Yukon Travel Guide
Producing enough gold during its Klondike gold rush years to satisfy even Mr T’s jewelry requirements, the Yukon Territory in Canada’s far north is a region of forest wildernesses, rolling mountains, sprawling lakes and cascading rivers. With only around 30,000 permanent residents, the territory enjoys little in the way of development and a lot in the way of unspoiled natural assets.
Whitehorse is the territorial capital and is the city that saw the majority of prospecting action in the late 19th century. The SS Klondike National Historic Site provides visitors with some background on the events that transpired during the gold rush. As far as other attractions in the city go, the MacBride Museum is perhaps the highlight. Covering a huge area equal to half a city block, the museum is the city’s premier facility for the preservation of cultural heritage, containing an unrivalled collection of Yukon gold and artifacts relating to the territory’s early inhabitants.
Dawson City is the Yukon’s second most significant urban development and it also saw its fair share of miners and panners back in the day. The gold rush is considered an integral part of the city’s heritage and some of the sites that witnessed the most frenzied action can today be explored on guided tours. Visitors can get the low down on famous prospectors such as Dawson Charlie, Skookum Jim and George Carmack.
Dawson City offers another juicy slice of history in the form of Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall, the oldest casino in Canada. Gertie and her gals will entertain you with a traditional, old fashioned Klondike show while you throw your life savings away on the slots, black jack tables and roulette wheels. If you prefer your history to come in a more bookish form, then the Dawson City Museum and Historical Society is the place to head.
Yukon’s finest scenery is on show at the Kluane National Park, a destination characterized by its deep valleys, colorful meadows, lush green alpine forests and tundra regions. Sure to take pride of place in many a visitor’s photo album are the panoramic images offered by the spectacular St Elias mountains. Mount Logan and Mount St Elias are the highlights of the range and provide Canada with its two highest mountains at 5,950m and 5,488m respectively.
Wintertime sees the Aurora Borealis drawing visitors in truckloads to the Yukon. The Northern Lights, as they are otherwise known, use the night sky as a canvas on which to paint awe inspiring designs in various hues of green and blue. Late August to mid-April is the best time to observe this fascinating natural phenomenon.
Lovers of a good knees-up or lively sporting contest will appreciate the Yukon’s excellent selection of annual festivals and events. The Frostbite Music Festival and Dawson Music Festival are musts for anyone with a penchant for live entertainment, while the Yukon International Storytelling Festival is one to place top of the list if you enjoy listening to talented orators spin a good tale or two.