Being the capital of the Yukon, one of Canada’s Northern territories and home to just 25,000 people, you’d think Whitehorse would be a small sleepy town without much to do. How wrong you’d be.
In reality it’s a place thriving in its relative anonymity; a place that isn’t striving to be something it’s not. And with incredible sites such as the Yukon River running through the heart of town, some cracking hiking trails, a strong street art scene, and amazing restaurants, the only thing you’ll wish you had is more time to explore this unique capital!
Canoeing on the Yukon River
You can’t visit the Yukon without going canoeing on the Yukon River. This is a truly Canadian experience and an amazing way of exploring the landscape. Starting on the riverbanks in Whitehorse, you can go on half-day adventures or epic three-day voyages, all with this stunning scenery all around you.
Hiking at Miles Canyon
Just on the outskirts of Whitehorse is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Yukon. Miles Canyon is a gorgeous canyon created by the powerful Yukon River. There are a few hiking trails here, some looping all the way round and back into town and a couple of shorter ones. Whichever option you choose, you can be sure that the hiking is absolutely sublime.
Horse riding at Fish Lake
Just a short 30-minute ride from Whitehorse is Sky High Wilderness Ranch. There you can go horse riding at Fish Lake, one of the jewels of the Yukon. Riding among the pine trees is so peaceful, and with the snow-capped mountains all around you, you couldn’t find a more picturesque setting.
Learn all about the S.S. Klondike
If there’s one thing that put the Yukon on the map, it was the Gold Rush of the 1890s. With this influx of wealth, Whitehorse became an extremely prestigious place, so much so that people from far and wide visited to go on luxurious paddle-boat cruises on the Yukon River. Unfortunately, as the prospects of the area waned, so did the popularity of these cruises. The S.S. Klondike, a restored sternwheeler located just on the edge of Whitehorse, is a relic of that lost era. On board you’ll learn about the impresses ships and the region’s Gold Rush history.
Gaze upon the midnight sun
If you’re lucky enough to visit Whitehorse during summer then you’ll be treated to something very special – the midnight sun. Once 10 pm comes around, you may be tempted to go to sleep, but keep those eyes open for another few hours to see the sun up in the sky in the middle of the night. The sight is surprisingly revitalising and always leads to some amazing photos opportunities!
Stand in awe under the Northern Lights
Once the nights start getting longer and longer, from September onwards, the midnight sun is replaced by dark skies that often become a stage for the Northern Lights. With hardly any light pollution in Whitehorse you can see the Northern Lights from wherever you’re staying, but a short trip outside of town will offer total darkness and the best views.
Discover Whitehorse’s history at the MacBride Museum
From Aboriginal culture to mining history, the MacBride Museum paints an amazing picture of how Whitehorse was founded and formed. In the summer there are lots of live demonstrations at the museum, making it one of the most family friendly places in town. Also, no trip would be complete without trying your hand at gold panning. See if you strike it lucky!
Explore the town’s surprising culinary scene
Okay, so there aren’t a million places to eat at in Whitehorse, but that can be seen as a good thing because it means you get to sample all the town has to offer. From a Caribbean twist at Antoinette’s to freshly caught salmon at Klondike Rib & Salmon to having a taster flight at Winterlong Brewing, every place is so delicious you’ll want to come back for more.
Watch bluegrass performances and enjoy other sounds of the Yukon
It may come as a bit of a surprise, but Whitehorse has a quality music scene and you can watch live performances at a number of venues. The three most popular places to go to are the Dirty Northern, Miner’s Daughter, and The Beer Tasters’ Social House – all great places to grab a beer and listen to some bluegrass and the other sounds of the Yukon.
Go for a dip at Takhini Hot Pools
Packing your bikini might not be at the top of your Yukon list, but make sure you do otherwise you’ll miss out on Takhini Hot Pools! Located just on the outskirts of Whitehorse, the pool temperatures reach a balmy 47C in winter, making them the perfect place for watching the Northern Lights in comfort. Your body will be nice and toasty but be warned: during winter the outside air temperature is so cold your hair will freeze into icicles!