4 unique activities you can try in the Yukon
Enjoy a new experience or four
Life is full of firsts. Nearly everyone has had a first haircut or a first job, but only a select few get to experience their first drink with a human toe in it. And just remember, if you’re not having it here, that bartender should probably be fired.
With that out of the way, let us tell you about a few of the wonderful firsts you can experience in the Yukon.
Get Lost in a Sign Post Forest
For you history buffs, the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake was unwittingly started by a homesick U.S. soldier named Carl K. Lindley in 1942. He was instructed to repair signage in the area and did his duties well.
But before he finished, Carl added one additional sign that pointed in the direction of his home. It read: Danville, Ill. 2835 miles. Since then, over 90,000 signs have been added.
On your visit, you can bring your own sign, make one at the Visitor Information Centre or use the forest as a starting point for your 2835 mile trek to Danville. The choice is yours.
The Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs are a place dedicated to relaxation. Unless you’re there during the International Hair Freezing Contest, when the pools turn into a frenzy of hair-freezing fanatics. The event takes place during the Sourdough Rendezvous festival each February. But you have to keep an eye on the thermometer, because it only happens when the temperature drops to -20 celsius or colder.
In order to compete, contestants must wet their hair and mold it as it freezes in the frigid air. The most original hairdo wins. So think of your favorite comic book character, or make some majestic moose antlers; the key to winning is creativity.
Do you have what it takes to join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club? Then head down to the historic Downtown Hotel in Dawson City to find out.
But a word to the wise, this isn’t some cutesy cocktail with too much citrus. There’s a toe, an actual human toe, in the drink. The first toe belonged to a miner and rum runner named Louie Liken who had it amputated due to frostbite in the 1920s. He preserved it in a jar of alcohol which was then discovered by Yukon local Captain Dick Stevenson in 1973. This morbid mixologist brought the toe down to the Sourdough Saloon and formed the Sourtoe Cocktail Club with any who were brave enough to try it.
Since that day, over 10 toes have been donated, as some have been swallowed and others stolen from the bar. The most recent toe was donated in 2019 by former British Marine Nick Griffiths who had his amputated due to frostbite. And while it no longer lives in a literal sense, the toe lives on in the Yukon.
Once upon a time, George and Kate Carmack, Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie discovered gold in the Yukon. Shortly after that, 100,000 stampeders flocked to the territory seeking their fortunes.
The Klondike Gold Rush was an important part of Yukon history. And you could pay homage to that rich history during your visit by panning for your own gold.
Ok, we know what you’re thinking: you don’t have the first idea how to do it or where to start. But that’s the beauty of new experiences, you’ll figure them out as you go. And it’s not like us to leave you unprepared. This handy link will show you everything you need to get started. The only real requirement is a sense of adventure. Oh, and patience.