With its colourful gold rush history and rich First Nation culture, it’s little wonder Yukon Territory is brimming with colourful towns just begging to be explored. Aussie travellers who take the time to explore the villages beyond the capital city of Whitehorse will be rewarded with unique landmarks and welcoming residents who have inhabited these regions for generations.
Read on for five of the best.
Home to the Teslin Tlingit First Nations, this quiet, authentic village sits on the shores of Nisutlin Bay on the narrow Teslin Lake. Soak up the true Yukon vibe in this distinctly ‘un-touristy’ township, have a picnic on the shore or paddle the tranquil waters. Picturesque Teslin is a bird-lover’s paradise. In fact, more than 185 different species have been observed at the Teslin Lake Bird Observatory near the campground.
2. Watson Lake
The town of Watson Lake is home to one of Yukon’s most famous landmarks – Sign Post Forest. This vast collection of more than 77,000 signs from around the world dates back to 1942 when US Soldier, Carl K. Lindley erected a sign marking the direction and distance to his hometown in Illinois. The trend caught on, with locals and visitors from across the globe continuing to add their own signposts.
3. Haines Junction
Haines Junction is the gateway to UNESCO site Kluane National Park and a must for the itinerary. Surrounded by the imposing Saint Elias Mountains, the friendly town is the ideal base for a hiking trip. Keep the camera ready to capture mountain goats, moose, caribou, and bears. In Haines Junction you’ll be standing on the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. Don’t miss the Da Kų Cultural Centre and join a ‘campfire talk’ to learn more about this rich culture dating back thousands of years.
4. Dawson City
Dawson City is truly one of Canada’s most historic and quirky townships. With its colourful gold-rush era buildings and boardwalks, you’ll half expect to see yester-year fortune-hunters stampede their way across the Klondike goldfields as you try your hand at panning for gold. Take a Parks Canada walking tour to explore the national historic sites and enjoy tales of exhilarating adventures from lively interpreters dressed in period clothes.
Perched at the junction of the Yukon and Nordenskiold Rivers, Carmacks is one of Yukon’s best destinations for kayaks, canoes and fishing. Prefer to stay on dry ground? Stroll the boardwalk along the Yukon River to the original historic roadhouse. Check out the Tagé Cho Hudän Interpretive Centre for its amazing artefacts, including a genuine moose skin boat. Alternatively, drive twenty minutes up the North Klondike to the look out point for the beautiful Five Finger Rapids.