Known as the “Gateway to the Yukon,” Watson Lake is the first Yukon community on the Alaska Highway for travelers from BC. Watson Lake is named after Frank Watson, who left California in the 1897 rush for Klondike gold.
On Route From Fort Nelson
As you depart Fort Nelson, keep an eye out for these road side stops along your way.
Liard River Hot Springs
Liard River Hot Springs is the second largest hot spring in Canada! There is a hot spring open to the public called Alpha pool with water temperatures ranging from 42°C to 52°C. A boardwalk, which leads to the hot spring pools, passes through a warm water swamp and boreal forest that supports rich and diverse plant communities as well as mammal and bird species. There is also an RV park if you want to stop and spend the night!
Smith River Falls is a spectacular waterfall that plunges 35 meters into the Liard River Valley. It is accessed via a 3-km stretch of gravel road leading to a parking lot near the falls.
As you arrive into Watson Lake, you can’t miss their greatest attraction – The Sign Post Forest. It all began when one homesick American solider who, while building the Alaska Highway, posted a sign pointing in the direction of his hometown more than 4,300 km away. Since 1942 travelers from all around the world have been bringing signposts from their own hometowns to add to the collection, and now there are more than 85,000 signs!
Campgrounds Near Watson Lake
- Shallow Creek flows through the camp
- South shore of Watson Lake
- Hiking trails, playground, and dock.
- RV wash and Laundromat
- On site restaurant
- On site gift shop!
- Open Year Round
- Coffee shop & snacks
Things To Do Around Watson Lake
Situated in the rolling hills of southeast Yukon, Watson Lake offers many ways to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it be quiet trails, fishing, white water canoeing, horseback riding, or a chance to slide on the only man-made water slide north of 60°, Watson Lake is the place to do it.
A fantastic spot for picnics and swimming, Lucky Lake hosts sandy beaches, hiking trails, and a baseball diamond! The park also is home to the one and only waterslide north of 60º Latitude in Canada and the United States. The slide is 500 feet in length and drops 60 feet.
The 26 hectare park is set in downtown Watson Lake, and includes walking trails, interpretive panels and look outs along the 2.5km trail.
The Northern Lights Centre boasts state-of-the-art panoramic video and surround-sound systems. The Northern Lights Centre also incorporates interactive displays that explain the science and folklore of the Northern Lights with the latest information about the Canadian space program.