One day in Whitehorse won’t be enough to see everything in town, but here’s a list of top stops will give you some highlights and get you excited for your next trip to the Yukon.
Whitehorse has its origin in the Klondike Gold Rush and has been the capital of the Yukon since 1953. It has a population of about 26,000 and a downtown business district on the west bank of the Yukon River. Downtown has walkable, large sidewalks and lots of shopping and dining.
The town has a rich history, great food selection, and is surrounded by beautiful country. So no matter why you’re passing through, it’s worth stopping to spend one day in Whitehorse and soak up the city.
Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre
Prioritize a stop at this striking building next to the public library. Long before miners flocked to the Yukon the region was home to indigenous people. The Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre is a place you can learn about the First Nations history, traditions, and culture through permanent and rotating exhibitions.
The centre also has one of the largest meeting spaces in the city and hosts the Adaka Cultural Festival in June and July. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling through while the festival is going, stop in and check it out.
S.S. Klondike National Historic Site.
The S.S. Klondike was once the largest vessel on the Yukon River. It could carry over 300 tons and had a cargo capacity 50 percent greater than previous boats.
The magnificent boat now sits beside the Yukon River and has a visitor center and gift shop that are open from late May through early September.
The British Yukon Navigation Company built the stern-wheeler in 1929 and it traveled the Yukon until 1936, when it ran aground. Parts were salvaged to construct a new boat almost identical to the first. The S.S. Klondike carried mail, general supplies, passengers and silver lead ore along the 460-mile route between Whitehorse and Dawson City. She was retired in 1955.
The Millennium Trail
A wonderful waterfront walking trail connects the city’s major parks and provides a pleasant, easy way to see the Yukon River. This paved, wheelchair-accessible path passes many of the city’s major attractions and crosses the Yukon River via the Rotary Centennial Bridge. The Waterfront Wharf, behind the WP&YR depot, acts as a venue for various special events in the summer, including a community market.
The canyon is just a few miles south of Whitehorse on the Yukon River. Miners and stampeders once faced a daunting challenge as they navigated through the canyon and Whitehorse Rapids on their way to the Klondike gold fields.
Enjoy the beauty of the Yukon flowing through the canyon. Then explore the extensive trail network in the area. You can venture on your own, but be bear aware. In the summer, the Yukon Conservation Society offers interpretive hikes.