I visited Yukon last summer when I spent 3.5 months working in Whitehorse. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to explore the major areas in the territory such (Dawson City and Kluane National Park to name a couple). I never thought there would be so much to see and do until I got there. There is so much that I didn't have time to do...so another trip is in the making. Surrounded by nature and wilderness, and wonderful people, here is a list of 10 reasons why you should visit Yukon.
1. OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
There are tons of summer and winter activities you can do, such as biking, hiking, zip-lining, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Yukon has plenty of nature and beautiful scenery to offer, so start exploring!
2. YUKON WILDLIFE PRESERVE
Nature lovers will love the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, home to 13 different Canadian species such as wood bison, moose, elk, caribou, and more.
3. CARCROSS DESERT
Carcross Desert, located in Carcross, is supposedly the smallest desert in the world. You can walk the dunes or go sand boarding. I was under the impression that ATVing wasn't allowed, but that didn't stop several people from doing so when I was there.
4. YUKON ART SOCIETY/ARTS UNDERGROUND
Okay, this one is a bit biased because I worked here, but it truly is an amazing art gallery in Whitehorse that showcases and sells art produced by local artists. It's a not-for-profit organization and all prices on artworks are set by the artists. They also have an annual outdoor arts festival, Arts Up Front, which I was honoured to help organize in their 2nd year.
5. WHITE PASS & YUKON ROUTE RAILWAY
The White Pass & Yukon Railway was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. It connects Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon. On your journey you will see breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. Definitely worth it!
6. DAWSON CITY
Dawson City was the centre of the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s. After the gold rush, the city's population dramatically dropped from 40,000 people to its current population of about 2000. It's also a city that has preserved its history very well with many original buildings still standing (or crumbling). There are many places to see here, canoe or kayak in the Yukon or Klondike River, and even pan for gold in the goldfields!
7. KLUANE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE
Kluane National Park is home to some of Canada's tallest peaks, including Canada's tallest mountain, Mount Logan, glaciers and ice fields. It is the go to destination for backcountry camping, rafting, and hikes.
8. TOMBSTONE TERRITORIAL PARK
Like Kluane, Tombstone Territorial Park is also a go-to destination. Located about 1.5 hours north-east of Dawson City, it features a variety of landscapes and wildlife. There is also plenty of outdoor activities to do. My favourite was doing a guided hike on the Goldensides trail.
9. DEMPSTER HIGHWAY
The Dempster Highway is the only all-weather road in Canada that crosses the Arctic Circle. It starts about 45 minutes east of Dawson City on the Klondike Highway and ends in Inuvik, NWT (total of 736 km). During winter, it extends another 194 km to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT.
10. THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is a natural light display in the northern and southern poles. I won't get into the scientific aspect, but who doesn't want to see the Northern Lights???
BONUS: ADAKA CULTURAL FESTIVAL
The Adaka Cultural Festival held in Whitehorse is one of the largest Indigenous cultural festivals in the north. The festival features a number of workshops, demonstrations, and live music. Oh and the food is amazing! It's also a great opportunity to learn about different Indigenous cultures in Yukon and surrounding areas. It is usually held at the end of June/early July.