When most Canadians think of Yukon, the first thing that conjures up in their mind is the great Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) effect and very cold days (brrrrr!)
Well indeed I can confirm that Whitehorse, which is the capital of Yukon, has both indeed; But you are most likely to have misconceptions on both.
Firstly, the northern lights phenomenon is best viewed under certain atmospheric conditions – clear nights, early sunset late sunrise, presence of ions at any given time, and solar activity in the atmosphere.
Generally, the best aurora-viewing months are September/October and February/March. However, as with all things in nature, a definite viewing is NOT guaranteed. In other words, it is not like as if it is a daily occurrence in Whitehorse and even during those few winter months when the activity is strong, there are chances that you may not see it with your eyes (though your special camera settings may be able to capture some of the effects). Is March too late to view the northern lights? No, March is the BEST time to view the northern lights.
Secondly, it is not always chilly and as prevalent as one might imagine it to be. Most Canadian residents are used to temperatures that hit -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit) during winter months (Nov – Mar). So one will be surprised to learn that the average temperature in Whitehorse during the winter months is a relatively balmy -12.46 degrees Celsius (9.5 degrees Fahrenheit). And the rest of the year it averages in the +(plus) temperatures.
The landscape up this far north is really unique from rest of Canada. So I highly encourage a visit up here at least once to enjoy this scenery.
Whitehorse is a small city of around 25,000+ residents. But it has plenty of heritage and history. Particularly, it has remnants of the historic Klondike Gold Rush (also known as Yukon gold rush) as it was used as a transfer points for the speculators that came from far and away during the late 19th century.
SS Klondike is one of the last remaining sternwheelers that plied the Upper Yukon River between Dawson City (not to be confused with Carson City of Nevada) and Whitehorse.
The entire “downtown” Whitehorse can be walked in entirety in under half hour. But there are hidden gems in every block that, unless you pay attention, can be easily overlooked. Take a look at some of the ones I discovered.
Another very popular destination is the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, located a half hour drive outside of Whitehorse along Alaska Highway. It is a must see and one rated as #2 spot on TripAdvisor. Rollover the mouse on the images below to name the animal.
How to plan an affordable vacation to Whitehorse
There are various ways to arrive in Whitehorse. Check out the Tourism Website for detailed options.
As part of a new segment on my #TravelAdventures posts covering affordable fun adventure travel, I am going to show detailed cost breakdown for my trips. This should help you gauge approximate expenses for your own trip planning.
It is not cheap to travel to the great Canadian north, no denying that. But “not cheap” is only a relative term. I think if people are educated on the benefits of the adventure aspect and relate the total expenditure to alternative travel cost outlays, it should make for increased appetite to visit Yukon at least once.
Costs vary based on season, preferences, and other variables.
The costs below are for two adults for two-nights three-days stay.
Cost basis is from home city of Calgary (YYC).
All taxes and surcharges and all entrance fees included.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve &
Takhini Hot Springs Day Tour
with Northern Tales $200
Food & Dining $150
Gifts & Souvenirs $100
I cannot end this story without a special mention of Air North, Yukon’s Airline once again. And in a moment you will see why. But first a quick blurb on the company (from their site)
Air North, Yukon’s Airline has been taking people to great destinations in the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, and Alaska for over 35 years.
Enroute we were served a light toasty snack (freshly made daily in Whitehorse by AirNorth staff), two rounds of drinks, and…………………………….(drumroll)……………………………
Who serves cheesecakes (or cookies depending on which day you travel) on airlines? Heck, who serves complimentary food and beverages on flight?? (If you are a reader based outside of US and Canada, you will not get this statement. Just read on).
Thank you for taking time to read this post. All comments are my own. Blogging is a labor of love. Reader donations in the form of comments or sharing on other social media channels below are much appreciated.
- Northern Lights In The Yukon: Is Canada Inadvertently Solving Japan’s Population Decline Crisis (Huffington Post Alberta)
- Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Video | Yukon | Canada | Travel Adventures | larkycanuck.com (larkycanuck.com)
- Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis Tour in Whitehorse | Yukon | Canada | Travel Adventures | Larkycanuck.com (larkycanuck.com)