ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth

Things to do
on the Carcross-Tagish Loop!

Some of this information is now (2011) out of date. It was originally based on the brochure by Jan Wotton of the Carcross Barracks, and the Carcross Tagish Chamber of Commerce, edited, updated and with links added by Murray Lundberg in 1998.

  1. Obtain a map of the Yukon, free at our friendly visitor info centers. The Carcross-Tagish Loop consists of Klondike Highway #2 and Tagish Road #8.

  2. The drive begins or ends at the junction of the Alaska Highway at Jake's Corner (Km 1392), or the Carcross Cut-off (Km 1455). Either way the road is well serviced and maintained. For the purpose of the brochure I will start at the Carcross Cut-off and head south.

  3. First stop is "The Rock Shop" - Yukon minerals, and souvenirs made on site. A rockhound's delight!

  4. Watch for the occasional herd of caribou. This area was known for great herds but now only a few scattered herds remain. These are protected.

  5. The Kookatsoon Lake picnic area is a government facility. It's a charming little lake with a lovely sandy beach - bring a picnic and let the kids run and play. The water can be warm enough for swimming.

  6. At Km 18.2, turn right and go 1.9 miles to the Annie Lake Golf Course, a free golf course. It is famous for the many gopher hole traps to lose your ball in! Tricky but fun. Bring mosquito repellent.

  7. The historic Robinson Roadhouse, which was built in 1899. A few historic buildings remain at this location, and it's a great place to roam around - bring your camera.

  8. Often times you will see flocks of spruce grouse along this part of the road. Watch carefully, they're hard to see.

  9. The view of Emerald Lake is one of the most photographed in the Yukon. This majestic emerald green lake gets it's unique color from green light waves reflecting of the white sediment of the lake bottom. This white sediment, called marl, consists of fragments of decomposed shell mixed with clay. To get "the lay of the land" and pick up some local information, check the kiosk put up by the Carcross Tagish Chamber of Commerce at the pullout.

  10. Next is the view of Spirit Lake. Some say it is so named, because when the winds meet from opposite directions the waves clash together in the middle. This is where the Spirits meet.

  11. Just across the road from this lodge is a quiet hiking trail leading along the Watson River and the old White Pass tracks. Please be "Bear Aware".

  12. Caribou Crossing is a major Yukon attraction, with live wildlife viewing and a natural history museum, featuring the world's largest bear. Definitely worth seeing. After your tour of the wildlife museum, stop in for a great meal or just some fresh popcorn before checking out the unique gift shop.

  13. Take a turn to the right at Caribou Crossing and tour around one of the newest subdivisions in Carcross. The view of the entire area from this road is fantastic.

  14. The World's Smallest Desert is just before Carcross. This unusual bit of nature is worth taking a stroll or hike, and is a great place for a picnic. Some of the flora and fauna found in this tiny desert can be found nowhere else in the world. A plant identification book could prove interesting.

  15. The Carcross Rod & Gun Club often hold special events. Check with the local Tourist Info Centre.

  16. Montana Manor is a one stop facility, everything you need, fast food, soft ice-cream, groceries, RV park and campground, Laundromat and showers.

  17. Montana Mountain, towering over Carcross, has a rough road (not recommended for cars) going way up past tree-line. You can find the remains of the old stone houses built by miners years ago up this mountain - the history has been well-recorded by Carcross historian Murray Lundberg.

  18. The old Carcross Train Station is now the Tourist Info Centre, and the friendly staff there will be happy to tell you about historic and present day Carcross.

  19. Be sure to gather plenty of brochures at the Info Centre, including the historic walking tour booklet. These will help you know the area better.

  20. A bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office. How about a fishing or sightseeing water charter? Tutshi Charters can be reached by phone in Carcross - ask at the Visitor Centre.

  21. See the old Duchess train engine that used to travel to Atlin Lake from Tagish Lake. Great photo opportunity..

  22. Carcross has it's own airstrip. Elev. 2161' Length 2000 feet/610 m. Skydiving lessons, occasionally.

  23. Walk on the old White Pass & Yukon Route railway bridge. Look for Arctic grayling and lake trout in the crystal-clear water below.

  24. Bring a fishing rod and license and you too can have fresh Arctic grayling for supper.

  25. You can cook your catch up over the campfire at the Carcross Territorial Campground.

  26. Alongside the Carcross Post Office is the start to a lovely walk along the scenic shores of Lake Bennett. I dare you to stick your toe in that water. BRRRR>>> Often the local kids swim at this beach. Caution, there is a deep drop-off near the bridge. This lovely sandy beach is the perfect place to practice your sand castle building techniques.

  27. Walk through the historic town of Carcross. Many of the houses are nearly 100 years old. Quaint little log cabins with lots of character.

  28. There are two historic churches to visit in Carcross, Saint John The Baptist Catholic Church (built in 1905), and St. Saviorís Anglican Church (built in 1902).

  29. Visit the Historic Carcross Barracks. It's full of antiques, curios and Yukon crafts. The staff dress in Mountie attire and have an old jail cell you can visit.

  30. Take pictures of the old Sibilla river boat. With the foreground of fireweed and the back drop of blue sky and mountains, you'll never see a prettier picture.

  31. The Mathew Watson General Store is the oldest store in the Yukon. Don't miss seeing the antiques and tasting the best ice cream.

  32. The Caribou Hotel was built in 1900, and was moved to Carcross in 1910. It became famous for a rather obnoxious parrot called Polly. The parrot was said to have come over the Chilkoot Trail in 1898 with it's former owner. It was over 60 years old and still cussing at the patrons when it expired.

  33. Visit the Isabelle Pringle Library. Lots of Yukon books and history. You can enjoy an afternoon read.

  34. The Top of The World Gold Shop located in Carcross has some of the finest gold nugget jewelry in the world. Straight from the Klondike gold fields and made right here with our own four hands!

  35. Drink in the famous view of Bennett Lake. Here the Klondike gold seekers ended the strenuous journey of the Chilkoot trail and constructed various water craft to continue their journey through a chain of rivers and lakes to the gold fields of Dawson.

  36. The White Pass & Yukon Route train offers a superb way to get from Carcross to Skagway. Even if you don't ride the train, you can tour the historic depot and see the rail line itself.

  37. Just a short distance out of Carcross (towards Skagway) is a vehicle pull off. Here you can view Bove Island and the famous Windy Arm of Tagish Lake. I have heard that there was once a brothel on Bove Island during the gold rush!

  38. Return back through Carcross and turn right on the Tagish Road. The stretch of road from Carcross to Jake's Corner is part of the original army construction of 1942. Watch for bears, moose, deer and caribou.

  39. There are many small lakes along the Tagish road, including Chootla and Crag Lakes. Any of them would make a very inviting picnic location.

  40. Eagle's Landing Bed & Breakfast is located on Crag Lake. You should phone ahead for reservations. What a lovely place to spend an evening or more.

  41. Gold panning is permitted in most streams in this area. Small flakes of gold can be found. Good luck!

  42. Tagish Stores & Cafe is located just before the Tagish River Bridge. If you've forgotten anything, chances are they'll have it. They have a new, modern, motel, R.V. Sites, video rentals, soup, sandwiches, groceries, hardware, great coffee and donuts too.

  43. Just before the Tagish River Bridge is the picnic day use area. A good stopping place.

  44. See if there are any people fishing off the bridge. Look for fish below. It is not uncommon to see a 20 lb. trout caught here! The locals call them "Jack fish, alligators, or swamp sharks". Northern Pike grow huge and are found along the warm shallow shores of the river. Quite tasty, and a fun fight! Fishing license required.

  45. Fishing licenses are available at Tagish Services across the way. Special restrictions apply. Read the fishing regulations carefully.

  46. Small boats can be rented at the Southern Lakes Marina. This is where the Tagish and Marsh Lakes meet. So you can enjoy boating on either lake. Lifejackets, fishing gear and licenses available too.

  47. There are 2 public boat launch sites, one at the day use area and one at the Tagish campground.

  48. Here is one of Yukon's finest campgrounds, the Tagish Territorial Campground. Don't miss staying at this one if you're camping.

  49. The Gazebo Take Out restaurant is known for the best barbecued hamburgers, with the works! Usually served with a dollop of local folk lore.

  50. Tagish Services gas station has excellent prices and good service for most of your vehicle needs.

  51. A very rare black gopher exists in this area. Try photographing gophers. Great comedians.

  52. There are many local hiking trails such as up the fire tower mountain. Inquire with locals and enjoy. Please be "Bear Aware".

  53. Tagish was the site of a North West Mounted Police post in 1898. It can be visited by road (impassable for large vehicles, and it is rough). Directions and road conditions can be obtained at gas station.

  54. Pick or photograph fireweed. The petals can be dried and made into "Pot Pourri" or great jelly. This flower is so named because it is the first vegetation to return after a forest fire.

  55. There are many types of berries to pick and preserve. Raspberries, cranberries, juniper, etc.

  56. If you have a few days left and you want to relax at a real remote wilderness retreat, call Tagish Wilderness Lodge. It is located 18 miles south of Tagish bridge by water or air. Phone for reservations and experience a wilderness tour of your life.

  57. If buying a souvenir along the way try to find Yukon-made products. There are some great Yukon arts and crafts to choose from.

  58. "Wild Furs" is the trade name of Tagish made traditional sewn fur products by Adila Low. These products are available in local shops or custom ordered. Everything from mukluks, hats, & gloves.

  59. Just before Jake's Corner is the Atlin Road. There are many more beautiful lakes and magnificent mountains to visit in this direction. It's a good road, with a calcium surface, that takes you to Atlin, British Columbia. The "Little Switzerland of the North" is a very scenic and friendly town.

  60. There are many varieties of waterfowl to be seen, including swans in the spring, ducks and loons all summer long.

  61. There are many varieties of wildflowers. Some of these can be picked and pressed for projects later on. Photographs also make a lovely collection.

  62. If you know your mushrooms, you can find a feast fit for a king. A wise man once said "All mushrooms are edible, some only once!". Use caution.

  63. Don't be afraid to stop and take your shoes and socks off and wade in some of our icy cold lakes and rivers. Some lakes are warm enough to swim in.

  64. Have you read some Robert Service poetry. It's easy to get stuck on the spell of the Yukon.

  65. Along the way you may see the occasional grave site with a tiny fence and house. These are native spirit houses. Please look but do not touch.

  66. At Jake's Corner and the Carcross cut off there are limited frequency radio stations. Watch for signs, telling you how to tune in and hear history of the area.

  67. Mountain goats are often present on the mountain near Jake's Corner. The Renewable Resources Department relocated a group of them to this location in 1984. They were slung in by helicopter!

  68. As you travel back along the Alaska Highway towards Whitehorse, you will see Judas Creek. This is a fine stream for grayling fishing or panning for gold.

  69. Returning to Whitehorse along the Alaska Highway beside Marsh Lake is more incredible scenery.

  70. The Marsh Lake Territorial Campground at Km 1432 offers primitive camping at it's best. A lovely site.

  71. A waterfowl viewing station, Swan Haven, is located on the Alaska highway just past the Yukon River Bridge at Km 1441.8.

  72. Along side the Yukon River Bridge is a day use area. Stop and see the Marsh Lake dam site. It was originally built to flush the ice out of the river for the sternwheelers, and is now used to regulate the level of the lakes above this point.

  73. There is good fishing at this location too. Large trout and grayling are common.

  74. Pine Needle tea was used by the native people to cure many ailments. Have you ever tried it?

  75. Kayak and canoe enthusiasts can travel for days in this great chains of lakes. You could even go all the way to Dawson. This is the "Trail of 98."

  76. Be sure to tell your friends and anyone else that will listen what a marvelous day tour this route is. You will probably have to spend a few days or make more than one trip to see all that you want to see. It's a great adventure for kids. A good idea is to have them keep a journal so that can share their story at school in September. The members of the Southern Lakes Chamber of Commerce welcome you, and hope you enjoy your visit!