Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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The two RV Gypsies
hiked at Miles Canyon
in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
June 24, 2016

divider bar of rocks
sign: Miles Canyon road to Miles Canyon

Below: A few signs that the two RV Gypsies did not see when they were here in the year 2009.

sign about Whitehorse
sign about exploring the Yukon River Corridor
sign about the River Loop Trail sign about Miles Canyon Basalts

Robert Lowe Bridge:The suspension bridge across Miles Canyon was built in 1922 and dedicated by Governor General Lord Byng. Lowe came to the Yukon in 1899 and had mining interests in the Whitehorse Copper belt and a successful cartage business. Robert Lowe became a long serving local and territorial politician.

Lee Duquette at the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge sign about who lives under the bridge

history bookThe Miles Canyon Basalts represent a package of rocks that include various exposures of basaltic lava flows and cones that erupted and flowed across an ancient pre-glacial landscape in south-central Yukon.

The volcanic rocks are best exposed and most easily accessible at the Miles Canyon location where the Yukon River cuts through a succession of flows south of Whitehorse. These rapids and the Miles Canyon provided a significant challenge to gold-seekers heading to the Klondike Gold Rush, and also established the upstream terminus for paddle-wheel river boats. This, the Miles Canyon Basalts are the reason for the establishment of the townsite of Closeleigh, eventually the City of Whitehorse.

The Miles Canyon Basalts were thought to be Pleistocene age. However, geological investigations supported by geochronological analyses indicate that these rocks are much older. The flows along the Miles Canon here are 8.4 million years old (Miocene).

Miles Canyon and the Yukon River Miles Canyon and the Yukon River

Originally referred to as Grand Canyon, Fredrick Schwatka renamed it in July of 1883 to Miles Canyon after General Nelson Miles. Schwatka wrote, “Through this narrow chute of corrugated rock the wild waters of the great river rush in a perfect mass of milk-like foam, with a reverberation that is audible for a considerable distance.” Although accounts differ as to the ferocity of the rapids, there is no question that they were very dangerous. During the Gold Rush, hundreds of boats loaded with precious supplies were lost (as well as several lives) before the Northwest Mounted Police arrived to regulate traffic.

Eventually a wooden rail system around the canyon eliminated the need to battle this hazard. The hydroelectric dam constructed to provide power to Whitehorse has tamed Miles Canyon, but drifting through its 50-foot high basaltic walls is still a thrill.

- Quote from

a strange bird sign Lee Duquette on the trail

Below: Views of the big rock that the two RV Gypsies climbed up on. (Photos a bit further below on this page).

The Yukon River and the big rock The Yukon River and the big rock

Lee looking at the big rock that he will soon climb.

Lee Duquette looking at the big rock The Yukon River

The two RV Gypsies climbed up the big rock to get another look at the suspension bridge, just as they did in 2009. It was a harder climb this time than it was in 2009. Wonder why! Duh!

Lee Duquette at the big rock Lee Duquette climbing up the big rock

Below: Views of the bridge as seen from the big rock.

Robert Lowe suspension bridge Robert Lowe suspension bridge

The two RV Gypsies on the big rock at Miles Canyon

Karen Duquette on the big rock The two RV Gypsies on the big rock

Below: The two RV Gypsies took a photo of part of the upper and lower trails to the big rock as seen from the big rock. Then they walked to the other side of the big rock to photograph the river from that angle.

trails at Miles Canyon view from on top of the big rock

Looking straight down from the big rock at the trail below. After climbing back down off of the big rock to the exact spot shown in the photo below on the left, Karen just had to feel the temperature of the water, as she does almost every place she goes.

Looking straght down from the big rock at the trail below Karen Duquette feeling the temp of The Yukon River

Then it was time for the two RV Gypsies to walk back over the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge and drive to the Observation Point.

Lee Duquette on the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge Karen Duquette on the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge
Lee Duquette on the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge
divider bar of rocksdivider bar of rocks

The two RV Gypsies drove their car to the nearby observation area and enjoyed the view looking back at Miles Canyon where they just hiked.

Miles Canyon Miles Canyon

While Karen Duquette photographed the amazing view, Lee Duquette read the signs. Close-ups of the signs are also posted below.

Miles Canyon Lee Duquette reading signs
sign: journey into the Recent Past
sign: A view into the Ancient Past

Grey Mountain (as described in the sign above): These grey rocks are lime stones that formed in ancient tropical seas containing coral reefs. These tropical seas existed approximately 220 million years ago during Triassic time. They indicate that rocks underlying this part of the Yukon originated in a much warmer climate and have since been displaced northward. These rocks have been completely deformed and folded subsequent to their deposition millions of years ago. They now have little resemblance to their origin as a coral reef.

Grey Mountain

Mount Lorne - Rocks underlying this mountain are composed of volcanic strata. These strata were deposited on land during explosive eruptions throughout the Cretaceous period, about 100 million years ago.

Mount Lorne  sign
Mount Lorne

Golden Horn

Golden Horn sign
Golden Horn

Copper Belt - Approximately 112 million years ago, hot magma, which originated deep in the earth's crust, intruded into existing lime stones. Where the magma came into contact with the limestone, "skarns" were formed, creating rich copper deposits. These deposits encouraged prospectors on their way to the Klondike in 1897. The mining opportunities in the Whitehorse area contributed significantly to the economy of the town until the mines closed in 1982.

sign: Whitehorse Copper Belt
Copper Belt

Below: A float plane flying over the mountain.

a float plane flying over the mountain a float plane flying over the mountain

After leaving Miles Canyon and the Observation Point, the two RV Gypsies made a quick roadside stop to take some fun photos.

roadside view
the two RV Gypsies in a cartoon plane
float plane

FYI: The two RV Gypsies were also at Miles Canyon in 2009 and those photos can be seen by using the TOC button at the top of any page and choosing M for Miles Canyon. The photos are different.

look below

please continue on to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Continue on to a day trip on to Shipyards Park in Whitehorse - a very historic site


go back to the SD menu Return to the Yukon Territory 2016 menu to continue the adventures of the two RV Gypsies in 2016 in the order of your choice.


please continue on to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies If you have seen all of the Yukon Territory, please continue on to Alaska