On August 16, 1896, rich placer gold deposits were discovered by George Carmack in Bonanza (Rabbit) Creek, a tributary of the Klondike. News reached the United States on July 17, 1897 when first successful prospectors arrived in Seattle, and within a month the Klondike stampede had begun. The population in the Klondike in 1898 reached 25,000, threatening to cause a famine.
Most prospectors landed at Skagway at the head of Lynn Canal and crossed by Chilkoot or White Pass to the upper Yukon, which they descended to Dawson. Others took the Copper River Trail or the Teslin Trail by Stikine River and Teslin Lake, and some used the all-Canadian Ashcroft and Edmonton trails. The other main route was by steamer about 2600 kilometers (1600 miles) up the Yukon River. Many using this route late in 1897 were caught by winter ice below Fort Yukon and had to be rescued.
Gold is still mined in the area.