Whitehorse is the perfect getaway to experience winter activities in Canada. The town is big enough to allow easy access, accommodation options for all budgets and exciting activities to keep you busy. It is capital of the Yukon Territory and the gateway to the Yukon. Around 27,000 people call it home with most of the workforce employed in the government sector. For a quick look at what there is to do, click here to see the video.
Step away from the big cities and fast cars, this slow paced town has drivers who will wait for you to cross the road instead of the quick dash you have to make in Vancouver or Toronto. It is a town steeped with history and is located on the banks of the mighty Yukon River. Originally a stopover in the gold rush days, the town soon had a mineral of its own, copper. It has moved on to the city it is today and holds the world record for the city with the least amount of air pollution in the world.
To get here, you can drive, bus or fly. Air North and Air Canada fly year round with Condor and Westjet flying seasonal. From the airport, you can either book a transfer to your hotel, catch a taxi (which is about $15-$20 to downtown) or catch the R3 public bus for $2.50. It will arrive once an hour.
Car rental starts from around $60 per day, not including insurance. The 3 main places to rent from are: Rent-a-wreck, Driving Force and Budget.
Greyhound offer a bus service along the Alaskan highway.
For accommodation, you have a choice from hotels, backpacker hostels and B&B’s. Check out the review of the Midnight Sun Inn B&B for one possible option.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE THERE
For the locals, the winter activities are a way of life and in some cases a necessity. Have a look over the activities you can do below. Most of these you will need a guide to accompany you.
Dog Sledding – These dogs love to run and are well looked after. Take the musher’s stance behind your own team of dogs as they sail down the snow covered paths. From the moment the dogs see the sleds, you can hear their excitement as they know their task ahead. The best bit is you can play with the animals before, during and after the sledding.
Ice Fishing – Who said fishing was a summer sport only? Up in the North, the locals have mastered the art of ice fishing. Take a guided tour which starts off by drilling a hole in the ice before sinking your line into the abyss and waiting for a bite.
Northern Lights Tour - The breathtaking and magical display can only be seen in certain places of the Northern hemisphere. Luckily Whitehorse is one of those places. The night sky will be lit up as the Northern lights dance their way across the stars.
Takhini Hot Springs – You can find natural hot springs all over the West coast of Canada. Whitehorse is lucky as you have the opportunity to sit in the 40 degree water with the chance of seeing the Northern lights.
Skiing – Whitehorse is famous for Nordic skiing. Holding a couple of world events and having groomed trails do help the cause. However, over the last 8 years, downhill skiing has picked up momentum and Whitehorse now has its own ski resort, Mt Sima. Located about a 15 minute drive from downtown, Mt Sima has runs for all abilities. Only open on the weekends, ski the fresh powder but without all the people of busy resorts.
Wildlife preserve – See some winter animals up close and far away at this wildlife preserve. It is open at the weekends only during winter between 10.30am – 4pm. You will need to make your own way out there or organise a transfer.
Snow Mobiling – it’s time to get the adrenalin rush you have been wanting. Hop on the snow machine as you work your way across frozen lakes and rivers and climb you way to the top of mountains for excellent views.
Who, What, Where tours
They specialise in custom made tours and trips. These are the guys to contact for the cheapest tours around. They offer transfers to Mt Sima and the wildlife preserve, a Whitehorse city tour, Northern lights trip and anything else you can muster up.
Muk Tuk Adventures
This is a company which focuses on dog sledding. You can also step in the shoes of a worker and become a rookie for a day.
Up North Adventures
An outfitters store in town, Up North Adventures also offers Snowmobiling, ice fishing, snow shoeing, Northern Lights tour and a Multi activity day.
Sky High Wilderness
Another company which focuses on dog sledding, they have expanded their operations to include Multi Day tours, Multi activity day and aurora viewing.
This company can organise and book most trips for you. They have contracts with companies to book Multi Day trips, Dog sledding, Wildlife preserve and hot springs tours, ice fishing and snowshoeing, snow mobiling and northern lights tour.
Arctic Range offer a load of tours including Dog Sledding, snow mobiling, multi activity day, snow shoeing, city tour, wildlife preserve and hot springs, ice fishing and cross country skiing.
Similar to Muk Tuk Adventures, Alauk are focused on dog sledding. They have also branched out to multi day itineraries.
It is reccommended to book your trip at least 2-3 weeks in advance. The more popular tours can sell out as their is limted availability.
If you have any questions, please free to contact me or get in touch via Facebook, twitter or Instagram. Don’t forget to check out the other stories on Whitehorse for more in depth information:
How to see the Northern Lights
Midnight Sun Inn B&B review
Whitehorse Snow Mobiling
Dog Sledding in Whitehorse
Mt Sima skiing