As the rich colours of autumn usher in dark Yukon night skies, the stage is set for dancing northern lights. Summer may be winding down, but be sure to bring your shades along. In autumn the aspen forests around Whitehorse turn a vibrant gold. Coupled with clear blue skies, it’s the perfect time of year to get out into nature. You’ll find plenty of ways to fill your days while waiting for the night’s magic show in the sky.
Enjoy the easygoing vibe of Whitehorse as you stroll down Main Street. Explore galleries filled with treasures crafted by local artists. Soak up some local history at the MacBride Museum and then wander along the riverfront to the S.S. Klondike. Get up close to a woolly mammoth at the Beringia Interpretive Centre and find out why a bishop ate his boots at the Old Log Church Museum.
This afternoon, head out to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve where you can see northern mammals from moose to muskox. Follow up with a soak in the natural hot springs at nearby Takhini Hot Springs and then taste test some locally roasted coffee at Bean North Café.
Back in town, check out the thriving Yukon culinary scene at one of our many restaurants. Chefs use local ingredients in innovative dishes that tempt the palate with distinctive northern flavours.
Tonight, look up at a star-filled sky as you wait for the mystical northern lights to make their appearance. Tour operators will pick you up at your hotel and take you to comfortable aurora viewing facilities.
Hop in the car today and get out of town. There are several great day trip options, each offering the chance to experience the beauty of the changing season.
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad will take you on a journey through a mountain pass, past glaciers, waterfalls and historic sites, through tunnels and over sky high trestles. This narrow gauge railway operates between Skagway, Alaska and Carcross, Yukon. To plan your trip, check out the seasonal bus/rail schedules. Depending upon when you’re here, you may need to rent a car.
If hiking trails, wildlife viewing and scenic vistas in every direction sound appealing, then Kluane National Park is for you. Head to Kathleen Lake, where autumnal hues, snow-dusted mountains and a crystal clear lake will make you the envy of all your Facebook friends. And for the ultimate “wow” factor, top it all off with a flightseeing tour over the park’s massive mountain ranges and icefields.
The area of interconnected lakes and rivers that form the headwaters of the mighty Yukon River is known as the Southern Lakes. Explore the villages of Carcross, Marsh Lake, Tagish and Teslin, where you’ll find beautiful beaches, local arts, history and First Nations culture.
Another night of glittering stars and dancing auroras caps off the perfect day.
Whitehorse is known as the “Wilderness City” for good reason. Sunny, crisp days and a sensational autumn display only add to the pleasure of getting out into nature. Local outfitters can provide you with all the gear you need from canoes to mountain bikes, shuttle services and fully guided trips.
Launch a canoe from downtown and take an easy half day paddle down the Yukon River. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife—eagles, bears, moose and beavers are frequently sighted.
Jump on a mountain bike and ride through glowing aspen forests, through alpine meadows or alongside the Yukon River. Or simply lace up your hiking boots and go exploring on over 700km of local trails. Some of our favourites include Grey Mountain and Miles Canyon.
Now that you’ve slowed down to Yukon time, enjoy a casual meal and perhaps try some of our local microbrews. Then head out for your last incredible night of aurora viewing. You’ll be leaving the Yukon with incredible memories and enough amazing photos to fill your social media feeds for months.
Note: There are two options for aurora viewing vacations in the Yukon. The first is to stay in downtown Whitehorse and take evening aurora viewing tours with a local operator. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something uniquely Yukon, then you might prefer a wilderness lodge or cabin. Cabins range in facilities from very rustic to those with all the creature comforts. With this option you can watch the northern lights at your leisure.