The Solar Max Is One More Reason to Visit the Yukon Jarastyle travel

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The Solar Max Is One More Reason to Visit the Yukon Jarastyle travelPhoto credit: Jonathan Tucker

The New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2024” list has already put Whitehorse on the hip global traveler’s map this year. The bucket-list honor cited not only the territory’s spectacular nature but mentioned year-round pursuits like canoeing, fat-tire biking and snowshoeing (not to mention winning indoor pastimes such as Woodcutter’s Blanket craft cocktails and resort relaxing) in placing the Yukon’s capital at #48 on the list. Yet, there is so much more that makes the Yukon the must-see destination of 2024.

Astro Tourism in the Yukon is a hot emerging trend that makes spectacular sky-gazing accessible to everyone — particularly this winter through 2026, when aurora activity is expected to be at its highest in over a decade. Solar cycles, periodic 11-year changes in the sun’s activity, mean solar radiation levels, solar material ejection, sunspots, solar flares and coronal loops fluctuate over the years, peaking at a Solar Max. The current solar cycle began in December 2019 and peaks between 2023 and 2026, meaning more aurora activity, and the ideal time to plan a vacation that incorporates aurora viewing.

The Yukon is rich with local businesses that specialize in not only authentic aurora viewing opportunities but tours and experiences that encompass the territory. For example, Northern Tales has its prime aurora location, and packages including transportation, guided viewing and cozy cabins, increasing your comfort along with your chances of seeing spectacular skies on chilly winter nights. Tour companies like Epic North and Who What Where Tours will lead you on epic aurora-hunting expeditions. The Klondike Experience based in Dawson City will customize anything your travel group needs for an unforgettable one-day or multi-day travel experience throughout the Yukon.

The Solar Max Is One More Reason to Visit the Yukon Jarastyle travelPhoto Credit: Peter Mather

Along with aurora-lit nights, daytime agendas warm up with visits to Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs (built on the site of historic Takhini Hot Springs), where a circuit of hot pools, sauna and steam, along with a quirky Hair Freezing Contest, please visitors. Nearby in the Takhini Hot Springs corridor is the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, with tours (self-guided/walking or by bus) to view a dozen Yukon species on 350 glorious acres. The truly wild at heart will want to experience the excitement of Yukon dogsledding, with many pro outfitters ready at the reins to lead your heart-pumping canine-led adventure.

Not to be missed are experiences that honor the 14 Yukon First Nations. Visit Long Ago Peoples Place, which recreates a traditional First Nations village off the Alaska Highway near Champagne (between Whitehorse and Haines Junction). Living structures, tools and hunting traditions educate visitors about Southern Tutchone culture and history, along with a taste of authentic bannock and stew lunch.

Creature comforts in the Yukon uniquely showcase its unmatched natural beauty. Southern Lakes Resort & Restaurant, within the Traditional Territory of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation near Whitehorse, offers cozy lakefront cabins and stunning contemporary cuisine. Black Spruce curates modern, sustainable and architecturally significant cabins, framed in the distinctive burned tonnes of Shou Sugi-Ban spruce, into an unmatched experience just minutes from downtown Whitehorse. Further north, Dawson Lodge curates a boutique hotel experience, including Yukon Spa, offering wellness care — from massage to medical aesthetics — in Dawson City.

Air North offers direct daily service to Whitehorse from Vancouver (except on Christmas Day), plus regular service from Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, and Victoria. Connector Fares are also available for leisure travelers flying between Whitehorse and Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria, Calgary or Edmonton who are connecting to or from a domestic or international flight.


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