The capital city of Yukon, Whitehorse offers access to one of the world’s most pristine wilderness while still enjoying the delights of a modern metropolis. Whitehorse is northern Canada’s largest city. What will make your trip memorable are the multitude of things to do in Whitehorse, such as hiking, canoeing, seeing landscapes of lakes and mountains while still relishing the benefits of Yukon’s most cosmopolitan community.
It sits on the Yukon River in Canada’s Yukon Territory and was named after the White Horse Rapids near Miles Canyon because the rapids resembled a white horse’s mane. This pretty community of more than 27,000 people has mainly low-rise buildings and is easily walkable.
Things to do in Whitehorse
Top Things To Do In Whitehorse
1- Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve
See northern Canadian animals at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.
The preserve is a centre for research, education and conservation spread over a large area.
Large enclosures feature different animals including woodland caribou, wood bison, muskoxen, Dall sheep, mountain goats, elk and Arctic foxes.
Visitors can grab a map and walk around a loop or take a shuttle with a guide aboard.
2- Visit Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Head to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre to learn about animals from a more distant past.
The bright and airy centre focuses on sharing the First Nations and Western Science stories of the subcontinent called Beringia.
During the last ice age, an area stretching from the Yukon to Siberia remained free of ice because the climate was too dry.
Boreal forests disappeared and sea levels dropped enough to reveal the floor of the Bering Sea.
This created a land bridge between two continents.
My favourite part of the museum is the pictures and three-dimensional models of such prehistoric animals as a scimitar cat, an American mastodon, a woolly mammoth that looks suspiciously like a muskox, and a short-faced bear.
3- Discover history in McBride Museum
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited the Yukon in July 1959, one of their first stops was the MacBride Museum.
It takes up half a city block, with more than 8,000 feet of exhibits on Yukon’s history.
This is the museum to see delicate First Nations beadwork on display.
Exhibits tell the stories of the Yukon’s 14 First Nations, Beringia, early explorers, the gold rush, mineral exploration in the territory, and the construction of the Dempster Highway.
4- SS Klondike
The S.S. Klondike which will acquaint you with some of Yukon’s history. S.S. Klondike was the ship from the famous Gold rush era.
Aside from the ship, you get to marvel at the river and nearby mountains.
5- Hike Miles Canyon
If you’re a keen hiker, the Yukon is a fantastic hiking destination for you as the backcountry hiking is some of the best.
Yukon hiking trails are spread across national parks, territorial parks and other natural areas.
One of the top places to hike in the Yukon is Tombstone Territorial Park, which also has some easier trails for those who just want to get a taste of this magnificent territory.
Day trip from Whitehorse
6- Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway (day trip from Whitehorse)
The White Pass railway station offers a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.
A 176km route from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse was blasted through mountains as an alternative to gold seekers hoofing it up the Chilkoot Trail.
When the railway was built in 1900, the Klondike gold rush was over and these days, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway no longer travels as far as Whitehorse.
You can board in the village of Carcross for a journey that includes bridges, trestles, tunnels, sharp turns, and climbs more than 900m (3000 feet) within 72kms. Carcross, which is a contraction of Caribou Crossing, is home to the Carcross Tagish First Nation.
Less than 300 people live in this village on Bennett Lake, south of Whitehorse.
Totems stand at attention at the nearby Carcross Commons and the royals would enjoy meeting and chatting with local artists at work in the carving shed.
During the summer Matthew Watson’s General Store, Yukon’s oldest operating store, sells ice cream.
7- Kluane National Park
The beauty of the village of Haines Junction can be seen from miles away.
The buildings are dwarfed by mountains towering over them.
This is the gateway community to Kluane National Park and Reserve.
The park is home to 5959m Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak.
See mountains during a one-hour flightseeing tour.
At the Kluane Glacier Air Tours hangar, a Cessna waits for its passengers to arrive.
Once everyone has picked a good window seat and settled in, the plane lifts off over a verdant landscape.
Then it flies over the Kaskawulsh Glacier. Wavy, icy white lines appear below, interwoven with dark green and turquoise ones.
It looks like a carpet that Mother Nature took great pains to lay down with care.
Pinnacle Peak and Mount Kennedy frame the glacier as though they’re onlookers to this spectacular scene.
As the plane hovers high in the sky, it seems as though the glacier will never end.
But then it does.
Before you know it, you’re flying back over a lush green landscape and landing in Haines Junction.