Arctic Circle Drive & Hike
The Arctic Circle Drive & Hike tour goes into and beyond the Tombstone Range. We cross the continental divide between the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean in the Ogilvie Mountains and continue beyond to the Arctic Circle on the famed Dempster Highway. Stopping for day hikes along the way into the open terrain, we encounter sweeping, panoramic views of the incredible North. Optional Tombstone/Ogilvie Mountains Heli Tour available.
Activity Level Easy to Moderate
Group Size Medium
Dates and Prices
We know the range of dates we are requesting from Parks, but won't have confirmation of any dates until December, 2023.Book Now
Day 0 – You arrive in Dawson City – (transport to Dawson City not included in this tour)
Accommodation Type: Hotel
All meals on this day are your responsibility.
We will pick you up from the airport and take you to your accommodation (included in tour price). The group will meet for introductions and trip briefing.
- Day 1 Dawson City
Accommodation Type: Hotel
All meals on this day are your responsibility. The day will be spent in Dawson City. We will plan a short historic tour of Dawson City and take those who are interested to visit the original gold fields and to the top of the Dome, a hill overlooking Dawson. In the afternoon, you will have time on your own to allow you to focus on your own interests. We will meet for dinner at a local restaurant.
- Day 2 To the Dempster Highway
L/ D Accommodation Type: Camping
In the morning we will set out for Klondike Corner and the beginning of the Dempster Highway. The highway follows the North Klondike Valley, flanked on either side by high mountains. After approximately 2 hours we will reach our campsite at the Tombstone Mountain Recreation Area. After setting up camp we will hike into Grizzly Valley, our first opportunity to see the country up close. Our high point will provide us with views of Mount Monolith - the most spectacular of the Tombstones.
- Day 3 Beyond the Tomstones, across the divide
B/L/ D Accommodation Type: Camping
As we leave the campground, the road climbs to a viewpoint of the Tombstones, then crosses its high point at North Fork Pass and levels out into sub-arctic tundra. The highway parallels the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police dog-trail near the Blackstone River.
Our short driving day will bring us to our campsite at Engineer Creek. In the afternoon, those who wish to, can join us in a hike up Sapper Hill to get a close view of the castellations (rock formations resulting from wind and frost erosion). Those who prefer to stay behind can spend the morning in more relaxing pursuits.
- Day 4 Over the Ogilvies
B/L/ D Accommodation Type: Camping
Our road will take us along more spectacular castellated ridges, reminiscent of the Great Wall of China. We will cross the Continental Divide again through the Ogilvie Mountains and will pass into a region untouched by glaciation. In mid-afternoon we will stop at Eagle Plains Hotel, the first community and gas station since Klondike Corner. The highway winds back and forth along a ridge that provides a spectacular view of the Ogilvies.
We will reach the Arctic Circle (66.5°N) in less than an hour. Rock River Campground, our campsite, is not far from here.
- Day 5 Beginning the journey home
B/L/ D Accommodation Type: Camping
We begin heading south on our return journey. From Eagle Plains, we will return to Tombstone Campground. Near the end of the day we may do another hike. Time & disposition will determine our course. We can ascend Goldensides Mt. There are rewarding views of three major valleys and another view of Mt. Monolith.
- Day 6 Arriving in Dawson City
B/L/D Accommodation Type: Flight home or Hotel (not included)
Leaving the Tombstones we will return to Dawson City arriving in the morning. There will be an opportunity to spend the morning exploring Dawson City, a last lunch together before we go our separate ways. Those taking flights will be taken to the airport.
inclusions and exclusions at a glance
- Transportation from the point of origin and return
- Snacks/beverages on the expedition
- All meals while on the touring portion (outside of Dawson City)
- Meal preparation
- Camping fees
- Exceptional guides for entire journey
- Cooking gear/camp stoves/water filtration
- Tents & tarps
- Emergency radio/satellite phone/major first aid supplies
- We can provide sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, poles for rent
- Transportation to point of origin, transfers, accommodation and food other than included in the itinerary, and personal equipment.
- Some meals are not included. When we are in Dawson City, it makes more sense for you to choose and cover your own meals, as we will have access and be using the restaurants there.
- Gratuities are not included. Our guides make every effort to ensure your holiday is all you expected and more. Recognition of a job well done is always appreciated; $10-20/day per guide is recommended.
SEA to SKY will pick up for all expeditions that originate in Dawson City. Should any problems or miscommunication arise, please email our office and we will forward you the guide team's contact info. (cell number and email address).
GETTING TO DAWSON CITY
Air Canada has daily flights to Whitehorse. Air North has scheduled flights from Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver to Whitehorse, and daily flights on to Dawson City. Please check with your travel agent or the Air North site for details.
This is a rugged hike for some portions. The best boots for this kind of backpacking are solid-able to take rough talus slopes, water proof, and with a full, stiff shank for ankle support. If you get new boots, it is important to break them in before your trip to ensure that they are comfortable and to minimize the risk of blisters. It is also a good idea to bring a pair of comfortable sandals or water shoes for wearing around camp and for crossing streams or other bodies of water.
For a six-day backpacking trip in varied terrain, you will want a backpack with a capacity of at least 65-85 liters, depending on the size of your gear and the type of trip you are taking.
Some key features to look for in a backpack for this type of trip include:
Comfort: Look for a backpack with a comfortable and well-padded hip belt and shoulder straps, as well as a good ventilation system to prevent your back from getting too hot and sweaty.
Durability: Choose a backpack made from strong and durable materials, such as ripstop nylon, to withstand the rigors of the trail.
Weather resistance: Consider a backpack with a waterproof or water-resistant cover or built-in rain cover to protect your gear from the elements.
Load-carrying ability: Look for a backpack with a sturdy frame and good load-carrying capacity to support the weight of your gear.
Organization: Choose a backpack with plenty of pockets, compartments, and attachment points to help you keep your gear organized and easily accessible.
Size: Make sure the backpack fits you well and is the right size for your body and your gear.
It is also a good idea to try on a few different backpacks and load them with weight to get a feel for how they carry before making your final decision.
Hiking poles can be a helpful tool for a rugged backpacking trip, as they can provide additional support and stability on rough or uneven terrain. They can also help to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles by distributing some of the load to your upper body.
However, whether or not to use hiking poles is ultimately a personal decision, and it may depend on factors such as your physical abilities, the terrain you will be hiking on, and your personal preference. Some people find that hiking poles help them to maintain balance and reduce fatigue, while others prefer to hike without them.
If you do decide to use hiking poles, it is important to choose a pair that is comfortable, lightweight, and adjustable to your height. It is also a good idea to practice using them before your trip to get a feel for how they work and to ensure that you are using them correctly.
Tips, or gratuities, are not mandatory. However, please consider what service is actually being given to you. While you might think that the company should just pay the guides better, it is not so simple. We do work in a competitive market, and pay rates are a function of the trip prices. If we could double prices, we would pay guides significantly better. At Sea to Sky, we have some of the better pay rates in the industry, and we are always pushing our competitors to increase pay rates for guides, but there is only so much we can do. Guides are seasonal workers. They shift off of their summer season to winter activities, or fill in with retail work, which is usually little more than minimum wage, often to periods of no work between seasonal jobs. It is a hard job, and wearing on the body.
The guides carry most of the group gear, so they have heavier loads than you have, all for you, because they would not be carrying much of the extras on a personal trip. Your guides are teaching you, helping you through challenges, cooking for you and serving you your meals, providing a safety envelope for you, and if you have a really good guide, they are filling you up with a deeper experience of being in the place you are visiting by telling you about the flora, fauna and history of the place.
So, how much should you tip your guides?
If you ate every meal out in a day, at a good, but low-cost restaurant, you would probably tip between $10 and $15 per day. If you were travelling and visiting a city and ate all your meals out, this is about how much you would tip for the day, low end. I would submit that the guides are feeding you all three meals in a day, AND serving you in so many more ways. That makes $10-$15 a day a minimum consideration, really. 10% to 15% of a trip price has been another rule of thumb that has been used. If your trip price is $2000, then $200 to $300 split between the guides is reasonable, and falls within that standard. Like most humans, guides are motivated when they are recognized and valued.
Your circumstances matter. If you are a student and clearly struggled to put together the cost of the trip, or have other circumstances that limit your ability to tip, guides understand and honour your appreciation, no matter what the size. However, if you have a large income or high net worth and means, a small tip might be a slap in the face. If you have means and you clearly and vocally appreciated the guides and all they did, and then leave a $50 tip after a 7 to 9 day trip, that amount would probably be insulting. If you have a fairly large income or net worth, you likely spend it on higher end restaurants, and maybe higher cost wine, drinks or desserts. You might even give a $50 tip for a dinner meal out-for ONE meal, so just consider your ability to tip and the level of service you received over the whole trip.
The largest tip any of our guides has received from one person is $1,500.00 for a 9-day trip. This was highly unusual, and was because we went way out of the way to replace her boots in the middle of the trail because her boots were falling apart, and this was on top of paying for the boots and their transport out to the trail. That was extraordinary service, and an extraordinary tip. On average, guides usually receive about $75 to $125 from each guest for each guide.
At Sea to Sky, we also split the tips between the lead and assistant guides, and proportionally with any drivers. We have a strong culture of teamwork and both the lead and assistant guides play essential roles for you, so we ensure both share equally in the tips for the trip. Tips are not shared or taken by owners and managers not on your trip, unless you send it separately and specify it is for service before or after a trip.