The ride out of Yukon into British Colombia puts me onto the Alcan Highway, a significant upgrade from the logging roads that I’ve been on recently. The road south now cuts across the north-eastern part of British Colombia towards Alberta. This road opened up the way from the lower 48 to Alaska in 1942 and is now a modern road along which at this time of year armies of RAM1500 utes and massive camper vans now plough. The ride to Fort Nelson is punctuated by sightings of the odd bison or bear and unfortunately not insignificant amounts of rain.
Running the gauntlet of a wild and dangerous bison near the Liard Hot Springs.
After a little pit stop in the charming and kitsch Dawson City the road turns south-east down the Klondike Loop following the Yukon River. The loop runs south towards the city of Whitehorse and this was the direction in which I traveled in 2011. But this time after visiting a little cabin at the Moose Creek Lodge two days ride south of Dawson, I turn left onto a 51km forest track to the Campbell Highway (past Tetchin Lake) which turns out to be a 500km avenue of trees and a very low traffic road that runs along some pretty lakes. Highly recommended ride and the camping is great which at the end of a day’s ride helps you forget the nasty little gradient climbs that these logging roads throw at you. 12 days later I’m in Watson Lake and the bottom of the Yukon ride: 1,800km from the start at the top of the Dempster Highway.
The Moose Creek Lodge. The last time I stayed in this cabin I was nine years younger. A lovely little restaurant out along the Klondike Loop.
Would have been the perfect stop to camp if it were not for the mosquitoes.
At last a moose.
93km Dawson City to Camping
65km Camping to Moose Creek Cabin
95km Moose Creek Cabin to Pelly Crossing
89km Pelly Crossing to Tatchun Lake camping
37km Tatchun Lake to Frenchman’s Lake Camping on backroad
82km Frenchman’s Lake Camping to Drury Creek Camping
The ride through the lower half of the highway was very pretty if a little more trafficked than the rest of the ride as the river ferry started operating and some of the spring camper and truck traffic started making its way up the highway. From Eagle Plains there were five days of riding through the mountains and the biking-legs kicked in a tad and I rediscovered just a little bit of the long-lost touring stamina.
63km: From Eagle Plains along the top of the range.
73km: Roller-coaster over the Ogilvie Range.
85km: Gradual up long-side the Peel River then up a pass.
77km: Up the long final pass all day.
112km: Down the last 72km of the Dempster Hwy then along the North Klondike Hwy to Dawson City.
Found this photo on the wall of the Eagle Plains restaurant. This is how they used to bike the Dempster. Truly hardcore! That tent would be 10kg.
The beautiful road through the shallow valley on the way up to the final pass of the Dempster.
The lovely Co-Motion near the Tombstone Mountain campsite about one day’s ride (75km) from the bottom of the highway.
Sometimes you just get really really lucky with a hotel (as I did at he lovely Downtown Hotel in Dawson City). Leg Heaven feels a little bit like this.
Dawson City is a cute gold-rush nostalgia town in northern Yukon; with great pizza, lashings of beer and a large spa bath.