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A Travel Guide to Whitehorse, Yukon

The hub of the Yukon and capital city of the territory, Whitehorse is home to just over 27,000 people over three-quarters of the entire population!  With so much at the city’s doorsteps you could spend a day or a week here and never run out of places to explore.  We have compiled a travel guide to Whitehorse to make sure you see Whitehorse to the fullest.

Being in one of the most northern parts of Canada you are in a place many will never get the opportunity to experience which is a shame as it is one of Canada and the worlds hidden gems.  You are so far north that you can drive south to reach Alaska!

Whitehorse, known as the Wilderness City really earns its name as from wherever you stand in the downtown core you can see the mountains in the distance surrounding the city.  This is thanks to a law that prevents the construction of any building talker than four stories throughout the city.

Whether you view the city as a big bustling town or a small gateway to the rugged wilderness one thing that everyone will agree on is that Whitehorse is worth a visit.

Here is our Travel Guide to Whitehorse – The largest city in northern Canada!

Getting Around

Shuttle – If you are staying at any of the main hotels (Edgewater, Best Western, Days Inn, etc) there is a free shuttle from the airport right to the steps of the hotel of your choice.  The shuttle meets you outfront the main doors of the airport.

Taxi – You can take a taxi from the airport or find one the downtown area very easily.

Rental Car – There are two rental car agencies Budget and Driving Force.  Everyone seems to rent from Driving Force as it is on the Travel Yukon website but we wished we had rented from budget as we watched them process three people in the time Driving Force to process one persons rental car.  Both are the similar price you just may wait in longer lines if you rent from Driving Force.  Make sure you stop by the Yukon Visitors Centre to get a free three day city wide parking pass!

Walk – You can walk a beautiful paved path from the airport to downtown that will only take about 45 minutes and it is well worth the trip!  Once downtown you can get to anything in the downtown area very easily on foot.


Where to Stay

Whitehorse has a lot of options when it comes to where you want to stay and something for every budget.

Edgewater Hotel– This historic hotel that opened its doors during the Gold Rush in the 1890’s just underwent a 2.2 million dollar renovation to make it the hot spot to stay in downtown Whitehorse.  The Edgewater Hotel offers free wifi, microwaves, airport shuttle and is steps away from all amenities as well as the Yukon River.

Best Western Gold Rush Inn – This historic downtown hotel with a spa is located right in the heart of the city.  Your stay at the Best Western includes free wifi, mini fridges, microwaves and complimentary airport shuttles.

Days Inn Whitehorse – Close to the waterfront this downtown hotel offers free wifi, laundry facilities, sauna & fitness centre, free parking and spacious rooms.

Coast High Country Inn – Stay like the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge did at the Coast High Country Inn.  Located next to Jim Light Park and connected to the Yukon Convention Centre.  The Coast offers newly renovated rooms, along with complimentary wifi, fitness centre and airport shuttle.


Where to Eat

There are so many places to eat and drink in Whitehorse! Make sure you try as many as you can as nothing will leave you disappointed.

Fast Food – There are many chains like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, KFC, Marble Slab, Dominos Pizza, McDonald’s, A&W and much more if you are looking for a quite bite to eat.

Sit Down Options:

Dirty Northerner Public House: The Dirty Northern Public House is an upscale pub that geatures great beer, excellent wood-fired pizza and juicy burgers.  With its ‘rustic-glamour’ sitting on Main Street is a crowd pleaser for sure.

Klondike Rib & Salmon – This is a favourite for both local and touirsts alike. Known for its authentic northern flavours and great service.  The restaurant is set in one of the oldest operating buildings in Whitehorse and is worth checking out.  The interior is small which can mean lineups but it is worth the wait.

The Wheelhouse Restaurant – One of Whitehorse’s newest additions the Wheelhouse Restaurant is one of the most upscale restaurants in the city.  Sitting right on the Yukon river you are in for a treat for both the view and the food.  The restaurant pays homage to the time prior to the development of the highways in the Yukon, when the waterways were the mainway of transport.

Groceries:

Heading on a camping trip or have a kitchen in your hotel room?  Make sure to head over to the Great Canadian Superstore for all of your grocery, kitchen and even clothing needs.  They have everything you would expect out of a normal Great Canadian Superstore from fruits and veggies, meats, desserts, cannoed goods and more and at great prices!

Walmart – There is also a Walmart in town for frozen and boxed food but they do not have as many fresh options as the Superstore does.


Shopping

Forgotten things in your suitcase or didn’t want to pack certain items to try and keep the weight down in your bag or looking for souvineers? There are lots of options for shopping in Whitehorse.

Sporting Goods Store – Coast Mountain Sports has everything you will need hiking boots, clothing, bug spray, bear spray, camping equipment  and everything else outdoors you could imagine!

Toiletries – If you forgot some toiletries, drugs, sunscreen and more  there are a few options throughout Whitehorse including Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and Great Canadian Superstore.

Souvenirs – Looking to take home a keepsake from your time in Whitehorse.  The downtown core has lots of stores to offer you a wide selection and guarantees you will find something to suit your fancy.  From Bearpaw Music & Gifts, Paradise Alley Gifts and more make sure to walk the streets and check out all the local shops.  


Cell Coverage

You may wonder about whether your cell phone will work in Whitehorse.  Well the answer is yes! There is full cell coverage in Whitehorse for Rogers, Bell, Telus and other major phone companies.  Cell coverage once you leave Whitehorse begins to get sparse as you are on the roads but while in the city there is nothing to worry about.


Things To Do In Whitehorse

With so much to do right in the heart of downtown Whitehorse you could spend days exploring the Wilderness City without seeing everything.

For the top things to do in downtown Whitehorse make sure to check out our post here. 

For the top things to do within a 30 minute drive from downtown Whitehorse make sure to check out the post here. 


 

Staying at the Edgewater Hotel

Take a step back in time and explore what its like to stay at a historic Klondike Gold Rush hotel.  The Edgewater Hotel roots date back to the time of the gold rush in the late 1890’, been destroyed in one but two fires and now welcomes visitors from across the world to this beautiful historic hotel.

Here is our experience staying at the Edgewater Hotel in Whitehorse, Yukon!

History of Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel, located at the historic corner of Front and Main Street, was established in the 1890’s under the name Windsor Hotel.  The hotel welcomed the territories most distinguished founders and stampeders heading down the Yukon River to try and strike rich and find gold.  The location across from the White Pass and Yukon Route Train Station  played a large part in its long history and popularity as a hotel of choice in Whitehorse.

In 1905 a fire destroyed most of downtown Whitehorse including the Windsor Hotel.  The hotel was reborn as the White Pass Hotel shortly after the fire and would remain the White Pass Hotel until 1961 when another fire would take the hotel.  This was the beginning for the Edgewater Hotel when it was rebuilt after the second fire.

Regardless of the name the hotel has been welcome thousands of visitors across the world including stampeders seeking gold, miners, river boat crews, train passengers, mushers and mounties the Edgewater offers a piece of history in the ideal location.

In 2017, the Edgewater Hotel underwent a 2.2 million dollar room renovation now brining modern comforts with historic touches.


Getting to the Edgewater Hotel

Free Shuttle from Airport – The Edgewater Hotel offers a free shuttle bus that will pick you up right outside the front dors of the airport and take you to the hotel.

Taxi – You can get a taxi from outside the main doors of the airport.  It is a quic, less than 10 minute drive from the airport to the hotel.

Car – If you rent a car and drive to the hotel make sure to stop at the Visitors Centre for your free 3 day city wide parking pass! This pass will allow you to park anywhere. The Edgewater Hotel also offers free parking at the back of the hotel.

Walk – You can also walk from the airport to the hotel.  A 45 minute walk on a nice paved path that takes you around the airport and through the city.  If you are looking for some exercise to walk off the jet lag this is the perfect way to do it!


The Rooms

The newly renovated rooms are absolutely stunning and well worth every penny to stay at the hotel  With 33 modern guest rooms with a wide variety of room types to choose from there is something for everyone.  From a standard room with one double bed, a deluxe corner room king to the executive suite no room will leave you disappointed.

We checked into a King Suite Room located on the top floor of the hotel.  This 550 square foot one bedroom suite features one king room, a full kitchen, four piece bathroom and large sitting area with a sofa bed.

The kitchen area comes with a table that will seat four, full set of cutlery and dishes, pots and pans and cleaning supplies.  The kitchen is a great option if you enjoy cooking your own meal or being able to reheat leftovers.

The King Suite is the perfect size to fit 2-4 people with their spacious sitting area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.  This was the perfect place to sit back and relax after a great day of exploring.

All the rooms come with free wifi access, bedside USB and charging sations, large flat screen TV’s and evening turn-down service, microwave and coffee maker and fitness centre access.

Note The hotel does not have an elevator to take you up to the rooms so be prepared to take your bags up 1-2 flights of stairs (there are only three floors in the hotel).  The front desk would be more than happy to assist you in bringing your bag to your room.  If you would prefer not to deal with the stairs rooms are available on the main floor.


Dining

Tonimoes Restaurant is the on-site restaurant in Edgewater Hotel. The restaurant is on the main level of the hotel and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They have a wide range of options on all of their menus and everything is very reasonably priced.

The hotel is also only one block away from many restaurants as well as Starbucks and Tim Hortons.


What to do near the Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Whitehorse and steps away from all the main attractions and best places to eat.  With so many options to explore in Whitehorse you could spend a day or a week adventuring through the Wilderness City.

For a full list of what to do in Whitehorse check out our detailed post here!

For a list of what to do within 30 minutes outside of Whitehorse make sure to check it out here!

 

 

Top Things To Do Near Whitehorse

There are many things to do in Whitehorse but there is equally as many things to do just outside of the city.  You do not have to drive far to find some real adventures and explore the natural beauty of the Yukon.  Here are the top 4 things to do within a 30 minute drive of downtown Whitehorse.

Here are our top four things to check out near Whitehorse!

Tahkini Hot Springs

The Takhini Hot Springs is one of the top visited attractions in the Yukon.  The hot springs have been operational for over 100 years.  This series of is fed by natural, mineral-rich hot springs that flow into each other one at 36° and 42° Celsius, with water entering the pool at 47 degrees.  The hot springs are open year round with hours varying per season.  The admission is $12/adult, $11/seniors, $10/youth and $9/children.  Make sure you remember to bring a pair of flip flops or sandals for use in the change room (if you forget they do have some you can borrow). The hot springs are located 30 minutes from downtown Whitehorse.  For  all details on the Takhini Hot Springs check out our post on it here!

Yukon Wildlife Preserve

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a unique place to view wildlife in their natural environment. The preserve offers the opportunity to see 13 species that call northern Canada home.  Sitting on over 700 acres of land with multiple natural habitats the Yukon Wildlife Preserve is home to moose, mountain goats, Arctic foxes, lynx, woodland caribou, wood bison, elk and more.  In Spring through fall they are open 9:30am – 6:00pm each day.  You can take an interpreted bus tours at 10am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm for $22/adult or a self-guided walking tour anytime for $15/adult.  The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is located 25 minutes from downtown Whitehorse.

Miles Canyon

Miles Canyon is dramatic natural feature located just outside of Whitehorse.  The stunning blue-green is one of the main features at the canyon.  Make sure to take a walk across the Robert Lowe Suspension bridge that is constructed across the narrowest and arguably the most beautiful part of the canyon.  You can explore through an extensive network of trails or drive (spring-fall only) right up to the canyon.  Miles Canyon is 11 minutes away from downtown Whitehorse and there is no charge to visit the area.

Grey Mountain

Grey mountain is one of the many mountains that overlook Whitehorse.  Take a hike or a drive up the mountain for some spectacular views of Whitehorse and beyond.  Make sure to be aware of the rough road going up! Once at the top of the road there is another several kilometres of hiking trails to reach the caves and summit.  The road going up Grey Mountain is located only 12 km away from downtown and takes another 20 minutes to drive up.

6 Reasons to Drop Everything and Visit Whitehorse Right Now

Ever dreamed of heading to a remote location filled with dramatic landscapes that go on forever? See an abundance of wildlife without having to hike deep into the forest? Well a place like this is not as far as you think! Yukon Territory in northern Canada, more specifically, Whitehorse, offers all of this and so much more!

Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon is home to three-quarters of the population of the entire territory.  But the small big town has so much to offer year round it is a place that should be on every travellers bucket list.  Whitehorse, also known as the wilderness city, was the hub to the Klondike Gold Rush just under a century ago and still is a living remembrance of the importance and historic of this momentous event.  Today, it is a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers and those looking for truly rugged and unique experience.

Here are the top 6 reasons to drop everything and visit Whitehorse right now!

The Midnight Sun

During the months of summer Whitehorse experiences the midnight sun.  The sun is out to play all day long and does not set until close to midnight!  You have 16-19 hours of sun a day depending on what month you visit in (July averages almost 19 hours of sun a day).


Yukon Wildlife Preserve

If you want a way to be able to see wildlife without the possibility of running into them while hiking then the Yukon Wildlife Preserve is the perfect place for you! Here the main animals throughout the territory are visible living in their natural habitat.


In One Day You can Hike Through a Canyon, See a Moose & Relax In Natural Hot Springs Then Sleep in a Cozy Hotel Room in Whitehorse

Whitehorse has so much to in and around the city.  You can head over for a short or length hike through the stunning Miles Canyon just on the outskirts of the city.  Then head over to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve where the territories more prominent animals live in their natural habitat for everyone to experience and learn about.  Close by take a dip in the Tahkini Hot Springs where you can spend as little or as long as you would like in these natural springs.  All while being no further than 25 minutes to your hotel room back in Whitehorse.


Experience the Rich Culture of the First Nations

The First Nations people lived peacefully in the Yukon long before those who flocked north when gold was found in the early 1900’s.  As you explore the city it is easy to see the emphasis Whitehorse takes to both preserve and celebrate the rich culture of these people.  Many beautiful paintings, carvings, sculptures and more allow you to understand and explore their history and traditions.


Experience The History Of A Real Life Gold Rush Town

Whitehorse was a hub for the Gold Rush that started in 1896 with thousands of prospectors passing through and some settling in the city on their way to find gold.  With Whitehorse being on the railway of the famous Chilkoot Trail the city was a hot spot and would continue to grow.  Talk a walk through the town and you will see historical sites, like the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, artifacts and stories that still remain.


Friendliest Locals You Will Ever Meet

Often when you travel you don’t get a chance to interact with the locals but in Whitehorse and the Yukon in general you will encounter the nicest people.  If you are lost, looking for a good recommendation on food or hiking trail the people of Whitehorse would be more than happy to provide you with all the information you will need.  Make sure to stop and talk to a few while you are exploring Whitehorse you will definitely learn a thing or two you didn’t know before!


Yes, Whitehorse might be far for some to reach, but it is well worth the journey.  If you crave adventure, enjoy the true beauty of nature and want to travel to a peaceful and rugged place in Canada then book your trip to Whitehorse now!

Visiting the Takhini Hot Springs

Take a soak in the warm waters of the Yukon at the natural wonder of the Takhini Hot Springs.  The Takhini Hot Springs is one of the top visited attractions in the Yukon.  These hot springs have been operational for over 100 years.  With the water coming out of the earth at  42º Celsius and cools off to about 36º it is the perfect place to relax and destress after a long day of exploring the Yukon.

Here is our experience visiting the Takhini Hot Springs!

Getting There

The Takhini Hot Springs is located 30 minutes from downtown Whitehorse. To get there from the downtown core you would head towards the Alaska Highway and take that heading north.  From there you will turn right onto the Klondike Highway and follow the Klondike Highway until you see a sign to turn left for Takhini Hot Springs Road.  You will follow the road until the end where you will reach the hot springs.


What To Bring

Make sure to bring your bathing suit, towel and a pair of sandals or flip flops to wear in the change rooms and pool deck.

As well, if you would like to lock up your valuables in the change room you can bring a lock as well to secure your belongings or you can bring them out on the pool deck with you.


Admission & Hours

Please check the Takhini Hot Spring website for exact hours depending on the season.  The pools are open year round and are a popular place to go in the winter.

Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $10 for youth and $9 for children.  There are also passes you can buy if you plan on using the pools more than once.


Information About The Hot Springs

The natural mineral waters of the Takhini Hot Springs flow from deep within the earth.  The hot spring water results from intersecting faults deep within the earth coming from snow and rain water high in the mountains where they heat up and dissolve minerals.  It is believed that the water takes a minimum of 60 years to complete its journey back to the surface.

The hot spring water enters the soaking pools at 42º Celsius and cools off to about 36º at the far end of the pool. The water flows through continuously throughout the day. In the summer time, the pools are open 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and are drained nightly, scrubbed and sanitized, and refilled by mid-day with fresh, mineral-rich natural hot springs water.  The pools are drains 5-7 time during the winter time.


These beautiful and relaxing hot springs are a must visit place while on your visit to Whitehorse, Yukon! We had so much fun soaking and swimming around the two pools!

Visiting the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site

The beautiful 80 year old sternwheeler is a welcome sight as it greets visitors and residents alike as they enter the beautiful city of Whitehorse, Yukon.  The S.S. Klondike National Historic Site is a look back into the time when Whitehorse was an important hub for both transportation for the region for both miners and their families hoping to strike gold during the Klondike Gold Rush.  The S.S. Klondike would haul cargo of fuel and food as well as passengers back and forth between Dawson and Whitehorse.  This now Parks Canada National Historic Site is situated on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse free for the 2017 year for those to explore.

Getting There

Walk – The S.S. Klondike is a close walk from any hotel in the city and is easy to access with the pedestrian trail that follows the Yukon River.

Transit – Whitehorse Transit bus as well as the Waterfront Trolley both stop at the sternwheeler and is an option if you prefer to take transit.

Drive – If you choose to drive to the S.S. Klondike there is plenty of parking as well as pull through pots for RV’s and trailers.

Things To Do

Self Guided Tours – Talk a step back in time as you walk onboard the S.S. Klondike that has been fully restored to look as it did in its prime in the 1940’s.  Learn about the history of the ship, the people that relied on the steamboats and why the sternwheelers were so important to the Yukon.  Pick up a self-guiding brochure for $3 in the Visitors Centre that guides you through the entire boat and makes sure you do not miss anything!

Watch The Historical Video – There is a 20 minute historical video titles ‘In the Days of the Riverboats’ that shows footage of the sternwheelers in use and teaches you about their role they played in the early days of the Yukon.  The video is shown in a white tent located to the right of the S.S. Klondike.

Find The Red Chairs – With two sets of red Parks Canada Chairs located on either side of the Sternwheeler make sure to sit in them, take a picture and share your experience at the S.S. Klondike.

The S.S. Klondike is a must visit Parks Canada Site while on your visit to Whitehorse, Yukon!

15 Photos That Will Inspire You To Visit Whitehorse

Whitehorse is the capital city of Yukon and home to over three-quarters of the entire population in the territory.  Home to some of the most beautiful scenery that can be seen throughout the city.  Known as the Wilderness City, Whitehorse sits on the banks of the roaring Yukon River and is surrounded by mountains and sparkling clean lakes.  This big small town is the perfect place to begin or end a trip in the Yukon and is a must see while visiting the Territory.  Here are 15 photos from our time in Whitehorse to inspire you to take your own trip to the beautiful wilderness city of Whitehorse.

VIDEO: Exploring Whitehorse, Yukon

Our 12 day road trip started off in Whitehorse, Yukon where we explored the city for two days and got to experience everything Whitehorse had to offer.  We experienceds the S.S. Klondike, many of their museums, Miles Canyon, Takhini Hot Springs and so much more!  Enjoy our time and our experiences during our time in Whitehorse.