Caribou Crossing was a fishing and hunting camp for Inland Tlingit and Tagish people. 4,500-year-old artifacts from First Nations people living in the area have been found in the region.
Originally known as Naataase Heen (Tagish for ‘water running through the narrows’), Caribou Crossing was named after the migration of huge numbers of caribou across the natural land bridge between Lake Bennett and Nares Lake. That caribou herd was decimated during the Klondike Gold Rush, but a recovery program raised the number of animals to about 450.
The modern village began in 1896, during the Klondike Gold Rush. At the time, Caribou Crossing was a popular stopping place for prospectors going to and from the gold fields of Dawson City.
Caribou Crossing was also a station for the Royal Mail and the Dominion Telegraph Line, and it served as a communications point on the Yukon River.
In 1904, Caribou Crossing was renamed Carcross as a result of some mail mix-ups with the Cariboo Regional District in nearby British Columbia.
Silver mining was promoted nearby in Conrad, Yukon in the early 1900s, but there was little to be found and mining efforts soon ended. Mineral exploration continues today, but tourism is far more important to the economy of the community.
In 2016 the Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visited Carcross for a day trip.