The Klondike Trail through the Canadian Rockies

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

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Hiking is always a great way to see the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

Hiking is always a great way to see the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

From Edmonton to the Yukon, this trail is a well-traveled Canadian Rockies destination, starting with the Klondike gold rush over 100 years ago.  More than 100,000 pioneers set out to find their fortunes along this trail, many arriving by horseback, boat or train to land in Edmonton and continue on to make their lives in a wilderness that held so much potential.

Begin your journey in Edmonton, staying for a few days to enjoy the highlights that this great capital city has to offer.   Take a tour of the Aboriginal gallery at Syncrude, absorb the artifacts in the Provincial Museum of Alberta and ride the steam train at Fort Edmonton Park. Be sure to visit Elk Island Natural Park, only 45 miles east of downtown where you have some of the best wildlife views while hiking on the scenic trails.  Spend a day on the North Saskatchewan River on a paddlewheel riverboat or in a canoe and then head over to the historic town of Athabasca where you can take a walking tour or book a jet boat on the Athabasca River.  Then drive over to Lesser Slave Lake where you can enjoy the sandy beaches, camping, fishing, bird watching, hiking and the many festivals that occur throughout the year.

Follow the highway from Slave Lake to Dawson Creek, stopping in whatever towns that strike your fancy along the way.  Some interesting spots might be Falher, the honey capital of Canada, and home of the largest bee!  McLennan is the birding capital of Canada.  Stop at the Kimiwan Birdwalk and Interpretive Center, the Native Cultural Arts Museum and the St. Bernard Mission Church.  You can also take a moment in Grouard, a famous gathering area for Native Americans.

Some interesting side trips could include Slave Lake to Grande Prairie (198 miles) and then on to Dawson Creek (83 miles).  You can go from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson (282 miles) and then on to Watson Lake (330 miles) and beyond to Whitehorse (283 miles).  Then go from Whitehorse to Dawson City (333 miles).

Once you’ve reached Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, continue along the Alaska Highway where you will then hit the famed Yukon.

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