|Regions: Kluane, Southern Lakes, Whitehorse Region||Communities: Haines Junction, Carcross, Whitehorse|
|Themes: Touring||Categories: Museums & Cultural Centres, Historic Sites, First Nations Culture, Arts, Klondike Gold Rush, Flightseeing, Iconic Drives, Wilderness Parks|
A capital city with the warm welcome of a small town
Just have a few days to visit the Yukon? Whitehorse makes the perfect base for exploring. It’s a city that blends First Nations culture, gold rush history and an energetic, creative vibe with a stunning wilderness backdrop.
A Whitehorse Welcome
Kick off your first day at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. This award-winning building celebrates the heritage, culture and contemporary way of life of our Kwanlin Dün citizens. Then wander along the riverside trail to the MacBride Museum and uncover the Yukon’s history before walking over to the S.S. Klondike for a self-guided tour.
If you’re here in summer, head on over to LePage Park for a free lunchtime concert and then spend some time gallery hopping. The artists’ co-op, Yukon Artists @ Work, was named one of the top 10 hidden gems in Canada by TripAdvisor and is a great place to find unique fine art pieces.
Hop in the car and drive out to Miles Canyon and then to the Beringia Interpretive Centre, where you can come face to face with a woolly mammoth. Next door, the fascinating Yukon Transportation Museum is home to the world’s largest weather vane, an old Douglas DC-3.
Fancy some live entertainment? There’s always something happening around town. Pick up a copy of What’s Up Yukon and relax in a local bar or restaurant while listening to some live music.
Day Trip to Carcross
Once known as Caribou Crossing, and just an hour (73km/45mi.) from Whitehorse, Carcross is the traditional territory of the Carcross Tagish First Nations.
At the Carcross Commons, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant mural designed in the coastal tradition by a local Tlingit artist. The totem poles were carved next door in the carving shed where you can watch the carvers work.
During the gold rush, Carcross became a supply centre and stopover point for prospectors on their way to the Klondike goldfields. The Carcross Historic Building Walking Tour map reveals the stories behind over thirty century old log cabins, buildings and other structures in town. One of the most prominent heritage buildings is the White Pass and Yukon Route station. The “railway built of gold” transported gold and goods between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse. The final golden spike was hammered into the ground here in 1900. Take a walk across the century-old rail bridge which is still in use today.
Nearby, you’ll want to stop at beautiful Emerald Lake and the tiny Carcross Desert. For a longer day trip, continue on to Skagway, Alaska which is another hour down the highway.
Day Trip to Kluane Country
From Whitehorse, it’s an easy two hour drive (154km/96mi.) along the historic Alaska Highway to Haines Junction. This is a small town with a giant back yard: the awe-inspiring wilderness of Kluane National Park & Reserve.
From your first glimpse—until watching it disappear in the rear view mirror—you’ll be captivated. Roughly half the size of Switzerland, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to twelve of Canada’s highest mountains including the highest, Mt Logan.
The Visitor Information Centre in the impressive Da Kų "Our House" can help you make the most of your day. While you’re here, get to know the culture and traditions of the local Champagne and Aishihik First Nations people through the interactive displays and presentations.
The park is a hiker’s paradise with day hikes that range from easy to strenuous. Enjoy a scenic picnic at Kathleen Lake, visit the Thechàl Dhâl Visitor Centre, and soak up striking vistas of the enormous Kluane Lake.
For a truly unforgettable experience, take an air tour over the park. From above some of the planet’s largest glaciers, you’ll get a true sense of the scale and magnificence created by nature.