• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

Yukon

12 Quintessential Canadian Road Trips

By SHANNON KELLY

Trans Canada Highway, Alberta (Photo: Gord McKenna)

It’s time to think about planning your summer vacation, and if the open road is what you’re craving, Canada—with its stunning scenery and wide open natural beauty—has plenty of options. In fact, one of our best drives, the Banff-to-Jasper route (see Icefields Parkway) in the Rockies, was included in National Geographic’s Drives of a Lifetime book.

Start the slideshow of quintessential Canadian road trips »

The Best Beaches of the Canadian West

By SHANNON KELLY

Tribune Bay Beach, BC (Photo: Tourism British Columbia)

We’re well into summer, and it’s time to get yourself beachside if you haven’t already. The best ocean- and lake-front beaches in the West may come as a surprise. First, they’re not all in British Columbia. (Though most are, since that province monopolizes Canada’s Pacific coast. Vancouver alone has 10 beaches!) Secondly, they’re not all hugging the southern border—some excellent northern lakes and oceanfront strands have made the list, too.

Check out Canada’s top beaches in British Columbia, the Yukon and Alberta »

 RELATED: Eastern Canada’s Best Beaches

12 Best Places to See the Northern Lights

Labrador, on Canada’s east coast, is one of the best places to see the northern nights

We admit it, we’re a bit aurora borealis obsessed here at Where.ca. But can you blame us? Canada is one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights in all their glory. Travellers interested in seeing the show should know that the phenomenon is most vibrant in winter, though they can be seen all year in certain spots. In this gorgeous slide show, we’ve singled out the best places to see the northern lights from coast to coast.

• Start the slide show for the best places to see the northern lights »
• See a map of all the best places to see the northern lights »

Wild West in the Far North: Dawson City, Yukon

By TIM JOHNSON

The Yukon, and especially Dawson City, looms large in the Canadian imagination—even if few Canadians have actually visited this untamed land. It’s an evocative place, exotic and far-flung despite the fact that it’s wholly within our national borders, simultaneously conjuring up visions of the Wild West, the stereotypical Canadian far North, miles and miles of wilderness and the Klondike Gold Rush era’s crusty, well-worn prospectors, rushing rivers, player pianos and dancing cancan girls. (more…)

On Obscura Day, Celebrate Canada’s Weirdest Places

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

World's largest weathervane, Yukon (Photo: Arthur Chapman)

Finding the recently discovered or unknown can be tough for a traveller. But AtlasObscura.com, an online atlas devoted to the world’s wonders, curiosities and esoterica, is fixated on the strange. (more…)

Once-in-a-Lifetime Trips

By CARISSA BLUESTONE

Dempster Highway (Photo: S. Stuart/NWTT)

What defines the ultimate Canadian adventure is a matter of individual taste, but some trips, whether due to extravagance, effort, rare glimpses of life in far-flung corners, or unremitting “The hills are alive…” catharsis, fall firmly into the once-in-a-lifetime category. (more…)

Interview with Yukoner Murray Lundberg of the ExploreNorth Blog

Murray on the Haines Road between the Yukon and Alaska

Ever vacation somewhere and wish you never had to leave? Well, Murray Lundberg actually made it happen. In 1990, five years after his first vacation to the Yukon and Alaska, he saw a job for a tour bus driver in Whitehorse and left his Vancouver-area home of forty years to resettle in the Canadian north. (more…)

Yukon River Ice Shelf at Sunrise

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: The photographer risked his life by climbing (or rather, slithering) onto an ice shelf beside the fast-moving, freezing Yukon River to get this shot. We don’t generally condone entering into life-threatening situations to get a great photo, but everything about this scene is gorgeous—the detail in the ice and water, the golden glow of the sunrise reflected on the water, the drama of the clouds and the depth of layers created by the curve of the icy shoreline, the horizontal far shoreline and the uneven mountain horizon line. (more…)

10 Nature and Wildlife Safaris Across Canada

By KAT TANCOCK

Orca, British Columbia (Photo: Jonathan E. Shaw)

You don’t have to go as far as Africa for a world-class nature experience, whether it’s wildlife viewing or something a little less traditional. Bring homegrown excitement to your next vacation with these 10 Canadian wilderness and wildlife safaris. (more…)

5 Affordable Canadian Vacations for 2012

By CANDICE WALSH

The Yukon is surprisingly affordable—once you get there. Photo by Jonathon Strack.

Planning on hitting the road in 2012? If you’re on a tight budget, you can still swing a pretty sweet vacation—you just need to know where to look to find the best deals.

See our five best budget-friendly vacation picks in Canada » (more…)

Facts About Faro

Interpretive plaques and a heavy hauler now mine only history in Faro. Photo courtesy Government of Yukon

In 1953 prospectors staked a claim near the Pelly River in the Tintina Trench, an ancient fault line that is an extension of the Rocky Mountain Trench in British Columbia. The discovery of this massive lead-zinc deposit sparked a boom the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the north since the feverish days of the Klondike Gold Rush. Almost overnight Faro sprang from the wilderness, a purpose-built company town. At its peak in the early 1980s, 3,000 people lived there and its namesake mine was briefly the largest open-pit lead and zinc operation in the world, accounting for a staggering 35 per cent of the Yukon’s entire economic output. The mine shut in 1998; Faro’s glory quickly faded, sharing the fate of many a boom-and-bust town. In May 2004, the town of Faro launched a sheep-and-crane viewing festival, in honour of both the Fannin’s, and the sandhill cranes that fill the skies above the Tintina Trench every fall with their southward migration.—Andrew Findlay

Fleeting Glimpses

Wildlife in Yukon Territory proves elusive

By Andrew Findlay

Autumn comes early in the Tombstones, painting the tundra in jewel colours. Photo by Robert Postma, courtesy Government of Yukon

Mist rolls across a landscape turned crimson by the chill of approaching autumn. It’s the middle of August; fall arrives early in the north. For most of the morning a friend and I have followed a small but elusive herd of woodland caribou through the alpine tundra of Tombstone Territorial Park, about a 90-minute drive north of Dawson City.

The mountains around us, black and brooding obelisks, live up to their ominous name—the Tombstones. Underfoot, there is a thick spongy carpet of mosses and lichens, delicate sieve-cup lichen and fluorescent reindeer lichen. For caribou, lichen is often breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We pause behind a ridge, lowering our bodies close to the ground, and watch. The swish of air through thickets of willow tricks my eye into perceiving the movement. Are those legs or the spindly stalks of willow shrubs?

I came north to see wildlife beneath the expansive skies and the virtually people-less landscape of the Yukon. At 186,272 square miles (482,443 square kilometers) the territory is almost twice the size of the United Kingdom, yet has a population of just 40,000, most in the capital Whitehorse. A similar number of people would be crammed into a single London borough. That’s why the Yukon has a special magnetism for people fatigued by the frantic trappings of modern life, a place to be humbled by landscape so vast that technology and the other distractions of civilization seem inconsequential in comparison.

Up here in the wild Tombstones, life for now has indeed been reduced to a few simple essentials—staying warm and scanning the horizon for animals. The mist rises, lowers, then rises again and suddenly they appear, a half-dozen caribou, black snouts aimed in our direction, their grazing interrupted by the scent of humans carried on the breeze. That is life as prey, constantly alert to clues and signals in the environment; survival depends upon it. Then just as quickly as they appear, the caribou vanish like the ultimate illusionists into the swirling mists of the temperamental mountain weather.

A week earlier I had gone in search of Fannin’s sheep, a Yukon wildlife anomaly, in the Anvil Range above the town of Faro that sits smack in the centre of Yukon. For thousands of years before lead and zinc put this region on the map, Fannin’s sheep ranged the adjacent mountains.

The story of their origins is infinitely complex. Initially scientists considered them to be a distinct sub-species of wild sheep, along with others found in North America—Stone’s and Dall’s, or thinhorn sheep, and the Rocky Mountain, California and desert bighorn sheep. Research has shown that Fannin’s are genetically Dall’s sheep, but with unique dark-colored flanks and mottled white neck that came about through the effects of interbreeding and isolation, before and during the last ice age that ended some 10,000 years ago.

Today more than 2,000 Fannin’s sheep spend their summers in the Anvil Range north of Faro and winters in the lightly snow-covered forests near the Pelly River.
Though I managed to spot a few Fannin’s sheep high on a windy ridge in the Anvil Range, the glimpse was fleeting. Wild sheep are loath to grant predators the advantage of height and I was no match for these creatures of the mountains.

I have more luck with the woodland caribou. The sky has lifted and for the first time I see the razor-cut tops of the Tombstones. As we descend toward the valley bottom we cross a patch of old snow, dimpled with caribou tracks, and then we see them again briefly gathering on a hillock, wary as always. And that is the last trace we see of those animals, swallowed like us by the vastness of the Yukon sky and landscape.