If your trip is shorter than your wilderness wishlist, starting your adventure in Whitehorse is definitely the right move. After all, there’s a reason it’s called the “Wilderness City”. Within Whitehorse, you’ll find classic paddling opportunities, amazing singletrack mountain biking trails, and hiking paths that will leave you breathless—in a good way. And just a short drive outside the city, you’ll find river tours, mountain hikes, rafting excursions, and views for miles. To sum it up, we’ll leave you with these words from a previous visitor, Rachel B: “It was the adventure of a lifetime.”
One thing your Yukon trip won’t include is hours spent navigating traffic just to get out of town. With wilderness right at our doorstep, the only thing you’ll be navigating is a trail or a river. And when we say “trails”, we mean over 700 kilometres of them. And that’s just around Whitehorse. Explore some of the area’s gold rush history at Miles Canyon and Canyon City. Grey Mountain offers exceptional views and alpine hiking along the ridgeline. Other areas to consider include Mt McIntyre, Hidden Lakes, Long Lake, and Fish Lake just to name a few.
Speaking of lakes, let’s take some inspiration from Abdullah E, a visitor who “enjoyed everything about [the Yukon], especially the hikes and the beautiful emerald waters.” This evening, pack a picnic and head out to Chadburn Lake. This crystal clear lake sparkles in its pristine wilderness setting and is the perfect spot to enjoy a paddle and supper al fresco during our long summer evenings. Downtown outfitters can provide you with canoes or kayaks, and all the necessary safety gear.
Get ready to shred some awesome singletrack today. The Yukon is fast becoming a not-so-secret mountain biking hotspot and many of the best trails are just a stone’s throw from the city. Cross a wildflower-strewn alpine meadow, careen down a mountain path and ride high along an aspen ridge—all in a morning. Join a guided tour or create your own adventure.
The largest riding area in Whitehorse is Grey Mountain. Cross-country trails wind through boreal forest and past sensational views with trails to suit all levels. Over at Mt McIntyre, a.k.a. Mt Mac, you’ll find a range of alpine trails as well as a bike skills park. Other trail options include Mt Sima, Haeckel Hill and Pilot Mountain.
The village of Carcross is a historic community just a short one hour drive (73km/45mi.) from Whitehorse. On the way, make sure to stop at beautiful Emerald Lake and the Carcross Desert for great photo ops. But before you strike a pose, just remember as Christine B says, the Yukon is “so incredibly beautiful that pictures cannot do it justice.”
And if you’re looking for even more picturesque rides, nearby Montana Mountain offers exhilarating downhill singletrack with views of mountain peaks and lakes that go on forever. Get into the zone as you ride professionally-built trails that descend the mountain towards Bennett Lake. Along the way you’ll also pass remnants of the area’s mining history.
It’s time to get off the trails and onto the water. Running through the centre of town, the mighty Yukon River is a magnet for paddlers from around the world. One such paddler, Craig H, “spent 2 weeks exploring the Yukon last summer” and one of the trip highlights was “paddling the Yukon River in Whitehorse and celebrating a successful trip at Winterlong Brewing.”
First, you’ll start your day with a visit to the S.S. Klondike to get a feel for the river’s history and then launch your canoe from downtown. Operators can outfit you with gear and provide shuttles, or you can join a guided tour.
An easy half day trip takes you to the confluence of the Takhini River. For a longer adventure, carry on to the southern end of Lake Laberge. It doesn’t take long to get out of town and into the stunning Yukon wilderness. And if you’re a more experienced paddler, you might want to consider the section of river from Marsh Lake, through Miles Canyon to Schwatka Lake.
Tonight, why not check out the local music scene and enjoy one of those pints Craig H was talking about. Pick up a copy of What’s Up Yukon for entertainment listings.
Two hours (154km/96mi.) from Whitehorse is the outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana, otherwise known as Kluane National Park and Reserve—home to Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan, and the largest non-polar icefields on the planet. In summer, alpine wildflowers bloom in profusion, and wildlife sightings—including grizzly and black bears—are common.
Make park headquarters in the Da Kų Cultural Centre your first stop. They can help you with the large menu of hiking trails and routes on offer. Trails range from easy day hikes to backcountry multi-day treks, where your navigation and map-reading skills will be tested. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of space on your camera’s memory card because you’re going to need it. For an easy day hike, check out either the Dezadeash River or St Elias Lake trails. For something more challenging, try the King’s Throne trail. You can hike up as far as the cirque or continue all the way to the summit. And if you’re looking to take things to the next level, why not take a page out of Jo W’s book and try a flightseeing tour: “Flightseeing over Kluane National Park and Reserve was the most thrilling travel experience of my life.” Who can argue with that?
After an exhilarating day, pitch your tent or get into the Yukon vibe in a rustic cabin and enjoy the slow summer twilight.
Today you have another full day to explore the park. Take the Alaska Highway north of Haines Junction and stop in at the Thechàl Dhâl Visitor Centre for information on local trails. Good day hikes in this area include Sheep Creek and Bullion Plateau. A longer and more strenuous option (you’ll need to start early) is the Thechàl Dhâl Ridge loop route, which also has great wildlife viewing opportunities.
Alternatively, get your adrenaline pumping with a rafting trip on the Tatshenshini River. Nat Geo ranks the “Tat” at #1 on their Top 10 list of Whitewater Rafting trips. Guided trips on these Class III and IV rapids depart south of Haines Junction.
Head back to Whitehorse this evening, kick back on a deck somewhere, enjoy some local cuisine, relive your adventures on Instagram, and soak up your last rays from the midnight sun. But don’t worry, if you’re anything like Isabelle M, who says, “We want to go back for sure” you’ll be back in the Yukon in no time.