Everything You Need to Know About the Dawson City Ferry

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View from the Dawson City Ferry.

The Klondike Highway comes to an abrupt end just north of Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. However, the Dawson City Ferry is available for those wishing to continue to Alaska.

Many drivers have never had to rely on a ferry to transport them across a body of whatever. If that’s you, there’s no need to panic. We’re here to help!

Today, we’ll share everything you need to know about the Dawson City Ferry. Let’s get started so you can have a smooth and uneventful crossing.

What Is the Dawson City Ferry?

The Dawson City Ferry connects the Klondike Highway with The Top of the World Highway. The Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works maintains and operates this 6 to 7-minute trip across the Yukon River.

It is a first-come, first-served ferry that services various vehicles. It’s not uncommon to see passenger cars, commercial vehicles, fuel trucks, and RVs loaded onto the ferry. However, the service is also available for those traveling on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle.

For those attempting the trek to Alaska, the Dawson City Ferry is one of the last stops before reaching Alaska. You’re only an hour from reaching The Last Frontier. 

Cars parked by the Dawson City Ferry.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the Dawson City Ferry?

Surprisingly, the Dawson City Ferry is a free service the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works provides.

All you have to do is follow their instructions and sit back and enjoy the ride. You don’t have to stress about having Canadian or American dollars to cover the short cruise across the Yukon River.

When Is the Best Time to Take the Dawson City Ferry?

The Dawson City Ferry runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, they typically do maintenance on Fridays from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. 

Because this is a first-come, first-served ferry, you’ll want to plan when you arrive strategically. Many travelers attempt to cross first thing in the morning, which means long lines and extended wait times.

RVs and other oversized vehicles will likely have increased wait times during these periods. Instead of hitting the road in the morning, explore Dawson City while the workers slowly chip away at the long line. 

Arriving just after lunch or in the early evening can increase your chances of a quick trip across the river with minimal wait times. However, you’ll likely always have to wait during the busy summer months.

Cars on the Dawson City Ferry.

Does the Dawson City Ferry Close?

While the Dawson City Ferry is open 24 hours, it’s not open year-round. During the winter, massive ice sheets make the Yukon River impassable. The dangerous cold temperatures and ice make it unsafe for workers to operate the ferry.

Unfortunately, the dates change annually and significantly depend on the weather conditions. Generally, it operates from mid-May through mid-October. If you’re concerned about possible closures, visit the 511 Yukon to check the ferry’s current status.

Tips for Taking the Dawson City Ferry

Before attempting to board the Dawson City Ferry, we have some things you need to know. These tips can help ensure a stress-free cruise across the Yukon River.

Plan Ahead

One of the worst things you can do is to arrive at the Dawson City Ferry without a plan. However, you don’t have to overthink it. As you can see in this video, it’s a relatively simple process.

Being familiar with the process means one less thing to worry about and can allow you to enjoy the entire experience.

Avoid Peak Times

As we mentioned, this is a first-come, first-served ferry. Unfortunately, many travelers get excited about finally reaching Alaska. While the workers at the crossing move as quickly as possible, long lines form each morning. Do yourself a favor and avoid crossing in the morning.

Instead, give the crew time to process the initial rush. Grab a bite to eat or hike a trail before getting in line. This can reduce the time you spend waiting. If not, make sure you pack your patience.

Keep in Mind: If you haven’t found a place to camp at in Dawson City, we’ve got you covered!

Follow Instructions

When you arrive at the Dawson City ferry, workers will give you instructions. However, don’t expect high-tech signs or indicators telling you what to do.

Workers hold signs and use hand signals to provide instructions. Unfortunately, seeing the person with the sign and signaling to you can be tricky. 

Depending on how long you’re waiting, you may easily get distracted. However, to expedite the process, pay attention so you don’t miss any critical instructions. This will help you, the workers, and others waiting to board the ferry.

The Dawson City Ferry.

Stay in Your Vehicle

One of the ferry’s rules is that passengers must remain in their vehicle. The ferry isn’t large, so there’s not much space. Workers try to make use of every available inch.

Their job is to help you get safely across. Don’t make it more difficult for them by getting out of your vehicle.

Keep in Mind: Is the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure Worth It? Let’s dive in and see!

Enjoy the Ride

A trip across the Yukon River on the Dawson City Ferry is a fun experience; enjoy it. The workers cross the river countless times daily and know what they’re doing.

While being anxious is normal, don’t let it ruin your experience. Enjoy the ride and view of the surrounding area. 

Take a Quick Trip on the Dawson City Ferry

A quick trip on the Dawson City Ferry can be an adventure. If it’s on your bucket list, don’t delay. A recent news story shares how officials are considering the construction of a bridge, which would put the ferry out of commission. 

We would hate for you to miss this fun and exciting experience. So pack your bags and drive onto the Dawson City Ferry before it’s too late!

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