Looking for adventures in Canada? You’ll find them in spades in the Yukon Territory.
I’ve been twice to the Yukon Territory but the reality is few Canadians make it up this far north and even fewer foreigners. Yet there’s so much to see and do you could easily spend a whole summer exploring.
Getting to the Yukon
You don’t have a lot of options when it comes to getting to Whitehorse – the major city in the Yukon. You can either fly in or drive – though Whitehorse is a long way from anywhere.
By Road You’ll have to plan on a multi day drive if you’re coming from any of Canada’s cities. Edmonton is the closest large city and it is nearly 2000 kilometers away. The Alaska Highway is paved with regular services but don’t expect fancy hotels and lattes along the way. Spare tires should be properly inflated and it would be worthwhile to have you car serviced before the trip. You’ll be looking at more expensive gas the further north you go to. Expect to see bear, moose and caribou along the side of the road. There are lots of lakes where you can get out fishing but don’t forget to get a fishing license. Campsites are plentiful.
What Can You Do in the Yukon??
Head to the Yukon for adventure. On my first trip north I headed off from Whitehorse to raft the Tatshenshini River. It’s considered to be one of the top 10 rivers in the world to raft. You need about 11 days to do it and you end up traveling through the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska.
Here’s a sampling of other possible Yukon adventures.
- Drive the historic Alaska Highway from Watson Lake where it enters the Yukon at the BC border to Beaver Creek at the Alaska border. The total distance is 892 kilometers one way. You’ll pass through Kluane National Park – home to Canada’s highest peak – Mt. Logan.
- Drive or bike the Dempster Highway. It’s Canada’s only 4 season road that crosses the Arctic Circle. It’s 736 kms (one way) of unpaved two lane highway – where you need to go prepared … It’s takes you from Dawson City to Inuvik, across the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers on ferries.
- Hike the Tombstone Mountains. You pass them as you drive up the Dempster Highway. The mountains are renowned for their black granite peaks, subarctic tundra and alpine lakes. You could take a week long hiking trip in late August with Sea to Sky Adventures. And you’ll be able to catch the fall colours in August!
- Head off with Bear Cave Mountain Ec0-Adventures for exclusive grizzly bear viewing. Every year there is a seasonal congregation of grizzly bears at Fishing Branch in the far northern Yukon wilderness. Hiking and fishing are possible up here too.
- Drive the Silver Trail to Mayo and Keno City – historic, frontier mining towns. Here you can hike in the Wernecke Mountains, gold pan, fish and view wildlife. Its 470 kilometers from Whitehorse – one way.
- Catch up with a caribou migration. Thousands of then cross the northern calving grounds. In fact if you raft the Firth River you might be lucky and time the full migration. Before you go you might want to read the very interesting book – Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd by Karsten Heuer.
- Go dog-sledding in the winter. Or head up to the Yukon in February to catch the annual Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
- Don’t miss the Northern Lights. I just read that it’s number 1 on the list of what 8000 people surveyed in the UK want to experience.
- How about canoeing the Yukon River? There are many outfitters or you could do it yourself. But then again if you’re into racing you could enter the Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race – the longest canoe and kayak race in the world…by far. It covers 1000 miles and takes anywhere between 7-12 days of 18 hours paddling per day to complete. Sound like fun?
- Head off to one of the summer festivals – like the 24 hours of Light Mountain Bike Event, the annual Dawson City Music Festival, or perhaps the September Great Klondike International Outhouse Race.
There are still mountains that haven’t been climbed, rivers that rarely see humans and a wild land just waiting to be explored. The Yukon Territory is definitely worth a visit.
Have you been on any adventures in Canada? Have you ever traveled to the Yukon?
Other posts you might enjoy:
- The Chilkoot Trail Backpacking Guide – Everything You Need to Know to Do It
- The 10 Essentials for Outdoor Adventures