The Yukon’s wildlife is strangely underrated but if there’s one place to put that right, it’s Kluane National Park. It boasts Canada’s tallest mountains (Mount Logan, 5,959m) and the biggest ice field outside the Poles, together forming a vast wilderness, prime for adventure.
The large concentration of grizzly bears is the main drawcard of the park. Keep your eyes peeled for lynx, wolves and wolverines in its forests and spy Dall sheep and mountain goats at Kluane Lake, with golden eagles and peregrine falcons soaring overhead.
2. Search for gold
Mention the Yukon and most people think of the Gold Rush, where 100,000 people flocked to the Klondike region between 1896 and 1899. The dust clouds from the gold-chasing stampede still hang heavy over Dawson City, the gold rush’s epicentre. Many of the era’s buildings have survived, including the Palace Grand Theatre and Jack London’s Cabin, once home to a prospector who documented his adventures in several books. To follow in his gold-hunting footsteps, head south to trace the 53km Chilkoot Trail near Whitehorse, where rusting mining machinery and equipment are sprinkled among the lakes and alpine scenery. Or canoe Bennett Lake as the miners would have years before.
3. Explore the wilderness
The Yukon isn’t just a haven for gold miners and wildlife, it’s a playground for adrenalin-seekers, too. Kluane NP is webbed with walking trails that trace former mining roads and old riverbeds, many of which culminate in fine views of lakes such as Kathleen and Dezadeash. Soak up the views from a different angle on a flight seeing tour, or trot through the park on a guided horseriding tour.
For an iconic experience, head to the Beaver River to canoe past bears on the banks, swimming river otters and eagles. The streams which feed the Tatshenshini River in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, meanwhile, are ideal for rafting or kayaking. Over in the wild hinterlands surrounding the Yukon’s capital Whitehorse, year-round adventure awaits: hiking and biking and horseriding in the summer, dog-sledding and snowshoeing in winter.
4. Enjoy nature's best shows
Nothing quite beats seeing the northern lights painting teal-tinted streaks on the Yukon’s ink-black skies between late August and mid-April. Enjoy sightings among the pristine landscapes surrounding Whitehorse, or see the aurora reflected in Kluane’s lakes.
The Midnight Dome viewpoint above Dawson City is a microcosm of the Yukon’s capacity to deliver pinch-me moments all year round: when the nights are long, you can see the aurora and when the nights are shorter, it offers unrivalled views of the midnight sun – both memorable finales.
For more information and travel inspiration on the Yukon, head over to the official Canada As You Like It website.