Planning a trip to the Yukon in Canada? From flying over Kluane National Park to hiking the Sam McGee Trail, these are the top 5 things to do in the Yukon!
This time a year ago I was searching for the best things to do in the Yukon as the rest of Canada were preparing to celebrate their 150th anniversary as an independent country.
I can’t believe how quickly a year has gone by, and as I look back on all the trips I’ve done since then, my trip to the Yukon still stands out as one of my favourites.
For me, there’s no place the represents what Canada is all about more than the Yukon. For want of a better description, it is just so Canadian.
Here, let me show you in my videos what I really mean…
When I think of Canada, I think of wide open spaces, of snow-capped mountains and of deep dense forests.
Well, in the Yukon you have all of that on the grandest scale. There are 36,000 people that live here in 482,443 km². To put that into context, that’s the population of Accrington in Lancashire in a place the size of Morocco.
Another way of looking at it is the population of the UK (66 million people) could all fit into the Yukon a couple of times over.
When I say they have space, they really have space.
It’s really hard to describe, but no matter where you travel in the Yukon you just feel so small. I think there’s a particular beauty in that.
Whether it’s the sirens of a city or being surrounded by hundreds of people when walking down a street, at times I find London so overwhelming – it’s sensory overload in every sense of the word.
The beautiful thing about the Yukon is it’s the complete opposite of that – where you feel connected 24/7 in the city, you feel so utterly disconnected out here.
The more I travel, the more I appreciate that.
The Yukon factor
One of the things I loved about the Yukon is hearing the stories from all the locals that call this place home.
No one really plans on moving here. They visit. They have a good time. They leave. Then they think about it. Then they think about it some more. Then, all of a sudden 20 years have gone by and they can’t quite explain how they moved here in the first place.
The thing is, and I came across this story so many times. The Yukon just gets under your skin. And once people move here, they never leave.
I guess it’s that Yukon factor, but all the locals I met here were so kind and friendly. They really went out of their way to make sure I felt welcomed; I love that.
My top 5 things to do in the Yukon
When I was there, I spent most of my time in and around Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon.
I would’ve loved to explore the second biggest city, Dawson, but it being a six-hour drive north kinda got in the way of that ever happening.
The next town above that, Old Crow, is as far as it goes. Then there’s a whole lot of nothing.
So, with that in mind, here are my top 5 things to do in the Yukon!
1. Canoeing on the River Yukon
One of my favouring things to do in Whitehorse was canoeing on the River Yukon.
There’s something so peaceful about canoeing in Canada, and once you get out of the city the only sounds you’ll come across are the gentle splashes of oars in the water or of an eagle screeching overhead.
Apparently there are some epic canoe trips along the River Yukon where you can paddle for days and days, stopping off on the banks and setting up camp for the night.
My trip just gave me a taster of that, and I’d love to explore more of this beautiful river.
2. Flying over Kluane National Park
Scenic flights don’t come much more beautiful than this one.
At Haines Junction, a couple of hours north-west of Whitehorse, you’ll come to the edge of Kluane National Park.
It is here where you can jump in a little biplane and fly over the snow-capped mountains and glaciers, and the views really are astounding.
Depending on what time of year you fly, you can even land on one of the glaciers and really immerse yourself in the beauty of the Yukon. For me, this is what it’s all about.
I can’t recommend flying over Kluane National Park enough. If you’re travelling through the Yukon, this should definitely be on your list of things to do.
3. Hiking the Sam McGee trail
In a place like the Yukon, there are thousands of hiking trails to choose from, and they’re all good.
Of all the ones I trekked though, my favourite was the Sam McGee trail just outside Carcross.
The Sam McGee trail follows an old mining route to the top of the mountains. And once you get to the top, the views of the lakes below are just stunning.
It was so unique coming across disused mining carts and pulleys that once made this one of the wealthiest regions in north America. It really brought the history of the area to life.
4. Wandering around Carcross
Carcross is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever come across.
About two hours south of Whitehorse, Carcross is a cluster of brightly coloured houses and shops that really celebrates the First Nations people, the ones who have been living on this land for centuries.
While I was wandering around Carcross I met Keith Wolfe Smarc, a First Nations chief who was carving a 20-metre high totem pole for his tribe – a symbol of the roots and the history of the area. For me, it was amazing learning about the history like this. Not to mention beautiful too.
5. Road trippin
This may be a bit of a strange one, but I loved driving in the Yukon.
With so much space and hardly any people or cars, you can go on some truly epic road trips with the most beautiful scenery all around you without coming across a single soul.
When I was travelling through the Yukon, often I’d drive from viewpoint to viewpoint in this serene silence just taking in the landscapes all around me.
As I’ve said, if you’re looking at getting away from it all, the Yukon is the perfect place to do it in. There’s just nowhere quite like it.
This post was in association with Destination Canada promoting some of the things you can do in Canada all round the year. As always, views are entirely my own and without bias.
Are you planning a trip to the Yukon? What activities are you most looking forward to doing in the Yukon? Make sure you let me know in the comment box below!
Like this blog post? Then make sure you Pin it!