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Nature experience in Yukon

from / to Whitehorse

Holiday in Canada
9 rental companies in 8 cities

Nature experience in Yukon

from / to Whitehorse

14 days / 2,875 km (including a ferry ride – a total of approx. 3,000 km)
Best time to travel: June to September

During this motorhome trip, you will experience some of the most spectacular landscapes and national parks in Yukon and Alaska. During this journey, your 14-day trip will follow in the footsteps of old prospectors and adventurers. The area offers beautiful nature with glaciers and majestic mountain ranges in the far North of the American continent. You can also admire the diverse wildlife in the unique land of the midnight sun and the northern lights.

Arrival in Whitehorse and collection of the camper

Whitehorse, with approximately 28,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Yukon, Canada. Whitehorse was named after the rapids (White Horse Rapids) which can be found on the Yukon River. At the end of the 19th century, during the time of the Klondike Gold Rush, Whitehorse was an important supply base.

Since 1900, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad has connected the port of Skagway with Whitehorse. Whitehorse owes its development as a major transport hub to the navigation on the Yukon River and supplying the northern areas of the territory with resources. What is more, a major road link was created by the construction of the Alaska Highway.

You can learn more about the history of Yukon at the MacBride Museum of Yukon History. Further highlights for the tourists are the Yukon Visitor Centre and the S. S. Klondike, the only preserved river ship. Natural attractions near Whitehorse include the Whitehorse Fish Ladder, the world’s longest wooden fish ladder, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and the Takhini Hot Springs.

Highlights & Tips
Flying to Whitehorse
Whitehorse can be reached by plane via the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, which has its name since 2008. Regular flights go to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Fairbanks (only in the summer time), and once a week to Frankfurt/Main (from May to September).

Whitehorse – Lake Kluane

Stage distance: approx. 240 km

Suggested route: Whitehorse – Haines Junction/Kluane Nationalpark – Lake Kluane

Today, the long trip begins with the first stage which is a short ride on the Alaska Highway located in the West. On this stretch, there are numerous sites to make a stopover before you reach Haines Junction, situated at the foot of the Kluane National Park. From Haines Junction, you will continue your trip to Lake Kluane.

The Kluane National Park is not the largest national park in Canada, but it is home to diverse animal life. What is more, it is the largest glacier area on Earth, outside both poles. Until this day, the huge park is still largely undeveloped and unspoilt. From here, you can take a short hike around the national park.

Highlights & Tips
Overnight between lake and mountain panorama
The Cottonwood Park located on Lake Kluane offers a very beautiful accommodation option.

Kluane Lake – Tok Junction

Stage distance: approx. 390 km

Suggested route: Alaska Highway

Today’s route follows the Alaska Highway. First, along the picturesque shore of the huge Lake Kluane. Halfway, you will cross the border between Canada and the United States. In Tok Junction, between the Tanana River and the Alaska Range, the Tok Cut-Off/Glenn Highway branches off from the Alaska Highway. The town was founded in the 1940s as a settlement for construction workers who were building the Alaska Highway. Previously, the place had been settled by the Athabaskan Indians for several centuries. Today, Tok Junction is a highlight and a stopover in the scarcely populated area of Alaska. You will find many campsites there.

Highlights & Tips
Sled dogs in action
In Tok Junction, you can participate in a sled dog show.

Tok Junction – Valdez

Stage distance: approx. 255 miles / 410 km

Suggested route:

The first part of today’s stage crosses the Glenn Highway and goes along numerous rivers, lakes, and glaciers over the imposing Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. Later, we continue south on the Richardson Highway along the Pacific coast to the small port city of Valdez. The crossing of the coastal range through the Thomson Pass, with the thundering waterfall located along the road, is spectacular. Valdez is surrounded by Alpine landscape and is called “Little Switzerland” by its inhabitants. The place is also known for the fact that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline ends here. It is here that the large oil tankers are loaded. However, there are also some negative memories connected with the area, as the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened here in 1989.

Highlights & Tips
Largest national park in the United States
The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in the south-eastern part of Alaska, is the largest national park in the United States with about 53,320 km². You can learn more about the visits as well as activities available in the park.

Valdez – Anchorage

Stage distance: approx. 90 miles by ferry to Whittier, 60 miles / approx. 95 km by road to Anchorage

Suggested route: Valdez – Whittier – Anchorage

A ferry will take you from Valdez through Prince William Sound, undoubtedly one of the most scenic areas in Alaska, over tidewater glaciers – with the Columbia Glacier that is considered to be one of the most spectacular ones – and along the Pacific coast. There are also excellent opportunities for the observation of wildlife. With a little luck, you will be able to spot sea lions or even whales, along with cute sea otters and puffins. Once back ashore, there is a possibility of a detour to the Portage Glacier. The ride up Turnagain Arm will be a conclusion of today’s trip to Anchorage. The tidal wave in this strait is spectacular. It falls twice a day from a metre-high wall.

Highlights & Tips
Boat tour on the glacier lake
Take a spectacular boat ride on the glacier lake, Lake Portage.

Anchorage – Riley Creek

Stage distance: 240 miles / approx. 385 km

Suggested route:

Anchorage is by far the largest city in Alaska. The city is inhabited by almost 50 percent of the population of the northernmost state of the United States. It has a population of 238,000. The city has two universities, 80 schools, 50 hotels, 300 restaurants, and three ultra-modern shopping malls. The wilderness is not located far from the city. Especially in the east, you can see the towering white peaks of the Chugach Mountains. There are also frequent newspaper reports that people sometimes spot bears or moose. Once in a while, they venture into the urban area and have to be brought back by the wildlife protection to their natural habitat in the mountains.

Anchorage offers a full-day stopover “in civilisation.” There are many interesting things to discover: Lake Hood and Lake Spenard, the largest airfield for seaplanes. In the summer time, around 800 machines take off and land here. The Aviation Museum, where you can admire many legendary aircraft types, is also located near the spot. The downtown offers the Museum of History and Art and, of course, many shopping malls in typical American style. You can also sit in one of the pubs or microbreweries, which are small breweries offering a wide variety of beers.

Today, it is time to say goodbye to the coastal region of the Pacific Ocean. On a very scenic ride that runs north through the George Park Highway, it is always possible to marvel at Mount McKinley, which is 6,194 metres high and thus, is the highest mountain in North America. 99 miles from Anchorage, you should turn right and follow the Talkeetna Spur Road and after 14 miles of gravel road, you will reach the village of Talkeetna, which has a population of 400 inhabitants. This village serves as a starting point for climbing the nearby massif. Here, you will find stunning landscapes and a constantly changing panorama with glaciers in the distance.

Highlights & Tips
Hearty dinner for a gold digger
Enjoy a special dinner in Gwennies Restaurant in Anchorage. The restaurant serves not only the biggest but also the best steaks. What is more, you can learn there more about Anchorage’s history.

Overnight in the Denali National Park
In Riley Creek, you can spend one night on the Riley Creek Campground the largest campsite in the Denali National Park.

Riley Creek – Denali National Park

Stage distance: Bus excursion to the Denali National Park

Suggested route:

Without question, the Denali Wildlife Tour is a scenic highlight of your journey. The park will provide you with a special shuttle bus which will take you deep into one of the most impressive landscapes of North America. This trip will be ideal to experience the diverse flora and fauna of the park as well as a great way to spend a shorter stay in the area. The tour begins less than 800 metres from the tree line. You will be able to spot the impact of permafrost which will be presented on the example of “drunken forest,” where the trees are growing in a crisscross manner.

The treeless tundra begins at the Sable Pass. Low bushes thrive only on the banks of water bodies. This area is the territory of grizzly bears, and a special regulation prohibits wandering around the Sable Pass Wildlife Area. Caribou can be observed here as well. The Polychrome Pass is even more impressive with panoramic views of the Alaska Range, multicoloured lava hills, and the vast and lonely tundra where marmots cavort.

The Eielson Visitor Centre is only around 50 kilometres from Mount McKinley, and thus, it is a great spot for taking photos when the weather is good. Lake Wonder is the largest lake in the park. From here, rangers offer short guided trips several times a day. They elaborate on the rich nature thriving in the area. You can explore the region of Lake Wonder on your own as well. The northern half of the park consists of stark and rolling tundra with milk-white glacier streams flowing through wide river beds. The Nenana River forms the eastern boundary of the park. There is only one unpaved 149-km long road parallel to the Alaska Range which runs approximately up to the middle of the park.

The word Denali means “the great one” or “the high one” in the language of the Athabaskan Indians. Of course, it refers to Mount McKinley. It belongs to almost 1.000-kilometre long towering Alaska Range which is a natural boundary for the park in its southern region.

Highlights & Tips
A day in the Denali National Park
Here, you will find useful information about excursions and guided hiking tours that are organised in the Denali National Park.

Riley Creek – Fairbanks

Stage distance: 122 miles / approx. 195 km

Suggested route: Riley Creek – Nenana – Fairbanks

Again, the journey runs on the George Parks Highway with an intermediate stopover in Nenana and the possibility to visit the Alaska State Railroad Museum. You will reach Fairbanks around noon. Spend the afternoon in the city. It is located approximately 320 kilometres from the Arctic Circle. There are numerous local attractions to explore – not only in the city but also in the surrounding area. For example, visit the Dog Mushing Museum or try some of the local specialties, such as king crabs, in one of the numerous restaurants. Other attractions include a visit to the Crown of Light, a slide show covering the topic of northern lights, or participating in the gold rush show at the Malamute Saloon.

Highlights & Tips
River cruises on a paddle steamer
A ride on a paddle steamer on the Chena River is highly recommended.

Fairbanks – Tok Junction

Stage distance: 205 miles / approx. 330 km

Suggested route: Fairbanks – Delta Junction – Tok Junction

After a final stroll through downtown Fairbanks, you will leave this urban environment in the morning. Through the beautiful countryside, past countless rivers and lakes, you will be back in the South. Today, for the first time, you will see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which crosses the Tatana River near the highway. Delta Junction is where the Alaska Highway begins.

Highlights & Tips
In Delta Junction, you can pay a visit to the Big Delta State Historical Park (at 274.5 mile of the Richardson Highway) with restored buildings from the time of the settlement of Alaska around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Tok Junction – Dawson City

Stage distance: 186 miles / approx. 300 km

Suggested route:

The journey continues along the Taylor Highway, which is closed in the winter time. Beyond the tree line, you will drive through alpine plateaus and experience the unique hilly landscape with boreal coniferous forest and tundra. There, you will cross the highest border crossing between Canada and the United States. It is located on the Little Gold Creek. Afterwards, you will pass strange sounding villages such as Chicken, Action Jackson, or Jack Wade Camp. In the afternoon, you will reach the Yukon River, where you will take a ferry to Dawson City.

Today, just like in the 19th/20th century, the mouth of Klondike River is still a place famous for gold prospecting. If you want to, you can try yourself in gold panning. There is a possibility to visit the famous Bonanza Creek and also the Jack London’s Cabin. What is more, you can take a trip to the Midnight Dome located at the top of the mountain. The Dawson City Museum is worth paying a visit as well. Also, you can simply stroll through the streets of this small settlement with its original partly restored buildings.

Highlights & Tips
Entertainment like in the days of the gold rush
In the evening, pay a visit to Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino and watch the performance of cancan dancers. What is more, there is also Palace Grand Theatre where you can revel in music in the style of the turn of the last century.

Dawson City – Whitehorse

Stage distance: approx. 530 km

Suggested route: Dawson City – Whitehorse

The longest stage of the journey leads back to Whitehorse through the Klondike Highway. You will be able to admire the Yukon River repeatedly during this trip. With nearly 3,200 kilometres, it is one of the longest waterways in North America. Of course, you can also visit the Five Finger Rapids, the imposing rapids that were an impassable obstacle for many steamships in the past. Wrong navigation resulted in the destruction of these machines. Old postal stations, roadhouses, and small towns will remind you of the times of the gold rush.

Highlights & Tips
Farewell tour in and around Whitehorse
Those who would like to spend more time in the area of Whitehorse will find more interesting highlights, such as the Yukon Transportation Museum located in the vicinity of the airport. What is more, there is a possibility to take a boat ride through the Miles Canyon in the headwaters of the Yukon River. Another option is paying a visit to the old gold rush coastal city, Skagway, with the possibility of participating in a spectacular ride through the White Pass & Yukon Route, which will take you over the infamous White Pass.