6 Things To Do In Dawson City, From Flightseeing to Gold Panning

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You’ve just arrived in Dawson City and you are wondering what now? What is there to do in a town of fewer than 2,000 people? You’d be surprised that I can come up with six things to do in Dawson City without even breaking a sweat. Best of all I did them. From cruising the Yukon River on a paddlewheeler, to gold panning to flying over the Tombstone Mountain range I did them all. There are walking tours through the historic town plus you can visit Robert Service’s cabin. Service is considered by many to be the “Klondike bard” and within five years of his leaving Dawson City, a visit to his home was one of the top things to do in Dawson City. It may be a small but Dawson City is rich in history and experiences, even for this modern day adventurer.

A little fun at the Parks Canada Booth

#1 Dawson City Farmer’s Market  No need to get up early on a Saturday morning for this farmer’s market because it takes place from 11 am to 5 pm. May through September you can eat, browse and shop your way through the vendor stalls. One artist even displayed a fine selection of jewellery handcrafted and incorporating famous Yukon Gold. I wonder if he panned for it?

Things to do in Dawson City, Farmer's Market

Canned goods for sale at Dawson City Farmer's Market

Jewellery made by Dawson City artisans

#2 Claim 33 Gold Panning – Located a short drive outside of Dawson City on Bonanza Road you will have the chance to pan for gold just like they did in the old Klondike Gold Rush days. This family-run business is your guaranteed shot at successfully panning for authentic Yukon gold. Grab a pan and learn the techniques that made millionaires out of paupers over 100 years ago. The site is also an outdoor museum of old gold mining equipment and machinery plus they always have a fresh pot of coffee on that you can help yourself to. Great for kids of all ages. I found a little gold at Claim 33.

Claim 33 gold panning

Gold mining museum at Claim 33

I found gold at Claim 33

My own piece of gold from Claim 33

#3 Flightseeing Over Tombstone Mountain Range – I highly recommend you pre-book this adventure before you arrive in Dawson City. Give Great River Air a call or email in advance of your trip and book a flightseeing tour over the Tombstone Mountains. Even if the weather isn’t perfect this is a MUST DO experience. It was a rainy and grey day that we went up yet the photos and views were just as spectacular as it the sky was blue. Keep your eyes out as you may spot some Big Horn Sheep.

Marc & Judy ready for a flightseeing tour

Approaching the Tombstone Mountain range

Tombstone Mountain

Up close in the Tombstone Mountain Range

#4 Dawson City Walking Tours – Parks Canada offers an amazing assortment of walking tours throughout Dawson City. Meet at the Visitor Centre, pick your tour and away you go. There is a self-guided tour available or you can enjoy taking a guided tour like I did. In period dress your guide takes you through town telling stories about the gold rush, the characters and how what life was like in Dawson City over 100 years ago.

Our Parks Canada guide

And the Walking Tour of Dawson City begins

Inside an old Bank in Dawson City

#5 Robert Service Cabin & Hike – Follow in the footsteps of the Klondike Bard himself, Robert Service, and enjoy a guided hike with Parks Canada up Crocus Bluff. The hike includes readings of some of Service’s most famous poems and a spectacular view over Dawson City. You’ll even get to take a look inside the cabin he called home when he lived in Dawson City.

Robert Service Cabin and the beginning of a guided hike with Parks Canada

#6 Klondike Spirit – I’ve shared this adventure in an early story but it is worth repeating. Hop aboard a paddlewheeler and cruise up the Yukon River. There are great sights to see including a paddlewheeler graveyard that I went back to on foot for a hike.

The Klondike Spirit Yukon River Paddle Wheeler

Taking a a moment to take it all in

Up close shot of the ship graveyard

This is just a sample of the things to do in Dawson City. There is much more to see and do and a great place to find out all about them is at the Visitor Centre. It may be small but the adventures are big Dawson City.

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Tourism Yukon for hosting me on this trip and to Aeroplan for helping with my flights from Toronto to Whitehorse. My views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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