If you want to get out there, experience the wilderness in a way you may never have seen it before, think about booking some time riding in the land of the midnight sun.
We spoke with Jim Connor of the Klondike Snowmobile Association (KSA) to get the lowdown on travelling in the land of the Gold Rush. The KSA doesn’t offer snowmobile rentals or tours, but one local outﬁtter can set you up with what you need if you aren’t in a position to trailer to the Territory. You can ﬂy directly to Whitehorse from Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Vancouver. If you are travelling with your own sleds, Jim informs us that there are hotels and motels on the outskirts of the capital on the Alaska Highway that are snowmobile and trailer-friendly. There are also hotels and motels in the Haines Junction area, two hours from Whitehorse.
Once you’re there, there are both on-trail and off-trail riding opportunities. If you’re a trail rider, you can head out straight from the outskirts of Whitehorse for hundreds of kilometres. No trail permit is required in the Yukon and all trails are shared use with other recreational users. Helmets are required in the City of Whitehorse.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
From Whitehorse, take the Alaska Highway north. Turn right onto the North Klondike Highway. Turn left onto Takhini Hot Springs Road. Drive 8 kilometres until you see a sign for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Driving time from downtown Whitehorse is approximately 2530 minutes. More information is available at yukonwildlife.ca
Many of the trail riding opportunities such as the Dawson Overland Trail are based on historical routes used since the 1800’s. Many are best suited to experienced riders travelling with someone who knows the trail. But if you’re looking for a challenging ride, there are plenty of rewards in tackling this northern wilderness.
The Whitehorse Copper Haul Road is the “main line” of Trans Canada Trail in Whitehorse, running north/south just west of urban Whitehorse. It is routed through a copper belt last mined in the 1970’s, and the current road was originally constructed in the early 1900’s.
The road now serves as a multi-use trail connecting many of the major multi-use recreation trail areas around Whitehorse, from Fish Lake road in the north down to the Peter Greenlaw Memorial Bridge over Wolf Creek in the south. Main access to the trail is via the Fish Lake road, Mt. Sima road, and several “Urban Connector” trails that lead to the various residential areas of Whitehorse.
This “main line” Trans Canada is very much multi-use. In addition to snowmobilers, expect to see cross country skiers, dog teams, horses, bikers, hikers, and ATVs on this busy trail.
For off-trail riding The Klondike Snowmobile Association has information on sledding in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, which is actually in British Columbia but within driving distance of Whitehorse. Riding is open in selected areas in the park: best to check the KSA website for details.
Why not try some traditional Yukon snowmobiling?
Maybe you’d like to exchange your snowmobile for a more traditional mode of transportation-dog sledding! You can sign on as a passenger or get the training and become a Musher yourself.