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Tombstone TP during September 2018

Rugged mountains that stretch out for kilometres on end in one of the Yukon's most isolated and untouched regions characterize Tombstone Territorial Park. Nestled in the centre of the territory, the park can feel so far away from civilization yet only be 100 km (62 mi) from Dawson City.


The Dempster Hwy is one of Northern Canada's most beautiful roads
The park in 2015


The Tr'ondek Hwech'in and other First Nations peoples have been present in the region for at least 8,000 years. More than 78 archaeological sites bear witness to the continuous use of the region by the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

When the conservation areas movement began worldwide in the 1970s, that's when Tombstone Territorial Park was first eyed. In particular, two sensitive Indigenous sites were found by scientists in 1972. After this, the park was identified as an area to be protected by the now Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. The park was finally established in 2000 in agreement with the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation. Today, the park is now jointly managed by the Government of Yukon and the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin.

The scenic mountains remained a hidden gem and still are not-so-well-traversed owing to the park's desolation. Over time, the number of tourists has increased, with the park now receiving tourists from all over the world. Only time will tell whether the park's pristine environment will be able to sustain the number of tourists.

Landscape, flora and fauna[edit]

See also: Arctic wildlife, North American wildlife

The landscape of the territorial park is characterized by permafrost soil with pingos (small hills with a core of ice) and palsas (peat mounds) and wide, spacious valleys covered with tundra. The cold air from the Arctic Ocean has spread Arctic tundra into the northern reaches of the park. Here, the park is home to various forms of vegetation can be found that are otherwise only found in much more northern latitudes. The valleys of the Klondike and Chandindu Rivers in the south of the park are covered with boreal forest; the presence of many different rock forms and minerals has resulted in soils that have produced a diverse flora.

The Porcupine caribou herd winters in the region, and the Hart River herd resides there year-round. In addition to moose and Dall sheep, grizzly and black bears and 137 species of birds, including gyrfalcons and golden eagles, live in the park.


The park's climate resembles a mish mash of Subarctic and Arctic climate, though it's still cold, to say the very least. Temperatures commonly range in the single digits, and it frequently hits the negatives, as with the rest of the Yukon. Make sure to bring good clothes that protect you from the extreme cold. Winter tires are also necessary during the colder months.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

The park entrance. Ddhäl Ch’èl Cha Nän, the park slogan, means "ragged mountain land".

Tombstone TP is, at its closest point, 64 km (40 mi) north of the junction between Highway 2 (Klondike Highway) and Highway 5's (Dempster Highway) southern terminus. The southern 8 km (5.0 mi) of the Dempster Highway is paved, but north of that, the road becomes unpaved. The junction is 40 km east of Dawson City via Hwy 2.

The next closest settlement to the park is Eagle Plains, 254 km (158 mi) to the north of the East Blackstone River bridge, also via the Dempster. The Dempster continues northeast into the Northwest Territories, passing Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. If you're doing a multi-day drive along the Dempster all the way up to the Arctic Ocean, consider stopping by Tombstone TP.

Fees and permits[edit]

Map of Tombstone Territorial Park

There are no fees for entering Tombstone TP. However, you will need a licence or permit for certain activities such as fishing or camping – enquire at the visitor centre for these licences. In some cases, you may also need to book online, as with the case for backcountry camping, but keep in mind that booking online does not default to the Yukon Search and Rescue (Yukon SAR) initiating a search operation if you happen to go missing.

Get around[edit]

There is one main road in the park, the Dempster Highway that runs north–south. It's the only practical way to get around the various different regions of the park.

Some of the lakes and mountains are only accessible via hiking. In addition, it's easier to walk between the various points of interest around the visitor centre.


  • 1 Tombstone Range Viewpoint, Kilometre 74 Dawson Hwy (3 km north-northwest of the visitor centre). A roadside viewpoint that overlooks the valley surrounding the North Klondike River. To the side, you'll see mountains well over 1800–2000 m – while these are a laughing stock compared to many of the Yukon's other mountains (and neighbouring Alaska's and BC's), many of these mountains have a prominence of over 1000 metres. The result is an impressive photogenic viewpoint.
  • 2 Two Moose Lake, Kilometre 102.6 Dawson Hwy. A small idyllic lake with a viewpoint along the highway, though you'll see fewer mountains here. This part of the park is also less developed and the only tourist facility is the lookout. Two Moose Lake (Q22375603) on Wikidata
Northern lights in the Tombstones near the end of August
  • There is also the opportunity to see the northern lights with no light pollution for hundreds of kilometres. While early spring is often viewed as the best time for seeing the lights, fall can also be a suitable time of year. All one needs is a brief period of complete darkness and preferably a cloudless sky.
  • 3 Tthe Zrąy Kek’it (Black City). One of the eight components of the Tr’ondëk-Klondike UNESCO World Heritage Site, these are the remains of a Native American settlement. Tr'ochëk (Q2457306) on Wikidata Tr'ochëk on Wikipedia


By far, the thing to do in Tombstone TP is hiking. The park is home to six hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Some are no more than a kilometre, while others can take hours. In addition to the six hiking trails, there are also two trails but are not trailheads; both are practically continuations of the Grizzly Lake Trail. These two trails are much more difficult and poorly marked.

The three closest trails to the visitor centre are the North Klondike River Trail (coloured   on map) and the Edge of the Arctic Interpretive Trail (coloured   on map), which are 3 km (1.9 mi) and 500 m (1,600 ft) respectively. The river trail runs alongside the North Klondike River; along the way, the mountains and valleys won't disappoint you, but they'll do the exact opposite. The Edge of the Arctic Interpretive Trail can be said to be a spur trail of the North Klondike River Trail, and it's that kind of interpretive trail you'll find near many campgrounds. The third trail, Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail, is the park's only wheelchair-accessible trail and is 1 km (0.62 mi). It starts at the visitor centre.

Goldensides Mtn

Goldensides Mountain Trail (coloured   on map) is a 5-km (return) medium-difficulty trail towards 4 Goldensides Mountain, though the trail ends just at the base of the mountain. The slopes up towards the base are relatively gentle and the elevation gain is only 215 m (705 ft).

Grizzly Lake Trail (coloured   on map) is by far the park's most prominent medium- to long-distance hiking trail, starting at km 58.5 Dawson Highway. For those who are limited on time, the 6-km return to the viewpoint is by far the easiest, taking you as far away from civilization yet being only a medium-difficulty trail. From there onwards, the trail continues westwards until Grizzly Lake – the total trail is 13 km (8.1 mi) one way. Just before you reach Grizzly Lake, you'll see a spur trail heading north. This trail is the Divide Lake Trail (coloured   on map), the trail that heads towards Divide Lake; Divide Lake Trail continues southwest past Divide Lake as the Talus Lake Trail (coloured   on map) that heads towards, you guessed it, Talus Lake. This one essentially-continuous trail might seem windy on a map – this is because the trail makes its way around Mt Monolith and follows a more gentle slope. Keep in mind that if you're attempting to visit Divide or Talus Lakes, you must camp at Grizzly Lake as you will not be able to make it from the Dawson to either of these two campgrounds in one day.

Paragliding in the Tombstones

The Tombstones are also an amazing place to paraglide with the potential to stay aloft for hours. The rolling hills with few trees makes it an easy place to launch and land.


The only shop of any kind in the territorial park is the gift shop at the visitor centre.

Eat and drink[edit]

The visitor centre does not sell food. All food will need to be brought with you. If you're considering camping, Wikivoyage's article on camping food might be of some use.


Accommodation in Tombstone Territorial Park is, to say the very least, limited. There is no lodging within the park, and the closest settlement that does have accommodation is Dawson City, about an hour southwest. However, if you want the real wilderness experience, camping (whether it's in a campground or backcountry camping) is always an option, although it requires a lot more effort, and keep in mind that Yukon's weather can be unforgiving at times – it can get really cold, especially during the winter months. Practice leave-no-trace camping; by doing so, you protect the park's pristine environment.


The park only has one proper designated campground, 1 Tombstone Mountain Campground, 500 metres to the north of the visitor centre (on km 72). It is also the only place to rest your head that's road-accessible and open year-round, as all other sites are for backcountry camping. The campground contains 51 campsites, and is serviced from late April to early October, but not in the winter months. Registrations are required.


If you're hoping to immerse into the park's many mountains, valleys and lakes, the park does not fall short on backcountry campsites. As of November 2022, there are three backcountry campsites: 2 Grizzly Lake, 3 Divide Lake and 4 Talus Lake, all alongside the Grizzly Lake Trail. NB: you cannot stay at Divide or Talus Lake on your first night as these are too far to realistically hike from the Dempster Highway in one day.

Before going backcountry camping, you must make an online reservation on the park's website. Once you've done so, bring your reservation with you to the visitor centre (consider printing it out, as there's no Wi-Fi nor cell service in the visitor centre) where you'll be given your backcountry camping permit – you are then good to go.

Campfires at all three backcountry campgrounds are prohibited. Otherwise, as a rule of thumb, when you leave, your campsite should look just like how you find it, if not better.

Stay safe[edit]

There is no cell/mobile service nor is there Wi-Fi at the visitor centre in the park – make sure to be adequately prepared and let someone know about your trip. Make sure to bring enough food and water to last for the duration of your trip.

If you are driving, bring a spare tire and consider whether you need a winch or other emergency equipment. Anything can happen on unpaved roads, there may be nobody nearby to help, and your cellphone won't work. Beware of wildlife collisions.

If you're making the rather bold move to visit the park in winter, make sure you're prepared. The visitor centre and all backcountry campgrounds will be closed – some of the tips listed on winter driving, cold weather or camping may be of some use.

There are no polar bears in this region, but there are many grizzly bears. You need to take adequate precautions; see Wikivoyage's advice on dangerous bears.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Tombstone Territorial Park
jct  SSW  NE  Eagle Plains jct at YT/NWT border → Inuvik

Your only options are to continue on along the Dempster Highway. Either you can continue north on a Northern Canada road trip towards Tuktoyakuk in the Northwest Territories towards the Arctic Ocean, or you can head back down south to Dawson City. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can head west onto the Top of the World Highway onwards into Alaska.

This park travel guide to Tombstone Territorial Park has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information about the park including attractions, activities, lodging, campgrounds, restaurants, and arrival/departure info. Please contribute and help us make it a star!