Nicknamed the Wilderness City, Whitehorse, Yukon is an excellent escape for anyone craving the chance to disconnect in the great outdoors. Nestled on the banks of the famous Yukon River, the Whitehorse landscape is a stunning collage of rugged mountains and strikingly beautiful lakes. With a population of 27,000, the city is vibrant and bustling, while maintaining that elusive small-town charm. This simple guide highlights the best ways to unwind in Whitehorse.
Where to rent a cabin
Photo courtesy of littleatlinlodge.com
Staying in a rustic lodge is the perfect way to appreciate the wild landscape of Whitehorse. Little Atlin Lodge, just one hour south of downtown Whitehorse, has two idyllic guesthouses that vacationers can reserve. Both the Pine and the Spruce cabins are located lakeside and are equipped with indoor showers, wood stoves, and spacious living quarters. And for those looking for a snowy getaway, the Pine is fully winterized. Hike up White Mountain for a gorgeous panoramic view of the region, and keep an eye out for mountain goats along the way. Another great option for cabins is Sky High Wilderness Ranch, which rents out four rooms, each with a different theme. The Aurora Cabin is a cozy hideaway with full amenities and an adorable breakfast nook. The Coal Lake cabin is an impressive recreation of a traditional Yukon Trapper’s Cabin, accessible only by horseback or dogsled.
Where to get the best view
Without a doubt, the most stunning vista in the Whitehorse region is Emerald Lake, famous for it’s magnificent blue-green waters. The intense colour is created by sunlight reflecting off a white layer of marl (calcium carbonate clay) that forms in the water and settles onto the bottom of the lakebed. The marl is a result of dissolving limestone from the gorgeous rocky hills that have surrounded the lake for millions of years. You can admire Emerald Lake from a lookout point across from the South Klondike Highway, just outside the small town of Carcross.
Where to take a dip
Takhini Hot Springs, located 30 minutes outside the city, is undoubtedly the best option for soaking your stress away in Whitehorse. The hot springs were discovered by the First Nations several centuries ago and were developed into concrete pools in the 1950s, so people could easily access their healing properties. They’re modelled after traditional swimming pools, unlike most hot springs which are designed as shallow wading spaces, so guests can swim around more freely while soaking up the water’s nutrients. To make the most of your dip, plan a late night visit—you might find yourself with a front row seat to a Northern Lights show.
Where to go on a hike
Minutes away from downtown Whitehorse is Miles Canyon, a truly impressive hiking destination with a fascinating history. The Yukon River bursts through the deep gorge, rushing rapidly between rock cliffs before flowing into the Schwatka Lake. During the Klondike Gold Rush, before the hydroelectric dam raised the water levels, it was a dangerous obstacle for fortune seekers. Now it’s a picturesque place for hikers to explore, following trails along the shores of the river, and through the surrounding forests. Visitors can access the paths by travelling over a cool suspension bridge, which was built in the 1920s.
Where to have a pint
For beer fans, there’s a little something for everyone in Whitehorse. If you’re looking for a no frills local hangout, where the atmosphere is fun, the game is always on, and the wings are delicious, check out Bailey’s Pub and Grill. If you’re craving a more gourmet experience, dine in at Wheelhouse Restaurant, where the house recipes are high class, the live jazz sets the perfect mood, and the craft brews are served on tap and by the bottle. If you want to go straight to the source, book a tour at Yukon Brewery, where you can sample eight popular local beers like the Midnight Sun coffee stout or the Aroma Borealis herb beer.