5 lesser-known spots in the Yukon to add to your bucket list

Mar 29 2023, 5:30 pm

Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Canada’s captivating north is calling. If you’ve been itching for a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience, you’ll find it in the Yukon.

When it comes to veering off the beaten track, there’s nowhere else on the planet like it. Any visit to the Yukon is going to be unforgettable and unique, but there are always ways to dig deeper.

From exploring uncharted land to taking in otherworldly scenery, witnessing incredible wildlife, and immersing yourself in untouched nature, it’s time to take a trip down the road less travelled.

Here are five destinations for a truly unique adventure in the Yukon.

Campbell Region

The Campbell region is one of the Yukon’s least populated regions, largely made up of remote and rugged wilderness. It’s also home to the quaint community of Faro, a small town with unspoiled natural beauty and a warm, welcoming atmosphere that embodies the spirit of the Yukon. Faro can be reached by travelling one of the Yukon’s most spectacular scenic highways: the Robert Campbell Highway.

Faro is the perfect place to witness wonderful wildlife. It’s known for its unusually coloured fannin sheep and soaring sandhill cranes, both of which are celebrated every year in May at Faro’s Crane and Sheep festival.

It’s also got the Faro Arboretum, a beautiful botanical garden (and the most northerly arboretum in Canada), where visitors can view gorgeous flowers and fauna.

For hikers of all levels, the Van Gorden Waterfall Trail is always a popular activity, thanks to its accessible viewing platform overlooking the breathtaking Van Gorder Falls. The one-way, 1.5-kilometre trail takes you through some rocky terrain, green forest, and past a glistening creek before you reach the majestic sight.

Kluane Region

Kluane is one of the Yukon’s most extraordinary regions, full of vast wilderness, ice fields, boreal forests, breathtaking mountains, and arguably some of the most stunning sights in Canada.

Kluane National Park and Reserve is home to the country’s highest peak: Mount Logan. The best way to take in the majestic mountain and the park in all its glory is via an epic flightseeing tour. This allows you to get up close and personal with lush valleys, jagged peaks, glaciers, and even spot some grizzlies or mountain goats below.

The park is full of trails and hikes, with something to suit everyone – from short strolls in nature to exhilarating multi-day expeditions. However, you don’t have to venture out into the backcountry to take it all in. Just a short drive from the village of Haines Junction, you’ll find the peaceful, glistening waters of Kathleen Lake, where you can take in the jaw-dropping mountain scenery and partake in water activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, or canoeing.

No trip to this region is complete (or any trip to the Yukon, for that matter) without taking in its rich historic culture. The Da KĹł Cultural Centre is a unique cultural facility located in Haines Junction, where visitors can learn all about the culture and traditions of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations people. Meanwhile, the Kluane Museum of History showcases incredible wildlife exhibits, Indigenous clothing, tools and weapons of the Southern Tutchone people and minerals and gemstones found in the Yukon.

Liard region 

The Liard region has some incredible opportunities for sightseeing. Perhaps its most famous is the iconic Sign Post Forest, which is located just outside the town of Watson Lake. This whimsical collection of 80,000 signs tacked on to towering signposts first started back in 1942 and has since seen people add their own signs from all over the world. Why not see if you can find something from your hometown?

In Watson Lake, you’ll find the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre, a unique facility dedicated to the phenomenon that is the Aurora borealis. It’s always worth a visit for its intriguing space exhibits, but it’s a must-see in summer, when travellers have little chance of actually seeing the Northern Lights (thanks to that glorious midnight sun). The centre replicates the experience for visitors in its dome theatre, using state-of-the-art panoramic video and surround sound, so there’s no need to miss out.

When it comes to wildlife viewing, Wye Lake Park, a beautiful 26-hectare park set in downtown Watson Lake, is an incredible place to see all kinds of birds, from horned owls to mountain bluebirds and even bald eagles. It also features a 2.5-kilometre walking trail right that takes you right around the lake shore.

Northern and Arctic region

The Yukon’s Northern and Arctic region is truly spectacular and largely untouched, offering unforgettable experiences to travellers. A trip here will show you what it really means to get away from it all. With five protected wilderness parks, there is so much to see.

Your adventure starts by driving the epic Dempster Highway, Canada’s only road to cross the Arctic Circle, for a once-in-a-lifetime kind of road trip. This remote, unpaved road will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery on planet Earth as you cruise up to the top of the world. (Be sure to take plenty of food, car supplies, and plan ahead!)

The highway provides access to Tombstone Territorial Park, a popular location for hiking, car camping, and backcountry camping, that is often referred to as “Canada’s Patagonia.” The park has 2,200 km of distinct wilderness, making it a prime spot for wildlife viewing.

Before exploring, stop off at the Tombstone Interpretive Centre, which is open May through September, where you can browse informative displays, find out about the park’s natural and cultural history, or join a hiking tour. Trails into the park start from right outside the centre.

Southern Lakes region

For picturesque landscapes, endless outdoor activities, and incredible Indigenous art, the Southern Lakes region is the place to be. Here, you’ll experience some of the best mountain biking trails in Canada. Montana Mountain is known for its world-class biking opportunities, boasting roughly 40 kilometres of singletrack trails designed for hiking and biking. There’s also plenty of rugged terrain and pine forests to explore.

If water activities are more your thing, head to Bennett Lake, a 42-kilometre-long lake that flows between the town of Carcross, Yukon and Bennett, British Columbia. In the summer months, the lake and its sandy beaches are a hotspot for activities like fishing, boating, canoeing, or swimming.

In the town of Carcross, visitors will find a compelling community alive with First Nation culture, and full of friendly locals ready to give a warm welcome. Take a walk through Carcross Commons, a unique all-in-one artisan hub where one can enjoy visual art, local boutiques, restaurants, and coffee shops.

Or, dive into the area’s rich history by checking out Haa ShagĂłon HĂ­di Learning Centre and admire even more incredibly unique art. You’ll find it surrounded by eight towering story totem poles.

Ready to explore the Yukon your way? To plan your off-the-beaten-track adventure in the Yukon, click here.

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