If you are driving to Alaska this summer you'll travel through Canada's rugged and picturesque Yukon Territory. There's lots to see and do in this vast area so plan a few days in your itinerary to explore the territory. You'll be glad you did!
There is a breathtaking view around every corner. The people are down home friendly and you'll collect lots of pictures and stories to keep you journey alive.
There's lots of information available about the things to do and see in the Yukon.
Can you Find Your Hometown's Signpost?
G.I. Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Illinois was homesick and erected the first sign which pointed to his hometown and noted the mileage to get there.
By 1990 there were 10,000 signs. See if you can find a sign from your hometown or bring one with you because the signpost forest continues to grow.
Whitehorse, Yukon's Capital City
Whitehorse provides all the amenities of a big city combined with the rugged beauty of the great outdoors.
You can get a Big Mac at McDonalds or enjoy fine dining (including local fish and meat) in a wide selection of restaurants.
There are hundreds of well groomed trails for hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing and the Yukon River which runs through the heart of downtown is a spectacular playground for any outdoor enthusiast. Local companies offer rentals of boats, canoes, kayaks and bikes.
Visitor Information Center
Conveniently located in downtown Whitehorse the center offersmaps, brochures and displays served up by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. It's a great resource for planning your Yukon vacation.
I live in Whitehorse and these aresome of my favorite activities:
Whitehorse Fish Ladder and Dam
It’s the longest wooden Fish Ladder in the World. In late summer, see Chinook Salmon on their way to their spawning grounds. .Glass windows in a viewing area provide a great view of salmon, grayling and trout all at one time.
This majestic sternwheeler is one of the first major landmarks you'll see as you enter Whitehorse from the south. The Klondike is one of the ships that moved passengers, mail and freight up the Yukon River to Dawson City and back. It is fully restored to it's glory days and guided tours are available throughout the summer.
Miles Canyon Lookout
The view of the emerald green Yukon River is breathtaking. Cross the suspension bridge and hike the many trails that rim the canyon.
Take a Side Trip to Carcross
Carcross is located one hour south of Whitehorse. It was originally known as Caribou Crossing in honor of the caribou of southern Yukon who migrated through the area.
With a population of less than 500 people this community will give you sense of life in a small Yukon village.
It's also home to the worlds smallest dessert which is a great place for hiking, riding your ATV in the summer or snowmobiling in the winter.
Continue on to Skagway Alaska
This picturesque port town is a two hour drive from Whitehorse. It was a staging place for prospectors during the 1898 gold rush and still maintains much of it's frontier feel. Stroll down Broadway or hike the surrounding mountain trails.
The one attraction you won't want to miss in Skagway is a ride on the Whitepass and Yukon RCredit: Daily Ventureoute Railroad. This narrow gauge railroad was constructed in 1898 using tens of thousands of men and 450 tons of dynamite. It rises 3,000 feet in 20 miles and offers breathtaking views of mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers through tunnels and over trestles in vintage parlour cars.
The train runs May to September. Tickets are available at the depot in Skagway.
Breathtaking Kluane National Park
Kluane National Park is two hours west of Whitehorse. It stretches almost 1,400 square miles and is home to Canada's highest mountain peak (Mt. Logan) and highest density of grizzly (brown) bears in North America.
The area has well marked and well groomed hiking trails. Stop by the park's interpretive center in nearby Haines junction for maps and tips on how to stay safe in bear county. You can also enjoy camping, mountain biking, boating and horseback riding.
If you're looking for something more exotic try a guided rafting trip down the Alsek River or a helicopter ride over the magnificent Lowell glacier.
Dawson City - The Heart of the Klondike
Dawson City is a five hour drive north of Whitehorse. It's a must-see as you tour the Yukon.
The small town was once the largest city in western North America as thousand of prospectors flocked to the Klondike with dreams of finding gold and striking it rich. That rich history is still alive in Dawson. The sidewalks are still made of wood. Many of the gold rush era structures still stand. Some are gently eroding with the passage of time. Others have been restored to mint condition. Take a walk around town. There's a surprise around every corner.
Robert Service's cabin still stands. You can enjoy readings of his poetry twice a day.
Visit Diamond Tooth Gerties. It's Canada's first casino and provides entertainment including cancan dancing nightly.
Take a tour of the goldfields where miners are still pulling gold nuggets out of the creeks.
Take in the entertainment at the Palace Grand Theatre. During the peak of the gold rush this venue attracted top performers from around the world.
Drive the dome. Located at the entrance of Dawson City its summit provides a panoramic view of the mountains, Yukon River and the goldfields.
Take a dinner cruise down the Yukon River or travel by boat to First Nations fish camps.
Keep Your Eyes Open and Your Camera Ready
There are dozens of animal species in the Yukon and chances are very good you'll see a moose or bear on your drive.
You may also see lynx, coyotes, martin, red fox, wolves, elk and bison. Visit the Government of Yukon Renewable Resources website for a downloadable guide to the best viewing sites.
Visit the Sheep Mountain Interpretive Center about three hours west of Whitehorse. Bring your binoculars and you will see dozens of beautiful Dahl sheep on the mountainsides.
Never attempt to approach or feed wild animals. Bear cubs are cute, but where you find bears cubs you'll find a very protective mother.
Get Hooked On The Yukon
How many types of sport fish are there in the Yukon? Here's the list..
and FIVE different types of salmon.
And there are more than a dozen stocked lakes in the territory.
It's enough to make any angler jump with joy.
Make sure you get a Yukon fishing license and the booklet of regulations.
Stop into any local sporting goods store for tips on equipment, lures and technique.
You can experience one day fly-in charters or remote (but luxurious) fishing lodges.
Don't Miss Yukon's Art Scene
The Yukon has a vibrant and thriving arts community. At the center of it all is the state of the art Yukon Arts Center which attracts top name performers from around the world and an art gallery which features the work of local, national and international artisans.
They Yukon is home to many music festivals including the Dawson City Music Festival, The Bluegrass Festival and Frostbite. See the Government of Yukon Arts and Culture website for listings.
Many Yukon communities have heritage and cultural centers. They offer an insight to local history and first nations culture.
Are Sports Up Your Alley?
Yes, there is a bowling alley in Whitehorse, but there's much, much more. The multi-million dollar Canada Games Center includes an aquatic center, two ice skating rinks, indoor soccer pitch, a walking or running track, children's play area, fitness center and multi plex.
The annual Yukon Quest runs between Whitehorse and Fairbanks Alaska. Dog mushers and their teams travel 1o00 miles over four mountain passes and down rivers in temperatures which can dip to -50.
The Klondike Road relay challenges teams to run a 150 mile overnight run from Skagway Alaska to Whitehorse,
A listing of major sporting events is available through the Sport Yukon Website.
Whitehorse, YT, Canada
Watson Lake, YT Y0A, Canada
Haines Junction, YT Y0B, Canada
Dawson, YT, Canada
Skagway, AK, USA