Myself and two friends, Ryan @ryanmichaelrichardson and Hailey @haileyplayfair , whom are based out on Ontario currently, started discussing earlier this year, a potential trip we could all do together. Well after a short amount of brainstorming we ended up deciding on the YUKON, and making a two week road trip out of it. All three of us had never been so it was an exciting opportunity and planning process. During it we would have the opportunity to experience Northern BC, and small portions of Alaska as well. We all are big on traveling and love to adventure, though it’s funny cause we have found our selves more so always planning those trips to outside countries, as do many Canadians… when planning a trip or vacation. Why is that we asked ourselves? When there are SO many places to see right in our own ‘backyard’. So what’s stopping you?
We came up with a catchy hashtag #wedidityukontoo , which we think summarizes this thought. Many people think oh it’s too far, it’s too cold up there, it’s too expensive, it’s too ‘wild’, there are so many more beautiful places to go, hotter, more commercialized etc. but for me the ‘wildness’ is that really drew me in. It’s a place not many people get up too, cause it is further, more remote and less commercialized. The grizzly to human population in itself is 4:1, that there goes to show how wild it can get and how sparsely populated Northern Canada is. During our trip we actually ended up seeing over 40 bears! Which was unbelievable.
I personally have been to many of Canada’s provinces, aside from PEI, New Brunswick, and NFL, and had never been to any of the territories (still hoping to get to NWT and Nunavut soon!) Though can admit that most of those were quick trips and I didn’t ‘explore’ and adventure as much in each as I would have liked too. This Yukon trip was going to be a true adventure! I am going to be taking you through an itinerary of our trip, which will hopefully make it easier when planning your very own trip up North.
We were super fortunate to have some support on this trip, from @keencanada specifically. I took three pairs with me, my Terradora Waterproof Hiker, Terradora Ethos and my Pyrenese Hiking Boot. All three were perfect for all the different activities we got up to during the trip.
We took my vehicle, a Nissan Xterra, and put on just over 6,000kms during our trip. I would say the trip was worth every single km! I am very happy we chose to drive the entire way, road tripping from Calgary, instead of flying into Whitehorse and renting a vehicle. Because we got to see everything along the way (Northern BC), and Timber was able to come!
Day 1 – June 6th – Canmore/Banff/Jasper/Prince George/Smithers, BC
Starting in Calgary we drove West through to Canmore/Banff, up the Icefields Parkway and took a break in Jasper. From there we continued to Smithers BC, where we camped for the night. We camped at the Riverside Municipal Campground. We wanted the first day to be a long driving day, in order to cover as much ground as possible.
Day 2 – June 7th – Stewart BC/Hyder Alaska
We woke up and headed on towards Stewart BC, and into Hyder Alaska. On our way there we stopped at Bear Glacier (pictured below). There really is no way I could put into words the beauty that Bear Glacier holds, you have to visit for yourselves!
Hyder lies on the eastern fringe of Misty Fiords National Monument, at the head of Portland Canal. It may be in Alaska but identifies more closely with its Canadian neighbours in Stewart, British Columbia. There are only 72 residents in Hyder, and they rely very heavily on the town of Stewart, with a population of 700 residents. Hyder residents also use Canadian money, and as we got to talking to someone at a local shop, we became aware there is no real law enforcement there. When their is DIAR need for help, the Canadian Mounties step in. If you ever find yourselves in Stewart, or near by I highly recommend popping over to Hyder.
We passed through Hyder and made our way up too Salmon glacier (pictured below).
We then spent the night in Stewart, at Bear River RV Park. Though before that we took in the sunset at a nearby park in Stewart (pictured below).
Day 3 – June 9thth – To the Yukon we Go! Whitehorse
We woke up early and hit the road, with Whitehorse as our target destination for the day. 1, 043kms / 12 hours later we made it. Only stopping to take a photo with the ‘Welcome to Yukon sign’, and coffee and food breaks of course.
We checked into Muktuk Adventures, a Bed and Breakfast just a few minutes outside of Whitehorse. They also offer camping and cabin bookings. We were greeted by the sounds of 130 huskies, howling as we drove in. We spent two nights here, lets just say… Timber was a TAD bit intimidated, but he did well and warmed up to the dogs. The people working at Muktuk were so welcoming and helpful. I would highly recommend staying here!
Day 4 – June 10th – Whitehorse
We woke up, had breakfast and then headed to Grey Mountain for a trail run. It was a moody/rainy morning but we didn’t let that stop us. From there we simply explored Whitehorse, got coffee and walked around town/planned the next couple days. We also dropped in at the Takhini hotsprings after, then Miles Canyon in the evening for a little stroll (unbelievably blue water).
Day 5 – June 11th – Carcross/Whitehorse
We woke up and headed towards Carcross, which is about one hour from Whitehorse, for a day hike. We headed up Nares Mountain, which is climbable almost year round. There were 360 views, which included Montana and Caribou mountains, and Tagish, Bennett and Nares lakes. The summit is about 1000m in an elevation gain, and 5kms one way, it took us a total of 5 hours, as we spent some time at the summit, and took our time snapping pictures along the way (photos below). We had a beautiful view of Carcross down below the entire time.
We spent the night in Whitehorse at the Hi Country RV Campground.
Day 6 – June 12th – Whitehorse
Canoeing Day! We also had the privilege of working a bit with @travelyukon while we were there, who sponsored our canoe trip, along with a float plane up to Mount Logan. Our canoe trip was with ‘Up North Adventures’ , along the Yukon River.
We spent a second night at Hi Country RV Campground just outside Whitehorse.
Day 7 – June 13th – Off too Kluane National Park!
We hit the road early in the morning and headed towards Haines Junction in Kluane National Park. It was a very rainy day, gloomy and low clouds so our hopes of summiting a mountain that day were a tad crushed… but we had the opportunity of exploring lower down at Kathleen Lake. We parked at the lake, where the trail head for ‘Kings throne’ also starts, which is a popular hike in the area (one that we now must return to do).
We had a guide, Brent (The Cabins Eco Tours) a local who has been living in the area for many years. We hiked around Kathleen lake for close to 4 hours, as he told us all about the trees, the land, flowers/plants, wildlife and so much more. It’s crazy what you don’t slow down to think about or question, when your goal is to ‘summit that mountain’ or just to put on the kms hiking, walking or getting your exercise. I don’t often have a guide with me while out hiking, so this was a treat!
We then spent the night at Dalton Trail Lodge, near by (pictured below).
Day 8 – June 14th – Kluane National Park – Mount Logan
We headed for Kluane Lake, where we hung out until our next activity, stopping at a couple picturesque spots before.
Quill Creek – Just down the road from Dalton Trail Lodge.
Kluane Lake pictured below, where we had lunch.
And now the moment we had been waiting for… exploring from land, to water and now into the air with Icefield Discovery Tours. We were so excited for the opportunity to see Mount Logan from a float plane, and also getting the chance to land right at the base camp. Something I recommend to every single person passing through this area (if you can handle a bit of motion sickness). I get very motion sick on boats, in the back seat of vehicles etc. I managed to stay quite well during the flight, until about the last 30 minutes of the flight home. We were in the air for approximately 45 minutes to base camp, half hour at camp, and then 45 minutes back. So allow for about 2 hours. You can also book shorter flights and tours that don’t touch down at base camp. Truly a dream come true!
From there we headed to our campsite – Cottonwood Campground, which is situated on Kluane Lake. only 10 minutes drive from Icefield Discovery Tours, where our flight took off from. HIGHLY recommend staying here if you are in the area. Going to bed and waking up to the views of Kluane Lake was breathtaking.
Day 9 – June 15th – Kluane National Park – Sheep Mountain Hike –> Haines Alaska
We woke up, packed up and headed to a hike first thing in the morning. Sheep mountain which was only a few minutes drive from Cottonwood Campground. It was about 5 hours round trip, 1,100m elevation gain and 10km round trip.
After our hike we headed straight for Haines Alaska! The drive was INCREDIBLE, too incredible to even photograph. Sadly I did not take any photos from Haines Junction to Haines Alaska, though I have a lot of memories. You know its really eye catching and jaw dropping when you forget to even pick up your camera. The drive was approximately 3 hours and 238kms. There is a bike relay that runs from Haines to Haines once a year, which was on while we were there. Thinking next time I will have to join in!
When we arrived in Haines Alaska, we found a place to camp right near the ocean, at Oceanside RV Park. It was rainy and a bit windy, so we didn’t get out to explore much that evening, though did so in the morning.
Day 10 – June 16th – Haines Alaska —> Skagway Alaska
We woke early and walked around Haines. Tourist shops, coffee and took in the scenery. We were hoping the weather was going to clear so we could get above, and hike up to a view point, though the rain and cloud persisted, so we caught a 2pm ferry over to Skagway, which in itself was a great experience. The 45-minute ferry ride passes through the Lynn Canal, near Haines and through the Taiya Inlet, a steep-walled rocky fjord just outside of Skagway. From the glaciers, to the waterfalls, granite cliffs and jagged peaks that surround you, its North America’s longest and deepest fjord.
We had lunch and walked around Skagway for a couple hours then continued our drive back towards Whitehorse.
During the drive from Skagway to Whitehorse, we made a pitstop at the Carcross Desert, which is just 642 acres (260 hectares), and has been recognized by Guinness as ‘The World’s Smallest Desert’. We stopped to watch dirtbikers cruise around, and admired how neat this little piece of heaven truly was. Who would’ve thought. A desert in the Yukon?
We then camped near Whitehorse, at the Caribou RV Park.
Day 11 – June 17th – Whitehorse —> Mount White Hiking
We got up early and headed to our next hike! Mount White offers a beautiful view of the Atlin Lakes. The white limestone of this mountain is not what actually gives it its name, which most people assume, it is named after Thomas White, Minister of the Interior from 1887-1888. It is asked that you refrain from hiking this trail from May 15 – June 15 because the goats are breeding. We were lucky and were there just two days after, but did not see any sheep!
From there we started to make our trek back into BC, camping at a little campground in the middle of no where (truly). We would go 100’s of kms between towns and gas stations in Northern BC. and the Yukon. Road trip tip – ALWAYS carry an extra jerry can full of fuel. We luckily did not have to use it but it’s always a good back up to have. Gas at this ‘middle of no where place’ ended up costing us 1.86 cents a Litre… which was 40 more cents then we were paying at most places during our trip.
Day 12 – June 18th – Middle of nowhere campground in the Yukon —-> Grand Prairie, AB
Driving day! We got up and buckled down driving, putting in about 14 hours of driving before calling it. We did stop at the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake, Yukon.
We ended up camping just outside Grand Prairie at a municipal campground.
Day 13 – June 19th —-> HOME – Red Deer, AB
After 13 long days, kms and kms hiked, 41 bears spotted, and over 6,000kms logged by car, and almost that many coffees drank, more photos then I could count taken, we were home. Northern BC, the Yukon, and Alaska area all places you truly need to see to experience. Yes it may be more difficult to get to, more remote, and more expensive (depending on what you do). It is worth every km and every penny. The conversations we had with locals and people who have traveled to these places, and the stories they had about how they ended up there (mostly traveled there not thinking they’d love it so much and ended up coming back to live), were all so great. I already can not wait to start planning my next trip back, though next time I will be spending most of it hiking in the back country!
If anyone has any questions regards our itinerary, the hikes we did, sites we saw, places we stopped, or questions about food etc. or traveling tips PLEASE feel free to reach out and ask! Thanks for reading 😀