Day 9 driving recap:
Road Name (s): Yukon Highway 1
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: a few frost heaves and patches, becoming more frequent frost heaves just a few miles past Whitehorse, then several long gravel breaks due to road construction, smoothing out a bit just before Haines Junction
Miles Today: 130
Miles driven from Canadian border: 1754
Miles on the Alaska Highway: 985
Driving Time: 3:15
We stopped at the Historic Canyon Creek Bridge, first built in 1903, and reconstructed in 1942. A more modern bridge was built just downriver. The original one was closed to traffic, but some restoration work was done on it, most recently in 2005. A very cool frontier era bridge.
Just after that point we had views of the astounding Kluane Range Icefields. It was still fairly stormy although the rain stopped, so parts of the mountains were shrouded in clouds. That made it an even more dramatic view.
We arrived in Haines Junction and headed to the Da Kµ Cultural Center which houses the Haines Junction and the Kluane National Park Visitor Information Desks.
We decided to personally check out three of the nearby Government Campgrounds. Pine Lake, a Yukon Government Campground that is in town, was pretty full, as it turns out there is a Bluegrass Festival this weekend. It is a pretty nice campground with lots of nice trees and also the closest to town services.
The other two were off the Haines Highway (the road to Haines, thus the town name Haines Junction). The first, fifteen miles from town is actually a Parks Canada Campground, Kathleen Lake. It is in a very pretty forested area by the lake, has a beautiful day use area with a dock, and a nice trail that takes you alongside the lake. Definitely worth considering, but we were intent on a lake view.
We drove to the next one, fifteen miles further away. And it was well worth it. Dezadeash Lake, a Yukon Government Campground is right on the lake, with campsites overlooking it. The forecast was for rain the next day, so being able to stay inside while looking at the lake was a plus. There are actually only a couple of sites that accommodate motor homes our size, but we scored one.
So what did we do as we got closer to Alaska? We took a thirty mile detour! Thirty miles from town but in a truly breathtaking area and near some of the hikes that we were interested in. And we planned to hang here a couple of days.
Tip of the day: Unlike in British Columbia, most of the large rest areas and roadside pullouts in the Yukon have no camping/no overnight parking signs. We were told that they are keeping RVers out in order to provide the space to the truckers, who are required by law to rest for certain periods of time. There are a few smaller turnouts where smaller RVs can overnight, but they can be tough to spot and not always in listed in the Milepost.
Therefore it best to not assume you will be able to overnight by the road, and always have a plan B. As we mentioned before we highly recommend the Yukon Government Campgrounds. There are a lot of them, they are generally quite beautiful, and are a total deal at only CA$12 a night for dry camping with free firewood included.
We plan to relax by beautiful Dezadeash Lake for a couple of days before tackling the last and reputedly worst section of highway into Alaska.