep and many more. Outside there were Mountain Goats resting on the mountain above the Museum and we were fooled for awhile until we realized that they were also “part of the show” because they did not move! They looked so real in their natural habitat!
Onto the World’s SmallestDesert, the CarcrossDesert just outside of town; a natural sandy area where little grows except for some small evergreen trees, due to the sand from an extinct glacial lake and prevailing winds from LakeBennett.
We finally came into Carcross and were greeted by a Groundhog on the side of the road and it turned out that he also was part of the WildlifeMuseum display (and it looked so real)! We stopped at the LakeBennett with their new deck and stairs down to the lake. Hard to imagine that there is a sandy beach so far north but being September and cool, no one was in swimming! Downtown includes a train station, a tourist building and a few shops (including a General Store). We walked across a couple bridges spanning the narrows, one had some locals fishing and the other actually was a combination pedestrian and railway bridge!
Our visit was over and we had to board the bus to return to Skagway in Alaska, much too short a visit in the Yukon! I would love to return and explore more of the Yukon and spend more than just one day!