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Camping in the Yukon Territory


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The Yukon Territory parks are beautiful in their simplicity and consistency.

$12 CAD, roughly $10 US, so almost free. Free firewood. Clean, usually big sites, often on a river, Creek, or lake.

Amenities, beyond a lovely campsite, include long drop/ outhouse toilet(s), a log kitchen shelter with a wodburner stove, free firewood, and a campfire ring inscribed with a welded bead of ytg. That's it. And, often, a fresh water pump for a bucket, not RV fill, often with a boil water notice.

People are nice, and usually great campers. We often find that someone has left behind extra split wood. Especially nice if you are carrying only a hatchet..

We've camped in about half of the 45 government campgrounds. Guess it means we have to keep going back. I'll try to describe some of our favorites.

Sherry

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So, this trip, we visited a number of new Yukon Territory campgrounds. my new favorite, Twin Lakes. Frances Lake. Pine Lake. Snag Junction.

Drury Creek (very pretty, and easy entry). Little salmon river (don't go there with a camper in tow and rainy day. Narrow one lane road, lots of pit holes, steep, uninviting) I'll look at the book for the others.

Twin Lakes was a recommendation of new camping friends from Juneau.

Twin Lakes has nice sites, many on the lake, and amazing views of the lakes and it's many little pine covered islands. The Loons can be heard all morning and evening. We met our new friends here leaving Faro city cg, which I will describe later

Twin Lakes isn't really on the vroute to most places... Faro or Dawson, depending on your whim... But so beautiful. If you can, go.

About 20 km south is a legendary bakery , with cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates, at Braeburn lodge. We dawdled leaving twin Lakes, mulling staying another night. So, we met our new German camping friend Gunther, bicycling from Anchorage to San Francisco, and shared a giant roll and fun conversation at Braeburn .

Then, headed to Fox Lake.

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Fox Lake is a poorer cousin to twin lakes. Easy access. Level campsites. More fisherman and boats. Most pretty lakeside sites are very exposed to the wind off the lake, so if you are here on an earlier season weekday, almost better off to take one of the off lake sites with a view. Not that many people, off season.

Not as scenic as twin lakes, but a close second, and closer to Whitehorse

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Lake Le Barge ygt.

We've camped here before. Only 40 miles or so north of Whitehorse,it gets really crowded on weekends. weekdays, you can possibly snag one of 4 to 5 lakeside sites, all of which are amazing. The one we used is tricky. It's a pull thru, between two fir trees. Not easy, but we'll worth it. We've spent three or four days there at a time... But the Lowe sites are buggy and uninviting.

There's another busy campground north of lake Le Barge. Can't remember the name, but same caveat. Weekends are tough. Everything in the Yukon is first come, first serve, no reservations. BUT, Yukon seniors get a camping pass for free, and Yukon residents get an annual pass for $50. Recent changes eliminate the old deal of coming out on Monday and pitching an unattended tent for the following weekend.... But.m

Still and all, the Yukon has something like 50000 residents, and half live in Whitehorse. Just something to think about if you are close, on a Thursday or Friday.

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Whitehorse itself is one of my favorite places in north America. It has everything you need. The real Canadian Superstore is a great place for groceries and souvenirs. Canadian tire has odd bits and tools and equipment, well beyond tires.

The Riverwalk is very pretty, and used to have one of our favorite food trucks. We were here too early, I think, this year.

Community theater. Clinic and hospital. Beautiful visitors center. Good gas prices. Spend a little time. It's the beating heart of the Yukon, and the people are warm and welcoming.its my city break, of sorts, til we get to Fairbanks. everything is clean, available, and fairly priced for its remote location.

Yes, it has a Walmart, with free overnights, but that's a zoo. Way too many people, and, why? When the camp just outside town is wild and cheap? Not to mention, Walmart is not as nice as the Canadian Superstore... No variety at all...

There is a gas station next to the Walmart with free dump, and fresh water, with a gas fill. Same price as anyone in town, but the amenities you and the Walmart "campers" need.

 

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I'll keep working on this, but with the time changes, I'm a little tired and out of sorts.

One very important thing to do, when you come into the Yukon, is to pick up the map of the government sites. Back in the day, it was a mineo sheet with mp markers. Today, it's a beautiful map, by region, with a chart of amenities. It'ss a great planning tool.

 

Most folks, coming in from the Alcan or 37, will stop at Watson lake for the "sign Forest" and gas.

The visitors center there is great. Lots of maps and forecast info, as well as printed highway info. ( And reminders to keep your dog, bait for wildlife, on a leash and close to you. That's important, too.)

Watson lake has reasonable gas prices, some limited shopping, an observatory, and the not remarkable ygt campground outside town.

The visitors center has good, free fresh water ( just ask). The free dump station is in the city park.. a half mile from the center.

I'll rant a little here. Bring your sign to the forest, but omg, take your dog poop and trash home . Every year, the walk through the "forest" gets worse and worse. Bottles, cans, trash, dog poop.... Walk carefully.

 

I guess that's my rant for this trip.

I'm really tired of picking up trash from campsites and fire pits along the way. I won't quit, but geez.

Several times I filled an entire 30 gallon bag. It's getting ridiculous.

Maybe that's why I like camping in the Yukon. Almost never do I find junk in the fire or site.

Sherry

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Along the John Campbell Highway.

I should put " highway" in quotes

50 km out of Watson lake, before Simpson lake campground, the highway turns to dirt. And, this year, 12 km of reconstruction. Taking the old road bed and moving it to the new. Rough, muddy, and that was a good day following the pilot vehicle through deep ruts and mud, without rain.

We didn't stop at Simpson lake, as the access was closed. Our Juneau friends tell us it's beautiful.

 

30 or 40 miles up the dirt road is Frances lake cg.in late May, the sign still said closed, but the gates were open, as were the outhouses. For an hour and a half, we were the only people in the campground. On a beautiful rock and sand beach, with amazing hill and mountain view. Five more campers hardly made a difference. Except for the German truck campers we met and camped with a few more nights. We shared campfires a few nights.

 

Our new young Whitehorse friends told us this would be our new favorite canpground. It's beautiful. But I still like Boya lake in bc (where we met them) better

Sherry

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Faro town campground is a real surprise in a little village of 400 people. Nice big sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and fairly level.

Plenty of shade, but open clean sites. No real views, but it backs up to a nice trail. Self-register in the very clean laundry room. $22 full hookups, 17 for primitive site, CAD.

Laundry is small, two of each machine, but only $2 wash and $1 for the small dryer, $1.50 for the larger one.

Faro has a small general store... Hardware and groceries, and a 24 hour cardlock gas station, attended during the day, with reasonable prices for the distance from Whitehorse. $1.52 CAD per liter at our visit.

Faro is an old mining town, but the mine is currently closed. Still, nice paved road coming into town. ( Really nice if you've been driving the dirt John Campbell. .) You don't have to drive the John Campbell to get there, as we did. You can drive on paved road from carmacks and Whitehorse, on your way to Dawson.

We didn't go there, but our camping friends said the Johnson lake ytg cg outside town is not as well maintained as most. It's not used much.

Sherry

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for posting all of these impressions. Probably my favorite day of an Alaska cruise several years ago was when my wife and I rented a Jeep in Skagway and drove up into the Yukon. We made it as far as Whitehorse, and did a bunch of off-highway driving. Saying that the scenery was beautiful is so insufficient. I would dearly love to get back there one day.

 

This is somewhat indulgent of me to hijack your thread but I thought I'd share my favorite photo from that day.  Emerald Lake, north of Carcross, in far from ideal lighting conditions:

 

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Thanks, Rumline. eventually, I'll add sjome photos and more campground reviews. Life sometimes gets in the way if intentions. Had to fly up to help my mom for awhile.

Your photo is beautiful. I understand it's the minerals that turn some of these lakes into beautiful turquoise water. There are several in BC with similar colors...like the Caribbean, but a lake.

I'll get back at it when I'm home again.

Sherry

 

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