A travel guide for Yukon, Canada: full of adventures and natural wonders.
Imagine a place where it’s possible to see the Northern Lights nine months out of the year and waking up in a log cabin to find moose crossing the frozen lake in front of your cabin is the norm. It’s not a dream, but Yukon, Canada.
I’m always on the lookout for lesser known places to explore and share here on Nomadic Fare. Whether it’s a small island in the Indian Ocean or a jungle lodge in the middle of Nepal, there’s something special about being in a place where few have gone before.
That’s why I’m excited to share this guide to exploring Yukon, Canada. This territory in northwest Canada is the ideal place to not only have a wild winter adventure but to also get your hygge on. It’s next to Alaska and is known for vast wilderness areas, abundant wildlife and frequent northern lights sightings.
What’s so special about Yukon, Canada?
I first heard about the Yukon when my friend sent me an article with the top spots to see the northern lights. When I visited Iceland, I was told the aurora was the “icing on the cake”. (Thankfully I got my sugar fix during that trip.) In the Yukon, there’s icing nine months out of the year! The Arctic Circle crosses through the Yukon so there are high chances of seeing them from late-August to mid-April.
Any place with such a high probability of witnessing these natural wonders is worth a visit. It is also home to 17 of Canada’s 20 tallest mountains—including Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada. Most of the area is wilderness and includes 3 national parks and 8 provincial parks. With a population of 40,000, I imagine it’s always possible to get nature all to yourself.
After my week-long visit, I can happily report back that the Yukon is much more than the lights alone. Yes, staying up all night to spot the aurora is a must when you visit. However, to go for that alone would be a mistake. If you’re looking for a nature-filled adventure in one of the most untouched and stunning places in the world, put the Yukon on your travel list.
Here’s your go-to travel guide for exploring Yukon, Canada.
Your travel guide to spending the perfect 10 days in Yukon, Canada
Day 1 to 2
Stay at the Northern Lights Resort and Spa
Day 1: Welcome to the Yukon! You’ll arrive in Whitehorse International Airport from a connecting city like Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa or Yellowknife. Pick up your rental car inside the airport (we went with Driving Force). Depending on when you arrive, you can get a bite to eat from one of the many spots in town like The Claim or Burnt Toast Café. They’re only 10 minutes from the airport and on the way to your resort for the night.
If you arrive later, you may want to head straight to Northern Lights Resort and Spa. It’s a scenic 20 minute drive from the airport. This family-run resort is comprised of multiple cabins surrounded by forests and mountain ranges. I recommend staying in the aurora chalet with floor-to-ceiling windows—perfect for catching the lights without having to leave your cabin. Renate & Wolfgang are the kindest hosts and will do anything to ensure a wonderful stay.
After a lovely home-cooked communal dinner with other guests, it’s time to wait for the lights to start. If you’re lucky and the prediction is favorable, the skies will start dancing around 10p or so. Be sure to bundle up.
Day 2: Have a bountiful breakfast at the lodge, then depart for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Afterward, get coffee at Bean North and head to Takhini Hot Pools.
The Northern Lights Resort and Spa is the best place to stay in Whitehorse if you’re hoping to see the aurora. It’s not guaranteed, but if conditions are favorable, you can catch them from their large viewing deck, a heated Indian Tipi or the privacy of your chalet. If you decide to head in early, they’ll even knock on your door during the night to let you know the lights are happening.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is home to various Yukon wildlife like Arctic foxes, thinhorn sheep, lynx, moose and muskoxen. They have a Rehabilitation Centre that care for injured and orphaned animals like Buddy, a red fox raised by dog parents. A definite must-see if you like animals!
Takhini Hot Pools
The hot springs at Takhini have been around for over 100 years. Comprised of natural mineral water, it is odorless, full of calcium, magnesium and iron and known for its many health benefits. They have two connected pools with mineral-rich waters that enter the hot springs between 36 and 42 degrees Celsius (96.8 and 107.6 Fahrenheit). It’s also possible to see the Northern Lights while soaking in the pools!
Stay at Southern Lakes Resort
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the lodge, then head out for your 2-hour drive to Southern Lakes Resort in Tagish.
On the way, you’ll pass by a town called Carcross, which used to be a famous stop for miners on their way to the Klondike gold fields.
A few highlights: the Carcross Desert (right before Carcross), White Pass and Yukon Route railway, Matthew General Store, Caribou Hotel (rumoured to be haunted), Bennett Lake (look for swans) and Bennett Beach.
Lunch: get food to-go in Whitehorse at The Claim or depending on the season, in Carcross at Caribou Coffee (paninis, coffee, sweets).
SOUTHERN LAKES RESORT
Stay at Southern Lakes Resort
Stay in either a modern villa or traditional cabin, all with views of the lake and your own private porch or balcony. Other activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing and hiking.
MOUNT LOGAN LODGE
stay at Mount Logan Lodge
Today you’ll head back north via Whitehorse and on to Haines Junction to explore Kluane National Park. The drive is about 4 hours total with a gorgeous stretch on the famous Alaska Highway. Stop by Whitehorse to eat lunch at Burnt Toast Café, Sanchez Cantina or The Claim.
You’ll stay on the edge of Kluane National Park in Mount Logan Lodge for the next 3 nights with your incredible hosts Roxanne and Dave. They have created a warm and cozy B&B that feels like a home away from home. You can see how much they love living in the Yukon and are excited to share it with everyone that travels through. I especially appreciated all of Roxanne’s delicious meals, Dave teaching us to ice fish and their cute puppies and dogs!
KLUANE NATIONAL PARK
stay at Mount Logan Lodge
Day 6 to 7
Any travel guide for Yukon, Canada has to include Kluane National Park. For the next two days, you’ll experience this national park that is home to Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan, and the world’s largest non-polar ice fields. This park is one to the most breathtaking natural wonders I’ve ever experienced. Depending on the weather, take either a morning or afternoon flight over the park and spend the other day exploring the area.
Flightseeing in Kluane National Park
The best way to see the park is on a private scenic flight with Rocking Star Adventures. You’ll sore over glaciers, valleys and get up close to all the mountain ranges including Mount Logan! Be sure to keep your eyes open for dall sheep, caribou, mountain goats and black bears that roam different parts of the park.
There are so many outdoor adventures to be had in this magnificent area. Roxanne and Dave arranged a guided tour of the area for us to see the magnificent landscapes and get some incredible photos.
Other experiences include dog mushing, snowshoeing, snowmachine tours, fishing/ice fishing, hiking/backpacking, introduction to ice climbing, sea kayaking, wildlife viewing, fat tire winter biking and jeep tours.
stay at Yukon Pines Cabins
Day 8 to 9
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at Mount Logan Lodge before heading back to Whitehorse. Leave at your leisure for the 2-hour drive, but know there are many activities to choose from once you arrive in Whitehorse. You can explore more nature, go shopping, visit a museum or relax in your cozy cabin at Yukon Pines! Below are activities to choose from:
Scenic spots: Miles Canyon (hike with suspension bridge and Yukon River trails), SS Klondike National Historic Site, Millennium Trail (5km trail along the Yukon River)
Museums: MacBride Museum, Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, Transportation Museum
Shopping: Horwood’s Mall (Vanessa Aegirsdotter jewelry made from First Nation sourced fur and handmade textiles), Collective Good for Yukon-themed gifts, Anto Yukon (natural Yukon made soaps and bodycare), Aroma Borealis – bodycare/natural products made with local plants
Food/drinks: Burnt Toast Café, Sanchez Cantina, The Claim, Bean North (local coffee roasters), Yukon Brewing, Winterlong Brewery (meat pies and scotch eggs made with local ingredients), Free Pour Jenny’s (bitters made with local botanicals), Wayfarer Oyster House (dinner)
Conveniently drop off your car at the airport. If it’s early, leave it in the drop box at the kiosk. Don’t forget to check in one day prior. Also, there is free wifi at the airport.
The Yukon is the ideal place to not only have a wild winter adventure but to also get your hygge on. From cozy cabins, hot springs, charming towns to wildlife sightings and flightseeing over glaciers, there’s something for everyone in Yukon, Canada.
In addition, there are very few places in the world where you can see the Northern Lights for 9 months out of the year like in the Yukon. We spotted them most of the nights we were there with varying levels of intensity.
For anyone looking to have an unforgettable experience in untouched nature, be sure to put the Yukon on your list! This travel guide for Yukon, Canada is just a start to many more adventures.
How to get to Yukon, Canada
Fly into Whitehorse International Airport. Major commercial airlines have flights from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Yellowknife. Airlines include Air North (Yukon’s Airline), WestJet, Air Canada and Condor Airline. Check individual routes to see if it’s year-round or seasonal service.
Thank you to Tourism Yukon for your kind hospitality and sharing the beauty of your untouched wilderness. All opinions and photos are my own.