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Eagle Plains - Yukon

Northern Oasis

 

Eagle Plains is not a plain!

This is a large, rolling region of hills nestled between the Ogilvie and Richardson mountain ranges. The area is at the alpine level and is mostly covered with stunted black spruce. Much of the ground has permafrost close to the surface and is covered with mosses, lichens, and short shrubs. The Eagle River, from which the area gets its name, wanders through the plains, fed by smaller creeks. Newcomers to the highway often consider Eagle Plains to be a boring, monotonous part of the trip. We would urge you to think otherwise.

Along the Dempster Highway

The views from the Dempster throughout its crossing of Eagle Plains are awe-inspiring. The tundra requires close examination to see the delicate alpine vegetation. In late August and early September the land is ablaze with color as the alpine plants turn into brilliant shades of crimson while the willows and birches along the creeks and the Eagle River turn a vivid yellow. Then, the tundra turns brown, in its wait for winter and the blowing snow to appear.

In all of our northern travels, one view remains the most memorable: the Richardson Mountains as seen from Eagle Plains. In late October the Richardsons were topped with fresh snow, enhancing the soft, sculptured look of the mountain peaks. A magnificent sunset bathed the mountains, ending with subtle pinks as the sun went down. Some geologists say that the Richardsons are the northernmost peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The matter is still in scientific dispute.

There's an extensive border of fireweed along the highway at KM 364 (mile 226). The territorial flower, it flourishes throughout the Yukon. At KM 369 (mile 229) there's a good view of the Eagle River as it meanders through the plains. Several oxbow lakes created by the winding river can be seen from this point. Wildlife, including beavers, muskrats, and many birds, is abundant here.

Eagle Plains Hotel is a unique oasis in the middle of nowhere, and a logical place to stay overnight during your Dempster Highway trip. It is almost exactly halfway between Dawson City and Inuvik. This is a completely self-contained complex with electrical generator and water hauled by tanker truck from the Eagle River. The complex includes a gas station, government office, staff quarters, a campground, and a modern motel with dining room and lounge. For information and reservations, telephone (867) 993-2453 (99-EAGLE), or write to Eagle Plains Hotel, Bag Service 2735, Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 3V5. The hotel is open year-round.

Be sure to see several sets of historical photos on the walls of the hotel and lounge. These collections illustrating the stories of the Mad Trapper, the early R.C.M.P. dogsled patrols and the great reindeer drive are well worth seeing for an understanding of the special history of the northern Yukon. If it is not possible to continue a drive along the Dempster to the Mackenzie Delta, then by all means drive a few miles to the Arctic Circle Crossing. You'll never forgive yourself if you don't.

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Eagle Plains - Yukon

Eagle Plains Hotel
Bag Service 1735, Whitehorse YT Y1A 3V5
(867) 993-2453
This unique permanent hotel and restaurant complex is almost exactly halfway between Dawson City and Inuvik. Located just 21 miles south of the Arctic Circle, this is a completely self-contained complex, with electrical generator, and water hauled by tanker truck from the Eagle River. The complex includes a gas station, government office, staff quarters, and a campground with showers and laundry. The industrial-style (but comfortable) modular motel has a dining room and lounge. The hotel is open year-round.

 

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