Written by Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan
From hundreds of kilometres of trail near Whitehorse to the most beautiful, remote backcountry you’ll ever see, Yukon is a hiker’s dream come true.
There’s no such thing as going down the wrong path either as there’s a trail for every ability and fitness level, with abundant vistas of broad rivers, glaciers and pristine alpine wilderness.
Prime hiking season in Yukon is from mid-May to mid-September when the days are long and the weather is mild.
Keep in mind, however, that many national and territorial parks require a permit, and it’s always a good idea to hike with an experienced guide who can keep you on track and fill you in on the region’s history, topography and wildlife.
We’ve outlined some of our favourite routes below so that when it’s safe to travel once again, you can hit the trails with confidence.
The Auriol Trail in Kluane National Park is a moderate loop that takes in pristine boreal forest, sub-alpine terrain and epic mountain slopes. The park is teeming with wildlife, including Dall sheep, caribou, moose, grizzlies and black bears, as well as smaller mammals and plenty of birdlife.
Hike the loop in four hours or take your time and spend the day enjoying the vistas over Haines Junction and the distant Ruby Ranges. Serious hikers can use this route to access the more challenging Quill Peak and Mt Martha Black.
As the name suggests, Sheep Creek Trail is ideal for viewing Dall sheep in the spring. The trail incorporates several beautiful viewpoints of the Slims River Valley and even the famous Kaskawulsh Glacier.
Feeling energetic? Continue along the Thechàl Dhâl Ridge route to the top of Thechàl Dhâl (Sheep Mountain). You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Kluane Lake, Outpost Mountain, Red Castle Ridge, the Ruby Range and the Sheep-Bullion Plateau.
With its dramatic wind-carved mountains, including the craggy granite peak of Tombstone Mountain, alpine lakes and dazzling tundra, Tombstone Territorial Park is often referred to as the Patagonia of the North.
Located just 112 kilometres from Dawson City, it’s one of the easiest places to hike in Yukon, with wildlife viewing and tundra walks accessible to even the novice explorer.
The sub-arctic landscape offers outstanding wildlife viewing, birding and hiking. The park lies within the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nations people who have camped and traded here for centuries.
Grizzly Ridge is one of the most popular trails in Tombstone Territorial Park, offering spectacular views of breathtaking rocky peaks and the vast Grizzly Valley. Make it a day trip or hike on through the alpine meadows of Glissade Pass to Divide Lake where you can set up camp below the imposing face of Mount Monolith.
Talus Lake, with its stellar views of Tombstone Mountain, is a moderate day hike from Divide Lake. Enjoy a gradual climb above Divide Lake and over Tombstone Pass where you’ll be presented with magnificent views of the Tombstone and Cloudy ranges. The trail continues through a dazzling landscape of alpine cirques and small alpine lakes, with the views of Tombstone Mountain becoming ever more impressive as you approach Talus Lake.
The five-kilometre paved Whitehorse Millennium Trail is an ideal family hike, following the path of the mighty Yukon River from the Robert Campbell Bridge, taking in the historic SS Klondike sternwheeler and Whitehorse Fishladder and Hatchery along the way. This urban walking trail connects to the Yukon River Loop Trail, which leads to Miles Canyon and the historic gold rush town of Canyon City.
Spirit Canyon, about an hour from Whitehorse, provides multiple walking tracks, each one taking in expansive views of the Takhini River Valley, Ibex Valley and the Sifton Range. Explore the huge rock walls of the canyon and, if you visit mid-summer, try your hand at foraging for delicious cranberries, currants and raspberries.
Hidden Lakes Trail, near Grey Mountain on the edge of Whitehorse, offers a network of trails to the shores of the glittering lakes, perfect for fishing and birdwatching. The main Hidden Lakes Trail is a 1.8-kilometre loop with exquisite views of the kettle lakes created by the glacial melt at the end of the ice age.