This northern territory has many golden experiences for summer visitors, from First Nations festivals and wonderful wildlife to heart-racing river trips.
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Summer days are longer in Yukon—long enough to fit in plenty of experiences. With light ‘til midnight, here are 10 ways you can pack a lot more adventures into your trip to Canada’s North.
1) A river runs through it: Yukon’s namesake river captivates, but the territory boasts plenty more. Get your heart racing on the Big Salmon, which is accessible by road, or fly into the wild and remote Firth River and paddle your way to the Arctic.
2) Take a hike: Kluane National Park offers seriously satisfying terrain. Whether it’s walking along forested trails, meandering through wildflower meadows, or climbing Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest mountain—adventures abound.
3) Experience First Nations culture: The Adaka Cultural Festival celebrates the rich heritage of Yukon First Nations June 26 to July 2. Learn traditional medicine from an Aboriginal “knowledge keeper,” make a birch-bark basket, or just dance to the beat of the drums.
4) Run a race: Team up with other runners for the Klondike Trail of ’98 Sept. 11-12, an annual 175-km (109-mi) relay race that follows the trail of Gold Rush stampeders. If that’s too daunting, take the White Pass train through some of the same spectacular scenery.
5) Pan for gold: The Klondike Gold Rush may be over, but there’s still gold in them thar hills. Test your skill with Gold Bottom Tours at their authentic placer mining operation. Later, celebrate your success like a true miner at Diamond Tooth Gerties.
6) Meet the wildlife: While Yukon is home to bears, beavers, moose and many other species, they’re surprisingly difficult to spot. Get your wildlife fix by visiting the Yukon Wildlife Preserve to see 12 species of mammals—such as arctic foxes, caribou and lynx—in their natural environment.
7) Drive the Dempster: Begin this iconic road trip in Dawson City and finish your adventure 737 km (458 mi) later in Inuvik. The Dempster takes you through majestic mountains, tundra, muskeg and boreal forest, crossing the Arctic Circle en route.
8) Experience Arts in the Park: Take in a concert over lunch on summer weekdays in LePage Park in downtown Whitehorse. You’ll be astounded by the variety of northern talent and genre, with tunes from country to zumba. A visual artist usually works on-site every week, too.
9) Pamper yourself: After a day of outdoor adventure, nothing beats a relaxing massage or sinking into a hot Jacuzzi. At the Northern Lights Resort & SPA outside Whitehorse, you’ll also be surrounded by nature. It’s easy to forget you have any cares in the world!
10) Shop for a souvenir: From First Nations crafts to gold-nugget jewellery, you won’t want to leave the Yukon empty-handed. If nothing else, seek out an authentic Yukon parka for when you return in winter.
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