With scenic drives into all corners of the Yukon, it’s a driver’s dream. The territory boasts a network of well-maintained highways that rank among the world’s premiere driving adventures. By road, it’s an exhilarating combination of postcard scenery, historic communities, cultural attractions and adventure outings. This is a land of friendly characters, endless Midnight Sun and expanses of pristine wilderness. Come touring on the legendary Alaska, Top of the World, Klondike and Dempster highways. Visitors will love the Yukon pace and the chance to slow down, relax, and breathe the incredibly fresh air.
Driving ‘The Dempster’
Canada’s only all-weather road across the Arctic Circle is among the world’s most unique driving routes. With services at both ends, and one lone outpost in the middle, this unpaved two-lane highway is an original driving adventure. The isolation and variable conditions can prove challenging, but the abundant wildlife, easy access to the tundra and expansive views are unmatched.
Tour the Klondike – Take a couple of days to explore historic Dawson City and learn about the Klondike Gold Rush. A century after thousands of miners flooded into Dawson looking for gold, it’s a story that still captivates and entertains. Visit national historic sites, take a town walking tour, and enjoy Dawson’s lively nightlife.
Situated near the start of the Dempster Highway, Tombstone Park offers a land like no other with its haunting landscape memorable for its jagged peaks and colour-stained hills. While just a few miles north is a land referred to as Beringia, the only area in much of North America that wasn’t under ice during the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago, the granite Tombstones have been scoured by ice and weather into stalagmite-like peaks and pinnacles that rise high from the tundra carpet. Yukon, about the size of France, is part mountains, part boreal forest and part tundra. All these environments crash together in wonderfully scenic confusion in Tombstone Park.
So here, amidst the mountain majesty, are ridges, valleys, passes, meadows, lakes and creeks. But it’s also the minerals and plants and bird and animal life that fascinate. And all amid an endless carpet of tundra that changes colours with the season. This is one of a kind.
Exploring Tombstone Park can involve anything from short hikes off the highway, to long backpacking and mountain climbing trips in the back country. There is one established trail, Grizzly Creek, which is the quickest way into the core of the Tombstone Range. The trail stops at Grizzly Lake where tent pads, cooking station and an outhouse are provided for visitors. The rest of the Park has no established trails into the back country. However on some well-travelled routes, sections of trail can be found, but in general, travel in the park will be a challenge to your orienteering skills.
Continue your journey as you cross the Arctic Circle – Embark on your journey to the Arctic! Dempster accommodations are at Eagle Plains near the Arctic Circle, and in Dawson City and Inuvik. Camping gives you more options: try Tombstone, Engineer Creek or Rock River campgrounds.
Visit the Mackenzie Delta – Descend from the Richardson Mountains and ride two river ferries to reach the delta towns of Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik. Watch for caribou and moose, and learn about the cultural heritage of Delta communities.
Southbound Migration – Whether you take your time or drive through to Dawson City in a day, soak in the spectacular tundra scenery and abundant wildlife. Early summer brings a flush of young animals, mid-summer heralds long days under the midnight sun, and late summer visitors are treated to crimson and gold tundra vegetation.
Don’t forget that in the Yukon, under the Midnight Sun of summer, the lights are on almost 24 hours a day so there are things to do and see long after you’ve run out of the strength to do them!
Frontier Canada offer an Arctic Explorer fly-drive tour from £1480 per person based on 2 persons travelling, including return Air Canada flights from London Heathrow to Whitehorse, car hire and 7 nights accommodation. Tel: 020 8776 8709 or visit: www.frontier-canada.co.uk
Independent Traveller offer motorhome packages to the Yukon from £2125 per person (based on two adults travelling) including return Air Canada flights from London Heathrow to Whitehorse, 1 night at a Whitehorse hotel and 8 days motorhome (includes unlimited mileage and convenience packs). Tel: 01509 618800 or visit www.itiscanada.co.uk
For a detailed list of all campgrounds in the Yukon: www.env.gov.yk.ca/camping-parks/campgrounds.php