After leaving Watson Lake, the road wandered back into British Columbia for a bit before crossing into the Yukon for good. The scenery was great with the road curving through beautiful country with more snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Rancheria Falls is along this stretch of road and can be reached by a short trail. The trail has two overlooks, as the river actually splits into two roughly equal parts, each with a small falls. They are quite pretty and make for a great opportunity to stretch your legs.
Our destination for the day was Teslin, a Tlingit First Nations town. As you approach Teslin, you cross the Nisutlin Bay Bridge, the second longest bridge on the Alaska Highway. It is 1,917 feet long. The Nisutlin River forms a bay here as it flows into Teslin Lake.
Our thoughts were to camp at Teslin Yukon Government Campground. We planned to get a site and then backtrack in the morning to check out the heritage sites in Teslin. When we got to the campground, I was a bit disappointed. Very few sites had a glimpse of the Lake. I had been looking at this lake for many miles along the highway and surely you would think we could see it from a campground that is overlooking the lake. Nope. And the sites just didn’t appeal to me.
So we backtracked to Dawson Peaks, which advertised cabins, rv sites, and a restaurant. We started thinking about how nice it would be to have a meal that we didn’t have to cook. Well, the restaurant was closed and the campsites, although nice, were up on the hill without much of a view of the lake and mountain peaks. So we turned around again and headed back over the bridge again. On the other side of the bridge was Yukon Motel and Lakeshore RV Park. The sites were fairly open but you could see the bay! We asked for electric and water at the lakeshore, and I had a great view out of my windows!
After getting settled, we went to check out their Wildlife Gallery. Wow! I was truly amazed at the museum quality of their displays! Absolutely fantastic!! Then we went to have dinner at their restaurant. The restaurant lacked in ambiance but made up for it in great food. We enjoyed great home cooked entrees and then had a wonderful pie to top it all off.
It was awesome to wake up in the morning with a beautiful view! After a leisurely start, we went to visit the George Johnston Museum. George Johnston was of Tlingit descent and recorded many of his experiences with his camera. He also had the first car in the area and cut a 3 mile track to create a taxi service. His history was amazing and through his eyes, I learned a great perspective of the Tlingit culture and also how they were later affected by the Alaska Highway. This was a great stop!
The next stop was at the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Center. Their video seemed to promote more of the modern culture and reuniting of the coastal and inland Tlingit tribes. They had some displays but everything was presented in more of a gallery style. Supposedly, there were some demonstrations but the demonstrators seemed to be out for lunch all of the time that we were there. I didn’t get as much out of this stop as I had at the George Johnston Museum. The heritage center, however, had an awesome location with great views over the lake and is a perfect picnic stop.
Day 27 (Day 21 in Canada)
Driving time: 4:00
Roads: Alaska Highway (YT-1)
Road conditions: Good
Overnight: Yukon Motel Campground
Weather: Sunny am, cloudy pm (52/72)
Total miles since crossing Canadian border: 2,015*
Total miles: 3,583*
* Since our motorhome is our only vehicle, mileage includes side trips.