Accommodations and Camping
Check the Klondike Visitors Association website (www.dawsoncity.ca) for a complete list of local lodgings. If you arrive in Dawson without reservations, be sure to check out the lodging notebook in the Visitor Information Centre; often hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts will advertise special rates for the night here.
Dawson City River Hostel (867/993-6823, www.yukonhostels.com, mid-May–Sept.) is Canada’s northernmost hostel. Located on the west side of the Yukon, it’s a quick ferry ride from Dawson. A back-to-the-land spirit infuses this friendly place where dorm-style lodging in cabins is $18 for members of Hostelling International (nonmembers $22), private rooms are $46 s or d, and tent spaces cost $14 s, $23 d. The hostel doesn’t have electricity (and therefore it’s cash only), but does have a cooking area with woodstove, canoe and mountain bike rentals, a communal cabin, plus the funkiest bathhouse going.
The cheapest place right downtown is the shockingly pink Westminster Hotel (975 3rd Ave., 867/993-5463, www.thewestminsterhotel-1898.com), where basic rooms with shared bath go for $45–55 s, $55–65 d. The Westminster is definitely not for everyone and it helps to be a heavy sleeper, as the downstairs bar gets noisy Friday–Saturday when the country house band gets going.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the gold-mining culture of Dawson, consider staying at a camp set up by Eureka Gold Panning Adventures (867/633-6519, www.eurekagoldpanning.com) beyond Bonanza Creek Road along Hunker Creek. Morris and Sandy George supply wall tents, cooking facilities, wood-burning heaters, and solar showers. You supply sleeping bags and food. Rates are $60 s, $75 d, but most visitors stay as part of a package, such as $100 per person for one night accommodation and two full days of gold-panning. Round-trip transportation from Dawson, if required, is $60 for one person, $85 for two.
In addition to having great breakfasts, Klondike Kate’s (3rd and King, 867/993-6527, www.klondikekates.ca, Apr.–Sept., $100–140 s, $120–160 d) has 15 spacious wood cabins, each with a bathroom, cable TV, free Internet, and a phone.
Next to the Dawson City Museum , 5th Avenue B&B (867/993-5941 or 866/631-5237, www.5thavebandb.com, $95–125 s, $105–135 d) may have an uninspiring name but the aquamarine exterior is impossible to miss. It features seven comfortable guest rooms with shared or private baths and a large sitting area. Rates include all-you-can-eat continental breakfast.
Across from Diamond Tooth Gertie’s is the Triple J Hotel (5th and Queen, 867/993-5323 or 800/764-3555, www.triplejhotel.com, mid-May–mid-Sept.), a gold rush–era–looking hotel that, beyond the facade, is a modern complex of motel rooms ($132 s, $142 d), hotel rooms ($132 s, $142 d), and cabins ($142 s, $152 d).
Fun and funky on the outside, the rooms at the Downtown Hotel (Queen at 2nd, 867/993-5346 or 867/993-5346, www.downtownhotel.ca, $118 s, $133 d) are somewhat clinical. Still, it’s close to everything and the on-site bar has a rocking nighttime atmosphere.
On the outskirts of Dawson and less than a block from the Klondike River, Dawson City B&B (451 Craig St., 867/993-5649, www.dawsonbb.com, $165 s or d) is a neat two-story home with a pleasing blue and white exterior. Rates include a cooked breakfast, bikes, fishing poles, and airport transfers.
The Aurora Inn (5th Ave., 867/993-6860, www.aurorainn.ca, $149 s, $169–199 d) is a modern wooden lodging with a distinctive yellow facade. The rooms are bright and spacious, with simple furnishings and practical bathrooms.
Bombay Peggy’s Inn & Pub (2nd at Princess, 867/993-6969, www.bombaypeggys.com, $169–189 s, $179–199 d) is named for the former madam of a brothel that once operated in the building. Not only has it been totally renovated, it was moved from its original location. Most rooms are decorated in bold Victorian colors, with hardwood floors and lavish bathrooms with antique tubs. You don’t have to abandon modern comforts for the sake of atmosphere—there’s also high-speed Internet. Rates include a light breakfast. About the only reminders of the building’s previous use are a racy cocktail list in the downstairs lounge and the phone number. It’s also one of the few Dawson lodgings open year-round.
Yukon River Campground (across the river from town, mid-May–mid-Sept., $15) is convenient but lacks amenities (drinking water, pit toilets, and firewood only). The free ferry from town runs 24 hours daily. Walk downstream from the campground to reach three rusting riverboats that are slowly disintegrating where they were beached many years ago.
RVers can circle their rigs right downtown at the Goldrush Campground (5th and York, 867/993-5247, www.goldrushcampground.com, mid-May–mid-Sept., unserviced sites $19, hookups $31.50–38.50). Amenities include coin showers, a laundry, and wireless Internet throughout.
South of town, Bonanza Gold RV Park (867/993-6789 or 888/993-6789, www.bonanzagold.ca, tents $10, hookups $23–39) has modern facilities, but tents are not permitted.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition