Winter and Spring in the Yukon
- Day time high of -13.3 in January to 6.4 in April
- Night time low of -22 in January to -4.6 in April
Average hours of daylight:
- Ranges from 4.5 hours in December to 15 hours in April
The southern parts of the Yukon have a sub-arctic climate which means winters are dry and cold. In the north, the arctic climate means very cold temperatures during winter. Visitors can expect snow from around mid October (earlier in the north) until mid April. Winter daylight hours are short, which just means more time for watching the northern lights. Because winter is such an integral part of the Yukon lifestyle, it is one of the most interesting times to visit.
The number one attraction in winter is northern lights viewing and during the day there are plenty of activities to tempt visitors such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, ice fishing and more. The Yukon embraces winter with a range of festivals and events including extreme sporting events such as the Yukon Arctic Ultra and Yukon Quest – a 1,000 mile international dog sled race. Spring in April and early May brings the blooming of crocuses and the return of migrating birds as the snow melts.
Summer and Fall in the Yukon
- Day time high of 20.5 in July to 4.3 in October
- Night time low of 7.7 in July to -3.1 in October
Average hours of daylight:
- Ranges from 20 hours in July (longer in far north) to 10 hours in October
The Yukon summer is generally warm and dry with long hours of sunlight – known as the midnight sun. The further north you travel, the longer the daylight hours and north of the Arctic Circle the sun doesn’t set at all on the summer solstice (June 21). Evenings can be cool. The summer season is relatively short, lasting from mid May to early September.
In northern parts of the territory the summer is even shorter. But because the days are so long, the season is busy with bird migrations, animals raising their young and wildflowers blooming in profusion. The long warm days also mean it’s perfect for outdoor activities. And yes, you really can read a book by the light of the sun at midnight!
The short fall season which begins in late August in the north and mid September around Whitehorse, is a stunningly beautiful time of year. The days are cool, the nights crisp and across the landscape the colours change to vibrant yellows, pinks and reds. With the return of darker skies at night, the northern lights become visible once again.
Seeing wildlife is often a highlight for visitors to the Yukon. We’re home to many northern species that are rare or unseen further south. Although there are some places specifically designed for wildlife viewing, most who come to the Yukon during summer and fall will be lucky enough to see some of our wildlife.
The Yukon has 284 species of birds making it a bird watchers paradise. The annual Festival of Swans takes place in Marsh Lake every April. In July and August visitors can watch as thousands of salmon make their way through the longest wooden fish ladder in the world in Whitehorse on their annual migration. And if your clients want to see many Yukon species up close, suggest they visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve near Whitehorse.
Environment Yukon has a great wildlife viewing guide.
Just some of the animals that may be seen:
- Bears - grizzly and black
- Arctic and Red Foxes
- Grey Wolves
- Dall's sheep and Stone Sheep
- Mountain Goats
- Eagles and other birds of prey
The Yukon is closer than you think. We have short, regular flights between numerous southern Canadian cities, as well as service to eastern Canada and Europe.
Vancouver → Whitehorse: 2.5 hours
Calgary → Edmonton → Whitehorse: 45 minutes → 2.5 hours
Ottawa → Yellowknife → Whitehorse: 4 hours 45 mins → 2 hours
Kelowna → Whitehorse: 2 hours 20 mins
Frankfurt → Whitehorse: 9.5 hours
The Yukon is criss-crossed by a well-maintained system of highways that make it easy to explore all corners of the territory.
Alaska Highway #1 – passes through the Yukon from the BC border near Watson Lake to the Alaska border near Beaver Creek
Klondike Highway #2 – the North Klondike Highway connects Whitehorse and Dawson City; the South Klondike Highway connects Whitehorse with Skagway, Alaska
Haines Road Highway #3 – runs between Haines, Alaska and Haines Junction, Yukon
Robert Campbell Highway #4 – traverses the remote and spectacular wilderness between Watson Lake and Carmacks
Dempster Highway #5 – Canada’s only all season road to cross the Arctic Circle it starts near Dawson City and ends in Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Canol Road Highway #6 – the South Canol joins Johnson’s Crossing with Ross River, while the very rugged North Canol Highway continues to the Northwest Territories border (recommended only for 4WD)
Atlin Road Highway #7 – the only road to the BC community of Atlin, it runs from the Alaska Highway at Jakes Corner to Atlin
Tagish Road Highway #8 – connects Jakes Corner on the Alaska Highway with Carcross via the Southern Lakes
Top of the World Highway #9 – connects Dawson City with Tok, Alaska.
Nahanni Range Road Highway #10– an unpaved local road that connects Tuchitua on the Robert Campbell Highway with the Tungsten mine
Silver Trail Highway #11– connects the communities of Faro and Mayo with Stewart Crossing
For more information visit Highway Conditions.
Travel Visa Information
Most travellers need either an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to visit Canada. This will depend on their citizenship or situation.
As of March 15, 2016, travellers with passports from eTA-required countries who enter Canada by air will need an eTA.
The authorization is electronically linked to the traveller’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
Applying for an eTA is done online, costs $7 Canadian and takes just a few minutes. Most eTA-eligible applicants will get their authorization within minutes of submitting the online form.
U.S. citizens do not need an eTA to enter Canada.
For a list of eTA and visa requirements by country please visit the Government of Canada’s website.
To visit Canada, travellers will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:
- Have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
- Be in good health,
- Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
- Convince an immigration officer that they have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take them back to their home country,
- Convince an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their visit, and
- Have enough money for their stay.
How long can my client stay in Canada as a visitor?
Most visitors are allowed a six-month stay from the day they entered Canada, but this will be decided by a border services officer at the port of entry. If the officer authorizes a stay of less than six months, they will indicate in the traveller’s passport the date by which they must leave Canada.
For more detailed information visit the Government of Canada’s website