- mountain biking
Why Go? Well, to start, maybe the best mountain bike trail in Canada. Need more? This tiny hamlet sits at the outlet of Bennett Lake, right on the water-route to the Klondike, buffeted by consistent winds and a short drive to a huge alpine plateau. Overshadowed by a giant mountain that was once mined by Jack London characters, Carcross embodies the romance of the Yukon with a healthy dose of adventure.
Play: The Carcross First Nation turned their idle youth into trail builders, converting a network of old prospector paths and mine roads on Montana Mountain (the old haunt of the real Sam McGee) into wicked-fun single-track. Most mountain bike trails are on the lower flanks of the mountain, but the epic Mountain Hero Trail climbs into the alpine before descending for ages. The upper slopes of Montana are also great for hiking and even summer skiing. An hour’s drive west is White Pass, an expansive alpine meadow. The hike up Outhouse Hill follows the Alaska border to an overlook of the rolling pass. For more of a challenge, and an awesome view of the Coast Range, scramble up Fraser Peak, right behind the U.S. Customs building. Back in town, afternoon winds race across Bennett Lake, ideal for kiteboarding. When it’s calm, the lake is linked by water deep into BC or far into Yukon—sweep a canoe whichever way you want. And don’t miss exploring the world’s smallest desert, just north of town. When the lakes freeze, kiteboarders trade boards for skis and race across the snow. Or they ski-tour right off the road through the aptly named White Pass.
Government of Yukon
Stay: In Carcross, the options are limited to a couple B&Bs and a vacation rental. Nearby Spirit Lake Wilderness Resort has nice forested campsites, lakeside cottages and cabins.
Eat: When the White Pass & Yukon Route railway is hauling in cruise-ship passengers from Skagway, Alaska, Carcross Commons is the place to go. Tlingit-inspired facades decorate a little village of shops and restaurants just off the lake. Hit Caribou Coffee for baked goods and the best java in town. Refuel at the Gold Pan Pizza and dine out at the Bistro on Bennett.