Located in northern Canada, the Yukon is a wedge of land surrounded by the Arctic Ocean, Alaska, the Northwest Territories and the province of British Columbia. Mention the Yukon and most people think of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, the shimmering phenomenon that lights up the sky. Seeing the Aurora is an experience for anyone’s bucket list, even though in midwinter the temperatures can fall to minus 40C degrees. Besides the Northern Lights, the Yukon is a fabulous destination for travellers who love nature and history. Here are 10 things to do in the Yukon.
1-Road trip to Whitehorse
The Yukon is a driver’s paradise with well-kept, nearly empty highways. Hiring a car or RV is an ideal way to see this vast and awesome part of the world.
There are plenty of powered campervan sites as well as facilities, such as toilets and showers, all along the way.
Make sure to include Dawson City and Whitehorse in your itinerary. These two charming cities have a long history dating back to the Gold Rush era.
The North Klondike Highway offers a road trip to remember, whether you’re in a car, on a motorcycle or exploring by caravan. It has stunning vistas, wildlife viewing opportunities and access to the Dempster Highway and Alaska via the Top of The World Highway.
If you have the time to do it, a road trip to the Arctic Circle is an iconic road trip. But if you don’t have days to spare, the best way to explore the Yukon’s vastness is by light aircraft.
Tintina Air offers scenic flights and can take you inside the Arctic Circle for a toast to the midnight sun, which occurs at the Summer Solstice. Above the Arctic Circle, the sun stays in the sky for weeks.
3-Dänoja Zho Cultural Centre
Dänoja Zho Cultural Centre (Dawson City) is the gateway to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people’s heritage and has exhibits and cultural activities year round. The impressive modern building is a gathering place for the First Nations of the area.
4-Dawson City Visitor Information Centre
The centre has authentic reels filmed during the gold rush showing continuously. It’s a must see, with compelling footage that emphasies the real life hardships of the pioneers with incredible authenticity. Entry to the Dawson City Information Centre is free.
This is where you can join a historic walking tour of Dawson City. The tours are entertaining and informative. They are run by skilled guides and actors dressed in period costume.
5-Jack London’s Cabin
The cabin has daily tours and presentations related to the great American writer (1876-1916) who immortalized the Yukon in his novels Call of the Wild and White Fang. Don’t forget to get your copy of the short stories. The books will put into context everything you are experiencing in the Yukon.
Hike the Chilkoot trail, a 53km trail from Alaska to British Columbia, a major access route to the Yukon goldfields in the 1890s.
The Trail follows the path that was used by the Tlingit First Nation traders and Klondike Gold Rush stampeders from the late 1800s.
It starts in Dyea, Alaska and ends at Bennett Lake. Hiking permits are required and reservations are recommended.
You don’t have to hike the entire trail: you can take the White Pass & Yukon Route train from Skagway, Alaska, or Carcross, Yukon, to the Bennett trailhead for a day trip or camp overnight.
7-Kluane National Park Hiking
Hike Kluane National Park to explore beautiful lakes like Lake Kathleen. Lake Kluane lies within the traditional territory of the Champagne & Aishihik and Kluane First Nations.
The Da Ku Cultural Centre has cultural exhibits and a register for hikes and backcountry travel. The visitor centre operates between May and September.
8-Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Casino
Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Casino, is the oldest gaming hall in Canada and has three shows daily including their famous Can Can dancing girls.
Shows are nightly from May to September. These shows are as authentic as they get in the original setting. Today’s dancing girls have careers of their own outside show times: some are the town’s accountants, engineers and teachers.
Fly over the Kaskawulsh Glacier in Kluane National Park. As the saying goes, a flight is worth a thousand words. You can also explore the glacier area from the river or on land.
10-Tombstone Territorial Park
Tombstone Territorial Park has awesome black granite peaks and beautiful lakes. The Dempster Highway bisects the park and allows you to see the fabled abode of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people, who have hunted, camped and traded here for centuries.
A joy flight over it is an awesome experience. You can also trek here but this is a remote park with few established trails. Even for day hikes, prepare for rough terrain and drastic weather changes.
Maria Visconti was a guest of Canadian Tourism Commission
For more things to see in Canada visit Best of Canada.