RV Camping at Dezadeash Lake and Million Dollar Falls Campgrounds

I got home at noon last Wednesday (August 3rd) from a week off-grid at 3 Territorial campgrounds in the Kluane area – Dezadeash Lake, Million Dollar Falls, and Congdon Creek. I was back on the road to the White Pass again less than 48 hours later, so I’m way behind with the blog now. I’d like to go back and tell you about that Kluane trip, though, because it had several aspects that I’d like to share with you.

The weather is one of the main determining factors in deciding where to go, the other being accessibility – it has to be somewhere that Cathy can join me for the weekend. Once again, Kluane was the winner. While not a great forecast, it was far better than any other direction. I decided, though, to start off down the Haines Highway to try out Dezadeash Lake and Million Dollar Falls Campgrounds.


This map shows the route I had planned, though because of poor weather I didn’t go down as far as Three Guardsmen. Click on it to open an interactive map in a new window.


I was pretty much ready to go by 09:00, but then I just couldn’t get out of town. I had some final groceries to pick up, then I just did this and that, and it was 12:30 before I pulled away from Whitehorse.

My motorhome and toad ready for another trip
A few minutes from Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway, it started raining. All that time washing the vehicles wasted…

Rain on the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse
Nearing Haines Junction, the rain stopped. This rest area is at Km 1566 of the Alaska Highway.

Rest area at Km 1566 of the Alaska Highway
My plan had been to go to Million Dollar Falls Campground the first night, but as we got near Dezadeash Lake Campground, I decided that was far enough – it appeared to be raining hard south of there.

Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
Dezadeash Lake Campground, at Km 195.7 of the Haines Highway, is on an odd triangle of land sticking out into the lake. It looks like a creek delta, but even from the air, there’s no hint that a creek formed it. The water level was quite high, so the beach wasn’t very wide, and there was no good place to run Bella and Tucker off-leash, though other campers had their dogs off-leash, and some were just roaming loose around the campground.

Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
Dezadeash Lake is a small campground, only 20 sites, and there was only one RV set up when we got there just after 3:00 pm.

Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
Molly always settles in very quickly. By the time the dogs and I got back from an exploratory walk, life looked pretty good for her 🙂

Cat on the dash of an RV at Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
It started raining soon after we arrived. Sitting in the rig reading, I was surprised to see 3 Common loons (Gavia immer) passing by our campsite – I usually see them alone.

Common loons (Gavia immer) at Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
I took the dogs for another walk (in the rain) soon after the loons went by, and as we got back to our campsite, this Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) sailed calmly close by us.

Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) at Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
I haven’t been able to identify these waist-high shrubs. The fact that they were only in a fairly small area at the entrance to the campground makes me think that they may be an invasive species.

Wild flowers at Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
The wind blew all night and the weather was cold, windy, and wet on Thursday morning. We were going to Million Dollar Falls regardless of the weather, though, so I took this photo and then we started that short drive just before 11:00.

Stormy weather at Dezadeash Lake Campground, Yukon
I stopped briefly at the viewpoint over the Kluane Range at Km 162, but clouds obscured much of the view. The blue panel on the rock to the left commemorates the designation of the Tatshenshini River as a Canadian Heritage River in May 2004.

Kluane Range viewpoint, Haines Highway
The Takhanne River bridge at Km 159.2 – the entrance to Million Dollar Falls Campground is just around the corner ahead.

Takhanne River bridge at Km 159.2 of the Haines Highway
I looped around the campground and decided that I liked site #7, which was very open and had great access to the trail and stairs to the falls. This is the view of the site from the waterfall trail.

Million Dollar Falls Campground, Yukon
The view of the Takhanne River from the top of the stairs.

Million Dollar Falls Campground, Yukon
An extensive network of stairs and viewing areas provide access to the falls.

Stairs at Million Dollar Falls Campground, Yukon
A great deal of logging and brush clearing has been done recently (last year?), and the slope above the river is much more open now – it was getting to be very dark and views were getting to be quite limited.

Logging at Million Dollar Falls Campground, Yukon

Bella and Tucker and I did a lot of walking on Thursday – the campground and the access road from the highway provide great scenic walking. The weather on Thursday night was really erratic, but it was nice enough for a while that I built a campfire and the dogs and I had a very nice hour or so in front of it before a cold wind returned with rain and drove us inside.

I was up early on Friday morning to go back down to the falls to do some long-exposure shots. This one was shot at 06:35 – it’s a tripod-mounted selfie, shot at ISO 100 and f20, with a 1.6-second exposure. The grafitti carved into the handrail has been edited out of this image.

Takhanne Falls at Million Dollar Falls Campground, Yukon
After breakfast, we drove south to see if the weather was any better towards the Haines Summit. By the time we reached the Yukon/BC border at Km 145.5 it wasn’t, so I decided to turn around. That’s the Blanchard River bridge ahead.

Blanchard River bridge, Haines Highway
The Blanchard River Highways Department camp below the highway.

The Blanchard River Highways Department camp on the Haines Highway
I found this sign funny. I didn’t know that radar detectors were still a thing, and the fact that it still says “the Yukon” dates it back prior to about 2000, before the government decided that it should just be called “Yukon”.

Disable your radar detector. Use is prohibited in the Yukon.
Leaving Million Dollar Falls Campground at 09:30. Cathy was going to join us at Congdon Creek Campground on Friday night, and I wanted to get there early so we could get a lakshore site.

Leaving Million Dollar Falls Campground, Yukon
Right at Kathleen Lake, the skies suddenly cleared, and at 10:25 I stopped at the Haines Junction viewpoint for a few photos, to check my phone for messages, and to send Cathy a text that we were on the way to Congdon Creek.

Haines Junction viewpoint, Haines Highway
There, that’s better weather to enjoy the spectacular views along the Alaska Highway en route to Kluane Lake!

Glacier along the Alaska Highway near Kluane Lake
The first view of Kluane Lake as you drop down from Boutillier Summit (Km 1633) always excites me – I love that country.

Kluane Lake viewpoint on the Alaska Highway

Things were looking good for a perfect weekend… 🙂



Comments

RV Camping at Dezadeash Lake and Million Dollar Falls Campgrounds — 6 Comments

    • Thanks, Richard. There’s never enough time, but the slower I go, the more amazing the North becomes, and the less I’m inclined to travel outside the Yukon, Alaska, NWT and northern BC.

  1. Hi, Anne from TripAdvisor here (I asked you about the weather in September today). Found your blog and adding it to my RSS feeder. Such a wealth of information here!

    I have to say, coming from Israel, I have to remind myself that summer weather up in the north is pretty much our regular winter time. Rain and August don’t go hand in hand where we live 😉

    • Hi Anne. Glad to see that you’re finding the blog interesting – I hope that there’s material that will help with your trip planning. Yes, it will certainly be different weather than what you’re used to at home!

  2. Hello
    I agree, with the weather comment last week we were on the coast ,on an Allen family excursion out of Juneau to Tracy Arm
    All pilots , Guides , deck hands were taking more pictures than us.
    Thanks for the falls data.
    Have to catch up too.

  3. Pingback: Fall Colours on the Haines Highway - the ExploreNorth Blog