Welcome to Whitehorse nestled on the banks of the famous Yukon River surrounded by mountains and pristine lakes. Whitehorse makes the perfect base for exploring Canada’s Great North. It is a city that blends First Nations culture, gold rush history, interesting museums and an energetic, creative vibe all with a stunning wilderness backdrop.
The capital of the Yukon, Whitehorse, offers a charming inside to the history of the North. We visit the Visitor Centre to learn about the different regions of the Yukon, the SS Klondike, a paddle wheeler ship and the Old Log Church, both restored relicts used in the Goldrush and not to forget the world’s longest wooden fish ladder and a Log Skyscraper. To finish with an inspiration from the North we will have a guided tour through the MacBride Museum.
The afternoon is set aside to explore the capital of the Yukon on foot. We suggest a trip to the Visitor Centre to learn about the different regions of the Yukon and pick up some maps. We suggest a walk to the riverfront Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. This award-winning building celebrates the heritage, culture and contemporary way of life of Yukon’s Kwanlin Dün First Nations people. Whitehorse has great shops, galleries and museums that are open all year. Take a stroll down Main Street or spend time with the locals in the lively cafés. Keep an eye out for locally sourced food and drink products, you will be surprised at the culinary scene in this northern town.
Transfer to Whitehorse airport for an hour-long flight over Yukon’s vast boreal forest to Dawson City, an eclectic and vibrant northern community on the banks of the Yukon River, possibly soon to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site (in review currently). Dawson City is a mix of First Nations heritage and Gold Rush history blended with an active gold mining industry as well as a thriving arts scene. Dawson City today is a colourful community that still has the look and feel of a wild-west town, with personalities to boot. Miners, artists, wanderers, and First Nations people, all call this place home.
Start with a visit to the Information Centre and grab a map to plan your route. Then join one of the many Parks Canada Walking Tours and be guided around town by a historic Dawson resident. Take photographs of the picturesque buildings and then jump on the George Black Ferry to cross the Yukon River and explore the shipwrecks at the Paddlewheel Graveyard.
Dawson City’s crowning glory is the spectacular panorama that can only be seen atop the Midnight Dome. Once you have recovered from the breathtaking view, make your way to Canada’s first (and friendliest) gambling hall, the Diamond Tooth Gerties to be entertained by Gertie’s powerhouse vocals and her high-kicking “Gold Rush Girls.”
Overnight: Dawson City
A scenic flight over the Richardson Mountains and Tombstone Park take you to the town of Inuvik located within the Arctic Circle. This is the Land of the Midnight Sun and the gateway to the Beaufort Sea, a part of the Arctic Ocean. Located 2 degrees above the Arctic Circle on the scenic Mackenzie River Delta, Inuvik offers a wide range of experiences. Inuvik (place of people) is the homeland of the Inuvialuit and Gwich'in peoples as well as home to a variety of people from other cultures. A place of rich diversity, Inuvik is located on the Mackenzie Delta, Canada's largest freshwater delta, with a spectacular view of the Richardson Mountains. Nestled between the treeless tundra and the northern boreal forest, the town overlooks the incredible maze of lakes and streams. Whether you are looking for northern arts and culture, remote rivers and wilderness, a chance to see arctic wildlife or a place to just relax and enjoy the Midnight Sun, Inuvik is your town.
Pick up your rental car and explore the town. We will have planned a cultural evening with local Inuit elders this day for you to experience and learn about the Arctic way of life here in the far North.
Today you drive on the recently built Mackenzie Valley Highway all the way to the Arctic Ocean. Be amongst the early visitors to travel on this road from Inuvik to the community of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean. The all-season highway opened on November 15, 2017, after four years of construction. Prior to the road, Tuktoyaktuk was only accessible by air during summer and by ice road in the winter. This unique experience is very special as you drive on Canada’s only road to the Arctic Ocean. The locals refer to Tuktoyaktuk as ‘Tuk’, and here, hosted by the local Inuit, we will experience and learn the ways of life of the people who also call it ’home’.
Your local Inuit guide will share stories and history of the area, and point out local landmarks and other points of interest including the Lady of Lourdes Schooner, Traditional sod house, local churches, Distant Early Warning Site and the Trans Canada Trailhead site. You will visit a pingo, also a national landmark where your guide will explain how these amazing natural formations are formed. Spend time on the seaside to dip our toes in the Arctic Ocean and experience the vastness of the Beaufort Sea.
The Dempster Highway is Canada's road at the top of the world. It crosses the Arctic Circle and winds through some of the most beautiful and remote wilderness scenery in North America. Starting outside Dawson City, Yukon, and stretching 740 km to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, the Dempster is an all-weather gravel road with two ferry crossings. The best time for reliable driving weather is June through September when the days are long and warm. There are two river crossings, with free ferry service in the summer and fall, and winter ice bridges. Tsiigehtchic, at the confluence of two rivers, is your destination for today offering a magnificent panoramic view of the Mackenzie and the Arctic Red Rivers. Stop en route at Gwich'in Territorial Park on your way back to Inuvik.
Have some time this morning free to explore this northern community before you return you a rental car in Inuvik and board our mid-day flight back to Whitehorse before connecting onwards to home.