Image: Niels Van Kampenhout/Alamy Stock Photo (Main Street), PR services/Yukoninfo.com (s.s. Klondike), GBP (The Collective Good)
How to spend three days in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Known as the Wilderness City, the Yukon’s gold nugget of a capital is picturesque, pristine and steeped in history.
Welcome to the land of the midnight sun! After you arrive, pick up a rental car and drive downtown to check in at the Coast High Country Inn, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed during their 2016 visit. Walk to the nearby Alpine Organic Bakery, a super-cozy eatery, for freshly baked sourdough bread and fruit juice. Once sated, drive from the city core to Grey Mountain. Inch up to the top, park and then hike along the ridge, taking in the views of forest and blue-green lakes.
When you’ve had your fill of cool mountain air, drive about 30 minutes outside the city to Bean North Coffee Roasting Co., a quaint café that has a cabin-in-the-woods feel. The Caprese sandwich is delicious with a cardamom latte. Take your beverage to go and head back down the road to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, home to northern mammals like mountain goats, foxes, muskox, lynx and caribou. After strolling the wide paths and watching the animals frolic, have a relaxing soak at the Takhini Hot Springs, which are two minutes away.
Start the day with a confection and an espresso from Baked Cafe & Bakery, which brews beans from Whitehorse-based Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters. Walk around the corner to the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, where you’ll see a taxidermied seven-foot- tall grizzly bear and albino moose, as well as a fascinating exhibit on the Klondike gold rush of 1898.
Next, drive 40 minutes to the picturesque community of Carcross. Be sure to stop at the tiny “desert,” often called the world’s smallest, though the sand is actually the remains of an ancient glacial lake. The Carcross Commons, a plaza of shops and boutiques, is a good spot for lunch. Feast on the bison burger at The Bistro on Bennett and stop for a treat at Caribou Crossing Coffee before heading back to Whitehorse.
Hop aboard the S.S. Klondike, a sternwheeler that once transported food and supplies to the region; now a National Historic Site, the vessel is free to explore. Next, walk 10 minutes to G&P Steakhouse & Pizza. The intimate restaurant offers delicacies like Alaskan king crab, honey-ginger calamari and spanakopita, as well as an impressive list of cocktails. Take advantage of the long hours of daylight by capping the day off with a stroll along Main Street. Peruse fragrant skin-care products made with Yukon botanicals at Aroma Borealis, and check out local handicrafts at North End Gallery.
Grab a bagel downtown at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, where Bullet Hole Bagels bakes its addictive bready goodness. Devour it during the 15-minute drive to Miles Canyon, where the emerald-toned Yukon River runs between two steep rock walls. Follow the marked three-and-a-half-kilometre walking trail to Canyon City, a stopping point for prospectors on their way to the gold fields. The scenic route ducks in and out of the forest as it traces the river. After your walk, fuel up with lunch back in town at Burnt Toast Café, where everything is delicious (the hearty Humble Salad is a favourite). Pay a visit to the Kanoe People, who will hook you up with all you need for a leisurely paddle down the calm river, including gear and transport back downtown.
Walk 10 minutes to Sanchez Cantina for delicious Mexican food and sangria. If it’s sunny, get a table on the patio – it’s one of the few in the city! Finish your trip by soaking up Whitehorse’s strong music scene: Hit up a live show at The Social House.
What to pack
Summer is balmy in this scenic northern town, so bring layers of practical performance gear.