Mountain vista in Yukon

Why You Should Add Yukon to Your Bucket List

23/03/2021

Canada's Yukon Territory is an incredible place, worthy of a top spot on anyone's bucket list. It's the smallest, least populated, and unquestionably most rugged territory in the country, providing endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the beautiful outdoors.

A great place to start exploring all that Yukon has to offer is Whitehorse, the territory's largest — and technically only — city. Whitehorse serves as a perfect basecamp for unplugging from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connecting with Mother Nature at its finest.

When considering what to do in Yukon, start by deciding if you'll explore on your own or if you prefer to hire a professional guide or tour company. Better yet, why not enjoy the best of both worlds by exploring independently and participating in a guided activity or trip? Check out some offerings from local companies, ranging from backcountry hiking trips and Gold Rush tours to dog sledding and road tripping along the famous Ice Road to the Arctic Ocean.

With unique four-season adventures, there really is no best time to visit Whitehorse; it's always the best time! Using this guide, decide what to do in Whitehorse that you simply cannot miss, then build your dream Yukon trip around those activities.

Outdoor Lover's Playground

The physical proximity to Alaska and remote location lends Yukon a natural connection to The Great Outdoors. No matter what sorts of outdoor activities you enjoy, there are ample opportunities for them in Yukon. The glaciers, thick forests, soaring mountains, alpine lakes, and even desert regions and sand dunes that surround Whitehorse create the perfect environment for year-round recreation of all types.

Emerald Lake near Whitehorse

In the winter, enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and of course, skiing. Yukon Territory has opportunities for both cross-country and backcountry skiing, as well as downhill skiing at one of the nearby ski hills or resorts. As a bonus, there are virtually no crowds or lines to wait in! For the extra-adventurous, you can even take a heli ski excursion into the Yukon wilderness!

If a deep snowpack isn't your thing, you may find that the best time to visit Yukon is during the summer. Take advantage of the longer daylight hours and go fishing, hiking, biking, camping, kayaking or canoeing, or off-roading in the sand dunes.

Outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy nature in a slightly more laid-back setting, Yukon has something for you too. Head to Emerald Lake in the southern part of the territory for a body of water that certainly lives up to its name. Clay mixed with calcium carbonate reflects sunlight and causes the intense green hue that makes it so iconic.

Incredible Wildlife Viewing

Yukon Territory's unique and varied terrain means it's home to some wildlife species not found anywhere else in the world. Even in Whitehorse, you're likely to spot arctic foxes, elk, bison, caribou, bears, mountain goats, and enormous Alaska/Yukon moose.

If for some unlikely reason you don't encounter any wildlife in the wild, pay a visit to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. 25 minutes from Whitehorse, the 350-acre preserve is open year-round and houses about 12 native Yukon mammal species. Unlike a traditional zoo, the animals roam freely in their natural habitats at the wildlife preserve. That alone makes it worth a visit in terms of what to do in Whitehorse, but even better, the preserve focuses on wildlife education and conservation.

Take a guided bus tour or a self-guided walking tour of the preserve on the five-kilometre loop. Bring your camera and your own lunch, as there are several picnic sites in the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

Northern Lights in the Yukon

Several natural factors have to align perfectly in order for people to view the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, which is why the phenomenon is so rare. The sky has to be clear and very dark, there has to be just the right amount of solar activity, and as you might expect, you have to be far enough north.

Northern Lights near Whitehorse

Thanks to its short winter days and long, incredibly dark nights, relatively mild weather, and far-northern Canada geography, Yukon Territory is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world. In fact, if you ask any locals what to do in Yukon, they will almost certainly tell you to try and catch the lights. Perhaps the best part is that some of the clearest viewing points for the aurora are less than 10 minutes outside of Whitehorse.

Although it's absolutely possible to catch them during other times of year, the best time to visit Yukon for Northern Lights is in the winter, when the sky is exceptionally dark for long periods of time.

The Perfect Place to Unplug

Whitehorse is nicknamed "The Wilderness City," and for good reason. Over 80% of Yukon territory is untouched wilderness, and it's one of the least-populated regions on the entire continent. It's very easy to limit your human interaction when you feel like you need nothing more than tranquility and solitude. Even in the heart of the city, there are backcountry hiking trails and secluded campgrounds galore, as well as the vast wilderness to explore.

Where to stay in The Yukon

As you decide what to do in Whitehorse Yukon, one of the most important considerations should be where to stay. The Coast High Country Inn is ideally located downtown, just a block away from the Yukon River and with easy access to some of the territory's most popular attractions.

coast high country in premium king room

Guests will be treated to the Yukon's legendary warm and friendly hospitality at the hotel. There's also the giant outdoor deck (one of the largest in the entire city!) at the onsite restaurant and bar, aptly-named The Deck, plus several welcome guest amenities.

  • On-site fitness centre
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free in-room Starbucks coffee and tea
  • Convenience shop on-site
  • Complimentary parking

So, what are you waiting for? Book your visit to The Wilderness City today, and discover one of the world's best-kept secrets.