Road Trip: Skagway, Alaska to Emerald Lake (Yukon Territory, Canada)

If you find yourself in Skagway, Alaska with a few hours to fill, consider renting a car in town (Avis has an office on 3rd Avenue) and driving into Canada. We left Skagway at 10 am and were back in town by 2 pm. The drive along the Klondike Highway is incredibly scenic. You’ll pass glacial lakes, alpine trees stunted by the harsh environment, and towering mountain peaks.

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The town of Carcross (short for Caribou Crossing) is a great place to stop for lunch. Try a sandwich complete with freshly baked bread at Chilkoot Trail Authentic Sourdough Bakery. Their coconut and sunflower seed cookies were still warm from the oven and a yummy way to end lunch.

Carcross Desert is just a few minutes from town. Not actually a desert, the sand dunes are remnants of a glacial lake that date back almost 10,000 years.

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Another 10 minutes of driving, and you’ll see the pullout that overlooks stunning Emerald Lake. The lake’s blue-green color is a result of sunlight reflecting off white calcium carbonate layers at the bottom. The calcium carbonate is left over from fossilized diatoms, past lake inhabitants. This is a great place to turn around and head back to Skagway.

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Don’t forget to pack your passport. You will need to show it upon entry to Canada and when you return to the US.