An ultimate tour through the Yukon may not be on your bucket list yet, many travelers still want to road trip in Western Canada before they can think of other parts, but this Canadian province really deserves a place on your wish list. You will find nature that is even rawer and rougher, you travel here on endless roads on which you do not encounter any oncoming traffic, in the meantime you come to remote villages where no more than twenty-five people live and everyone knows each other. The chances of spotting bears in Yukon are huge and you can fully immerse yourself in the special culture of the First Nations.
Camping is a must here, you can do that in the wild or on nice campsites that are surrounded by the most beautiful nature and often cost no more than a tenner. And for those who love hiking, this is really an endless playground, even locals have not done all the hikes here because there are simply too many options! Already fancy a Canadian adventure? Below you can read exactly which stops you should travel to for an ultimate tour through Yukon in Canada!
This Is How You Make the Most Beautiful Tour Through Yukon | Canada
The capital of Yukon, Whitehorse, is not the biggest reason to travel to this remote part of Canada, but you can still enjoy yourself for a day or two. It’s also an ideal place to start, as you can easily fly here from Vancouver (another option is to start in Dawson City). You will find a few cool hotspots, for example the cozy Baked Cafe where you can score great coffees with raspberry scones. But also at the hip Wayfarer Oyster House or the Klondike Restaurant, overrun by tourists and locals. If you would like to eat out during your Yukon trip, this is the place to be! You will not encounter nice tents in many other places. Another must when in Whitehorse: visit the bright blue Miles Canyon! You can make great hikes here, but even if you go to the suspension bridge alone, you can enjoy a beautiful view.
Haines Junction and Kluane National Park
Drive from Whitehorse via the Alaska Highway and the beautiful Pine Lake to Haines Junction, from here you can enter the impressive Kluane National Park . This is one of the most beautiful scenic areas in the Yukon. Here you can expect a lot of mountains, beautiful lakes and plenty of great hiking routes. One thing you really should do before entering the national park: watch the Bear Safety Video in the Visitor Center! Bears can be found here in abundance and it is not only useful, but sometimes also necessary that you know what to do if you come across one. You can just ask at the Visitor Center if they want to turn on the video for you and in 30 minutes you will learn everything you need to know ( read more about bears in Canada here too† Beautiful hikes to do in this area:
Dezadeash River Trail: Flat path, round about 5.5 km and you start in Haines Junction
Auriol Trail: Fairly easy 15km loop starting 7km south of Haines Junction
Kings Throne: Slightly tough trail, but with beautiful viewpoints and you start from the Kathleen Lake campground
Walking around Kathleen Lake is also recommended, nice and easy and flat
Rock Glacier: Easy 1.5km trail with a bit of incline, starting 8km south of Kathleen Lake
Oh and are you at the Kathleen Lake Campground in the evening and don’t feel like chilling around your bbq or campfire anymore? Then grab your car around twilight, or a few hours before because in the summer it gets dark quite late in Yukon. Around 9 pm or later (depending on when you are in Yukon of course) there is a good chance that animals will go out and you might be able to spot a bear in a safe way from your car!
You must stop in this place during your Yukon tour! Not for nature, but for the divine and gigantic cinnamon buns and sandwiches Steve sells here at the Braeburn Lodge. So make sure you’re hungry when you make a pit stop here or just take your bun with you for the road, because they are too good to throw away and too big to eat with little hunger! Oh yeah and by big we mean really big, because the cinnamon buns here are sometimes almost as big as your head! You will find the Braeburn Lodge, which looks like a kind of large wooden hut and is nicely furnished, on the North Klondike Highway. Not to be missed, as it’s pretty much the only village and building you’ll come across!
After Braeburn you come to Carmacks! You can camp well around Carmacks and find beautiful nature. For example, go to the Five Finger Rapids. From there, enjoy the view over endless rows of pine trees and the meandering river. But be sure to take the time to take the stairs down and walk down to the water. This is not only a beautiful nature stop, it was also a busy place during the Gold Rush in Yukon. Because the water was so wild, this was first of all a place where many steamers dropped off passengers and then they could continue on horseback. And over time it was discovered that the steamers could also pass by means of a rope. Because of all the white water streams and rocks this was not always easy, which led to the decision to break down several rocks and eventually widen the river. You can’t see much of this now, but you can read about this special history on the information boards that have been placed along the walking route.
Another nice stop before you get to Carmacks is the Coal Mine Campground, where you can eat delicious ice cream or have a picnic! You will find several picnic tables by the water, so you can sit there and enjoy the view. Fancy a good glass of cold beer? Then it is funny to visit the Gold Panner Saloon in Hotel Carmacks. This is really one of those places where you find locals with long beards, the food isn’t exactly great, but the beer tastes all the better!
Stewart Crossing, Mayo and Keno City
Then drive past Stewart Crossing where you can learn more about the Silver Trail Area at the small visitor center. And then stop in Mayo, where it is nice to visit the Binet House Museum. Oh and for a good picnic spot: Stop at Five Mile Lake, just before Keno City! Once you’re in Keno City, you’ll soon notice that only 20 people live in this tiny town. There is a good chance that you can get to know the entire community during your visit! Want to learn more about Keno City? Then it is nice to go to the Keno City Mining Museum. You will learn more about the history of the mines, but also what it was like here during the silver rush in the early 1900s. Would you rather see more of the area and the view? Then it is very cool to drive to the top of Signpost Hill. Here you can really see a spectacular view and admire the old mining trails with your own eyes. This is really a place where you have to take your time and the signpost is such a typical photogenic pole, showing the distances to other places in the world. If you have a four-wheel drive, you can also drive well off road here!
To get to Faro from Keno City you first have to take the road back to Carmacks. That may not sound great, but trust us: When you drive in from the other side, everything will look like you’re seeing it for the first time! You then drive to Faro via the Robert Campbell Highway. Halfway through it is nice to go to Little Salmon Lake, here you will find a lake that beautifully reflects the environment on windless days. Once you are in Faro, you will see that this is really a mining town and where you can do great trails in the area. For example, we did the short walk to the Gorder Falls from the Tourism Center in the village. By the way, are you missing some groceries? Then you can do some shopping here in a very small and remote shop, this shop is called the Discovery Store and is actually located at the beginning of the village on a kind of industrial estate. It also looks more like a garage than a supermarket, but you can still buy drinking water and some non-perishable products.
South Canol Road
After Faro you drive via the Ross River to the South Canol Road and if you like safari driving in South Africa, you will also love this route. It really is one of those roads where you can hardly drive 50 meters and during the route you fall from one beautiful natural force to the other. So be prepared to stop a lot, no a lot! Think, for example, of the bridge at the Lappie River Canyon, but also just anywhere along the way. Ideally, you want to get out every 10 minutes and enjoy all the beauty and take dozens of photos. For us this was also the ultimate way to spot bears. We came across a mother bear and her little one at the start of the South Canol Road. Very special to see, especially because the young bear climbed one tree after another. Much later we encountered another bear and he was suddenly walking in the middle of the road. So special! There are also several campsites in this area, so find a spectacular spot and spend the night in the middle of nowhere.
Do you prefer to drive to the end? Then you will find the campsite Squanta Lake campground there. What’s also cool at the end is that you can read more about the history of the south Canol Road and The Canol Pipeline Project. The whole reason a road was ever built here is because an oil pipeline had to be built during World War II from the Northwest Territories to Whitehorse in the Yukon. Do you prefer to drive to the end? Then you will find the campsite Squanta Lake campground there. What’s also cool at the end is that you can read more about the history of the south Canol Road and The Canol Pipeline Project. The whole reason a road was ever built here is because an oil pipeline had to be built during World War II from the Northwest Territories to Whitehorse in the Yukon.
Do you prefer to drive to the end? Then you will find the campsite Squanta Lake campground there. What’s also cool at the end is that you can read more about the history of the south Canol Road and The Canol Pipeline Project. The whole reason a road was ever built here is because an oil pipeline had to be built during World War II from the Northwest Territories to Whitehorse in the Yukon.
Southern Lakes Region
You drive to Carcross via the Tagish Road. This is a place known as the perfect mountain bike spot. You can do a very nice excursion via Boreal Ranch and such a mountain bike tour takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. Be sure to check out the Carcross Commons in Carcross, here you will find all buildings painted in First Nations style. Are you looking for a nice place to have lunch? Then step into Bistro on Bennett! Also great to do: visit the SS Tutshi if you like ships, Bennet Beach for a beach between the mountains and there is a special carving studio next to Bistro. Finally beautiful in the area: Carcross Desert, which is the world’s smallest desert, and be sure to visit the spectacular Emerald Lake which looks dazzlingly beautiful on sunny days.
Would You Like to Expand Your Tour in Yukon? Some Additional Tips:
If we had had more time, there were still a few things we would have loved to visit. Those are the next stops:
- Dawson City, colorful town in the middle of nowhere and after Whitehorse another ‘big’ city in Yukon
- The White Pass & Yukon Route, special train journey that goes from Skagway (Alaska) to Whitehorse (Yukon)
- Arctic Circle Sign, you have to drive very far for it, but then you are on the arctic circle!
- Tombstone Territorial Park, special nature reserve in Yukon where you can hike very well
- Signpost Forest Watson Lake, here you will find a huge collection of road signs (about 65,000!)
If you do the more extensive route below, it can be nice to fly to Whitehorse, for example, and then travel back from Dawson City. Otherwise you have to drive all the way back. Always check with your car rental company in advance (including before you book your airline tickets) how expensive it is to choose a different pick up and drop off location, sometimes those prices are a bit disappointing and then it can be better to have the same start and end position.
This Is How You Plan Your Yukon Trip
- Fly from the Netherlands with Air Transat to Vancouver
- From Vancouver you can fly with Air North to Whitehorse
- Fraserway is a good car rental company in Yukon, they rent out various types of motorhomes
- Never forget to refuel in time when you are road tripping in Yukon
Such a camper truck from Fraserway can guzzle gas, so always keep a close eye on your tank. It can be quite fast and there are not everywhere gas stations where you can easily refuel. So always make sure you get to the gas station on time!
Best Time to Go to Yukon
In Northern Canada, and therefore also in the Yukon, it can get quite cold in winter. Think temperatures like -15 or even -21 in months like January. If you want to camp like us, it’s nice to go in the summer months. It can still be cool in May and October, but it is best from June to September! The best month in terms of the warmest weather is probably July. Depending on the trip you want to make, you have to make a choice.
Do You Need a Visa if You Go to Canada?
Yes, you must apply for an eTA (stands for: electronic Travel Authorization) online. You can do this online via the official site of the Canadian government (www.canada.ca). The cost for this is 7 Canadian dollars.