Whitehorse, Yukon

All The Reasons to Explore Whitehorse in Northern Canada

Last Updated on December 21, 2023 by Pamela MacNaughtan

As summer approaches the cities and communities north of 60º experience extended days, and by extended I mean days where the sun doesn’t set. It’s trippy.

From the moment the plane began its descent into Whitehorse, I was in love. I was surrounded by large majestic snow-capped mountains; the Peller Mountains on the west and the Coast Mountains on the east.

I was born in a small mining community in Northern Alberta in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The mountains are home, no matter where I am. The one type of nature porn I simply cannot resist. This is why I am head-over-heels in love with places like Banff, Jasper, and now, Whitehorse.

wandering around whitehorse

Whitehorse is truly the Banff of the north. It’s bigger, and a city, but Whitehorse has the same vibe as Banff. It’s surrounded by majestic mountains, the main street has a restored old town feel, and there are plenty of shops, cool cafés, and yummy restaurants to keep one happy. Not to mention interesting little museums, historical sites, street art, and sculptors.

baked café + bakery – a café and bakery located on the north end of Main Street, Baked is a delicious little escape with good coffee, and even better freshly baked scones (I highly recommend the Raspberry Pecan Scone. OMG!). The café has a patio and plenty of seating inside. A great place to relax, read, or chat with friends.

macbride museum – glimpse into the origins of Whitehorse and the history of the Yukon at the MacBride Museum. This little museum features displays of Native American life, allows visitors to pan for gold, and has the original Sam McGee cabin on display – he was real, not just the subject of a famous poem. Women-owned.

yukon wildlife preserve – Located about 15-20 mins outside Whitehorse, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve is the perfect place to go for those who want to see animals like Moose, Muskoxen, Lynx, Bison, and more. It’s wildlife observation without having to search far and wide in the Canadian wild.

takhini hot springs – Also located about 15-20 mins outside Whitehorse (just up the road from the wildlife preserve), Takini Hot Springs is 300 acres of nature bliss. If you’re not keen on soaking in the pool, go for a hike and enjoy the lake, and mountain views.

klondike salmon & rib – once a mail and freight business (1929), and later a carpentry shop that made coffins, but now it’s one of the more popular restaurants in Whitehorse. I adored the vibe of this restaurant with its green gingham tablecloths, plastic chairs, vintage decor, and delicious fish n’ chips and homemade pies. Everyone needs to visit this place!

yukon landscapes

My time in the Yukon was extremely short, but I made sure I drove outside of Whitehorse and into the wilderness where I could drool over the landscape. I drove down roads that turned into ATV tracks and took them to the very end and were greeted by a semi-frozen lake that took my breath away. I drove to Miles Canyon and soaked in the views of the Yukon River. And I pulled over more than once in awe of a snow-capped mountain peak off in the distance.

Basically, Whitehorse and the Yukon turned me into a lovesick traveller and I am now determined to return at the end of August when the weather is still good, the Northern Lights are back on, and I have time to fully explore this amazing territory.

A day in Whitehorse is too short, you need at least a week. Personally, I’m hoping to return for a couple of weeks of road tripping and exploration of Whitehorse and the rest of the Yukon.