Last updated: 06:00 AM ET, Wed October 30 2019
Yukon Territory, Canada Welcome Sign with Mountains in the Distance (photo via herreid / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Yukon

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Strong northern lights (Aurora borealis) substorm on night sky over downtown Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, Canada, in winter. (photo via Pi-Lens / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Strong northern lights (Aurora borealis) substorm on the night sky over downtown Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, Canada, in winter. (photo via Pi-Lens / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three territories. It was named after the Yukon River, Yukon meaning "Great River" in Gwich’in.

The sparsely populated territory abounds with snow melt lakes and perennial snow capped mountains. Although the climate is Arctic and subarctic and very dry, with long, cold winters, the long sunshine hours in short summer allow hardy crops and vegetables, along with a profusion of flowers and fruit to blossom.

Yukon's tourism motto is "Larger than life". The Yukon's major appeal is its nearly pristine nature. Tourism relies heavily on this and there are many organized outfitters and guides available to hunters, anglers and nature lovers of all sorts.

Sports enthusiasts can paddle lakes and rivers with canoes and kayaks, ride or walk endless trails, ski or snowboard in an organized setting or access the backcountry by air or snowmobile, climb the highest peaks of North America or take a family hike up smaller mountains, or try ice climbing and dog sledding.

The Yukon river running through Miles Canyon. (photo via HeatherECampbell / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
The Yukon river running through Miles Canyon. (photo via HeatherECampbell / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The Yukon also has a wide array of cultural and sporting events and infrastructures that attract artists, participants and tourists from all parts of the world such as the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, Frostbite Music Festival, Dawson Music Festival, Yukon Quest Sourdough Rendezvous, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Northern Lights Centre, Klondike Gold Rush memorials and activities, "Takhini Hot Springs", and the Whitehorse fish ladder.

There are many opportunities to experience pre-colonial lifestyles by learning about Yukon's First Nations. Wildlife and nature observation is exceptional and a wide variety is easily accessible. Yukon offers many territorial parks like Herschel Island Qikiqtaruk, Territorial Park, Tombstone Territorial Park, Fishing Branch Ni'iinlii'njik Park, Coal River Springs Territorial Park and several national parks such as Kluane National Park and Reserve, Vuntut National Park, Ivvavik National Park that all provide many great outdoor opportunities.

On the long cold clear nights of winter, nature provides the ultimate natural spectacle in the form of aurora borealis.