The small community of Atlin lies 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Jake’s Corner, back over the border in British Columbia. It is British Columbia’s northernmost and westernmost settlement. Although isolated from the rest of British Columbia, it is one of the province’s most picturesque communities. The glaciated peaks of the Coast Mountains form a stunning backdrop for the town, which is on a gently sloping hill overlooking beautiful 140-kilometer-long (85-mile-long) Atlin Lake.
Atlin was a boomtown with more than 8,000 people during the 1898 Klondike gold rush, when gold was discovered in nearby Pine Creek. Today they’re still finding some color hereabouts, but the town’s population has dwindled to about 400.
The highlight of Atlin is the surrounding scenery. Wandering along the lakeshore you’ll have outrageous views of sparkling peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, and mountain streams. Tied up on the lake in front of town is the SS Tarahne, a 1916 steamer that has been restored.
Atlin Historical Museum (3rd St. and Trainor St., 250/651-7522, June–early Sept. daily 9 a.m.–5:50 p.m., adult $3), housed in a 1902 schoolhouse, lets you relive the excitement of the gold rush. Scattered through town are many historic buildings and artifacts pretty much untouched from the gold-rush era.
South of Atlin along Warm Springs Road are various lakes, camping areas, and, at the end of the road, warm springs. The springs bubble out of the ground at a pleasant 29°C (84°F) into shallow pools surrounded by flower-filled meadows.
Holding a prime downtown, lakefront location is the Atlin Inn (1st St., 250/651-7546 or 800/682-8546, from $135 s or d) which comprises 18 motel rooms and a string of kitchen-equipped cottages. It also has a restaurant open daily at 7 a.m. and a lounge with a great patio.
For primitive camping, the first of four spots through Atlin to the south is Pine Creek Campground ($8), with pit toilets and firewood (no drinking water).
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition