Summer: The wait is (almost) over!

The first day of summer will be arriving with the summer solstice on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:14 a.m. After several months of a cold winter, it’s definitely time to celebrate the coming of warm sunny weather and extra daylight hours.

In the Yukon, there are many ways that one can celebrate the arrival of summer. Since summer begins on June 21, I have compiled a list of 21 super-fun things you can do to welcome the northern summer season.

paddleboarder on  Emerald Lake
A paddleboarder enjoys gliding along Emerald Lake in the summer
  1. 21 Super-fun things:
    1. Hit up a patio and enjoy some local craft beer. The Yukon has many unique beers that are exclusive and very tasty. What better way to discover them than relaxing on a patio with friends.
    2. Partake in National Indigenous Peoples Day festivities on June 21. First Nations communities across the Yukon will be hosting celebrations.
    3. Visit Fireweed Community Market, in Whitehorse, at Shipyards Park and enjoy locally sourced produce and other goods made by farmers and merchants—and maybe get inspired to create something new in the kitchen. 
    4. Enjoy a canoe trip. There are many lakes and rivers in the Yukon. And now that there is open water, why not enjoy the scenery surrounding Yukon rivers and lakes. This is something you can do with friends or with local tour groups.
    5. Visit Dawson City. Enjoy exploring this famous gold rush town and hike the summit to the Midnight Dome where you can enjoy spectacular views of the sun setting over Dawson City (also a great place to have a dinner picnic, as there is usually a bonfire going, in the evening, that lasts until the late hours of the night).
    6. Head over to Carcross and take in the picturesque sights at the famous Bennet Beach. Set up your lounger, build some sandcastles and take a dip in the clear water.
    7. Hop on the Carcross–Skagway Train, via Bennett, with bus return. This scenic tour will take you from Carcross to Skagway, Alaska. The White Pass and Yukon Railway is narrow and high and was completed in 1900. This train ride will offer some of the best views of Yukon and Alaska landscapes.
    8. Explore the natural wonders of Emerald Lake. Known as Rainbow Lake by the First Nations, this gorgeous lake is known for its emerald-green water—definitely a place to take stunning pictures (located about 12 kilometres from Carcross). 
    9. Arrange a tour to see totem pole carvers at work. The Carcross/Tagish First Nations carving program started in 2006 and is located in the carving shed by the Carcross Commons. You can drop by the Parks Canada office, located in the Sookum Jim House, for more information. And while you are there, check out the famous Skookum Jim House.
    10. Bring your inner child and stroll along the Millennium Trail while blowing bubbles. Located in Whitehorse, this 5-kilometre trail takes you along the picturesque Yukon River.
    11. Plan a camping trip into the depths of the Yukon forests. There are many campgrounds located throughout the Yukon. It’s a great way to explore new territory and spot wildlife you have not seen before.
    12. Journey over to our American neighbours, to the port town of Skagway, Alaska. There are many shops and restaurants that are great finds. You can also enjoy watching cruise ships come and go by the docks.
    13. Play a round of golf. While there are many golf courses around the world, not everyone can say they played a round of golf in the Yukon. 
    14. Venture south of Whitehorse to visit the community of Marsh Lake. There are stellar mountain views surrounding the lake, and a quaint inn, the Inn on the Lake—a great spot for a staycation. Martha Stewart even stayed there in the jacuzzi suite, many years ago.
    15. If you stop at Marsh Lake, you can continue your journey south to Atlin, B.C. Located just south of the Yukon border, this little town has spectacular mountain views. Atlin is also popular for its Atlin Arts and Music Festival each summer.
    16. Visit a garden centre. You may be inspired to plant some colourful flowers in your garden; or, if gardening is not your thing, you can simply enjoy a stroll through the centre and admire the lovely flowers.
    17. Enjoy a nice bonfire. Invite your neighbours or close friends and exchange some great life stories while enjoying a fire amidst the great outdoors.
    18. Try stand-up paddleboarding—something the whole family can enjoy. You can even bring your dog on the paddle board. It’s a cool way to enjoy the beautiful Yukon scenery, and when you don’t feel like paddling anymore, you can sit on the board and relax. If you are feeling ambitious, you can try some yoga moves on the board—a great way to get awesome social media photos. 
    19. Hike the historic Chilkoot Trail (located in the south of the Yukon), which starts in Skagway, Alaska, and ends at Lake Bennett. The trail was a passageway for gold seekers, to bypass the mountain ranges. There are still artifacts from the gold rush, left behind, which can be spotted along the trail. The Chilkoot Trail can take from three to five days to complete, from start to finish. But there is no rule saying you can’t go for a daily exploration and stroll through part of it. 
    20. Check out the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Located outside of Whitehorse, near the new Eclipse Hot Springs, visitors can see a wide variety of animals whose natural habitat is the Yukon, such as the Canadian lynx, arctic fox, wood bison, plus so many more.
      If you’re going to the Wildlife Preserve, end your day by visiting the Eclipse Hot Springs for a relaxing soak. The hot springs have been around for over 100 years.
    21. Bonus idea! If you are looking for a “James Bond moment” to kick off your summer, take a flight-seeing tour, over Kluane National Park Reserve, and land on a glacier. There are a few tour companies that provide this experience during the summer months. Imagine the view and the bragging rights!

That concludes my list of some of the things you can do to welcome the summer season in the Yukon. Have a happy summer solstice!

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