Dawson City Campgrounds: Which One Should You Stay In?

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A couple smiling in Dawson City outside by their truck camper.

If you’re making a road trip through Canada into Alaska or just exploring the Canadian frontier, your route may take you through Dawson City, Yukon. It’s pretty far north and along one of the most northern highways on the continent.

But if you’re heading into Fairbanks or venturing onto the Arctic Circle, it’s well worth a visit for a few days. Let’s check out the Dawson City campgrounds so you can start planning your Canadian adventure!

Where Is Dawson City?

Dawson City is in the Yukon territory, which forms the eastern border of Alaska. Canada has three territories and 10 provinces. The Yukon is the most western territory and the smallest. The Northwest Territories forms its eastern border, and the province of British Columbia forms its southern border.

Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon, is a little less than six hours southeast of Dawson City. The international border between Canada and the U.S. at Alaska is less than two hours west of Dawson City.

Three scenic highways start or end in Dawson City, Yukon. The Top of the World Highway begins in Tetlin Junction, Alaska, and runs about 170 miles northeast to Dawson City. 

The Dempster Highway starts in Dawson City and travels about 480 miles northeast to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Finally, the Klondike Highway begins in Skagway, Alaska, goes about 440 miles northwest, and ends in Dawson City.

View of Dawson City.

What Is Dawson City Famous For?

Dawson City is the endpoint or starting point for these scenic highways. It’s the northernmost city in the Yukon before travelers venture into Canada’s more remote wilderness.

But what made Dawson City famous was the Klondike Gold Rush. Between 1896 and 1899, approximately 100,000 prospectors fled to the Yukon after local miners discovered gold. 

Dawson City became a boom town at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers. This history draws tourists every year, and they can follow the route these early prospectors took along the Klondike Highway. 

If you’d like ideas for what to do during your stay in Dawson City, check out our article “Is Dawson City, Yukon, Worth a Visit?” You’ll find dozens of attractions and activities like touring the S.S. Keno National Historic Site, panning for gold, viewing the Northern Lights, and more!

How to Get to Dawson City, Yukon

You can easily access Dawson City, Yukon. The three scenic highways bring you to the city, although a ferry ride across the Yukon River is required depending on which side you’re coming from. 

Highway 9 (the Top of the World Highway) leads into the city’s western side, while Highway 2 (the Klondike Highway) leads into the city’s eastern side. The Yukon River runs north to south.

If you travel from the capital city of Whitehorse, the drive will take 5 to 6 hours, depending on the weather and road conditions. Traveling from eastern Alaska via the Top of the World Highway will take 2 to 3 hours from the international border. Much of this road is unpaved.

Which Dawson City Campground Is Right for You?

You won’t have many campgrounds to choose from when planning a trip to Dawson City. This is important to remember as they’ll typically fill up quickly during the peak summer season. 

So it’s best to plan as far ahead as possible. Let’s look at each Dawson City campground to decide which one will work best for you.

1. Gold Rush Campground

The Gold Rush Campground is located about two minutes from the Yukon River. Nightly rates range from $30 to $54, depending on hookups.

The campground is convenient to everything in Dawson City and includes all of the amenities for a comfortable stay, like laundry facilities, potable water, and a dump station. Pets are welcome. 

Who Should Stay Here: The Gold Rush Campground is perfect for those who want to be in the heart of Dawson City and within walking distance of everything. For example, motorhome owners without a toad will love the easy accessibility to downtown.

View of the Gold Rush Campground in Dawson City.

2. Yukon River Campground

On the other side of the river from Dawson City is the Yukon River Campground. These 102 sites are open from May to October, and you can easily access the campground by the George Black Ferry.

This campground features beach access, hiking trails, a playground, fire rings, and picnic tables. Because this is a government campground, you must obtain a camping permit. The sites are first-come, first-served.

Who Should Stay Here: RVers who head into Dawson City from Alaska won’t have to cross the Yukon River with their rig. This is the highest-rated park and the cheapest, but it’s across the river from Dawson City.

If you’re visiting on your way to Alaska, you must take the ferry to the RV park and then back to see the city. So that’s why we recommend it for people coming from the Alaskan side instead of Canada.

3. Dawson City RV Park & Campground

Finally, the fourth Dawson City campground is the Dawson City RV Park and Campground. This option is right beside the Bonanza Gold Motel and RV Park on Highway 2. It offers full-service campsites and additional amenities like tire repairs/sales, gas, diesel, propane, and an RV/car wash.

Who Should Stay Here: RVers traveling on a tight budget will appreciate the low nightly rates of Dawson City RV Park and Campground. It’s a no-frills park but is still conveniently located near downtown.

Keep in Mind: Are you brave enough to drive the Top of the World Highway? Before you hit the road, check out these tips for a safe drive!

RVs parked at Dawson City RV Park & Campground.

4. Bonanza Gold Motel & RV Park

The Bonanza Gold Motel and RV Park is 5 minutes from downtown Dawson City, just off Highway 2. The campground offers full-service sites that also include cable TV and Wi-Fi.

Other amenities include laundry facilities, showers, and an RV/car wash. Nightly rates range from $26 to $54, depending on hookups.

Who Should Stay Here: RVers who want to be outside the city but close enough to enjoy the attractions, shopping, and dining options of Dawson City will enjoy staying here. You’re not right in the middle of downtown like you would be at the Gold Rush Campground, but you’re only minutes away.

What Other Lodging Options Are in Dawson City?

If you don’t have an RV, you can find other lodging options besides Dawson City campgrounds. You can choose from a slew of hotels and cabins. 

Bombay Peggy’s is highly rated and offers Victorian decor and antique furnishings with modern amenities. The Dawson Lodge is also highly rated, with 10 bedrooms with ensuites and an onsite spa. You can find all of the local accommodations on the Dawson City website.

Keep in Mind: Dawson City is home to the a unique drink, the Sourtoe Cocktail. Do you have the stomach to try this cocktail?

The Midnight Sun Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Dawson City?

Because campgrounds only open seasonally, the best time to visit Dawson City is May to September. You’ll also find that local businesses, tours, and attractions operate seasonally. 

So, if you want a full Klondike experience, you’ll want to visit during the summer. The average high temperature stays under 80 degrees during these months, but you’ll have a higher chance of rain. However, to avoid freezing temperatures, arriving after April and leaving by the beginning of October is best.

Get the Klondike Experience in Dawson City This Camping Season

Dawson City puts its name on the map during the Klondike Gold Rush, but it’s still the Yukon’s second most populous city today.

You’ll love all this area offers, from learning about the mining history to viewing the spectacular Northern Lights. 

These Dawson City campgrounds provide a convenient place to stay for RVers and won’t break the bank. Now you just have to decide which option is right for you! At which campground will you make your reservation?

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