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  • Overview

    Capital of the Yukon and Canada's most westerly city, Whitehorse offers all the amenities of a major city but retains a certain small-town personality. Situated on the banks of the Yukon River, it was established as a trading port during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 when gold prospectors would board riverboats bound for the goldfields.

    Today, its central position on the historic Alaskan Highway is convenient for visitors exploring the region, sitting halfway between Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Yukon Visitor Reception Centre is a good place to start exploring the province, offering handy tips, maps and suggestions for tours and activities.

    The main attraction in Whitehorse is the restored SS Klondike, a river steamer that ferried passengers north to Dawson City. Moored on the Yukon River, tours of the steamer inform visitors about the history of the gold rush, the river and the region's First Nations people.

    The MacBride Museum houses exhibits on a range of local topics, including a Klondike gold exhibition in a complex of log buildings. Other attractions include the four-storey log skyscraper, one of the most photographed buildings in Whitehorse; and Miles Canyon, from where the city's name originated. Its rapids were likened to the manes of charging white horses.

    Klondike

    The area around Dawson City lured thousands of brave young men and women to join the world's last great gold rush in 1897. It's now a colourful town with boardwalks and plenty of restored buildings, including the rather rustic Diamond Tooth Gertie's Dancehall and Casino. Then there is Carmacks, originally a riverboat fuelling station that is now a community preserving the First Nations' culture, with an interpretive centre sketching aboriginal history over 10,000 years. Fort Selkirk is the oldest settlement in the area and now survives as a living museum, while the life and times of the Northern Tutchone people is preserved at Big Jonathan House.

    Website: dawsoncity.ca
    Dawson City Dawson City Arthur Chapman
    Kluane National Park

    This vast park is dominated by mountains and ice in Canada's extreme alpine zone, making it a magnet for mountaineers and rugged adventure seekers who explore its mountain lakes, alpine meadows, tundra and cold, gushing rivers. At the heart of the park is Canada's highest mountain, Mount Logan, rising up in the midst of an ice field to 19,545 feet (5,959m). Local tour operators in Yukon towns offer a variety of memorable day trips and excursions into the park, featuring a wide range of activities such as canoeing, rafting, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Air trips over the area are also a spectacular way to sightsee from a bird's-eye view.

    Quill Creek, Kluane National Park Quill Creek, Kluane National Park Wikibunt
    Muktuk Adventures

    On the banks of the Takhini River in a remote part of the Yukon, venerated musher Frank Turner established a truly wonderful community centred on caring for sled dogs. In recent years, the Muktuk Kennels have grown into a massively popular excursion for visitors to Whitehorse. The staff who look after more than 140 sled dogs (mainly huskies, samoyeds and malamutes) are deeply committed to the animals. The eco-friendly solar-powered guesthouses are comfortable and homey, offering panoramic views of the spectacular and unspoilt Ibex Valley. Visitors can even attempt mushing with the dogs during winter, while canoeing and kayaking on the lake are the most popular summer activities.

    Address: Kilometre marker 1443, Alaska Highway, Whitehorse
    Website: www.muktuk.com
    Dog sledding, Yukon Territory Dog sledding, Yukon Territory Jeff Nelson

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    English Pronounciation

    Located in the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse has a dry subarctic climate with extreme variations between seasonal temperatures. Average daytime highs in summer (June to August) are 70°F (21°C) and the average lows of winter (December to February) are -7.6° F (-22° C). Average annual snowfall is 4.76ft (145 cm) while the annual rainfall is 6.4 inches (163 mm), making Whitehorse Canada's driest city.

    The main appeal of the Yukon, of course, is its unspoilt wilderness, with Whitehorse being a great base from which to take excursions into the great outdoors. The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is the ideal spot to encounter the local wildlife as it is home to the region's 10 major animal species: lynx, woodland caribou, elk, moose, wood bison, mountain goats, muskoxen, mule deer and two species of Dall's sheep.

    Because the Yukon is a place where dogs are so integral to local culture, a visit to Muktuk Adventures is a must. Another option for those interested in dog-sledding and other outdoor ranching activities are the tours offered by Sky High Wilderness Ranch. Plenty of scenic hiking is possible in and around Whitehorse, with Miles Canyon a particular favourite, and the stretching expanses of Kluane National Park are great for nature lovers.

    Cultural and historical sightseeing attractions in Whitehorse include the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, the SS Klondike sternwheeler ship, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre and a number of fun gold-rush sites.

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