The Yukon is a place best experienced first-hand. So we invite media representatives to contact us to discuss your story ideas – we can help build a press trip that will provide you with a wealth of fresh, exciting stories. To kick start your inspiration we’ve collected a selection of some of our favourites.
Since the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, when prospectors scaled mountains and forged rivers to get to the goldfields, the Yukon has been synonymous with adventure. It’s just that kind of place. With only 36,000 people in an area the size of California you could say that wilderness has the upper hand.
Unlike the densely populated cities of Asia, the crowded wilderness of Europe or the Lower 48 States of the USA where the farthest you can ever get from a road is 22 miles (35 km), in the Yukon you can put plenty of space between you and the nearest road. Hundreds of miles in fact. You can canoe rivers that pass through some of the most remote and untouched landscapes left in the world. You can hike for days without seeing another human being. Or greet the morning at a campsite that’s miles away from the hustle and bustle and demands of a modern city. No cell phones. No Internet. No noise other than the birds, the wind in the trees and the flow of the river. And although an adventure to today’s Yukon likely won’t end with finding gold, it will end with something no less valuable. As you ride the whitewater of a wilderness river or push yourself just one step further as you climb the notorious Chilkoot Trail, you’ll find the deep satisfaction of meeting the challenge. The thrill of the adrenaline rush. And that’s what a Yukon adventure is all about.
There’s a spot on the drive from Whitehorse to Haines Junction where you come around a bend in the road and are greeted by a postcard scene of mountains stretching across the horizon. Welcome to Kluane National Park and Reserve. From your first sighting to watching it disappear in the rear view mirror as you drive away, you’ll be captivated. The word most often heard to describe it is “breathtaking”. A wilderness area and UNESCO World Heritage Site roughly half the size of Switzerland, it’s home to 12 of Canada’s highest mountains including the highest – that magnificent massif Mt. Logan. The best way to see it is from the air. Flying over the some of the world’s largest glaciers in a tiny Cessna lends a sense of scale. It seems infinite. But there are more ways to experience this natural wonder than from above. Hiking trails throughout the park range from an easy ramble to strenuous multi-day treks. The legendary Tatshenshini-Alsek river system provides whitewater thrills, or for a tamer adventure there are plenty of lakes in the area for canoeing and kayaking. Drop a line into a lake or stream for trout, salmon or grayling. This area is also home to the highest concentration of grizzly bears in North America and spotting them from the roadside, along with their black bear cousins, is common.
Spin cast or on-the-fly, Canada's Yukon is a virtual paradise for both the weekend fishing enthusiast and the serious fisher. Its pristine lakes and rivers are home to a multitude of trout and salmon species, as well as other sport fishing species such as arctic grayling, arctic char, Dolly Varden, inconnu, whitefish, and northern pike.
Float planes carry you over the beautiful Yukon landscape to one of the lodges that dot many of the Yukon’s wilderness lakes. Ranging from rustic to upscale, most lodges feature a myriad of outdoor recreational pursuits in addition to spectacular fishing. And with the midnight sun shining round the clock, fishing at 2am is not considered unusual up here. When you do come in for a break, most lodges offer gourmet meals or plentiful, delicious home cooking.
But not every great fishing experience is lodge based. In fact, some of the best, but least known fishing spots are easily reached by road. Yukon’s friendly fishing guides can take you to their favourite spots and give you all the tips you need to land the big one.
The world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race - 715 kilometres (444 mi.) on the historic Yukon River. Are you up for the challenge? Known as the “race to the Midnight Sun”, late June sees the start of the Yukon River Quest race from Whitehorse to Dawson City, a journey that retraces the steps of the Klondike Gold seekers. Attracting paddlers from all around the world, the race is open to experienced paddlers and novices alike. It’s a significant test of human endurance, both physically and mentally. But don’t worry, you don’t have to participate to enjoy the race, with good vantage points available from the river bank, while other adventurous media members have chosen to actually join a team for the experience. While some come with the goal to win, many undertake the journey as a personal challenge. One such group is the voyageur team of breast cancer survivors, Paddlers Abreast, who paddle to raise cancer awareness and in memory of those who didn’t survive. Competitors journey day and night with only a couple of mandatory stops along the way, with the frontrunners arriving in Dawson roughly 48 hours after leaving Whitehorse. For those not racing, the place to be is the Whitehorse riverfront, when the whistle of the S.S. Klondike blows to mark the start of the race. At the end of the race in Dawson, you can cheer on teams as they arrive. And then it’s time to party.
Summer in the Yukon is a special time. Wildflowers bloom everywhere, wildlife is abundant and the midnight sun shines day and ‘night’. It’s one of the best times of the year to be in the Yukon and the long, long days lend themselves to all sorts of exploration. Every day can bring a different outdoor adventure – the Yukon offers a wide variety to choose from – the adrenalin charge of whitewater rafting, hiking or canoeing through untouched wilderness, or mountain biking down some of the best single track to be found anywhere. The open road beckons and any one of our scenic routes will take you to small towns and villages throughout the Yukon where you’ll discover an easygoing northern hospitality. Summertime is also festival time, with a variety of arts and music festivals throughout the Yukon. Join in the celebration that marks the discovery of gold in the Klondike at the Discovery Days Festival in Dawson City or immerse yourself in First Nations culture at the Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse, just two of our premier summer events.
There’s that moment at the start of an epic road trip….the car stocked with sustenance for the journey; the ultimate road trip play list chosen; empty road stretched out ahead…..when you just know that a grand adventure is about to begin. The Yukon ticks all the boxes when it comes to road trip heaven – postcard scenery, wildlife, historic and eclectic communities, plenty of activities along the way, friendly people, a refreshing lack of traffic and interesting stories around every bend.
The Yukon offers seven touring routes and several of these can only be described as “iconic”….drives of the kind you simply won’t find anywhere else.
2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the construction of the world-famous Alaska Highway. Built during World War II in an astonishing nine months, construction was once described as the “biggest and hardest job since the Panama Canal”.
Further north, the Dempster Highway is the only public road in Canada, and one of only a handful in the world, to cross the Arctic Circle. For sheer adventure this one wins hands down. It’s 740 km (460 mi.) of mostly gravel road that can be challenging, but more than worth it, as you travel through a remote and extraordinarily beautiful landscape to some of Canada’s most northerly communities.
From Whitehorse, two loop drives, the Golden Circle and Klondike Kluane Loop feature stunning scenery and plenty of history. Secondary roads such as the Silver Trail, Campbell Highway and Canol Roads offer glimpses into some of the Yukon's most unique but less-visited communities and provide outstanding opportunities for off-road experiences. Find more details here.
Sipping on a glass of fine merlot in front of a crackling fire, while the sunset lingers over a panorama of mountains and lakes. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Experiencing the Yukon from the comforts of a lodge or cabin provides the best of both worlds….immersion in a remote wilderness but without having to rough it. Whether your preference is for a touch of rustic or something more luxurious there’s a lodge or inn to match. The adventure often starts before you reach the front door, with access to many wilderness lodges by float plane, boat or even ski plane. Most lodges offer a comprehensive menu of activities which might include anything from heli-hiking to fishing to kayaking. Winter might find you dog sledding, snowmobiling or snowshoeing through the sparkling snow covered forests. And from late August to April wilderness lodges and cabins are the perfect spot to kick back, relax and watch the northern lights. And what better way to finish off a perfect day than with a gourmet meal, enjoying the company of fellow guests? Wilderness lodges and cabins provide a true escape from the world – places where you can sink into the peace and tranquility of nature and leave the stress for another day.
The Klondike Gold Rush - words that have become synonymous with adventure and the spirit of the frontier. A spirit that’s still alive and well in the Yukon. Step back in time into the footsteps of the gold seekers and you’ll find a journey that’s filled with a myriad of stories and unique characters. A journey that stretches from the rails of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad all the way to the heart of the Klondike, Dawson City. A slice of history itself, Dawson is the real deal. Its inhabitants are an eclectic mix of modern day characters living side by side with a rollicking past. Gold rush lore permeates every corner of this town. Listen to the words of the Yukon’s most famous bard, Robert Service, or wander down the lane to the cabin of that other famous gold rush writer – Jack London. Spend an evening in the company of Diamond Tooth Gertie and her can-can dancers. Stroll wooden boardwalks and meet locals as colourful as the town itself. And there’s still gold to be found in those streams – grab a gold pan and try your luck. And, for those who dare, there’s that Dawson specialty – the Sourtoe Cocktail – your favourite libation containing a real human toe. But that’s another story….
One thing’s for sure….they know how to throw a party in Dawson City. Once dubbed “Canada’s tiny, perfect festival” by the Georgia Straight in Vancouver, the Dawson City Music Festival is one of the most popular events on the Yukon calendar. The main stage is under a red and white, candy cane-striped big top, where the dance floor vibrates beneath pounding feet. Here, and at other venues around town, musical talent from around North America caters to every taste. Held in late July, the midnight sun lights up the sky while the friendly vibe livens up the town. Adding to the atmosphere is Dawson itself. Home to the Klondike Gold Rush, it’s a National Historic Site where wooden boardwalks, gold rush era buildings and dirt roads evoke the feeling of a frontier town. It’s a great place to wander…with something interesting waiting to be discovered around every corner. Listen to poetry readings at the cabin once occupied by Yukon bard Robert Service; sip imaginatively titled cocktails at a former brothel; whoop it up with the can-can dancers at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall and dare yourself to the Sour Toe Cocktail. And if you still have time, try your hand at gold panning. With gold still being taken out of the streams here, maybe you’ll be paying your bar bill with a gold nugget!
It’s 20 degrees below zero and every breath forms a cloud of condensation. The sky is clear and the sun shines on the tiny ice crystals in the air, making them sparkle like diamonds. A cacophony of noise surrounds you as hundreds of dogs yap with anticipation while mushers shout last-minute instructions. The excitement is palpable. Taking your place along the starting chute you’re witness to one of the Yukon’s most anticipated annual events – the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The dog teams and their mushers fly out of the starting gate as they begin their 1,000 mile journey through an unforgiving wilderness to Fairbanks, Alaska. The race alternates direction each year, starting one year in Whitehorse and the next in Fairbanks. In about 10 days the race leaders will pull into the finish line exhausted but elated…having pushed the boundaries of human and canine stamina to the limit. The mandatory layover in Dawson City offers a chance to witness this very unique lifestyle first hand, to chat with mushers and race officials and discover what it takes to be a competitive musher. Mushers come from all around the world to compete in this, the world’s toughest dog sled race
In an era of technology where most of the mysteries of life have been explained by science, the spectacle of the northern lights is something that still maintains a sense of magic and wonder. And even though today we know the science behind it, as you watch the lights sway and shape shift across the sky, it’s easy to see why they have long been a source of myth and legend.
It doesn’t matter how many times you see the northern lights, it never gets old. Every show is different and all of them are sheer magic. With next to no light pollution, the Yukon’s dark star-filled skies provide the perfect backdrop for the aurora’s magical dance.
There are two distinct aurora viewing seasons – the winter season from October to April and the fall season in August and September.
Winter is the Yukon’s peak aurora viewing time. And part of the fun of visiting at this time of year is experiencing some uniquely northern activities. Travel through a frosty winter landscape on the back of a dog sled, or for more speed, try a snowmobile. Make the catch of the day on an ice-fishing excursion or strap on some snowshoes and wander through the boreal forest. And at the end of the day, retire to a cozy wilderness lodge or cabin and keep your eyes on the skies. Alternatively, you can stay in downtown Whitehorse with easy access to restaurants and entertainment and head out each evening to a custom built aurora viewing facility.
In the fall, crisp nights that are made for curling up by a roaring fire in a cozy cabin or lodge, provide perfect conditions for aurora viewing. This can be combined with warmer-weather daytime activities, such as hiking, canoeing, or simply enjoying the spectacular scenery of the seasonal change.
But no matter when you visit, the thrill of seeing your first, second or even hundredth aurora is one that will stay with you for life.