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TREK THE CHILKOOT TRAIL
Made famous as the route travelled by miners and prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, this trek is as challenging as it is spectacular. Today's trail spans 53 kilometres through the Coast Mountains from the ghost town of Dyea Alaska to Bennett, in Canada's British Columbia. Beginning at sea level, you'll wind your way to the 939-metre summit before negotiating a steep decline around the rim of Crater Lake. With several well-maintained campsites throughout the route, you can expect to complete this trek in around four to five days, but it's worth getting in shape before lacing up your hiking boots. See nps.gov/klgo/planyourvisit/chilkoottrail.htm.
FLIGHT-SEE KLUANE NATIONAL PARK
Home to Mount Logan – Canada's highest peak at 5959 metres – as well as the world's largest non-polar glacier ice fields, Kluane National Park is among the most astounding parts of the Yukon. Though you can hike regions of the backcountry or even raft past glaciers, undoubtedly the best views are from the air. Flying through epic mountain passes that seem almost close enough to touch, you'll get the world's best view of a stunning alpine landscape carved out over millions of years, and if you're lucky, perhaps even the odd grizzly bear. See rockingstar.ca.
Each autumn when darkness once again descends on the Yukon nights, one of the world's most staggering natural phenomenon sets the sky ablaze in a wash of explosive colour. The aurora borealis, as it's known in the north, is the result of collisions between gas particles in the earth's atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun. Northern Tales make seeing them easy, with guided tours that include transfers to and from Whitehorse, as well as cosy cabins equipped with wood-fired stoves, hot drinks, tripods for mounting your camera and photography advice to ensure even a novice has a great chance of bagging a memorable shot to take home. See northerntales.ca.
PADDLE THE YUKON
Continue the gold rush adventure theme with a two-week, 735-kilometre canoe excursion from The Yukon's capital city, Whitehorse, up to Dawson City. This is a spectacular route, traversing alpine peaks, abandoned steamers, wildflowers, wilderness cabins and much more. Though it's possible to do this fully independently – the river is suited to the beginner to intermediate kayaker – a handful of operators do offer support with logistics and equipment. It's also possible just to paddle smaller sections of the river if the full stretch between these two cities seems a little ambitious. See upnorthadventures.com.
DOG MUSH THE YUKON QUEST
Each year the Yukon Quest, a 1000-kilometre dog sled race from Whitehorse, Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, has spectators flocking to the Yukon to witness what many regard as the toughest race on earth. And those keen to see this rugged event first-hand can also try mushing a dog sled themselves. Just outside Whitehorse Muktuk Kennels offers a host of dog sled adventures, ranging from a guided two-hour excursion to far longer customised expeditions. With more than 100 huskies on site, a visit to its wilderness facility is also a canine lover's dream. See muktuk.com.
DRIVE THE DEMPSTER HIGHWAY
Canada's only highway to cross the Arctic Circle is among the world's most spectacular road trips. Spanning 740 kilometres from near Dawson City in the Yukon to the town of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, it's an adventurous drive that crosses the continental divide three times while navigating the Arctic Circle to the Mackenzie Delta. Though the highway is open in winter, February to April are the best months and it's worth allowing around a week to complete the drive. Take a few days to visit the gold rush town of Dawson City, hike and camp in Tombstone Park and ride river ferries to quaint towns in the Mackenzie Delta. See dempsterhighway.com.
Guy Wilkinson was a guest of Tourism Yukon