The Best Things To Do In The Yukon

Highlights From The Road to 150 Yukon Episode

Known for its dramatic landscapes, vast wilderness, and the famous Klondike Gold Rush, the Yukon has been capturing people’s imaginations for years. With four-legged creatures far outnumbering humans, Canada’s tallest mountain peaks, and the world’s largest non-polar glacier, the Yukon is a true paradise for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts.

We started our journey in Whitehorse, the Yukon’s capital city. From here, we toured the SS Klondike, ate some delicious food in Whitehorse’s oldest buildings, saw heaps of wildlife, and caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights. We then went to Dawson, the worlds most famous gold rush town. While walking around the old boardwalk streets was incredible enough, we also went gold panning, toured the massive dredge #4, watched a Cancan show at the oldest casino in the country, and took a river cruise on a paddle-wheeler. We then drove up the infamous Dempster Highway all the way to Eagle Plains, past the Arctic Circle and into the Northwest Territories. After coming back and spending another night in Dawson, we drove to Kluane National Park for one of the most epic flightseeing tours we’ve ever experienced.

We also learned many new things, including:

  • Kluane National Park is the most Western point in Canada and is home to the largest non-polar glacier in the world.
  • Dawson City was the centre of the Klondike Gold Rush.
  • The Yukon is home to Canada’s highest mountain.

There is so much to do in the Yukon, especially for those who love the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking for secluded hiking opportunities, incredible flightseeing tours, high mountains, the ultimate “gold rush” experience, or Canada’s only highway to the Arctic, the Yukon is the place to be!

best things to do in the yukon

Things To Do in the Yukon

Below is a list of what we did, where we stayed, and the companies that helped make this journey possible. We’d also love to give a special shout out to Best Western International for helping to make this entire 150-day road trip happen and to Tourism Yukon for helping us with some of our accommodation and activities.

Things To Do In Whitehorse

As the Yukon’s only true city, you really can’t miss Whitehorse. Not only is it a beautiful town with some cool history, it’s also a great base to prepare for any other adventures you might be planning. You’ll find all the services you need as well as a variety of delicious restaurants. From here, you’re only two hours from Kluane National Park and seven hours from Dawson.

Northern Tales

This company takes people out of Whitehorse and into the wilderness to experience the Aurora Borealis without the city lights. The on-site cabins are filled with late-night snacks and hot chocolate so you can keep warm while waiting for the Northern Lights to come out. It’s a really great experience for those wanting to see the Aurora out in nature. We met people from all over the world. In addition, their office is located right inside the Best Western Gold Rush Inn, making it very convenient for visitors. They also offer other tours around the city and surrounding area.

Learn more at www.northerntales.ca.

things to do in whitehorse

SS Klondike National Historic Site

This was the largest sternwheeler to plie the upper Yukon River between Whitehorse and Dawson City. Now, the boat is restored and re-furnished, making it an incredible site to tour and learn about the riverboats that linked the Yukon to the outside world. It’s really fascinating to learn how these boats worked and the people who rode them.

Learn more at www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/yt/ssklondike/index.

Klondike Rib & Salmon

Located in the two oldest buildings in Whitehorse, this is one of those restaurants you really shouldn’t miss. We had delicious BBQ ribs, maple salmon, fish n’ chips, and a salmon burger before finishing it all up with a warm brownie and bumbleberry pie. This was one of our best meals on the trip and being around the historical buildings made it very special. Plus, the owner is a truly awesome person. 🙂

Learn more at www.klondikerib.com.

MacBride Museum of Yukon History

We didn’t have a lot of time to explore this museum but it’s filled with cool artifacts from the gold rush days and is a wonderful way to learn about the history of the Yukon. We also took a short historical walking tour with them through Whitehorse, which really gave us new insight into the place we were visiting. We definitely recommend stopping here.

Learn more at www.macbridemuseum.com.

Nature Tours

Nature Tours offers a variety of different tours across the territory. We took a fairly simple tour with them out to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and to the nearby Takhini Hot Springs, which was well-organized.

Learn more at www.naturetoursyukon.com.

best things to do in the yukon

Things To Do Around Kluane National Park

Located at Canada’s furthest Western point, Kluane National Park is one of the most spectacular places in the world. Home to Canada’s tallest mountain and the largest non-polar glacier in the world, this is a place that’s full of mind-blowing vistas and adventure.

Kluane Glacier Air Tours

Flightseeing tours around mountains are always an incredible experience but this tour took it to a whole new level. Not only did we soar around some of Canada’s highest peaks but we even landed on the largest non-polar glacier in the world! The skis came down, the plane landed, and the next thing you know, we’re running around in the snow…in the summertime!

Learn more at www.kluaneglacierairtours.com.

best things to do in dawson city

Things To Do In Dawson City

Dawson is one of those places that should be on everyone’s bucket-list. As the centre of the Klondike Gold Rush, Dawson has retained many of its old Western-style historical buildings, which make it a one-of-a-kind experience you can’t find anywhere else. It truly felt like we had stepped back in time to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when people came from all over the world in hopes of striking it rich.

Klondike Kates Cabins and Restaurant

Located right in the centre of Dawson, these cozy cabins are a great place to rest your head. We loved our stay here as well as the restaurant, which is located in a rustic historical building.

Learn more at www.klondikekates.ca.

The Drunken Goat Taverna

We definitely didn’t expect to be eating at a Greek restaurant during our time in Dawson but we’re so happy we did. As per the recommendation of the server, we ended up ordering a huge variety plate, which included a marvelous greek salad, lamb, ribs, chicken, pastries, and so much more. A true delight in Dawson!

Learn more at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Drunken-Goat-Taverna.

Gold panning in Dawson, Yukon

Goldbottom Mine Tours

If you’re looking for the ultimate gold mining tour, this is the one to do. They offer tours of the nearby dredge #4, as well as gold panning tours at an active gold mine. Learn how it’s all done from start to finish. We even found a couple flakes of gold during our gold panning experience. You can’t visit Dawson with

Learn more at www.goldbottom.com.

Parks Canada Tour

Since Parks Canada managed a number of historical buildings in Dawson, taking a tour with them is a must. We got to go inside an old tavern, bank, post office, and so much more, all while learning about the history from a costumed interpreter. Highly recommended!

Learn more at www.dawsoncity.ca/attraction/parks-canada-self-guided-town-walking-tour/.

Cancan Show and Diamond Tooth Gerties

You really shouldn’t miss this show when in Dawson. Located in Diamond Tooth Gerties, the oldest casino in Canada, the Cancan girls put on a wonderful Klondike-era performance. It’s highly engaging and fun to watch. After, you can gamble at the non-profit casino!

Learn more at www.dawsoncity.ca/diamond-tooth-gerties.

how to drive the dempster highway

Driving the Dempster Highway

Ahh, the Dempster Highway. The notorious 800-km dirt road that goes past the Arctic Circle. We were so excited to drive this highway to the North but also nervous from all the horror stories of punctured tires and broken windshields. There’s very little service along the way as well, so you have to be well-prepared. It’s not as bad as people say though, and we made it up and down with only one flat tire, which we had repaired in Eagle Plains. Either way, get prepared, take it slow, and enjoy some of the best scenery on Earth.

Tombstone Territorial Park

Located around 75 Km from Dawson, this park can be visited in a day, without driving the entire Dempster Highway. Another option is camping, which can also be done in the backcountry. It’s a beautiful park with rugged high mountain peaks, permafrost landforms, and abundant wildlife. The park is a legacy of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in land claim agreement and lies within their traditional territory.

Learn more at www.env.gov.yk.ca/camping-parks/tombstonepark.php.

Eagle Plains Hotel

This little town (population: 9) is located right in the middle of the Dempster Highway and is the only service you’ll find between Dawson and Fort McPherson. They run a service shop, gas station, restaurant, pub, hotel, and camping site. They also have a pool table, WiFi, and off-sales. We stayed here one night in each direction and it was a great place to rest before continuing the long drives. The breakfast is also great and priced well considering how far they are from anything else. We also saw the best Northern Lights of our entire trip right outside the front door.

Learn more at www.eagleplainshotel.ca.

photographing the milky way

Exploring the Yukon

We were all so excited to explore this wild frontier. Everywhere you look is beautiful. You can find everything here- Rich first nations culture, the highest mountains in Canada, massive glaciers, pristine rivers, world-class road trips, the one-and-only Dawson City, and so much more! We saw a lot but in reality, only scratched the surface. We can’t wait to go back to the Yukon, both in the summer and the winter!

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We offer trip planning for creating the ultimate Canadian adventure. Just email us at matt (at) mustdocanada (dot) com.

Comments

  1. I’ve not yet been to Canada but know that it’s right up my street in terms of adventure. The Yukon looks like a must-see region to include on a roadtrip when I eventually get there. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Canada is on my list, but I never thought about visiting Yukon specifically. Well now I do, thanks to this post! 🙂

    Beautiful and inspiring, thanks!

  3. Abigail Sinsona says:

    What a dream travel experience you had! I would love to visit the Arctic Circle and see the Northern Lights. Driving along the Dempster Highway looks like such a fun experience too. You have visited/tried a few bucket list items for me. So, thanks in part to you, I’ve lived out my dream just reading about your experience!

  4. Thanks for this great overview of the best things to do in the Yukon; really liked the layout of this post. We didn’t visit it yet, but hopefully we’ll visit this gem on our next vacation. We love your photos too much!!

  5. The Yukon tour is simply packed with excitement. There are really so many incredible sights to see and experience. I was really fascinated by the gold mine tours. Incidentally just before reading this post I was a programme on National Geographic about the Gold Rush, where they were showing the dredging for gold.Definitely this is a trip that is the stuff of dreams.

  6. I have been as far as the Yukon sign on the border with Alaska. It’s interesting to read what it’s really like in the Yukon. The northern lights must be right above you being so far north. I can’t imagine how delicious a salmon burger must be in that part of the world!

  7. I’ve always wanted to check out Yukon for the Northern Lights but didn’t know what else there was to do other than stargazing. Definitely have this bookmarked and can’t wait to plan a trip there. Thanks for sharing!

  8. The Kluane National Park is mesmerizing indeed! This would be paradise for us as we love trekking, climbing, camping, and visiting mountain towns. The scenery is enchanting just as expected in the Yukon Territory. We hope to visit here sometime—quite difficult for us considering that we live in the Philippines.

  9. Brooke Herron says:

    Such a cool trip! The Aurora Borealis is defeinitely something I plan to see at some point in my life and of course any place with mountains and forests and outdoor activities and history is a fantastic place to travel. The plane to mountaintops and snow in Summer? What a privilege!

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