Yukon winter wonderland

Why Lauren Bath fell in love with the Yukon in winter.

Yukon winter wonderland


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Yukon winter
Narnia, a winter-wonderland, a pristine fairy tale scene. The Yukon is all of those things and so much more. Photos: Lauren Bath

The Yukon in Canada, a destination that I thought for sure was out of my league to work in, recently got ticked off my bucket list. I don’t know if it was good luck, good timing or divine intervention but fortunately for me Destination Canada was keen to bring an Instagrammer to the Yukon. It gave me the chance to photograph this Yukon winter wonderland. 

Yukon winter
Yukon winter wildlife: Lynx at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. I was inside the fence but this should be an easy shot if you time your visit for feeding time.

After much anticipation, preparation and excitement I was finally on my way to this fairytale destination.

I rocked up to the airport in my “not-good-cold-weather daggy travelling wear” and had to run (not walk) from the my pickup vehicle to the hotel foyer.

Is the Yukon winter cold?

As you have probably guessed, the Yukon is cold in winter. That’s it.

But I was very organised with my layers of clothing so I was comfortably warm throughout my stay.

That’s a key point to keep in mind when travelling to the Yukon in winter.

Just remember there’s no such thing as cold weather just inappropriate clothing, especially if you’re planning a Yukon hiking trip. 

Yukon winter
Yukon winter warmers: Lunch at Café Balzam, close to the Wildlife Preserve and delicious!

Yukon winter Aurora Borealis 

On night one I went out with my wonderful guide Sheena for some Aurora Borealis spotting. Well, at least that was the plan.

Unfortunately there was too much cloud cover to see if anything was going on.

But I still enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for the northern lights to appear, the chats with Sheena about tourism in the Yukon and the bags of snacks I’d been presented with.

My favourite was the yoghurt-covered pretzels. So yum!

Yukon weather
My friend Buddy, the cutest fox in the world! Only in the Yukon winter.

Being so far north in winter has some definite perks including late sunrises.

I had a lovely little sleep in, as the sun wasn’t set to come up until after 9am.

Day two was a bit of an everything day.

We visited Fish Lake Drive for some higher vantage points and Café Balzam was our lunch choice.

I had deconstructed poutine, which was basically poutine only better and it was vegetarian. I was pretty happy about that.

Yukon winter wildlife

Afterwards it was just a quick jaunt to the nearby Wildlife Preserve for my special tour of the many native animals housed here.

Yukon weather
I didn’t catch an aurora but it was lovely out enjoying the views during winter in the Yukon.

Although I had a media pass that allowed me close-up access to the animals, 90% of my photos could have been taken on a regular tour by anyone with the right camera gear.

With my Olympus OM-DE-M1 and 300mm prime, equivalent 600mm, I got very close to the action!

I spent the entire afternoon with the animals until it was too dark to shoot anymore.

As an animal lover, I’m in love with them all, especially the arctic foxes and little red fox “Buddy”.

Yukon winter
Arctic Fox at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, again feeding time is the time to visit.

That evening I was staying at the Northern Lights Resort and Spa, which is a quaint little boutique resort.

Although we had lucked out again with the Aurora Borealis, I had a fun evening eating home-cooked German fare and talking to the owners of the boutique resort.

We chatted about The Yukon challenge (jumping out of the hot tub and rolling around in the snow), the Dawson’s “Sour Toe Cocktail” (Google that one) and the Aurora Borealis in it’s many shapes and forms.

Yukon winter dog sledding

Yukon winter
Yukon winter landscape. I found blue in Carcross!

On day four, it was time for some action. 

I was going dog sledding and my home for the night would be a giant cabin in the woods run by Muktuk Adventures.

First I was treated to a day of random Yukon adventuring, which basically consisted of Sheena driving until I yelled “stop” and the inhaling of many yoghurt covered pretzels.

My favourite stop by far was Carcross, where we found some red train tracks, a yellow kayak and a pool of exposed blue-green waters.

These were colours I desperately wanted to photograph against the pristine white snow.

We arrived at Muktuk before dark and I fell asleep knowing I had a full day of dog sledding adventures ahead.

Yukon winter
Working dogs are the best, they’re so well looked after and excitable.

What can I say about dog sledding? Some people do it professionally. Check out the Yukon Quest

If you haven’t done it before I can’t think of a better place to try it than in the Yukon.

The Yukon is a winter wonderland, more like Narnia than any place on earth that I’ve visited.

With the dogs barking excitedly and kilometres of pristine frozen river to traverse, I had cameras at the ready as I didn’t want to miss a single moment.

Yukon winter
I tried to capture the feeling of being on the back of a dog sled on a Yukon winter day. It’s incredible.

I spent four nights in the Yukon, not enough by half and yet enough to know that this is a place I desperately want to visit again.

There are so many things filling up my Yukon bucket list.

I want to capture that quintessential Yukon Aurora Borealis.

I want to see my mate Buddy the fox again and I need to (maybe, possibly, kind of?) have a sour toe cocktail in Dawson City.

I also can’t stop thinking about those yoghurt-covered pretzels and imagining how great the place would look in Fall.

Yukon, you can have me back anytime.




yukon winterSunset in Whitehorse on a clear Yukon winter day

Discover Yukon

The Yukon is a pristine land with wonderful scenery and fabulous hiking trails. It’s a land of history and mystery.

For breathtaking views, take a flight over the glaciers of Kluane National Park. Whitehorse is a compact city the size of a large country town with plenty to see and do. Read this post 5 quirky and fun ideas while visiting the Yukon.

For more things to see in Canada do consider visiting Canada in winter or spring. Air Canada offer the most direct flights to Canada.

Yukon winter wonderland
Yukon winter wonderland



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