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Yukon: Answer the call of the wild

The Klondike Gold Rush made the Yukon famous, but it’s the spectacular landscape and exciting culture that keeps visitors coming back year after year. From Teslin’s Tlingit culture to Kluane Lake’s dazzling beauty, settle into the great outdoors on this iconic drive.

Drive 302.2 miles, 7 hours, 1 minute


1. Teslin

Starting Point

This lakeside community is as welcoming now as when it functioned as a meeting camp for the area’s native population. The George Johnston Museum highlights the art and culture of the Tlingit people through colorful artifacts, films and outdoor exhibits. The Northern Wildlife Museum educates visitors about the area’s natural history through the taxidermy of actual specimens from polar bears to musk ox to wolves. Of course, the best way to understand the land is to enjoy it, so head to Teslin Lake or River to relax fireside on the serene shoreline or fish for the Chinook salmon that run the river during summer months.


2. Carcross

94.6 miles, 2 hours, 9 minutes

Famous for their storytelling tradition, the Tagish First Nation people now call Carcross home. Learn more about their cultural history along the Historic Buildings Walking Tour at the visitor’s center and a visit to the Skookum Jim House in the Commons, where artisans are still hand-carving totem poles today. Unexpectedly, Carcross is also home to a bizarre geographic feature you’ll have to see to believe—the world’s smallest desert. Located just outside of town and topping out at merely 1 square mile, the sands of the Carcross Desert aren’t hard to explore. Formed by the silt left by a receding glacier, the dunes are now used for sandboarding, off-roading and hiking. The desert abuts pristine Bennett Lake, so pack a picnic and enjoy them both.


3. Whitehorse

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

45.5 miles, 1 hour, 12 minutes

Few cities offer the right balance between pristine wilderness and the trappings of modern life, which is why Whitehorse has earned its place as the premier destination in the Yukon. Start with a stroll along the Whitehorse Waterfront, home to numerous galleries showing the Northwest’s up-and-coming talent, as well as boutiques and restaurants for all tastes. Then head to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, or Takhini Hot Springs for a dip into the Yukon’s striking natural beauty. Wrap up your visit onboard the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, a restored riverboat used to transport goods in the remote area as recently as the 1940’s.


4. Haines Junction

96.2 miles, 2 hours, 13 minutes

At the intersection of the Haines Highway and the Alaska Highway, this picturesque village is a home base for four seasons of outdoor adventure. Home to the Visitor’s Center for Kluane National Park and Reserve, you will find everything you need to plan a trip in the largest internationally protected area in the world. Canoeing, fishing and hiking to glaciers are all available in the park and the expert guides at the Center can help organize a trip or set you up with one of the towns many responsible outfitters. For easy access at your own speed, try fishing or kayaking at Kathleen Lake, right on the park’s eastern edge.


5. Kluane Lake



65.9 miles, 1 hour, 27 minutes

For those looking to land the big one, head northwest to Kluane Lake, where enormous trout and whitefish are frequently hooked. The fisheries in the surrounding area are expertly managed, so the fish are biting all summer long, but in August and September, visitors will also be treated to unrivaled displays of the Northern Lights. The mountains on the far side of the lake are home to Dall sheep and grizzly bear, so keep on the lookout for the unique animals. This is also home to a famous set of caribou herds—the Kluane and Aishihik—which migrate through the area every year. A sunset sighting of the grazing animals is a once-in-a-lifetime event.