Whitehorse, a northern city with a very cool name. While it’s not a huge city, Whitehorse has a cute main street with shops, cafes, restaurants, but most importantly, this city is surrounded by the wild Yukon. Whitehorse is filled with things to do, from the history of the Klondike, mounting biking trails, hiking trails, and some of the most photogenic lakes and mountains you’ll find in Canada. Let’s check out some of the best things to do in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
With over 700 acres, and featuring 13 different species of northern Canadian mammals in their natural environment. The Yukon Wildlife Preserve offers some of the best wildlife viewing and photo opportunities. Just beware that it’s out of town, and despite being fairly close to town, the weather can get pretty cold in these parts. Especially when you factor in the wind. So be sure to dress in layers and bring a tuque and mitts. Can’t hurt to at least have them in your bag.
Hike Miles Canyon
A mostly simple hiking trail near the city of Whitehorse. Miles Canyon is located along the shores of Schwatka Lake and the Yukon River. Make sure you contact the Yukon Conservation Society, which offers free guided hikes/tours throughout the summer. The suspension bridge across Miles Canyon will make for some great photos.
The MacBride Museum of Yukon History has a bunch of great exhbits showcasing historical artifacts from the Klondike Gold Rush and some amazing historical First Nations art. It’s a great way to spend an hour or two, perhaps more if you’re huge into history.
On a sunny day, Emerald Lake is one of the most photogenic lakes in Canada. The deep colour comes from light reflecting off white deposits of marl, which is a mixture of clay and calcium carboate. These glacier lakes tend to be freezing cold, so make sure if you’re crazy enough to go for a dip to have some dry clothes and access to a warm vehicle to warm up after. Yukon lakes are cold year round.
Explore the SS Klondike
The SS Klondike sits along the shores of the Yukon River. The name SS Klondike was actually given to two sternwheelers. The Klondikes primarily carried freight, but eventually Klondike II was converted into a cruise ship, which unfortunately was shut down in 1955 due to poor sales and lack of interest. The Klondike II has been designated a national historic site of Canada, and is a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Check out Mammoth Exhbits at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre.
This monster building houses extinct monsters. A unique building that features mammoths and bones of sabretooth tigers and the kind of stuff that would have likely hunted out ancestors. If you’re a fan of extinct creatures, giant animals, and beautifully designed exhibits, make sure you block off at least a couple of hours to check out the Beringia Interpretive Centre.
Northern Lights Tours
During the winter months the Yukon becomes one of the best places to spot the northern lights in their deepest and most vivid colours. While you can spot the aurora borealis further south, the further North you go, and the further you get away from light pollution, the better your experience will be. Check out my post on how to spot the northern lights in Canada. Pop into the visitor centre to find tour companies, or contact Tourism Yukon to plan a trip in advance.
Get saddled up with Boreale Mountain Biking. I had the opportunity to ride some of the Yukon Trails last time I was in Whitehorse and it was one of the funnest parts of my entire trip. Hands down mountain biking some of these Yukon trails is one of the best things you can do in Whitehorse. Check out Boreale Mountain biking for some tours for beginners and intermediates and even pros.
Going for a rip is one of the most popular things to do in the Yukon during the winter months. Whether you call them Snow Machines (looking at you Alaska), Snowmobiles, or the very fun to say “Skidoo”, enjoying the speed and thrill of driving on top of snow is something everyone should do at least once in their life.
Yukon Brewing Company
Nothing beats ice cold beer, and very few breweries can beat Yukon Brewing Company. I had my pint of Yukon Brewing Company several years ago. I believe it was a “Longest Night”. One of the beer stores in Saskatchewan has just started selling Yukon Brewing Company’s Lead Dog, which I’ve picked up a couple times since rediscovering it. If you have a chance to do a tour o the Yukon Brewing Company, or just pop in and pick up some beer. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon and the beer is superb.
Live Music in Whitehorse
Despite the small population of Whitehorse, they have a thriving music scene and receive countless traveling musicians. For live music check out Dirty Northern Pub, Jarvis Street Saloon, The Yukon Inn, Baked Cafe for smaller acoustic shows. Most of the venues in Whitehorse are pretty small so you’re bound for an intimate show!