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Yukon conjures up images of moose, adventure and immense natural beauty. This western Canadian wilderness offers more wildlife than locals and landscapes and First Nations peoples that have remained largely unchanged over time. Hunting and trapping, wildlife spotting, canoeing and mountain climbing, and simply taking in the breathtaking beauty of the outdoors are high on every visitor’s itinerary, with Whitehorse and Dawson City the best jumping-off points for Yukon adventures.
Leading suppliers, such as Budget, Enterprise and National, as well as numerous local suppliers, have a presence in Whitehorse, with pick ups possible at the airport or from depots in the city. Car rental in Yukon is not widely available elsewhere in the territory. To secure the most competitive rates, compare car hire prior to arrival.
Whitehorse International Airport is the main gateway, serving flights to Canadian cities Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, and Fairbanks, Alaska. Additionally, there are airports at Dawson City, Inuvik and Old Crow, with the latter only accessible by air. Major roads include the Alaska Highway (which connects Dawson Creek, British Columbia, with Fairbanks, Alaska), the Haines Highway, the Klondike Highway and the Dempster Highway. Ferries and cruise ships often stop in Yukon en route to Alaska.
While all of Yukon’s main highways are paved, slippery road conditions are common during adverse weather conditions, making driving at a distance from other vehicles and observing local speed limits recommended when touring with car hire in Yukon. Distances between destinations can be vast so plan regular rest stops. Driving with your headlights on at all times is compulsory.
Over 300 miles the northwest of the territorial capital is the gold rush town of Dawson, a National Historic Site. But the real pleasure of driving in Yukon is to be found in remote, wildlife-rich areas such as Signpost Forest (near Watson Lake), with its 70,000-plus signs, and the southwestern Kluane National Park, part of a World Heritage site and home to moose, caribou and grizzly bears.
The subarctic climate of much of the territory is characterized by short, warm summers and long, cold and snowy winters. The mountains and the southeast receive the most rain, with the Arctic coast generally dry. Winters are coldest in the north, around Old Crow, where temperatures commonly drop to -36°C, while Whitehouse receives some of the mildest weather, with summer temperatures of around 20°C. Late May to September is a good period for outdoor summer activities while October to April is the best time to witness the Northern Lights and to partake in winter sports.