Nearly forty years before the Alaska Highway was built, Silver City was the end of the road from Whitehorse. It was the site, along the shores of the Lake Kluane, which saw a brief gold rush in the early 1900s. Dawson Charlie was the first to stake a claim in 1903 on the 4th of July Creek, and within six months, there were 2,000 claims staked in the Kluane area.
Summer detachments of tents were established on Bullion Creek, Pine Creek, and Ruby Creek, with a permanent detachment finally being set up at the outlet of Silver Creek. It was called Silver City, or Kluane, and it was home to a North-West Mounted Police barracks, a post office, a district mining office, and area miner cabins.
There was a lot of optimism for this gold rush, but by 1914, only about $40,000 of gold had been taken from the creeks. Sadly, one hydraulic mining company wasted $300,000 on their effort to find gold. Louis Jacquot was the big winner, taking home $4,000 (220 ounces of gold) from the Burwash area. Jacquot continued to strike it rich after the gold rush, charging the new boom of tourists in the 1920s between $2,000 and $3,000 each for a month-long hunt. He was a scrappy one, n’est ce pas?
Today, Silver City is a ghost town, slowly being taken over by the wilderness, and well worth detouring from the main highway for a visit.
• Silver City is located at kilometer 1635.8 of the Alaska Highway, or 57 kilometers west of Haines Junction, less than a kilometer after the Kluane Lake interpretive rest stop (heading west)
• To get to the ghost town, you must exit off the main highway and drive down a gravel road for five kilometers. The road was in great shape when I was there. There is no sign on the highway alerting you to Silver City, but there is signage for the Kluane Bed and Breakfast, which is down the same road.
• None of the buildings are identified, so you’ll have to try to guess at their purpose.
• Some of the buildings are in poor condition and could collapse at any time. Safety first!