Tucked secretly among the spruce trees and the west bank of the Yukon River, you will find the wooden vestiges of several paddle wheelers. Once considered the primary mode of transportation in the region, these boats were abandoned when ground travel became more popular. Here the massive wrecks linger, waiting for you to explore the collapsed pile of wooden planks and rotting struts.
Since the discovery of Klondike gold, hundreds of paddle wheelers have ruled the Yukon River. These mighty ships braved harsh conditions in remote areas, supplying Dawson City, Whitehorse and Fairbanks with a diverse range of goods and services. With the addition of airplanes to its transportation network in 1937, and the construction of various highways linking Dawson City, Whitehorse, and Fairbanks, the need for boats was diminishing. In 1953 the road to Dawson was completed which marked the end of the stern wheeler’s working days. The S.S. Keno was the last stern wheeler to ply the Yukon River when it made its journey to Dawson City on August 26, 1960 for its final resting place. Other paddle wheelers that plied the Yukon were not so fortunate in their fate, and were dry docked on the shores of the Yukon River. The river took over and throughout the years pushed the docked ships up the bank, destroying them.
Board the George Black Ferry (landing at the north end of Front Street), and travel across the Yukon River. Make your way to the Yukon River Campground and continue to the end of the campground, stopping at a little yellow gate. Follow the trail to the river’s shore and walk approx. 200 meters (1/8th of a mile) and then you’re there! Depending on the time of the season, you can either walk along the beach or follow the trail in the woods. Be bear aware.
Be aware that the site is unmanaged and should be explored at your own risk. Drop by the Visitor Information Centre to ask about weather and water levels before venturing over.