The Globe Backpacker’s List of Top 10 Hikes in Yukon

The Yukon is big, wild and full of adventures, with lots of flora & fauna to see. For these reasons, it is high on the bucket list for many hikers and backpackers alike.

Grey Mountain Cave

Along with the outdoor adventures, there are many other things to do and see while you’re in Yukon, that includes culture, history, Klondike gold rush, northern cuisine, hot springs and of course the Northern Lights!

But, this post is dedicated to hiking in Yukon and The Globe Backpacker’s list of the Top 10 Hikes. These hikes are categorized as – Easy, Medium and Difficult.

So, let’s get to the list, without wasting any more words.

Easy Hikes

Number 10: The Millennium Trail

This is the easiest hike on this list and it is right in downtown Whitehorse. If you’re staying in downtown, you won’t even need a vehicle to reach there.

I have listed it here because the hike is doable by non-hikers alike, and it has a wheelchair friendly track too.

One can do this hike in an hour and you’ll be walking the loop around the Yukon River. You can also visit the SS Klondike along with this hike.

Check out my post on walking this trail here.

Note: SS Klondike is currently closed for tours. Please check here for latest information.

S.S. Klondike at the start of the Millennium Trail

Number 9: Spirit Canyon Hike

The Spirit Canyon Hike is an easy hike that should be on your list if you’re new to hiking and want to enjoy the panoramic vistas of Yukon without much effort.

The hike is doable in 2 hours and you can be back in town before lunch, to explore other locations in Whitehorse if you’re short on time.

Check out the details of this hike here.

Spirit Canyon

Number 8: Fish Lake Hike

The Fish Lake Hike is one that you would want to do in all four seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter – to experience the sharp contrast of landscapes in all four seasons. It will make you appreciate the seasons in its truest form.

This is an easy hike and it can be done in around 4 hours. Many locals use this trail to run or train during the summer & fall season. Hence, it may be busy during these time of the year.

It is not too far from Whitehorse, and is easily accessible with half an hour drive from town.

Check out my post on hiking the Fish Lake trail in different seasons here.

Fish Lake Hike in Winter

Medium Hikes

Number 7: Sam McGee Trail

The best time to do the Sam McGee Trail is during the Fall season when the colors are simply spectacular, thanks to the large amount of deciduous trees in the area.

There is also a lot of history on this trail in the form of dilapidated remains of silver mine.

Check out the bright shades of yellows, oranges & reds during the Fall season here.

Fall colors on the Sam McGee Trail

Number 6: Paint Mountain Hike

The Paint Mountain Hike is not a long hike, but it is a steep one. Hence, it is in the medium category. I have added this hike to the top 10 list for its beautiful views of the Pine Lake below and the Kluane mountains front range all the way up and down the trail.

You can do this as a half day hike and after that, explore some good food options in Hanes Junction, a quick 10 minute drive from here.

Check out my post and vlog on this hike here.

View of the Pine Lake & the snow capped Kluane mountains from the Paint Mountain

Number 5: Kusawa Ridge Hike

The Kusawa Ridge hike is situated in the Ibex Valley region of the Yukon. It is a short 60-70 mins drive from Whitehorse.

This hike will take you over the ridge of the mountain with panoramic vistas of the Kusawa Lake and the Jo Jo peak. Late spring and Fall are the best time to do this hike.

Check out my experience of hiking this trail here.

The frozen Kusawa Lake in late spring

Difficult Hikes

Number 4: Mt. Lorne

Mt. Lorne hike is an underrated hike in Yukon, thanks to other famous hikes in Carcross and Kluane regions. I’ve selected this hike to be on this list because of the technical difficulty of this hike near the summit. There are some sections where you need to do rock scrambling (nothing too challenging to classify as rock climbing).

But, all the effort is worth it for the views of the surrounding mountains in 360 degrees.

Check out some of the spectacular views and our adventures on how we got lost and bushwhacked to live and tell a tale here.

Eerie looking fog cover on Mt. Lorne

Number 3: The King’s Throne Hike

The King’s Throne hike is the mecca for all hikers in Yukon. It is unofficially believed that unless you’ve hiked the King’s Throne, you cannot say that you’ve hiked in Yukon.

Due to its popularity, the trail is usually busy during its short hiking season in summer and fall. The view of the Kathleen Lake is out of the world with different shades of blue, turquoise & green easily visible from this height. Also, the views of the Kluane mountains on the other side of the throne will take your breath away.

I highly recommend this hike to any seasoned hiker on their trip to the Yukon. Check this post to see why King’s Throne hike is one of the favorites of many Yukoners here.

Kathleen Lake as seen from the King’s Throne hike

Number 2: Grizzly, Divide & Talus Lake Trail

This is the longest hike on this list. In fact, it is a multi-day trek. You can complete it in 4 days the fastest or 5-6 days at a regular pace. This is one of the most sought after treks for a seasoned hiker with lots of hiking experience, when in Yukon.

To hike the Grizzly, Divide and Talus Lake trail, you will need to get a permit for backcountry camping and they are sold out in few days as soon as the booking opens. Hence, you will need to plan for this trek months in advance.

Check out my detailed experience on trekking this long, strenuous but a gorgeous hike here!

Morning at Talus Lake

Number 1: The Samuel Glacier Hike

The best of the best hikes in the Yukon (well, technically it is in BC) is the Samuel Glacier Hike!

Even though this hike is located in the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in northern British Columbia, it is fair to list it here, because there is only one road, passing through Yukon, which will take you to the trailhead for this hike.

It is a unique hike on this list as there is no major elevation gain. Almost the entire hike is pretty much flat, with a total elevation gain of only 167 meters.

But, what lacks in the elevation gain, it more than makes up for it in the mind boggling views of the Samuel Glacier.

You can do it as a long 21 kilometer day hike. But, the best way to do this would be as an overnight camping trip, with your camping spot right in front of the glacier.

Check out my experience of day hiking the Samuel Glacier here.

The massive size of the glacier compared to the tiny, almost invisible, group of hikers!

Conclusion

The Globe Backpacker’s list of Top 10 Hikes in Yukon is out and the winner of the ultimate hike is (drumroll) – The Samuel Glacier Hike.

If you’ve hiked any of these trails, share your experience and pictures in the comment section below. Also, if you think of any other hikes that should be on this list, please mention it in the comment section too.

Cheers, and I hope to see you in the mountains!!

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