NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE

Yukon

DISCOVER THE UNDISCOVERED IN YUKON, CANADA

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


14 DAYS/13 NIGHTS

Begins and ends in Whitehorse.

2014 DEPARTURES

May, June, July and August

YOUR FLY DRIVE INCLUDES:

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

 

DAY 1 ARRIVE WHITEHORSE

Depart the UK on your chosen flight to Whitehorse. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel. Whitehorse is the Yukon’s capital, and home to almost 75% of its population.
Hotel: Best Western Gold Rush Inn

 

DAY 2 MAYO

Driving distance: 81Mi/130Km
Following breakfast, begin the scenic drive through central Yukon, which is wonderfully picturesque and offers many opportunities to stop and take pictures. Glimpses of the Stewart River and spectacular views of glaciated terrain can be spotted when approaching Mayo. The roads surrounding Mayo are of historical significance, and are known as the Silver Trail, referring to the transportation system that carried the silver discovered here to Stewart River. Whilst in Mayo, perhaps visit Binet House, displaying early medical instruments, wildlife and local geological exhibits.
Hotel: North Star Motel

 

DAYS 3 & 4 DAWSON CITY

Driving distance: 143Mi/230Km
Today make an early start as your journey takes you along the famous Dempster Highway to Tombstone Territorial Park, where you can spend hours hiking the trails for majestic views of the Ogilvie Mountains. The legendary Klondike 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. Take a step back in time and you’re your luck at gold panning at Claim 33 and see the progression to machine gold searching at fascinating Dredge No. 4. We suggest taking an interpretive tour of this small quaint town and enjoying a night of entertainment at Diamond Tooth Gerties gambling hall: it’s a real gem!
Hotel: Aurora Inn

 

DAY 5 BEAVER CREEK

Driving distance: 308Mi/493Km
This morning you cross the Yukon River and start your journey along Top of the World Highway; a route which certainly lives up to its name! Mush of today's eight hour drive is on unpaved roads, but the spectacular scenery makes up for the lengthy journey (you may wish to break the journey with an overnight stay in Tok). Beaver Creek has a tiny population of only 150 people but it is extremely welcoming.
Hotel: Ida's Motel

 

DAYS 6 & 7 HAINES JUNCTION

Driving distance: 184Mi/295Km
Today you make the journey to Haines Junction, passing Kluane Lake, the longest lake of the Yukon and well worth a stop. Haines Junction, a picturesque mountain village boasting quaint restaurants and delicious bakeries, is the gateway to Kluane National Park. A wilderness adventure playground, Kluane National Park provides the ideal base for hiking, river rafting, canoeing, glacier flight-seeing, horseback riding and much more. Keep your eyes open for the moose and bear which roam this picturesque region.
Hotel: The Raven

 

DAY 9 HAINES

Driving distance: 145Mi/233Km
Today you cross the border from Canada to USA, taking the Haines Highway, which hugs Kluane National Park. Famous for its population of Bald Eagles, we suggest a visit to the Bald Eagles Foundation to meet some of these wonderful creatures first hand. The waters around Haines are rich with salmon, providing great fishing opportunities and a popular habitat for bears.
Hotel: Hotel Halsingland

 

DAYS 9 & 10 SKAGWAY

Driving distance: 24Mi/39Km
Leaving Haines, you journey through the Lynn Canal to Skagway by ferry. Dating back to 1897, Skagway was a lively gold mining town with a booming population of 20,000. Today it has decreased to just 800, but has maintained many of its original charms from the gold rush days, including The Red Onion Saloon which is a great way to end your busy day.
Hotel: Mile Zero

 

DAYS 11 & 12 CARCROSS & EMERAL LAKE

Driving distance: 116Mi/187Km
Your journey today takes you on the Klondike Highway, offering yet more wonderful scenery. We suggest a stop at Carcross, boasting the smallest desert in the world and the home of the historic White Pass and Yukon Route railway, and another stop at Emerald Lake, where turquoise waters shimmer to life. Your accommodation for the next two nights is the aptly named Inn on the Lake, (just 35 minutes from Whitehorse) where you can enjoy the ultimate wilderness nature experience. Enjoy gold panning, quad biking, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and fishing. Moose can often be spotted along the shoreline of Teslin River, and during the evening the skies are known for magnificent views of the Northern Lights.
Hotel: Inn on the Lake

 

DAYS 13 WHITEHORSE

Driving distance: 35Mi/56Km
After breakfast, it’s a short final drive back long the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse. If time allows, make a stop at Muktuk Dog Kennels, home of over 60 sled dogs. Sitting on the banks of the mighty Yukon River, historically it was a stopover for gold seekers heading down the river. Today, this is a lively city, offering lots of outdoor activities, as well as home to the Beringia Interpretive Centre and Old Log Church Museum.
Hotel: Best Western Gold Rush Inn

 

DAY 14 JOURNEY HOME

Make your journey back to Whitehorse Airport, return your rental car and check-in for flight to the UK.

 

PRICES

From £3299 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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