photo by thevancats-imagemaker
By lucky chance, your business trip has brought you to Whitehorse, Yukon, and you’ve got a day to see the sights. Really, there’s enough to see and do that you could plan an entire vacation around it. But we’ll try not to go too crazy with our suggestions. So much about Whitehorse will interest history buffs, wildlife lovers and those who are simply looking for an iconic northern experience. Here are our top ideas for the things to do to make the most of your time in Yukon!
Visit the Yukon Transportation Museum
If you’re arriving at the Whitehorse International Airport, stop at the Yukon Transportation Museum next door. Keep your checklist of great roadside attractions handy – the museum is the home of the world’s largest weather vane, which is made out of a restored DC-3 aircraft. (They call it the “plane vane.”) You’ll also see exhibits highlighting transportation history, as well as rail cars, historic aircraft and World War II military vehicles.
Tour the Klondike Paddle Wheel River Steamboat
Not far from the transportation museum is another historic attraction, the S. S. Klondike steamboat. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada, the steamer played a key role in gold prospecting history: It carried food and fuel to prospectors in Dawson City, and then it transported the ore back to Whitehorse. Once an all-weather road opened in 1950, the steamer became obsolete.
See the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Go back even further in time by visiting the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. The Beringia was the ancient ice mass that connected North America to Siberia, an area ruled by woolly mammoths and other oversized behemoths. Learn about these creatures through interactive natural history presentations and cool fossils.
Visit Miles Canyon
Just minutes from downtown Whitehorse, Miles Canyon offers a beautiful volcanic rock vista along the Yukon River. The once-wild river claimed hundreds of boats during the Klondike Gold Rush, but the riverway has since been calmed by a hydroelectric dam. That hasn’t diminished its beauty, though. Hike the trails and take a walk across the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge and photograph the wilderness scenery.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
If you don’t have time for a wilderness excursion, visiting the Yukon Wildlife Preserve is the next best thing. The preserve features 10 species of northern Canadian mammals on 700 acres of natural habitat. You’ll get to photograph animals such as woodland caribou, elk, mountain goats, moose, wood bison and muskoxen. You might even find an elusive Canadian lynx.
If you’re hoping for a little exercise to unwind, the preserve has seasonal cross-country ski trails.
Check out the Takhini Hot Springs and freeze your hair
These mineral-rich pools are open year-round. Water flows continuously from the springs at a downright balmy 118 degrees Some believe the calcium, magnesium and iron in the springs help eliminate toxins from the body. The waters also might have other health benefits such as aiding digestion and relieving muscle aches. If you’re visiting the pools in February, get silly and enter a hair freezing contest.
The hot springs are open late (sometimes to 2 a.m.) so it’s the perfect way to unwind from your long day of whirlwind sightseeing. You might even get to see the Aurora Borealis while you’re soaking.
Witness the Aurora Borealis
Yukon is one of the best places on Earth to witness this gorgeous celestial phenomenon. Check out the northern lights forecast for your best chances to see the lights. If you’re staying the night at the Westmark Whitehorse, ask at the front desk about tour options so you don’t miss the show.
So, that’s one day. If you decide to extend your visit, check out some other Yukon tours, you’ll start to feel like this historic region is your favorite vacation spot.