Klondike Gold Rush Facts

a story of the real west from the last best west

375_justus_barnes_291On August 16, 1896, George Carmack dreamt about gold. Carmack dreamt of nugget eyes that gleamed from salmon in the Klondike River 20 steps from his feet. The next morning the old prospector pulled the first gold nuggets out of Rabbit Creek, in the Klondike Valley of the Yukon Territories. The Klondike Gold Rush drew 100,000 pilgrims to the gold fields of Canada.

“Neither law nor order prevailed, honest persons had no protection from the gang of rascals who plied their nefarious trade,” wrote mounted police officer Sam Steele, describing the scene at the base of the treacherous Chilkoot Pass. “Might was right; murder, robbery, and petty theft were common occurrences.”

More Gold Rush Facts

Carmack, Dawson Charlie and Skookum Jim, mighta started the Klondike gold rush, but they weren’t too bright when it came to picking the town site. There’s a legend says they were drunk when they staked out the city limits on boggy ground, right on the flood plain of the Klondike River.

Tens of thousands of would be prospectors rushed to the gold fields, but they were mostly too late. Most of the payin’ claims were staked out and filed in the six months after August 16, 1896.

Klondike Outfitters.

Klondike gold miners needed gear. Outfitters in San Franscisco, Seattle, and Vancouver made fortunes selling to the Klondike Gold Dreamers.

 Prospector.
Hi-Ho its off to the Gold Fields I go!
Hey! Ferns don’t grow in the Arctic!?

East to the Klondike Valley and the gold fields.

The start up and over the White Pass was simple enough.

Fact: Justice was rough on the way to the Klondike, and just as rough in Dawson City – the gateway to the gold fields.

Half way up the mountain, not a
pack animal survives.


A two hour final assualt on the Pass, and then a 2 minute ride down (on your shovel) to pack another load.

The NWMP declared, “1 ton of food or you can’t go to the Klondike Valley!”


A typical prospector watching his gear
at the top of the White Pass.

70 feet or more snow fell on the Coastal Mountains in the winter of 1897-98.

20,000 Gold prospector’s sat at
Bennett Lake – waiting for Spring.


May 29, 1898. The ice broke and the crowd headed for the Klondike gold fields.

All the Gold in the Klondike couldn’t save 1/3 of the sprawling town from burning in the spring of 1899.

Dawson City, Yukon Territories,
Canada – Spring  1898

Within a couple of months after the great fire of ’99, the city rebuilt in a much grander style. Klondike Gold paid for the nails that were $0.25/E.