The Royal Canadian Mounted Police required each would-be gold miner to have approximately one ton of supplies and gear before they were allowed to travel to the Klondike area. In the winter of 1897, over 20,000 stampeders toiled night and day to move their loads over the Chilkoot Pass; making the trek over and over with what they could carry on their back. The Dyea Trail ended at Lake Bennett which feeds into the Yukon River. Here the stampeders were forced to spend the remainder of the winter in tents waiting for the spring thaw and constructing rafts to transport them 500 miles on the Yukon River to the gold zone at Dawson City.
The town of Whitehorse is named after the historic rapids on the Yukon River which resembled the flowing manes of charging white horses. These rapids had to be bypassed by the rafters. Two entrepreneurs capitalized on this problem by building a tramway on both sides of the Yukon River. For a fee, their horse-drawn tram cars carried gear and small boats around the rapids on log rails. The stampeders erected tents beyond the rapids, and a roadhouse and saloon was soon built to provide for the thousands of gold seekers. In 1900, a railroad from Skagway, Alaska to the area was completed, and Whitehorse started to grow.