Discovery Yukon Lodgings - our History
Our property is situated on what was at one time the bed of the White River, before it changed its course many years ago. There have been people travelling through this area for hundreds of years. An archaeological dig in the surrounding area has revealed human remains of Chinese origin, supporting the theory that there was once a land bridge between the continents.
The mail route from Southeast to Northwest Alaska during the early part of the 19th century went through the hillside along one side of the property and is still clearly visible from the air. Mail and furs were transported by dog teams from Skagway to Chistochina (Alaska’s oldest community), and to the Hudson Bay Company outposts.
There were numerous copper mines in the surrounding mountains, the remains of which can be still be explored today. Rafts and barges were built during the winter, to transport the excavated ore down the White River on the high water caused by spring break-up to Dawson City. The ore was then carried by sternwheeler down the Yukon River to Whitehorse. From there it went on the White Pass & Yukon Rail to Skagway. As you journey through the area, the reality of the time comes into focus as a coffeepot or harness is nestled in a tree branch twenty feet in the air! The items had been placed there for safe keeping and left behind as the owner continued his or her journey.
The site was originally developed by the US Military as a base camp and officers’ quarters in 1941 during the 9 months construction of the Alaska Highway. In the following years it operated as a highway lodge, being at its peak in the 1990s when it was open 24 hours, offering a restaurant, fuel and accommodation. However, as a result of road enhancements and modern vehicles, travellers are now able to drive for longer distances without the need to stop for food or fuel. This has led to the decline and closure of many highway lodges. Our lodge has been renovated, and now offers new restrooms and showers, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Significant improvements have been made outside over the past years, including the creation of a wildlife pond and additional RV sites, in addition to our tent camp sites and cabins.