Canada’s sprawling Yukon Territory is a nature-filled wonderland that stretches south of Alaska to British Columbia and the Arctic Ocean. Nearly half of the population of the Spain-sized province lives in the capital city of Whitehorse, which leaves plenty of opportunity to not feel cramped branching out into its surroundings to explore sweeping landscapes, natural wonders, and abundant wildlife. Getting away this summer in Canada is easy when there are so many places to visit in Yukon. Here are seven things to do this summer in the Yukon, Canada that you won’t want to miss.
Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon Territory, is the largest city in northern Canada, but small enough to explore on foot. Stroll along Main Street visiting its eclectic mix of shops, galleries, and cafes. History buffs will enjoy an array of attractions like SS Klondike National Historic Site; it is among the last of the great paddle wheel boats that plied the Yukon River system until the 1950s. The oldest building in Whitehorse is the Old Log Church, a unique three-story rustic skyscraper completely comprised out of logs. Put all of these historical Yukon sights in context when you visit the MacBride Museum of the Yukon. Other ways to travel back in time include exploring prehistoric history at the Yukon Beringia Interpretative Centre, and viewing a century’s worth of planes, trains, and other moving vessels that shaped Whitehorse’s history at the Yukon Transportation Museum.
2. Dawson City
History comes alive in Dawson City, one of the centers of the 1898 gold rush that still has mines in operation today. The city — much akin to a living museum — boasts wooden boardwalk-lined streets, which lead you on the path to find many attractions and Klondike national historic sights dating back to the gold rush. Try your luck at Diamond Tooth Gerties, a unique casino with cabaret-style entertainment of the gold rush era; and step onto the stage of the Palace Grand Theatre, expected to re-open after extensive renovations this summer. You can also explore the history of famous writers like Robert Service, Jack London, and Pierre Berton, who called Dawson City home. If you really want to score big, try your luck panning for gold at one of the active gold mines on the edge of town.
3. Canoeing down the Yukon River
In entirety, the Yukon River stretches 3,190 kilometres from British Columbia through the Yukon Territory and into Alaska. Paddle down the waterway of Yukon’s Gold Rush, and along the way you will see relics from the historic era dating back to 1898. But there is so much more to discover, especially where wildlife is concerned. Moose meander through the forested foothills, while bald eagles nest along the riverbanks. Encounter beavers working tirelessly in the water, while grizzly and black bears stroll along the shoreline. Find numerous itineraries available from daylong trips to canoeing and camping extravaganzas.
4. Tombstone Territorial Park
Get out into the wilderness when you explore the vast 2,200-kilometre park that is a haven for hikers, campers, and those who enjoy a backcountry experience. Home to Mount Monolith and Glissade Pass, the park is best known for its namesake Tombstone Mountain. Those who wish to traverse the attraction can hike up a break that leads to an exceptional 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, including Discovery Ridge, North Fork Pass, and Fold Mountain.
5. Kluane National Park and Reserve
The 21,980 square kilometre wilderness area encompasses mountains, ice fields, and valleys and is home to Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan (5,959 metres). Top things to do at the UNESCO World Heritage Sight include hiking, backcountry trekking, and fishing. You can also find perfect picnicking and boating at Kathleen Lake all summer long.
6. Yukon Wildlife Preserve
Get in touch with nature at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. The 700-acre park is home to a dynamic landscape from flatlands to rocky cliffs, and features 13 species of northern Canadian mammals in their natural environment. Stroll along its paths to observe residents like woodland caribou, Canada lynx, Rocky Mountain elk, mountain goats, Alaska Yukon moose, among many others. Plan your visit to coincide with one of the parks animal feedings where you will be able to see them gather in enclosed feeding stations.
7. Revel in the Midnight Sun
The Yukon Territory’s precise geographical positioning leads to one of the world’s best natural wonders — viewing the midnight sun. In some northern parts of the territory the sun doesn’t set for weeks during the summer. Wherever you are, you can enjoy thriving with the extended daylight. Spend extra time strolling the area’s picturesque landscapes, exploring historic towns, and watching wildlife bask in the sun’s warmth.