When you consider Canada, a plethora of iconic images come to mind. Perhaps foremost are its majestic mountains and emerald green lakes, but consider for a moment experiencing these beautiful vistas away from the bustling tourist trails and combining them with historic ‘gold rush’ locations, the ethereal display of the Northern Lights and an unimaginable array of wildlife. Canada’s Yukon territory is an unspoilt land of breath-taking proportion and a destination of unmistakable beauty.

Sitting in the northwest corner of Canada, adjacent to the US state of Alaska, Yukon is one of North America’s most impressive wilderness destinations. If you have an adventurer’s spirit, a love of nature and a passion for exploration, Yukon should be at the top of your holiday destination list. It is not a choice for the feint-hearted, but it is a voyage of discovery with very rich rewards.

Without doubt, a self-drive itinerary achieves the most from any holiday to the Yukon, allowing you to combine scenic journeys along the legendary Alaska, Top of the World, Klondike and Dempster Highways with historic communities, cultural attractions and picture-postcard destinations. The Yukon can be visited year-round, although its remote location and harsh winters encourage all but the hardy to travel in the warmer months of May through September.

The Wilderness is Waiting

A staggering 80% of Yukon is pristine wilderness. It’s impressive that this Canadian territory is home to Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain, as well as Kluane National Park which is one of the world’s largest non-polar icefields and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but these landmarks represent just the start of its overall attraction. Hiking and biking are everyday pursuits when exploring the iconic wilderness parks of Kluane, Tombstone, Herschel Island, Chilkoot, Ivvavik and Fishing Branch. The famous Alsek, Tatchenshini, Snake, Wind, Firth and Yukon Rivers in addition to countless crystal clear lakes provide for leisurely days kayaking, sailing or canoeing, not to mention some quite legendary fishing, believed by many to be the best in the world.

Wild about Wildlife

The statistics are quite staggering! Roughly the size of France, Yukon has a tiny population of just 34,000 people, the majority of whom are concentrated around the largest city of Whitehorse. Compare this to its non-human counterparts: 160,000 caribou, 70,000 moose, 22,000 mountain sheep, 7,000 grizzly bears, 10,000 black bears and over 250 species of birds, and it brings into perspective how sensational it is for wildlife watching. Home to three national parks, six territorial parks and four Canadian Heritage Rivers, Yukon’s unique geographic landscape and varied eco-systems allow its wildlife to thrive with little threat. All three North American bears: Black, Grizzly and Polar, reside in the Yukon, in fact this is the most stable Grizzly habitat in North America and home to 30% of the continents population. The thick crops of berries and seasonal salmon runs provide the perfect feeding preparation for their long winter hibernation.

Join the Gold Rush

Of course the Gold Rush is synonymous with the Yukon. It is embedded in its history and infuses every Yukoner’s life even today. The Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 drew settlers from across the continent, eager to enjoy the extravagances afforded by the golden bounty which had initially been found in Bonanza Creek near Dawson City in 1896. Today this authentic frontier town remains loyal to its historic routes, with its wild-west style store fronts painted in vivid hues, a plethora of heritage sites and multi-cultural attractions. Using Dawson City as a base, visitors can take a step back in time and try their luck gold-panning at Claim 33 (a fun way to discover just how difficult the easy looking process was!), before visiting Dredge No. 4 which showcases the transition from manual panning to machine searching. The gold rush inevitably created heroes and villains, winners and losers and a whole host of entertaining tales and fables which are still shared today.

Natures Magical Show

There are very few natural wonders which create the spine-tingling feeling and magical awe you encounter when witnessing aurora borealis. Also known as the Northern Lights, the dense dark night skies created by Yukon’s remote setting, provide the perfect conditions for some of the most dramatic undulating ribbons of green, blue and red light. Although dependent on weather conditions and cloud cover, the best chance of dramatic aurora viewing is between autumn and spring.

Don’t Miss…

Unless you have an infinite length of time to spend in the Yukon, it’s impossible to experience everything, so here are a few of our favourite things you might want to include in your itinerary:
• White Pass and Yukon Route – This vintage rail journey follows tracks constructed in 1901 on a spell-binding adventure. Climbing almost 3,000 feet in just 20 miles and featuring cliff-hanging turns, historic tunnels and numerous bridges, it boasts views which simply cannot be witnessed any other way.
• Carcross Desert – The smallest desert in the world at just 642 acres, 10,000 years ago this was the bottom of a large glacial lake! Carcross is home to Yukon’s oldest store as well as being the burial place of the three prospectors who started the Klondike Gold Rush.
• Emerald Lake – Located just 35 minutes from Whitehorse, Emerald Lake’s shimmering turquoise waters draw visitors from across the world. Unsurprisingly the lake holds the accolade of Yukon’s most photographed natural feature.
• Dog Sledding – A vital part of Yukon’s heritage and ultimately its survival, was the use of husky dogs for transportation. Today the tradition is kept alive by Yukon Quest, a gruelling two week, 1,000 mile annual race across the Yukon and Alaska. Muktuk Dog Kennels, home to over 60 dogs offers dog sled journeys in winter and dog walking tours in warmer months.
• Diamond Tooth Gerties – Located in Dawson City, this old-west style gambling hall is absolutely bursting with character. Enjoy on-stage live acts and historic-style gaming which transport’s you back to a bygone era.

Click here for information on our Silver Trail Explorer Fly Drive

Silver Trail Explorer


Begins and ends in Whitehorse.


May, June, July and August


• Round trip scheduled flights
• Fully inclusive 4 wheel drive car hire
• Accommodations as stated
• Ferry crossing from Skagway to Haines


Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Whitehorse. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel, where you will spend the first two nights of your adventure.
Hotel: Best Western Gold Rush Inn


Today you'll have time to explore Yukon’s capital, and the pretty region which surrounds it. Why not visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve? A unique place, it features ten species of northern Canadian mammal, housed in their natural environment. You may also choose to head down to the Yukon River on the outskirts of town, for a kayak or canoe ride.
Hotel: Best Western Gold Rush Inn


Driving distance: 110Mi/176Km
Driving distance: 110Mi/176Km Your journey begins with a drive along the South Klondike Highway, which connects the Yukon with Alaska. Also known as the Skagway to Carcross Road, today’s drive offers some spectacular scenery as it descends from the White Pass to Skagway. The highway winds through the subalpine landscape of Tormented Valley to Tutshi Lake, Tagish Lake and the frequently photographed Emerald Lake. Dating back to 1897, Skagway was a lively gold mining town with a booming population of 20,000. Today it is just 800, but has maintained many of its original charms from the gold rush days.
Hotel: Westmark Inn


Spend the morning in Skagway and explore the old town buildings before taking the afternoon ferry to Haines. Lasting around one hour, this journey offers a spectacularly scenic and relaxing ride along the Lynn Canal, a magnificent fjord. Located in the Valley of the Eagles, Haines is home to almost 4,000 American bald eagles who gather along the Chilkat River during autumn. We suggest a visit to the Bald Eagle Foundation to meet some of these wonderful creatures first hand.
Hotel: Hotel Halsingland


Driving distance: 147Mi/238Km
The Haines Highway winds from Haines over the Chilkat Pass, which is its highest summit. Pass Klukshu, a native summer fishing camp offering great photo opportunities. A wilderness adventure playground, Kluane National Park provides the perfect landscape for hiking, river rafting, canoeing, glacier flight-seeing, horse riding and much more. Haines Junction, a picturesque mountain village, with quaint restaurants and bakeries, is considered the gateway to the national park and provides your accommodation for this evening.
Hotel: The Raven Hotel


Driving distance: 155Mi/250Km
Today is a day of adventure. Take the Haines Highway, which climbs from the Chilkat River Valley and skirts the boundaries of Tatshenini-Alesk Provincial Park in British Columbia before arriving at Kluane National Park. Part of the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness on earth and a United Nations World Heritage Site, it is home to a myriad of wildlife, including grizzly bears and moose. It’s also where you’ll find Canada's highest peak and the world's largest non-polar icefields.
Hotel: The Raven Hotel


Driving distance: 290Mi/467Km
This morning you may decide to take a short hiking trip before driving north along the shores of beautiful Kluane Lake. We suggest a stopover at Sheep Mountain to see the Dall sheep grazing on the mountain slopes. Your journey continues along the famous Alaska Highway before arriving in Tok, which is often referred to as the Dog Mushing Capital of Alaska.
Hotel: Cleft of the Rock Bed & Breakfast


Driving distance: 185Mi/297Km
The Top of the World Highway takes you through spectacular backcountry and gold mining areas. When the highway reaches its highest elevation, incredible views into far-reaching countryside open up before you. You’ll cross the Yukon River shortly before arriving into Dawson City. The legendary Klondlike Gold Rush of 1898 brought thousands of hopeful gold seekers to Dawson City. Now a National Historic Site, the city has maintained its original charm and is reminiscent of a bygone era.
Hotel: Aurora Inn


We’ve allowed two full days to explore the historical sights of Dawson City. Depending on your interests you might like to visit Dredge No 4, a giant gold digging machine or SS Keno, the last steamer ship to run the Yukon River from Whitehorse. The Grand Palace Theatre is home to the Gaslight Follies Show and there's Diamond Tooth Gertie's Casino, featuring gambling tables and can-can shows. Do not miss the short drive to the top of the Midnight Dome on Ridge Road, offering excellent views over Dawson, the Ogilvie Mountains, and the Yukon and Klondike Rivers.
Hotel: Aurora Inn


Driving distance: 333Mi/532Km
Heading south, enjoy the raw beauty of the surrounding landscape. Stop at Five Finger Rapids and hike down to the shore of the Yukon River. Later this afternoon you will reach Whitehorse, where your journey began.
Hotel: Best Western Gold Rush Inn


This morning take the short ride back to Whitehorse Airport, return your rental car and check-in for your flight back to the UK.


From £1919 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request. 

Please note that due to the remote locations visited, some accommodation is below the standard that we would normally recommend. Additional car hire restrictions apply within the Yukon and Alaska, call for full details.

Winner of ‘Top Tour Operator to the USA & Canada 2012’ voted by readers of Selling Long Haul magazine.


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