Those who seek to explore the Yukon Territory are outdoors enthusiasts and adventurers who have pledged their undying love to nature and its wonders. They visit Yukon to embrace vast swathes of wilderness, admire intimidating mountain peaks, and follow the trails that lead to frontier towns and aboriginal communities. However, getting to Yukon is considerably easier today than it was in the past, with flights regularly landing at Whitehorse, the territory’s capital.
Stretching from the British Columbia border to the Arctic Ocean, Yukon’s wilderness is overwhelming, thrilling, and captivating. Whether you choose to drive on Canada’s only all-weather road, the Dempster Highway, from Dawson City to Inuvik, or you follow the Silver Trail, from Whitehorse to the historic towns of Mayo and Keno, expect to encounter more wild animals than people along the way.
Communities in Yukon
Few places in the world have been as defiant of time as Yukon. Unchanged and untouched by contemporaneity, Yukon’s aboriginal people still follow the old ways of life, hunting and trapping food as have been doing for thousands of years. The high point of the population was reached in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush when fortune seekers flood to Dawson City. Today, the city is home to less than 2,000 residents but you’ll still be able to relieve the gold rush days.
Dawson City is proud of its past displaying gold nuggets at many of its shops and housing gold panning exhibitions at the Bonanza Creek, where the rush started. Many of the buildings in Dawson City have remained unchanged in over a century, like the Commissioner’s Residence and the Palace Grand Theater, where every summer the stage belongs to the 1898 vaudeville show, Gaslight Follies. Moreover, the gambling halls and can-can girls are still one of the best things to see in Dawson City.
Two-thirds of the 33,000 people living in Yukon have found a home in Whitehorse. A surprisingly bustling capital and a quaint gateway to the wilderness of Yukon, Whitehorse is certainly worthy of a visit. Grab a cup of coffee and scone at Baked on Main Street and enjoy a scenic ride on the Whitehorse Waterfront Trolley along the Yukon River, admire the 11-meter high healing totem, and learn more about the local history at the MacBride Museum. Don’t miss a visit to the SS Klondike, a restored sternwheeler, and enjoy a cruise in the Miles Canyon aboard the MV Schwatka. Admire the beautiful murals and enjoy a walk on Main Street where you’ll find lovely boutiques. And then head to the wilderness!
Off the beaten path in Yukon
Most of Yukon is an off-the-beaten-path territory, a land that belongs only to moose, caribou, grizzlies, and elk, all making much-appreciated roadside appearances. The easiest way to get around Yukon is either by an RV filled with supplies, but the wilderness is best discovered on horseback or bike in summer and cross-country skiing or snowmobiling in winter. For breathtaking views, aerial tours are a possibility all year long.
Most beautiful attractions in Yukon await away from its communities. One of the most remarkable destinations is undoubtedly the majestic Kluane National Park and Reserve. Mount Logan reigns supreme over the park as the tallest mountain in Canada, reaching an altitude of 19,550 feet. There is plenty to see and do in Kluane National Park, a vast expanse of mountains and ice that encapsulates the Icefield Ranges. From cross-country skiing and snowmobiling to fishing, boating, and cycling, there is no shortage of outdoor fun in Yukon. Brave adventurers can book a rafting trip down the Alsek River for a chance to spot a myriad of wildlife and glaciers.
Beyond the Kluane National Park awaits the 33-mile long Chilkoot Trail, once the only way to explore Yukon and currently one of the most famous hiking trails in Yukon. The trail’s starting point is at Dyea, near Skagway, in Alaska. Canoeing is a favorite past-time for both locals and tourists, the tributaries of the Yukon River offering fast-paced, flat water. Wild rivers, like the Bonnet Plume and the Firth, are accessible only by bush plane, but the Tatshenshini and South Macmillan can be easily reached by car.
Camping under the starry skies of the Yukon Territory is one of the most spectacular ways to spend your nights. The Tombstone Territorial Park has great campsites adorned with magnificent mountain and lake views. From time to time, the Aurora Borealis might make an appearance, especially in the cold, crisp winter nights. We hope that you plan to visit Yukon for some quiet outdoor adventure.