The vast province of Yukon is one of the least changed areas in the world. Brimming with wild, natural landscapes, it’s an outdoor adventurer’s holiday paradise with plenty to do and plenty of space to do nothing. About the size of Spain with a population of less than 40,000 people, more than three quarters of which live in the capital of Whitehorse, the area is beautifully untouched.
The Yukon weather is perfect for viewing the spectacular Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Best viewed between October and April across the darker skies of winter, they provide a mesmerising show for all those lucky enough to be watching - whether on a guided tour, from a secluded log cabin or simply from your hotel room.
During the winter months the snow-covered landscapes beckon and opportunities to glide down ski-hills or crunch though picturesque snow-shoe trails are endless, with a multitude of cross-country routes to explore. For an experience like no other, travel behind a team of enthusiastic huskies as they hurtle across the snow. Once you have a taste for it, you can stand back and cheer on the teams competing in the famous Yukon Quest sled race. Winter also brings many lively festivals with great events such as snow sculpting, winter sports and live music.
In summertime the days are long, with up to twenty hours of sunshine, and outdoor activities abound. Wherever you stay there are opportunities to explore, from hiking, biking or horse riding across grassy plains between craggy mountains and glaciers, to canoeing or kayaking on glass-like lakes and twinkling rivers. Blow-off the cobwebs with an exhilarating rafting trip or enjoy some quiet time with the local wildlife. In Yukon, moose outnumber people by two to one, so your chances of encountering them, as well as other inhabitants such as grizzly bears, marmots and porcupines, are high!
Whitehorse, the province’s largest town by far, has many of its own attractions including the SS Klondike (a historic paddle-wheeler), a good collection of shops and restaurants and a vibrant arts scene. The smaller town of Dawson is also an interesting place to stop. Once the centre of the Gold Rush, it has a rich history and friendly, quirky vibe. Head off on your own search for gold with one of the many tours where you can learn to prospect and pan, and maybe you’ll even strike it rich.
Although the Yukon landscapes are wild, they are surprisingly well connected. The network of roads that wind through the province provide excellent links between the many different attractions and adventures, as well as being scenic drives in themselves. Take the Dempster Highway and drive across the Arctic Circle, or meander along the less travelled Campbell/Canol route beside pretty rivers and the aptly named Quiet Lake, for a real retreat from the everyday bustle.
For a different perspective of the province, jump in a flightseeing plane from Haine’s Junction and soar over the mountains and glaciers. You can even land on the icefield and step out onto the endless snow for some fantastic photo opportunities and a chance to enjoy the eerie silence.
Yukon is a wild, uncluttered land, scattered with inspiring, artistic people. Here you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life while on holiday, soak up the nature and traditional culture, and let your worries melt away.
Things to do
Popular Yukon holiday ideas
Top tips for visiting Yukon
Top Tip 1
• The city of Whitehorse is the province’s capital and is a busy place with many shops, restaurants and nightspots. Head to colourful Antoinette’s for spicy Caribbean cooking, or Sanchez Cantina for a delicious and surprisingly authentic Mexican meal.
Top Tip 2
• Once the centre of the Gold Rush, you can still pan for gold in Dawson – take one of the many tours to a local claim and try to find a nugget for yourself.
Top Tip 3
• Home to many artists, Yukon has a strong creative vibe and there are many galleries and studios across the province. Visit Sundog Carving School in Whitehorse to watch the students at work or shop for carvings.
Top Tip 4
• One of the most spectacular tours is the flightseeing trip to the glaciers of Kluane National Park. Soar over pristine, untouched icefields, get close to the magnificent glaciers and see Canada’s tallest peak, Mount Logan.
Top Tip 5
• In the late 1800s White Fang author Jack London found inspiration for his famous novels in the Yukon wilderness. The quaint Jack London Museum in Dawson tells his fascinating story with many exhibits and photographs as well as a replica of his rustic cabin rebuilt from some of the original logs.
Top TIp 6
• Takhini Hot Pools is a fabulous place to relax and soak up the stunning scenery. Open throughout the year, the air is so cold that during the winter your hair freezes – such great fun that there is even a hair-freezing contest!
Top Tip 7
• There is nothing more Canadian than sitting behind a team of eager huskies as they course through the snow-covered trees. A dog-sledding trip is not to be missed.
Top Tip 8
• The Northern Lights are as common as a sunset to the people of Yukon, yet still awe inspiring and an amazing experience for us. Take a trip out into the wilderness away from the city lights to see them in their full glory.
Top Tip 9
• If you have plenty of time, take a road trip along the famous and largely deserted Dempster Highway. Wild landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, from distant mountains to forest and open tundra. You may be lucky enough to see wild bears, moose or caribou, and the road crosses the Arctic Circle, which is pretty incredible. Enjoy the solitude but remember to stock up on provisions before you leave.