Canada’s fabled far north territory is a place of lore, from its rich gold rush history to its sweeping wilderness that meets the Alaskan border.
The territory of Yukon has a reputation as Canada’s Wild West. After pioneers struck gold outside the town of Dawson in the late 19th century, the subarctic landscape filled with boomtowns. However, Yukon’s northern reaches remain almost completely undeveloped today. Due to the lack of northern roads, most travelers visit southern parts of the territory to see gold rush heritage sites, Canada’s highest peak and moose in natural forests.
Stop at Whitehorse, the territory’s capital. Museums and heritage sites provide a picture of early settlement days. Check out the S.S. Klondike, a well-preserved 1937 riverboat that once traveled between Whitehorse and Dawson. Make this trip yourself by driving northwest through the wilderness to Dawson. Restored gold-rush-era buildings stand throughout town and old mines and mining machinery dot the area. Visit the Jack London Cabin and Interpretive Centre to learn about the life of one of the area’s most famous prospectors.
In the southwest corner of Yukon lies Kluane National Park and Reserve in the heights of the Northern Coast Mountains. Explore the 8,500-square-mile (22,010-square-kilometer) park to see its several impressive mountain chains. The Saint Elias Mountains include Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan. Hike or ride a helicopter to the 40-mile-long (70-kilometer) Lowell Glacier, which flows down from icy peaks.
Yukon’s general landscape is one of its main attractions. Over 80 percent of the territory is wilderness. Moose are very common throughout Yukon, as are reindeer. Take a scenic drive into the forest to find these majestic creatures and glimpse the aurora borealis. This natural wonder is visible as far south as Whitehorse, although it is best viewed away from the city’s lights.
Arrive in Whitehorse by plane from any of Canada’s major cities. Otherwise, drive or take a train/bus combination from the Alaskan city of Skagway, which you can reach by ferry from many Pacific port cities. Visit in summer for some of the world’s longest days, especially in the northern portion of Yukon in the Arctic Circle.