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Yukon Territory Travel Guide: Important To Know Before You Go

Before I get into this Yukon Territory travel guide, I need to start off with a shout out to Canada.

I have definitely taken Canada for granted being a born and raised Torontonian. Always looking to leave the country and travel elsewhere, (don’t get me wrong, I still want to see the world, however, my thoughts have changed). 

I felt like Canada didn’t have much to offer but boy.. Was I so wrong! Canada is one of the most gorgeous countries filled with some of the kindest people. This beauty shows through in Yukon Territory, one of Canada’s three territories.

Yukon is a must destination for adventure seekers. You will have your fill of hiking, water sports, horseback riding, wildlife, culture and if you’re lucky, the northern lights (Aurora Borealis)! 

Although Canada is stunning, it is steeped in dark history, with it’s treatment of our Indigenous populations. There are many Indigenous nations in Yukon Territory, and wherever you go in Canada, take the time to learn about their culture and please respect all land.  

Some links in this Yukon Territory Travel Guide are affiliate, if you click on them I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Carcross Desert, Yukon
Carcross Desert, Yukon Territory

My Yukon Ratings

Relaxation: 2/10 (not a negative, more of an action packed destination)

Activity & adventure: 10/10

Entertainment: 7/10 (related to Dawson City)

Food & drink: 6.5/10 

What is a Must-See While Visiting Yukon Territory

I am going to give you the generic response and say everything.

But, if I had to choose one of the most unique places I have ever been to, it would be Dawson City.

You CANNOT visit Yukon Territory without seeing and experiencing this town. I felt like I was in a different world. It is so special and I would love to experience it again one day.

Tombstone Territorial Park is close by to Dawson City and makes for a great few day trip outside of the Whitehorse area.

You will love the entire Territory. Soak in the mountains baby!

Dawson City, Yukon Territory
Dawson City, Yukon Territory

When is the Best Time to Visit Yukon Territory

We went to the Yukon in early/mid September and the weather ranged from 0°C – 16°C (32°F – 60°F). There was sun every single day and we were considered lucky, we were told it snowed the week after we left. 

The Yukon fall ends in October and their winter is very long and cold (as low as -40°C/°F), with very little sun. It does not snow every single day of the year and they do actually have a summer from June to August (averaging at 20°C, 68°F), with daylight for almost 24 hours

I would recommend visiting in their summer/fall, to spend as much time as possible outdoors without having your ears fall off.

However, if you enjoy the cold weather and winter activities, the winter may be for you. The northern lights are one benefit of choosing to visit in the colder months. 

How to Get to Yukon Territory

Flying to Yukon Territory

  1. Fly in to Whitehorse: Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport

Note: There are direct flights to Whitehorse from major Canadian cities, however, these are quite expensive.

IMPORTANT YUKON FLIGHT TIP

  • Find a cheap flight from your hometown to one of these locations: Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna (BC) Calgary or Edmonton (Alberta)
  • You are then able to find a connector fare from one of these cities to Whitehorse for $99.00 one way with Air North, ($129.00 if booking 60 days out from your flight)
  • Read their rules on how to complete the Connector Fare here (book your first flight & then email them)

We used this booking method and saved about $300.00 each on plane tickets. 

Air North (Yukon’s Airline) my experience

By far the friendliest airline, hands down! Take your regular Canadian politeness and mix it with small town hospitality and you get the loveliest people running an airline (think.. grandma on Christmas morning lovely).

The planes are those typical older two row, two seaters, with similar available space to any of the major airline economy seats. 

They give you a light meal for free and close to the end of each flight they give out a warm cookie. I said it already, but HELLO free food on a plane (hard to come by these days ok? And your girl here loves food).

For a 1-2 hour flight this is usually unheard of and I hope they stay that way. 

Use Skyscanner to track cheap flights to a neighbouring Canadian city!

Driving to Yukon Territory

You can drive from Skagway, Alaska (~2 hours) or parts of British Columbia and Northwest Territories. 

Getting around Yukon Territory

Renting a car & driving around Yukon Territory

If you want to get around Yukon Territory with no road blocks, I recommend renting a car. Car rentals sell out very quickly, I would look into this as soon as you book your tickets. 

Always consider weather conditions, if you are going in the winter time, ensure winter tires and larger vehicles, in the summer months you can get away with a smaller car. 

A lot of hiking spots will require cars that can handle rough roads. We rented a Honda Civic (partially because it was all they had left), we found it worked out OK. However, we did not drive to Dawson City with it.

I recommend a 4×4, SUV, etc if planning to spend more time on the unpaved roads. 

When driving in Yukon Territory, make sure to leave a lot of space between you and other drivers so as not to have rocks fly off and crack your windshield (it is very common there). 

Keep in mind, some rental agencies put a cap on how many kilometres you can drive per day. If you go over this you have to pay a fee per kilometre. This becomes tricky when you want to do the 533 km trek up to Dawson City. 

Check out Rentalcars for your rental car needs.

Transit

If you cannot drive, Whitehorse has a transit system that goes in and around the surrounding Whitehorse area.

This will help you get around town but may be challenging if you want to get to the nearby mountains. Join a tour or rent a car for out of town activities!

Spending Money in Yukon Territory

Currency

Yukon Territory accepts the Canadian Dollar (CAD).

The capital of Yukon, Whitehorse, has many common Canadian banks with ATM services, ie. Bank of Montreal (BMO), CIBC, Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, Bank of Nova Scotia and First Nations Bank of Canada. 

Most places take credit or debit cards. There are some cash only excursions, but the people operating will let you know ahead of time (they are few & far between). 

Yukon Tours & Travel Packages

Majority of your money spent in Yukon Territory will be on adventures and excursions ie. boat rides, horseback riding, hiking expeditions, rafting, northern light tours, etc.

These can be quite pricey and there are many companies that offer these tours. My recommendation is to think about your bucket list experiences and find tours for those items. 

The rest of Yukon’s beauty can be seen through hiking – which is free!

I was really eager to see some of the glaciers in Kluane National Park & Reserve via an airplane tour. However, I could not dish up the $500.00 CAD+, so we chose to do a free hike and sleep under a glacier instead. 

Excursion companies and activities we did include;

Other popular companies include; Yukon Wild, Yukon Wide Adventures & Arctic Range Adventure

Captain Ken's Boat Tour
Captain Ken’s Boat Tour

Important Resources for your Yukon Trip

  1. The hiking app, AllTrails. I have been using this FREE app for years. I look up hikes in and around Toronto regularly with it. I make sure I look up hikes before all hiking holidays to ensure I am ready. They also allow you to download hikes offline which is so helpful (when you’re not in service). Download here.
  2. A great light weight, water resistant backpack for day hikes
  3. Water bottle

Yukon Territory Food & Drink

Prices for food and drink in and around Whitehorse are around the same pricing as other food places in Canadian cities.

Their restaurant budget mostly fall into the price range of: $$. 

Groceries can be slightly more expensive due to the territory being further north, however, it is not as remote as some places and prices are kept reasonable. 

Tipping

Tipping service workers in Canada is between 18-20%. 

Gas & Fuel

Gas prices in Yukon Territory are ~$1.98/Litre. (Updated December 2023) 

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Whitehorse is Yukon Territory’s capital city. Although Whitehorse is one of the largest cities in Northern Canada, it is still quite small.

It is known for it’s incredibly large backyard, with endless views of Yukon’s mountains. When visiting Yukon Territory, you will most likely be starting your trip in Whitehorse. 

Below is my Whitehorse, Yukon specific information. 

How Long to Stay in Whitehorse, Yukon

Recommended length of stay in Whitehorse and surrounding area: 1.5 weeks

Our stay: 1 week

Reason for longer recommendation: spending more time in Kluane National Park and Reserve 

Auriol Trial, Kluane National Park
Auriol Trail, Kluane National Park

Where to stay in Whitehorse

We stayed in the below mentioned hotels and Airbnb.

Best Western Gold Rush Inn

  • 3 star hotel (keep in mind the majority of hotels in Yukon Territory are 2-3 stars)
  • Restaurant on site
  • Right downtown, walking distance to all Whitehorse has to offer

Check reviews on TripAdvisor for Best Western Gold Rush Inn

Check out prices and booking information for Best Western here!

Skky Hotel

  • 3 star hotel
  • Right across from the airport, convenient if having a late arrival/early take off time
  • Has a restaurant on site and next door

Read the Skky Hotel reviews here.

Look up prices & booking for Skky Hotel here.

Booking.com

Vacation Rental or Airbnb

  • If you have a car at your disposal I recommend staying in an Airbnb or Vacation Rental around Whitehorse
  • Our rental was great! We had an indoor jacuzzi to relax in after a long cold day or hike.
  • There are also many Insta worthy wilderness vacation rentals in the surrounding area, these book up quickly, book as soon as you know your schedule

Click here for Whitehorse Vacation Rentals.

Outside

  • CAMPING! It’s free around some areas or you pay a small fee to reserve campsites.

Whitehorse Restaurants, Food & Drink 

Whitehorse Breakfast Restaurants

  • Burnt Toast Cafe: ($$) This cafe serves breakfast foods, large portions, drip coffee (no specialty caffeine beverages), great before a long day of hiking.
  • Bullet Hole Bagels: ($$) Montreal style bagels made from scratch on site. Get a breakfast bagel or pick up a bag of bagels to take with you on an adventure.
  • Baked Cafe & Bakery: ($$) A bakery/cafe with decent specialty caffeine beverages, (in my opinion – overpriced pastries/baked goods), but I’d definitely give it a try if you have time.
  • Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters: ($$) This is a great coffee roaster downtown Whitehorse, they serve yummy seasonal/specialty drinks! Enjoy warming up with one of their drinks after spending time in the cold Whitehorse weather!
Burnt Toast Cafe, Whitehorse Yukon Territory
Burnt Toast Cafe

Whitehorse Restaurants for Lunch & Dinner

  • Klondike Rib & Salmon: ($$) This Whitehorse staple is open in the summer/early fall months, the fish and chips are AMAZING. Another of our favourites was their house special (big enough for 2), which serves two maple BBQ salmon skewers, 1/2 rack of ribs, with garlic mashed potatoes, veggies and focaccia.
  • Smoke & Sow: ($$) You need to go here for some good southern BBQ. This restaurant is attached to a gas station but don’t let that deter you, TRUST ME on this. I would go back to Whitehorse to get their brisket again.
  • Antoinette’s Restaurant: ($$) This is the only place on our list we didn’t go to, but I heard really great things about and next time we are in Whitehorse I plan to go. It is a Caribbean restaurant. If you check it out, please let me know your thoughts!

Whitehorse Fast Food/Chain Restaurants

Whitehorse has fast food and chain restaurants if you want some quick eats, to name a few;

  • Tim Horton’s
  • Boston Pizza
  • Earl’s Kitchen & Bar
  • A&W
  • Dominos
  • McDonalds
  • Subway
  • Pizza Hut

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Final Thoughts on Your Yukon Territory Travel Guide

Yukon Territory, Canada is one of those once in a lifetime places. It is SO cool. I thank my friend everyday for moving there so I have somewhere to stay when I go.

I cannot wait to get back to the glaciers in Kluane National Park and do more intense hiking in Tombstone Territorial Park. I want to play all of the games at Diamond Tooth Gerties in Dawson City and walk the downtown streets of Whitehorse.

Please don’t miss out on this magical Canadian place and go for yourself!!

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