Nature, Wildlife & Hiking: A Road Trip Around the Yukon & Alaska
Heed the call of the wild on this 16-day Yukon and Alaska road trip, as you hike, kayak and drive through incredible scenery. You'll experience wild nature unlike anywhere else in the world as well as cities and towns full of intriguing history.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Paddle the Yukon River with a guide
- Step back in time with a trip to quirky and charming Dawson City
- Drive through epic landscapes as you cross from the Yukon into Alaska and back again
- Stay in a remote lakeside cabin surrounded by nature
- Learn about the region's Gold Rush history
- Stay near and ferry across the incredible Lynn Canal, one of the world's deepest fjords
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Yukon Bound
Your Yukon and Alaska road trip starts with an evening flight from the UK to Vancouver which takes nine-and-a-half hours. In Vancouver you'll have a quick 90-minute connection to board your second flight to Whitehorse which takes two-hours-and-20-minutes. With the time difference you'll be landing very late in the evening but we'll organise a transfer for you ahead of time to take you to your comfortable accommodation in downtown Whitehorse where you'll stay for the next two nights.
Day 2: Kayak the Yukon River
This small city (which is Yukon's capital) was established during the Gold Rush. Whitehorse sits on the banks of the Yukon River and at the foot of the mountains and is full to the brim with things to see and do.
After you've picked up your hire car, head to meet your guide for a half-day of canoeing on the Yukon River. Paddle your way along a small portion of this 400+ mile long river and enjoy the pristine and wild scenery that surrounds you, enjoying a picnic lunch at the end to refuel.
The rest of the day is yours to do as you wish, whether it's simply exploring this pocket-sized city; visiting the Yukon Transportation Museum or the MacBride Museum, which specialises in Yukon's natural history; or heading out to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, home to caribous, bisons, lynx and mountain goats.
- Go trout fishing on Fish Lake
- Go on a tram ride
Day 3: Drive the Gold Rush Road to Keno
Today you will drive 250 miles north through the incredible landscapes of the Yukon along the historic Gold Rush Road to Keno (which takes around five-and-a-half hours).
The winding road passes through interesting subarctic landscapes of pine forests, hills and lakes and takes you up to Keno, a charming, small mining town with old clapboard houses that makes you feel like you're stepping back in time The bar/restaurant/antiques shop that is the heart of the town is steeped in history and run by Keno's mayor, the son of an Italian family who came to work at the mine in its heyday.
After a day exploring, spend a night in Keno in a charming, modern and very comfortable hotel.
Day 4: Drive the Dempster Highway to Dawson City
After breakfast it's time to hit the road to make the 145-mile trip towards the third stop on your Yukon and Alaska road trip - Dawson City.
You'll drive for around three-and-a-half hours north-west following the Silver Trail, which once had silver mines all along it, and along the way, take the Dempster Highway, which crosses the tundra-covered Tombstone mountain range, home to abundant wildlife.
On arrive, check in to your downtown hotel that has retained some of the style of the Gold Rush era for two nights.
Day 5: Getting to Know Dawson
At the edge of the Yukon River and at the foot of a wooded and mountainous region, Dawson City epitomises the Gold Rush era that made it the region's hub at the end of the 19th century.
Today, it's a charmingly rustic place with wooden houses dating back to the Gold Rush and dirt roads lined with raised boardwalks. There are plenty of bars, where you can play blackjack while watching chorus dancers in colourful costumes as if the Gold Rush was still in full force.
While you're here you could also go to see author of Call of the Wild and Whitefang Jack London's cabin, plus take a visit to Bombay Peggy's Inn & Pub, a former brothel that tells the tale of a time of 'Gold Rush and Golden Girls'.
Day 6: Towards the Alaskan Border
It's another day of driving through amazing scenery today as you take Yukon Highway 9 - otherwise known as Top of the World Highway - to Tok, a remote village across the border in the Tanana Valley, Alaska. This winding road, which is only open during summer connects the Yukon River Valley to the Tanana River Valley, and the drive should take around six hours.
Your destination, the small town of Tok just over the Canadian-USA border into Alaska, is where the roads to the cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage meet.
Spend a night in a friendly B&B with small cabins that are rustic, comfortable and offering all the amenities.
Day 7: Towards Kathleen Lake and the Mountains
Today you have another six-hour drive but this time back into Canada, looping round so that you're travelling south-east towards Whitehorse.
Your destination is a small, rustic cottage near Kathleen Lake on the edge of the Kluane National Park and Reserve which is surrounded by mountains. This route follows the Alaska Highway for just under 300 miles through alluvial plains and glacial valleys until you reach home for the next two nights.
Day 8: Trekking Through Kluane National Park
Today is definitely a highlight of your Yukon and Alaska road trip as you explore Kluane National Park. Home to Canada's highest peak, Mount Logan (17,220ft), the vast park is a nature-lover's dream, with its rugged mountains, huge ice fields and lush valleys. To explore this incredibly beautiful part of the Yukon, we've organised a half-day of trekking with a local guide. Along the way you'll explore Icefield Ranges, Kathleen Lake, Rock Glaciers and King's Throne peak, but if you want a new perspective of the park then we can organise a flight over Kluane glaciers in a bush plane.
Day 9: Alaskan Fjords
After a leisurely last breakfast at your Lake Kathleen cabin, it's time to hop back into your rental car and continue your Yukon and Alaska road trip. Drive south-east for around 150 miles - including crossing the Alaska border - until you get to Haines. The three-and-a-half-hour journey is well worth it as snowy peaks give way to forests and lakes until you reach the magnificent Mud Bay fjords.
You'll spend tonight in Haines on the shores of one of the deepest fjords in the world - the Lynn Canal. The views here are truly unbelievable, with rugged snow-capped mountains reflected in the glassy water of the fjords where sometimes you can see orcas and humpback whales play.
Also worth a visit while you're here is the former Native American village with its Tlingit totem poles, and the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
Day 10: Ferry from Haines to Skagway
After a leisurely breakfast, it's time to take the ferry (with your hire car) to Skagway. This trip would take almost seven hours by car but only takes about 45 minutes by ferry across the Lynn Canal. As well as being super quick, this is the perfect opportunity to admire this magnificent fjord, bordered by steep banks, glaciers and waterfalls.
On arrive, check in to your Gold Rush-style hotel where you'll spend the next two nights.
Day 11: Hiking and Salooning in Skagway
You'll have a whole day in Skagway - the gateway to Klondike National Park - today. This small port town was once the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush and the wooden buildings, old station and saloons are a throwback to this era. Stepping into this small town feels like being transported back in time.
You'll have the chance to don your hiking boots today to explore the surrounding area, including the Chilkook Trail which is next to the ghost town of Dyea. This trail stretches 33 miles from Alaska into British Colombia in Canada and you can explore on a multi-day trek, but most history-loving hikers choose to walk just a small section between Dyea to Finnegan's Point, which was an important camp during the Gold Rush and is a moderately challenging four-and-a-half-hour round trip. Access to the trail is limited to 50 hikers a day but we can secure your access ahead of time.
Days 12-14: Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate in the Yukon
The Alaska portion of your Yukon and Alaska road trip has come to an end as you check out of your hotel and hop back into your hire car to head towards the Yukon River Valley south of Whitehorse today.
You'll be spending the next three nights in a cosy, warm and friendly cabin nestled in the forests and mountains, close to the Yukon River. It's the perfect place to relax in front of the fire in winter, or on the large terrace on summer days. The lodge also has a spa and a Finnish sauna for those who want to end their adventure with a touch of pampering.
If you're after more things to see and do in the area, you can hike and cycle, explore the Southern Lakes region and visit Carcross - the smallest desert in the world.
Day 15: Homeward Bound
After three days of being at one with nature, it's time to make your way to Whitehorse airport to return home. You can drop you hire car at the airport and board your connecting overnight flight back home.
The first leg involves a two-hour flight back to Vancouver and then an onward connection onto the direct overnight flight back to London from Vancouver, which takes a little over nine hours.
Day 16: Arrive Home
Arrive back into the UK in the late morning.
Abigail and Ollie are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.