A trip to Yukon is one you’ll never forget. From the plentiful wildlife to its astonishing natural landmarks, the North abounds with beauty. What’s more, the territory has a rich history; it was a hub of activity during the Klondike Gold Rush, and home to First Nations for centuries beforehand. With so much to experience, where does one start? That’s where we come in. Let these seven spots show why Yukon should be on your travel radar.
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Here is why you need to add Yukon to your bucket list
Miles Canyon has a storied history; First Nations occupied nearby fishing camps, and prospectors travelled its length during the Klondike Gold Rush. Nowadays, the canyon attracts tourists and locals alike, offering picturesque views of the Yukon River. It’s a short trip from Whitehorse to the site, which can be roamed freely or hiked with a guide. Or, if you’re not afraid of heights, you can take in the scenery from the suspension bridge that spans the canyon’s breadth.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
The North is rife with fascinating wildlife, and nowhere embodies this fact better than the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. The site houses all manner of animals, nursing them back to health until they are fit to return to the wild. Over the course of your walkabout or bus tour, you’ll be acquainted with dozens of Arctic and boreal species, from towering moose to nimble lynx. To boot, the animals live in conditions akin to their natural habitats, giving a glimpse into their lifestyle.
Tombstone Territorial Park
Don’t let the name deter you; Tombstone Territorial Park is a sight to behold. Its 850 square miles hold sweeping vistas of natural beauty—rough peaks sheathed in permafrost, and vast fields that change colors with the season—as well as a wide array of animal life. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or having a picnic, expect to see caribou strolling by. Alternatively, you can seek out Tombstone’s 70+ First Nations sites, which catalogue the long history of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people.
Between the Bennett and Nares Lakes lies the small community of Carcross. Originally known as “Caribou Crossing,” the town was a popular stopping place during the gold rush. Before that, the territory was home to the Tagish and Tlingit First Nations. Relics of the region’s heritage remain in the form of historic buildings, totem poles, and an old carving shed. If history isn’t your thing, you can always relax by Bennett Lake, or spend a night in the haunted Caribou Hotel.
Watson Lake Signpost Forest
The Signpost Forest began with a homesick soldier, and a sign for his hometown of Danville, Illinois. Others soon followed his lead, decorating Watson Lake with signs of their own. Today, the town is surrounded by more than 77,000 signs, honoring locations across the globe. Visitors are encouraged to carry on the tradition; all it takes is a sign from home, or to have one made at the Visitor Information Centre, to become a part of history. If that’s not one for the bucket list, what is?
Named for its green-tinted waters, Emerald Lake takes the phrase “pretty as a postcard” to a whole other level. You won’t be renting a boat or casting a line at this lake. What you’ll find instead is a breathtaking scene – shimmering water, framed by towering trees and distant slopes. In August and September, the area is painted with beautiful fall colors. An even better view awaits at the nearby lookout point, for those not content to snap a photo on the side of the road.
Takhini Hot Springs
Whether you’re a tourist or a Whitehorse resident, Takhini Hot Springs is your destination for relaxation. The twin pools have been a commercial site since 1907, and were used by First Nations long before that. The mineral-rich waters retain their high temperature year-round, making them an ideal retreat from winter weather. Better yet, you can trek through 200 acres of surrounding wilderness, then soak away your fatigue while the Northern Lights dance overhead.