Destination Guides

Top 5 places to visit in the Yukon

Ben Westwood

29th May 2024

Carcross Desert

The Yukon is Canada’s greatest northern wilderness, home to the country’s highest mountains, fascinating Gold Rush history and a prime location to watch the spectacular Northern Lights.

Meaning ‘great river’ in Native American, the Yukon retains much of its original First Nations heritage amid unspoilt, rugged landscapes. In summer, explore the region’s mesmeric scenery in Kluane National Park, Tombstone Territorial Park and the Southern Lakes on hikes, bike rides and kayaking trips, before enjoying the amazing Midnight Sun. In winter, the region’s dark skies make the Yukon one of the best destinations in North America to see the Northern Lights, as well as embarking on a host of snowy adventures.

Here are the top 5 places to visit on a holiday to the Yukon:

Kluane National Park

This vast national park, which is half the size of Switzerland, has some of the most spectacular scenery in the Yukon. Kluane – pronounced Kloo-ah-nee – is an astonishing mountainous wilderness of ancient glaciers, shimmering lakes, boreal forests, with 17 of Canada’s highest peaks including Mount Logan and the largest icefields in the world outside polar regions. The park is best enjoyed from a variety of perspectives – kayaking on Kathleen Lake and hiking on trails such as King’s Throne Trail, but the highlight has to be a flight-seeing tour to take in the glacial panorama from above.

The Southern Lakes

The Southern Lakes region of the Yukon has stunning scenery that is more easily accessible than Kluane National Park. Highlights include the Carcross Desert, known as the smallest desert in the world, and Emerald Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the region. The region’s centre is the town of Carcross in traditional First Nations territory with an impressive array of colourful totem poles. The town of Tagish, where many original gold panners such as Skookum Jim hailed from, is renowned for its fishing, especially trout and pike.

Whitehorse

The Yukon’s capital and largest city was founded by gold prospectors in the 1890’s, and is still a comparatively small place with a population of around 25,000. In the city itself, one of the main attractions is 1930’s paddle steamer S.S. Klondike. Popular excursions near Whitehorse include Nordic Hot Springs, the Yukon’s only thermal baths, and Long Ago People’s Place, an authentic recreation of a First Nations village. Whitehorse is overall the best base to begin a holiday to the Yukon with Kluane and the Southern Lakes nearby, and if you’re visiting in winter, there’s excellent Northern Lights viewing on the edge of town.

Dawson City and Klondike

Dawson City is the best place to learn about the Klondike region’s mining history and you can even try your hand at panning for gold in the rivers here. Dawson is more a town than a city but has plenty of attractions nevertheless, including Dawson City Museum, which documents the history of the Gold Rush, Diamond Tooth Gerties, the world’s oldest casino, and old paddle steamer SS Keno on the docks. Head to Dredge No. 4 Historic Site to try panning for gold in Bonanza Creek.

Tombstone Territorial Park

North-east of Dawson City, Tombstone Territorial Park is a wilderness of granite peaks, offering memorable wildlife-watching and hiking. This spectacular wilderness of Arctic tundra, alpine lakes, meadows and mountains covers 2,000 square kilometres along the gravel Dempster Highway. The park’s ominous name originates from the pinnacles and slabs on the mountains that explorers thought resembled grave markers. Tombstone is home to grizzlies, black bears, moose, caribou and wolves, so it’s a prime spot for viewing wildlife.

Want to explore further? Browse Journeyscape’s range of holidays in the Yukon.

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