The Yukon, North of Ordinary as they like to call it, is actually north of British Columbia and east of Alaska, stretching all the way up to the Arctic Sea.
It’s best known for the Klondike Gold Rush back in the 19th Century which made and broke so many budding prospectors and it’s a wild and rugged looking wilderness that might not have thought was kid-friendly.
But my kids are wilderness-seekers, just as interested in spotting deer, moose and bison as they are in Disneyland. My eldest, Holly, is especially so. Here’s her pick of family activities in the Yukon.
Northern Tales: Aurora Borealis Tours
The Northern Lights are about as predictable as wildlife, so you can’t guarantee a sighting. So Northern Tales Aurora Borealis Tours provides 1-5 night experiences to increase your chances.
You are picked up from your hotel at about 10pm, and then driven to the viewing point, complete with a campfire and a cabin stocked with snacks and hot drinks.
Camera stands are provided and the tour guide can even help you to change your settings to the best option for capturing the Lights. The tour wraps up around 1-2am depending on how good the light show is.
Bushwalking near Wolf Creek
Wolf Creek Campsite in Whitehorse has a wide range of very popular walking trails. How long you want to walk is entirely up to you but if you’re lucky, (like we were!) when you reach the creek you could spot some bright red salmon making their way back to their spawning grounds on the Salmon Run.
The salmon run is the time when salmon, which have migrated from the ocean, swim to the upper reaches of rivers where they spawn on gravel beds, and it’s a major event for grizzly bears, bald eagles and sport fishermen alike.
Berry Picking with Sila Sojourns
Don’t let the kids do this unsupervised folks… better to go with someone who knows her berries, like Jill Pangman of Sila Sojourns.
Jill runs wilderness tours and creative journeys that are designed especially for women, normally running between two and 14 days long, each with a different focus, from meditation to music and photography.
Jill was kind enough to take me on a hike, show which berries to pick and how to make jam with them when we got back. On an earlier visit to the Yukon – Jill showed us how to make chocolate mud cake on a campfire and what leaves make a nice tea. These are the kind of wilderness skills that appeal to me.
Late summer and early autumn is berry-picking time across the Yukon, and depending on your luck, you could find cranberries, soapberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, strawberries, cloudberries or raspberries.
Up North Adventures: Kayaking the Yukon River
This is in the not-to-be-missed category when visiting the Yukon. Up North Adventures provides transportation from your hotel, water-lock bags, waterproof pants, and snacks and drinks for the journey.
Guides also take their own camera so you can (for once) get some photos of yourself on holiday (free).
The trip down the Yukon is 20 kilometres and takes about four hours. We are shown how to take off with the current and then the rest is the slow and steady trip down the river, letting the current take us.
As well as surrounding beautiful scenery (and the odd wildlife spotting) (we saw a bald eagle), our guide has plenty of information about the history of the Yukon River and the Klondike Gold Rush. So it’s educational AND fun.
The Klondike Gold Rush, was a migration by an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899.
Gold was discovered here on August 16, 1896 and, when news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a “stampede” of would-be prospectors.
The journey proved too hard to many and only between 30,000 and 40,000 managed to arrive. Some became wealthy, but the majority went in vain and only around 4,000 struck gold.
Up North Adventures: Hiking near Fish Lake
Up North also have a range of guided hikes, varying according to levels of difficulty, but our hike was a short 2-hours up a steep incline (easy enough for most kids) to a little green clearing where we could view Fish Lake and the surrounding mountains.