Hulking mountains, glittering glaciers and Wild West-style towns; the Yukon plunges you into a world of adventure in the great outdoors. Whether you're gazing wide-eyed at the dancing Northern Lights, kicking back with a cancan show or soaring over icy lakes in a single propeller plane, the Yukon guarantees a trip to remember. Here to share her top moments from a ten-day trip to this remote wilderness is our resident Canada expert, Abigail.
Dusty roads, Wild West-esque buildings, cancan shows, casinos and sour-toe cocktails (yes, you read that right!) are all part of what make this little enclave of humanity so uniquely and wonderfully mad. A six-hour drive from the nearest town, Dawson City is a place that was born from the Klondike Gold Rush. A frontier town in every sense, it has never lost that spirit. Being here is like stepping back to a time where everything was considered possible, where rags could turn to riches overnight. That sentiment can still be felt today as people from all over Canada move here, chasing the desire for a simpler life in the great outdoors. During the day, walk in the footsteps of goldminers, travel down the Yukon river and mooch around the cute shops. Come night, feast on the festivities at Diamond Tooth Gertie's cancan show, drink the sour toe cocktail (certificate provided) and - if you dare - venture to the Westminster Hotel for a nightcap in their aptly named bar, The Pit. In Dawson City you'll find that there is no glitz, glamour or luxe accommodation but what it lacks in luxury, it more than makes up for in spirit, charm and pure, exhilarating fun.
Previous to this trip, I had tried and failed to see the Northern Lights three times. The prospect of sitting outside in the cold for hours on end in the middle of the night for a fourth time to see the elusive aurora was slightly unappealing. On this adventure, however, I lucked out and I now understand the reason people chase the lights so relentlessly. Seeing the dancing green and purple lights was pure magic and it left me squealing, jumping and dancing with excitement as they gave us their best show. Breathtakingly hypnotic, the aurora draws visitors to the Yukon from across the world and boy it is worth it! Huddled around a camp fire, drinking a boozy mug of hot coco, roasting sausages and hearing local folklore tales with good friends - all whilst ogling at the vibrant night sky - is an evening I won't forget. Without a doubt, it was worth the thermal legging and hours of chattering teeth.
I'll let you in on a little secret, flying is not my favourite activity. Anything with a propeller I tend to stay clear of. So turning up to a small grass runway in the wilderness and finding a single propeller plane was a bit daunting to say the least. In the spirit of being adventurous and facing my fears I got in the plane, breathed through the panic and closed my eyes tightly as we took off. The glacial world that appeared beneath me looked like a green screen. The scale of the mountains, glaciers and lakes was utterly mesmerising and beneath a blue sky, the ice shimmered below as we flew over Mount Logan. Any fear I had disappeared and the adrenalin lasted all day.
Tombstone Territorial Park
The Dempster Highway is a 460 miles long bucket list journey from Dawson City to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Offering incredible scenery, this wonderland of wide open spaces is a kind of pilgrimage for a lot of people. If you're daunted by the prospect of tackling the entire route, drive for a few hours and you'll stumble upon the beautiful Tombstone Territorial Park. At its prime in the end of August when the fall colours are really showing off, the area offers picture-perfect panoramic views, plenty of flora and fauna to discover - much of which in endemic to the region - and a wealth of wonderful wildlife (remember to pack the bear spray!). For amblers and mountaineers alike, the park provides endless walking routes that are sure to blow the cobwebs away and fill up your memory cards. My favourite was the half-day Golden Sides hike. A short drive from the warm and welcoming visitor centre the hike provides views across the Dempster, the Klondike Valley and the Tombstone Mountain for which the park takes its name. Journey with an expert guide for a unique insight into the region and tuck into a hearty picnic lunch along the way.
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