The smallest and westernmost of Canada’s three territories, the Yukon has a total population of just under 36,000 people. Historically, the territory was combined with the Northwest Territories but in 1898 it separated to create the independent Yukon Territory. In 2002, the ‘territory’ portion was dropped, leaving its official name as simply the Yukon.
The Yukon is known for its untouched natural beauty
The Yukon holds an important place in Canada’s First Nations history, as archaeological evidence has been found in its central and southern regions showing the earliest evidence of human occupation in North America. Today, there are 14 recognised First Nations, representing approximately 25% of the territory’s population.
The Yukon holds an important place in Canada’s First Nations history
Another important piece of First Nation’s history is tied to the Klondike Gold Rush in Dawson City, 500km northwest of the capital city of Whitehorse. Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie, two members of the Tagish and Tlingit First Nation, were the first to find gold at Discovery Claim, resulting in an estimated 100,000 people heading to the Yukon between 1896 and 1899, in hopes of hitting the jackpot.
Dawson City was transformed into a mining town overnight
Due to this influx of gold miners, Dawson City was transformed nearly overnight. You can learn more about the city’s mining history at the Dawson City Museum, covering everything from the impact on Yukon’s First Peoples, societal and environmental changes, and beyond.
Dawson City is famous for its frontier-style buildings
Outside of the museum walls, a walk through the Dawson Historical Complex with its frontier-style buildings will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Get a room at the Downtown Hotel and grab a drink at its on-site Sourdough Saloon. The Saloon has become known worldwide for its ‘Sourtoe Cocktail’. which uses an actual human toe that has been dehydrated and preserved in salt as a garnish for your drink.
The Downtown Hotel is home to the Sourtoe Cocktail
Since it was first introduced in 1973, the ‘Sourtoe Cocktail’ has become a staple of Dawson City. As the name suggests, the drink is made with an actual human toe that has been dehydrated and preserved in salt as a garnish. In the years the drink has been offered, ten different toes have been used, as some have been stolen or, more shockingly, consumed.
Most residents live in the capital city of Whitehorse, a former mining town
Dawson City may be the heart of the gold rush and questionable drinks, but today the majority of Yukon residents live in the capital city of Whitehorse. Famous for its untouched natural beauty, there’s no shortage of hiking trails around the city.
Grey Mountain offers great hiking trails for beginners
A great option for beginners is Grey Mountain – a short 2.5km trail leading to a summit offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding area. More advanced hikers should check out Miles Canyon, an 8.5-million-year-old geological formation that has created an elaborate network of challenging routes.
The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is home to a variety of wildlife unique to the region
Among the Yukon’s greenery, there is a wide variety of wildlife unique to the region, including caribou, lynx, elk and bison. Only a 25-minute drive from downtown Whitehorse, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a great place to learn about the territory’s Arctic and boreal animals. Walk (or ski) the preserve’s nearly 5km viewing loop and try to spot them in their natural habitat.
The Edgewater Hotel is the perfect home base for your stay in Whitehorse
Situated in Whitehorse’s city centre, Edgewater Hotel offers free on-site parking, making it easy to get to and from any of the hikes outside of the city.