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Outdoors

Prepare to be amazed: Tips for a successful Yukon trip

When you decide to #ExploreYukon, you’re on your way to enjoying an awesome getaway to one of Canada’s most spectacular outdoor active destinations. Don’t be surprised if all your photos look like you’ve used a glow filter — exploring the Yukon is the ultimate way to reap the mental health benefits of being active outside and tapping into all those feel-good chemicals (like endorphins)! With endless incredible opportunities to discover, move, sweat and unwind, be sure to draft a plan so that you can head north with confidence and an adventure agenda that fits your skills and vision.

 So much to explore, so little time

There’s a near universal sentiment among those who’ve travelled to the Yukon — they want more Yukon! “It’s a big territory and so full of adventure. I can’t wait to go back someday,” said one visitor. “We couldn’t wait to start the day and see what adventure we would have,” attested another. One inspired traveller said, “there’s so much to see that we couldn’t take everything in!”

With world-class river trips, endless hiking trails, rugged snowmobile routes, epic skiing, incredible wildlife and views at every turn, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. A clear plan will help to ensure you don’t end up on trails that are too tough or waste hours debating between activities. Be realistic about how much you can do in a day and create a list of must-do activities that reflects your #ExploreYukon goals and those of your companions.

 

Gauge your group

About those companions – be sure to assess the skills and interests of your fellow travellers. As you’re drafting up your agenda, consider each person’s fitness level, experience and age. The list of possible trails to hike, water to paddle and hills to ski is endless, with options for a range of fitness and skill levels, from curious kids to boundary-pushing adults.

If your group is mixed, keep an open mind. Remember that even the most athletic adventurer can benefit from lower key experiences. As long as everyone is enjoying their active experience, some of the strongest family and friend bonds are built when we move together. Really, who doesn’t want to take a peaceful walk through a breathtaking wildlife preserve or unwind in hot springs? Balancing heart-pumping activities through challenging terrain with lower intensity activities can also help keep fatigue at bay. If your group’s fitness and experience gap is wide, don’t hesitate to divide up for certain excursions. The Yukon has some of the world’s best adventure tour guides who can lead novices and challenge experts.

 

Four people hiking on a trail surrounded by mountains

Select your season

If you know you’re Yukon-bound, but not sure when to head north, consider each season’s unique characteristics and offerings. No matter which season you select, you can be sure solace and a change of pace will deliver a healthy hit of mental well-being.

If you’re typically a sun worshiper, be aware that winter is low on light and degrees (it’s not unusual for temperatures to dip as low as -40°C). That said, what a Yukon winter lacks in light and warmth, it more than makes up for in incredible outdoor activities that will boost your mood and support your physical well-being. With quality gear, you can spend hours exploring on skis or snowshoes. Of course, winter is prime northern lights viewing time, which is reason enough to pack a bag and make the voyage.

 

Two people snowshoeing on a nature trail with snow-covered mountains in the background

 

Animal lovers will be especially thrilled to #ExploreYukon during the spring, which is prime wildlife viewing season, as creatures large and small are out and about looking for food and mates after a long winter. Keep your eyes out for lynx, bears, collared pika, wolverines, swans and flying squirrels, to name a few. These wildlife sightings, coupled with budding wildflowers and greening landscapes, create a lively backdrop for rides, walks, paddles and overall mental restoration. Just be aware that although the calendar says spring, the air can still be brisk. Pockets of snow and below zero days are a reality during a Yukon spring.

If you want a healthy dose of vitamin D and warmer days, you’ll get your fix under the midnight sun of a Yukon summer. Some regions of the Yukon get as much as 20 hours of sunlight a day, so many visitors simply opt to sleep when they’re home! After all, where else can you play golf in full sunlight at midnight or take a dip, enjoying the visual splendour of an emerald-hued lake at 2 a.m.?

If you prefer more standard day and nighttime light, fall may be your time to get to the Yukon. Autumn is a favourite season for vacationers and locals alike; the landscape is nothing short of breathtaking, with a dramatic shift in colour from green to gold. Activities like paddling, hiking and cycling are still an option, and the northern lights are just beginning to dazzle.

Two people canoeing on a lake with a mountain in the background

 Pack smart

When you’ve sorted out your activities and your season, it’s time to think about how to stay comfy on your trip. Apart from your pals, a smartly packed suitcase may be your best friend on your #ExploreYukon adventure. Mother Nature will keep you on your toes. Fluctuating conditions call for layering! Of course, you’ll want to pack your favourite sports gear, but you should also consider:

  • A warm base layer, which is essential for any colder weather activities.
  • A good-quality waterproof jacket. This is a key piece for rainy hikes, rides and paddles.
  • Warm mittens or gloves are a no-brainer. Bring a few pairs as back up!
  • A classic toque will make campfire nights extra cozy.
  • Lightweight, wicking shirts and shorts for warm weather golf, hikes or runs will keep you feeling fresh.
  • UV protection is always smart!
  • Of course, sturdy footwear must be worn on the rugged Yukon trails. Your ankles will thank you!

With your timing, activities and essentials list finalized, you’re all set to make your #ExploreYukon dreams of adventure, movement and discovery a reality!

This November, get moving to win big!

 The Great Big Move is back, so it’s time to get moving from November 1-15 to win a trip to the Yukon, courtesy of Travel Yukon. Download or open the free ParticipACTION app today to join the challenge and move your way across Canada virtually to uncover great prizes!

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