The Tagish people call this area Todezzane, “wind blowing all the time” and the Tlingit call it Naataase Heen, “water running through the narrows”. In 1899, the community was officially named Caribou Crossing, referring to the spot where the local woodland caribou herd crossed the narrows. Bishop Bompas requested Caribou Crossing be renamed Carcross in 1904, and the government approved it in 1906.
J.H. Brownlee surveyed the town site in 1899 for the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR). Before the completion of the railway in 1900, Carcross consisted of a North West Mounted Police post and associated reserve on the north side of the narrows and a First Nation community on the south. The town was established by WP&YR to maintain the rail line and connect freight and passengers to Atlin and points around the lake via the sternwheelers.
A major fire completely destroyed the downtown core in 1909, but the town survived. Over the years, buildings were relocated to Carcross from Bennett City, Conrad City, and other abandoned mining communities in the area. Carcross is situated on the South Klondike Highway halfway between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon.