Whitehorse | Yukon

Whitehorse is The Capital of the Yukon and offers unparalleled access to the surrounding wilderness. Over two-thirds of the Yukon’s residents live in Whitehorse, which has a year-round population of about 36,000.

In the late 1800s the wilderness on the east side of the Yukon River gave way to two settlements of cabins, Closeleigh near the present site of Whitehorse and Canyon City five miles upriver. On June 8, 1900 the White Pass & Yukon Railway from Skagway was completed on the west side of the River and Closeleigh was moved to the present town site and became Whitehorse. Whitehorse got its name from the rapids of the Yukon River where the frothing water looked like the manes of white horses.

The sparsely populated tent-and-cabin city boomed, and became the terminal for freight being transferred from railway to riverboat for shipment to Dawson City. For over 50 years Whitehorse continued in this vital role.

The second great population surge followed the agreement of the US and Canadian Government to build the Alaska Highway in 1942. During the nine-month construction, population swelled from 500 to 8000. With building space at a premium, one entrepreneur began building small two and three-story log cabins, or “Log skyscrapers,” which can still be seen in town. After the war, Whitehorse maintained its importance as a transportation and communications center for the Yukon. On April 1, 1953, the capital of the Yukon was officially transferred from Dawson City to Whitehorse. Today the mainstays of the Whitehorse economy are tourism, government and mining.


Visitor Information

Yukon Visitor Reception Centre is on Hanson St. between 1st and 2nd Ave. This is a great place to start your visit to Whitehorse as the staff are friendly and well trained. Each Visitor Center in the Yukon has something different to offer so be sure and visit all of them. There is ample parking for large vehicles on the north side of the building. 867-667-3084

Services

History

Whitehorse’s role as a transportation center is as new as the jet age and as old as the Gold Rush of ’98. Founded in 1900 with the arrival of the White Pass & Yukon Railway from tidewater at Skagway, the sparsely populated tent-and-cabin city became the terminal for freight being transferred from railway to riverboat for shipment to Dawson City.

Before the railway was pushed through to provide an easier mode of transportation, the bulk of the early-day stampeders came by ocean steamer to Skagway or Dyea and toiled over the White Pass (the route presently paralleled by the railroad) or Chilkoot Pass to the head of Lake Bennett. Here they whipsawed native lumber and built crude boats and scows to travel the 550-mile Yukon River water route to the gold fields.

The greatest hazards in river navigation were found in Miles Canyon and Whitehorse Rapids. To bypass these once-treacherous waters, wooden rail tramways were constructed on both sides of the canyon. On the east side of the river the wilderness gave way to two settlements of cabins. Closeleigh was near the present site of Whitehorse and Canyon City was five miles upriver, where the portage around the rapids of Miles Canyon began.


The Beez Kneez Bakpakers Whitehorse Yukon

Beez Kneez Bakpakers

The Beez Kneez Bakpakers is a quaint little hostel located downtown at 408 Hoge St. It’s cute, it’s cozy, it’s fun and it’s just a 7 minute walk from Main …

Elite Hotel

206 Jarvis St. Modern spacious rooms, convenient downtown location, close to shopping & attractions. Free Wi-fi. Daily entertainment in the Lounge. 867-668-4567

Takhini Hot Springs

The campground offers year-round recreational activities on over 300 acres. Wooded sites with RV pull-thrus are adjacent to the mineral pools. Experience Yukon wilderness from horseback or explore our walking …

Takhini Hot Springs

The campground offers year-round recreational activities on over 300 acres. Wooded sites with RV pull-thrus are adjacent to the mineral pools. Experience Yukon wilderness from horseback or explore our walking …

Takhini Hot Springs

The campground offers year-round recreational activities on over 300 acres. Wooded sites with RV pull-thrus are adjacent to the mineral pools. Experience Yukon wilderness from horseback or explore our walking …

The Yukon Transportation Museum

The Museum Interprets the history and evolution of travel in the Yukon. Learn about the Alaska Highway and Canol Road history while sitting in an authentic military tent! Visit the …

Frantic Follies

is a turn-of-the-century show that presents a lively evening of fun and nostalgia for the entire family. The Canadian cast of  professional  entertainers recreates the Yukon’s turn of the century …

Log Skyscraper

During the construction of the Alaska Highway every hotel and home in Whitehorse was overflowing with army and air force  personnel.  Even the riverboats that tied up overnight were used …

Old Log Church Museum

The Museum at the corner of 3rd Ave. & Elliott St. Open to the public late May to Labor Day 10am – 6pm; The building is the original Anglican Church  …

Rotary Park

is a large grassy park with riverside benches and children’s playground. The park is located just downstream of the Robert  Campbell Bridge and SS Klondike Riverboat at the south end …

S.S. Klondike

A restored Yukon sternwheeler beached near the  Yukon River at the south end of Second Avenue, is part of a fleet of 250  riverboats  that once plied the Yukon. The …

Chadburn Lake

Has a wide gravel beach and canoe club cabin, but allows no powerboats. To reach the lake, travel along the road that leads from the hydro dam and fish ladder …