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Coordinates: 63°38′N 135°46′W / 63.633°N 135.767°W / 63.633; -135.767

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: none
Capital Whitehorse
Largest city Whitehorse
Largest metro Whitehorse
Official languages English, French
Demonym Yukoner
Commissioner Geraldine Van Bibber
Premier Dennis Fentie (Yukon Party)
Federal representation in Canadian Parliament
House seats 1
Senate seats 1
Confederation June 13, 1898 (9th)
Area  Ranked 9th
Total 482,443 km2 (186,272 sq mi)
Land 474,391 km2 (183,163 sq mi)
Water (%) 8,052 km2 (3,109 sq mi) (1.7%)
Population  Ranked 12th
Total (2009) 33,442 (est.)[1]
Density 0.065 /km2 (0.17 /sq mi)
GDP  Ranked 12th
Total (2006) C$1.596 billion[2]
Per capita C$51,154 (3rd)
Postal YT
ISO 3166-2 CA-YT
Time zone UTC-8
Postal code prefix Y
Flower Fireweed
Tree Subalpine Fir
Bird Common Raven
Rankings include all provinces and territories

Yukon Pronunciation: /ˈjuːkɒn/ or The Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River, Yukon meaning "Great River" in Gwich’in. The territory's capital is Whitehorse.

The territory was created in 1898 as the Yukon Territory. The federal government's most recent update of the Yukon Act in 2003 confirmed "Yukon", rather than "Yukon Territory", as the current usage standard.[3]

At 5,959 metres (19,551 ft), Yukon's Mount Logan, in Kluane National Park and Reserve, is the highest mountain in Canada and the second highest of North America (after Mount McKinley in the U.S. state of Alaska).


Geography and ecology

Map of the Yukon.

The sparsely populated Yukon abounds with snow-melt lakes and perennial snow-capped mountains. Although the climate is Arctic and subarctic and very dry, with long, cold winters, the long sunshine hours in short summer allow hardy crops and vegetables, along with a profusion of flowers and fruit to blossom.

The territory is the approximate shape of a right triangle, bordering the U.S. state of Alaska to the west for 1,210 km (752 miles) mostly along longitude 141° W, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south. Its northern coast is on the Beaufort Sea. Its ragged eastern boundary mostly follows the divide between the Yukon Basin and the Mackenzie River drainage basin to the east in the Mackenzie mountains. Its capital is Whitehorse.

Canada's highest point, Mount Logan (5,959 m/19,551 ft), is found in the territory's southwest. Mount Logan and a large part of the Yukon's southwest are in Kluane National Park and Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other national parks include Ivvavik National Park and Vuntut National Park in the north.

Most of the territory is in the watershed of its namesake, the Yukon River. The southern Yukon is dotted with a large number of large, long and narrow glacier-fed alpine lakes, most of which flow into the Yukon River system. The larger lakes include Teslin Lake, Atlin Lake, Tagish Lake, Marsh Lake, Lake Laberge, Kusawa Lake and Kluane Lake. Bennett Lake on the Klondike Gold Rush trail is a lake flowing into Nares Lake, with the greater part of its area within the Yukon.

Other watersheds include the Mackenzie River and the AlsekTatshenshini, as well as a number of rivers flowing directly into the Beaufort Sea. The two main Yukon rivers flowing into the Mackenzie in the Northwest Territories are the Liard River in the southeast and the Peel River and its tributaries in the northeast.

Notable widespread tree species within the Yukon are the Black Spruce and White Spruce. Many trees are stunted because of the short growing season and severe climate.[4]

The capital, Whitehorse, is also the largest city, with about two-thirds of the population; the second largest is Dawson City, (pop. 1,250) which was the capital until 1952.


Richardson Mountains in the background

Long before the arrival of Europeans, central and northern Yukon escaped glaciation as it was part of Beringia (Bering land bridge). The volcanic eruption of Mount Churchill near the Alaska border blanketed southern Yukon with a layer of ash which can still be seen along the Klondike Highway. Coastal and inland First Nations already had extensive trading networks and European incursions into the area only began early in the 19th century with the fur trade, followed by missionaries and the Western Union Telegraph Expedition.

By the end of the 19th century gold miners were trickling in on rumours of gold, driving a population increase justifying the setting up of a police force, just in time for the start of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897. The increased population coming with the gold rush led to the separation of the Yukon district from the Northwest Territories and the formation of the separate Yukon Territory in 1898.




According to the 2001 Canadian census,[5] the largest ethnic group in Yukon is English (27.1%), followed by First Nations (22.3%), Scottish (21.9%), Irish (19.1%), German (14.3%), and French (13.4%) – although over a quarter of all respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian."

Yukon's eight First Nations linguistic groupings and 14 tribes/clans[6]
Linguistic Grouping Tribe
Gwich’in Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Old Crow
Han Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, Dawson City
Upper Tanana White River First Nation, Beaver Creek

Small communities near Tok ( Alaska)

Northern Tutchone Selkirk First Nation

Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation
First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, Mayo

Southern Tutchone Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Haines Junction

Kluane First Nation, Burwash Landing
Ta'an Kwach'an Council, Lake Laberge
Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Whitehorse

Kaska Ross River Dena Council, Ross River

Liard River First Nation, Watson Lake

Inland Tlingit Teslin Tlingit Council
Tagish Carcross/Tagish First Nation


The 2006 Canadian census showed a population of 30,372.

Of the 29,940 singular responses to the census question concerning 'mother tongue' the most commonly reported languages were:

1. English 25,655 85.69%
2. French 1,105 3.69%
3. German 775 2.59%
4. Chinese 260 0.87%
5. Tagalog 145 0.48%
6. Dutch 140 0.47%
7. Spanish 130 0.43%
8. Vietnamese 105 0.35%
9. Hungarian 80 0.27%
10. Punjabi 80 0.27%
11. Gwich'in 75 0.25%
12. Tlingit 70 0.11%
13. Yakuts (Sakha) 65 0.11%

There were also 130 responses of both English and a 'non-official language'; 10 of both French and a 'non-official language'; 110 of both English and French; and about 175 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave some other unenumerated response. Yukon's official languages are shown in bold. Figures shown are for the number of single-language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses.[7]

The Language Act of Yukon "recognises the significance" of aboriginal languages in Yukon; however, only English and French are available for laws, court proceedings, and legislative assembly proceedings.[8]


Yukon's population is highly secularized. The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were the Roman Catholic Church with 5,985 (21 %); the Anglican Church of Canada with 3,795 (13 %); and the United Church of Canada with 2,105 (7 %).[9]


Yukon's historical major industry has been mining (lead, zinc, silver, gold, asbestos and copper). The government acquired the land from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870 and split it from the Northwest Territories in 1898 to fill the need for local government created by the population influx of the gold rush.

Thousands of these prospectors flooded the territory, creating a colourful period recorded by authors such as Robert W. Service and Jack London. The memory of this period and the early days of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as the territory's scenic wonders and outdoor recreation opportunities, makes tourism the second most important industry.

Manufacturing, including furniture, clothing, and handicrafts, follows in importance, along with hydroelectricity. The traditional industries of trapping and fishing have declined. Today, the government sector is by far the biggest employer in the territory, directly employing approximately 5,000 out of a labour force of 12,500.


The Yukon Sign

Yukon's tourism motto is "Larger than life".[10] The Yukon's major appeal is its nearly pristine nature. Tourism relies heavily on this, and there are many organised outfitters and guides available to hunters and anglers and nature lovers of all sorts. Sports enthusiasts can paddle lakes and rivers with canoes and kayaks, ride or walk trails, ski or snowboard in an organized setting or access the backcountry by air or snowmobile, climb the highest peaks of North America or take a family hike up smaller mountains, or try ice climbing and dog sledding. Yukon also has a wide array of cultural and sporting events and infrastructures that attract artists, participants and tourists from all parts of the world (Yukon International Storytelling Festival, Frostbite Music Festival,[11] Dawson Music Festival,[12] Yukon Quest, Sourdough Rendezvous, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre,[13] Northern Lights Centre,[14] Klondike Gold Rush memorials and activities, "Takhini Hot Springs", and the Whitehorse fish ladder.[15]

There are many opportunities to experience pre-colonial lifestyles by learning about Yukon's First Nations.[16] Wildlife and nature observation is exceptional and a wide variety of large mammals, birds, and fish are easily accessible, whether or not within Yukon's many territorial[17] parks (Herschel Island Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park,[18] Tombstone Territorial Park,[19] Fishing Branch Ni'iinlii'njik Park,[20] Coal River Springs Territorial Park)[21] and national parks (Kluane National Park and Reserve, Vuntut National Park, Ivvavik National Park) and reserves, or nearby Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park in British Columbia.

On the long, cold, and clear nights of winter, nature provides the ultimate natural spectacle in the form of aurora borealis.


Before modern forms of transportation, the rivers and mountain passes were the main transportation routes for the coastal Tlingit people trading with the Athabascans of which the Chilkoot Pass and Dalton Trail, as well as the first Europeans.

From the Gold Rush until the 1950s, riverboats plied the Yukon River, mostly between Whitehorse and Dawson City, with some making their way further to Alaska and over to the Bering Sea, and other tributaries of Yukon River such as the Stewart River. Most of the riverboats were owned by the British-Yukon Navigation Company, an arm of the White Pass and Yukon Route, which also operated a narrow gauge railway between Skagway, Alaska, and Whitehorse. The railway ceased operation in the 1980s with the first closure of the Faro mine. It is now run during the summer months for the tourism season, with operations as far as Carcross.

Today, major land routes include the Alaska Highway, the Klondike Highway (between Skagway and Dawson City), the Haines Highway (between Haines, Alaska, and Haines Junction), and the Dempster Highway (linking Inuvik, Northwest Territories to the Klondike Highway), all paved except for the Dempster. Other highways with less traffic include the "Robert Campbell Highway" linking Carmacks (on the Klondike Highway) to Watson Lake (Alaska Highway) via Faro and Ross River, and the "Silver Trail" linking the old silver mining communities of Mayo, Elsa and Keno City to the Klondike Highway at the Stewart River bridge. Air travel is the only way to reach the far north community of Old Crow.

Whitehorse International Airport serves as the air transport infrastructure hub, with direct flights to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Fairbanks, and Frankfurt (summer months). Every Yukon community is served by an airport. The communities of Dawson City, Old Crow, and Inuvik, have regular passenger service through Air North. Air charter businesses exist primarily to serve the tourism and mining exploration industries.

Government and politics

Chief Isaac of the Han, Yukon Territory, ca. 1898

In the 19th century, Yukon was a segment of the Hudson's Bay Company-administered North-Western Territory and then the Canadian-administered Northwest Territories. It only obtained a recognizable local government in 1895 when it became a separate district of the Northwest Territories.[22] In 1898, it was made a separate territory with its own commissioner and appointed Territorial Council.[23]

Prior to 1979, the territory was administered by the commissioner who was appointed by the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The commissioner used to chair and had a role in appointing the territory's Executive Council and had a day to day role in governing the territory. The elected Territorial Council had a purely advisory role. In 1979, a significant degree of power was devolved from the federal government and commissioner to the territorial legislature which, in that year, adopted a party system of responsible government. This was done through a letter from Jake Epp, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development rather than through formal legislation.

In preparation for responsible government, political parties were organised and ran candidates to the Yukon Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1978. The Progressive Conservatives won these elections and formed the first party government of Yukon in January 1979. The Yukon New Democratic Party (NDP) formed the government from 1985 to 1992 under Tony Penikett and again from 1996 under Piers McDonald until being defeated in 2000. The conservatives returned to power in 1992 under John Ostashek after having renamed themselves the Yukon Party. The Liberal government of Pat Duncan was defeated in elections in November 2002, with Dennis Fentie of the Yukon Party forming the government as Premier.

The Yukon Act, passed on April 1, 2003, formalised the powers of the Yukon government and devolved additional powers to the territorial government (e.g., control over land and natural resources). As of 2003, other than criminal prosecutions, the Yukon government has much of the same powers as provincial governments, and the other two territories are looking to obtaining the same powers. Today the role of commissioner is analogous to that of a provincial lieutenant governor; however, unlike lieutenant-governors, commissioners are not formal representatives of the Queen but are employees of the federal government.

Although there has been discussion in the past about Yukon becoming Canada's 11th province, it is generally felt that its population base is too sparse for this to occur at present.

At the federal level, the territory is presently represented in the Parliament of Canada by a single Member of Parliament and one senator. Canadian territories' members of Parliament are full and equal voting representatives and residents of the territory enjoy the same rights as other Canadian citizens. One Yukon Member of Parliament — Erik Nielsen — was the Deputy Prime Minister under the government of Brian Mulroney, while another — Audrey McLaughlin — was the leader of the federal New Democratic Party.

Yukon was one of nine jurisdictions in Canada to offer same-sex marriage before the passage of Canada's Civil Marriage Act.

Federal government representation

In the Canadian House of Commons, Yukon is represented by Larry Bagnell, representing the Liberal Party. Mr. Bagnell was first elected to the House of Commons in 2000. Previous Members of Parliament include Louise Hardy (NDP, 1997–2000), Audrey McLaughlin (NDP, 1987–1997), Erik Nielsen (Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, 1957–1987), James Aubrey Simmons (Liberal, 1949–1957).

Yukon is allocated one Senate of Canada seat and has been represented by three Senators since the position was created in 1975. The Senate position is currently held by Daniel Lang, who was appointed on 22 December 2008.[24][25] It was previously filled by Ione Christensen, representing the Liberal Party. Appointed to the Senate in 1999 by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Mrs. Christensen resigned in December 2006 to help her ailing husband. From 1975 to 1999, Paul Lucier (Liberal) served as Senator for the Yukon. Lucier was appointed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

First Nations governments

Much of the population of the territory is First Nations. An umbrella land claim agreement representing 7,000 members of fourteen different First Nations was signed with the federal government in 1992. Each of the individual First Nations then has to negotiate a specific land claim and a self-government agreement. As of December 2005, eleven of the 14 First Nations had a signed agreement. The fourteen First Nation governments are:

Government Seat Chief
Carcross/Tagish First Nation Carcross Khà Shâde Héni Mark Wedge
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Haines Junction Diane Strand
First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun Mayo Simon Mervyn
Kluane First Nation Burwash Landing Robert Dickson
Kwanlin Dün First Nation Whitehorse Mike Smith
Liard River First Nation Watson Lake Liard McMillan
Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation Carmacks Eddie Skookum
Ross River Dena Council Ross River Jack Caesar
Selkirk First Nation Pelly Crossing Darren Isaac
Ta'an Kwach'an Council Whitehorse Ruth Massie
Teslin Tlingit Council Teslin Peter Johnston
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation Dawson City Darren Taylor
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Old Crow Joe Linklater
White River First Nation Beaver Creek David Johnny

The territory once had an Inuit settlement, located on Herschel Island off the Arctic coast. This settlement was dismantled in 1987 and its inhabitants relocated to the neighboring Northwest Territories. As a result of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, the island is now a territorial park and is known officially as Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park, Qikiqtaruk being the name of the island in Inuvialuktun. There are also 14 First Nations that speak 8 different languages.


Ten largest communities by population

Community 2006 Population 2001 Population 1996 Population
Whitehorse 20,461 (city)

22,898 (metro)

19,058 (city)

21,405 (metro)

19,157 (city)

21,808 (metro)

Dawson 1,327 1,251 1,287
Watson Lake 846 912 993
Haines Junction 589 531 574
Carmacks 425 431 466
Ibex Valley1 376 315 322
Mount Lorne1 370 379 399
Ross River 313 337 352
Pelly Crossing 296 328 238
Mayo 248 366 324

1 Part of "Metro" Whitehorse Census Agglomeration

See also



  • Coates, Ken S. & Morrison, William R. (1988), Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon, Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, ISBN 0888303319 .

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For the town in Oklahoma see Yukon (Oklahoma)

Whitehorse, Yukon
Whitehorse, Yukon

The Yukon [1] is one of Canada's three territories, located in the North.

Many of the visitors in the Yukon are travelling to Alaska on the Alaska Highway.

  • Whitehorse - The capital of the Yukon
  • Dawson City - Historic Klondike gold rush town, now a National Historic Site.
  • Watson Lake - The Yukon's most southern community, and home of the famous Signpost Forest.
  • Haines Junction
  • Carcross
  • Old Crow - A small village in the north, and the only community in the territory without road access.
  • Beaver Creek
  • Eagle Plains
  • Faro, Yukon
  • Mayo
  • Carmacks
  • Burwash Landing
  • Destruction Bay
  • Kluane Wilderness Village
  • Tagish
  • Minto
  • Ross River
  • Jake's Corner


The Yukon is very sparsely populated. The whole territory has only about 30,000 people in it. This is less than many small cities in Southern Canada.


There are a number of terms that are commonly used in the North:

  • Cheechako - Someone who has spent less than a full year in the North.
  • ice bridge - A road that crosses a river on ice.
  • Outside - Anywhere below the 60th parallel
  • parka - a very bulky jacket, necessary in the winter.
  • Sourdough - Someone who has lived in the North for a number of years.
  • tree line - the northern extent of trees. North of the tree line there are no longer trees. The exact extent varies depending on elevation.
  • winter road - a road that is only usable in the winter. Usually too wet and muddy in the summer to be passable.

Get in

The only "significant" airport in the Yukon is in Whitehorse (YXY). Air Canada offers daily direct flights from Vancouver. Air North [2] offers flights from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, as well as flights from Fairbanks; summer only and Juneau in Alaska. Condor [3] offer two weekly flights from Frankfurt/ Main (FRA), Germany.

The most common way to arrive in the Yukon is by road. However, travellers must be aware that distances in Yukon are bigger than almost anywhere else in the world. It is not uncommon to go over 200km between very small towns.

The majority of the people travelling through Yukon are driving on their way to Alaska. There are 2 highways into the Yukon from Southern Canada. The Alaska Highway or BC Highway 97 comes from Dawson Creek in the Northeast of British Columbia. The Cassiar Highway (BC Highway 37) Connects with the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) near Terrace between Prince George and Prince Rupert in Central British Columbia. In any case the distance from Vancouver to Whitehorse is about 2417km. That is approximately the same distance as Driving from Vancouver to San Diego.

Many travellers also come to the Yukon as part of a tour with an Alaska Cruise. Generally as part of the package it is possible to include a bus tour of parts of the Yukon. In some cases it may be possible to stay over in the Yukon for one or two weeks and return on the next cruise.

Others may arrive into Yukon through the Alaska Marine Highway [4] system which operates a ferry from Bellingham, WA to Skagway in Alaska.

Get around

If you are not bothered by driving long distances, exploring the Yukon by road can be a great way to see this territory's natural beauty. The distances between service stations can be vast; make sure your vehicle is in good condition, and prepare for the worst. Drive for the conditions and expect to see large animals in the middle of the highway. Obtain a good highway map of the territory as soon as possible. A free map titled "Canada's Yukon Highway Map", found at visitor centres and some service stations, classifies roads into primary (90-100km/h), secondary (70-90km/h), and local (50-80km/h), as well as paved, dust treated, and untreated. This information will be of great use when selecting a route suitable for you and your vehicle.

If the thought of driving such long distances doesn't thrill you, consider crossing some distances in the sky (but note that this can be quite expensive). Air North is the major regional carrier in the Yukon. It services Dawson City and Old Crow in the Yukon and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories.


Many of the visitors in the winter come to the North specifically to see the Northern Lights. In the summer, the days are very long (up to 24 hours when north of the Arctic Circle).


Going for dog sled rides is a popular activity in the winter.

Hunting and fishing are popular in the summer.


Food has to travel a long ways to get to the Yukon, so you will not find quite the variety of fruits and vegetables you would in the south, and the prices are significantly higher.

Historically hunting is a way of life in the North and Yukoners still tend to eat a lot more meat, especially wild game, than Southerners.

Whitehorse is a major supply centre and therefore despite the small size you will find all of your favourite chain restaurants as well as many very nice local restaurants that have diverse menus.


The legal drinking age in the Yukon is 19. The Yukon Liquor Corporation operates 6 liquor stores in the territory. These are located in Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Dawson, Haines Junction, Faro, and Mayo. Alcohol is also available from "off-sales" of bars. There is a 30% premium for purchasing from off-sales. The liquor stores in the rural communities also operate as government agents and provide services such as driver licences, fishing licences, motor vehicle registrations, property taxes, business licences and court fines. If you require all of these in a single trip you receive a Yukon Yoddeller award.

Some communities in the North are officially "Dry" communities. In these communities alcohol will not be available and bringing in excess quantities of alcohol may be illegal.

Get out

From the Yukon you can get to Alaska at either the Beaver Creek border crossing on the Alaska Highway, or the Little Gold border crossing on the Top Of The World Highway west of Dawson City. You can also travel to Skagway, Alaska by heading south from Whitehorse and through the north-western tip of British Columbia.

The community of Atlin in the Northwest corner of British Columbia is a very interesting little community that can only be accessed from the Yukon.

The Dempster Highway is the most northern highway in the world. It begins near Dawson City and ends at Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. From Inuvik, you can take a fly to Tuktoyatuk for a dip in the Arctic Ocean.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

YUKON, the largest river in Alaska, and the fifth largest in N. America. With its longest tributaries not in Alaska, the Lewes and the Teslin (or Hootalinqua), its length is about 2300 m., in the form of a great arc, beginning in the Yukon District of British Columbia, near the Pacific Ocean, and ending at the Bering Sea coast. Its catchment area is about 330,000 sq. m., more than one-half of which lies in Canada. The Lewes river rises in Lake Bennet (Yukon District) on the N. slope of the Coast Range, about 25 m. inland from the Lynn Canal (at the head of Chatham Strait), and flows N. through a chain of lakes, its confluence with the Pelly river, at Selkirk, Yukon District, about 120 m. due E. of the Alaskan-Canadian boundary, forming the headwaters of the Yukon. Flowing thence N.W., the Yukon turns abruptly to the S. W. near Fort Yukon, Alaska, on the Arctic Circle, and continues nearly at right angles to its former course to a point S. of the head of Norton Sound, where it turns again and flows in a N.W. direction, emptying into the Sound from its S. shore. The length of the river, from its headwaters to its mouth, is about 1500 m.

The Yukon Valley comprises four sub-provinces, or physiographic divisions; in their order from the headwaters of the river these divisions have been called the " Upper Yukon," " Yukon Flats," " Rampart Region " and " Lower Yukon." The " Upper Yukon " Valley is about 450 m. long and from I to 3 m. broad, and is flanked by walls rising to the plateau level from 1500 to 3000 ft. above the stream. In this part of its course the Yukon receives from the S. the Selwyn river (about 40 m. below the junction of the Lewes and Pelly rivers); from the W. the White river (about 60 m. below the Selwyn); from the N. the Stewart river (about io m. below the White), one of the largest tributaries of the Yukon; from the E. the Klondike river (near 64° N.); from the W. Fortymile Creek (about 40 m. above the Alaskan-Canadian boundary line), and many other smaller streams. The " Yukon Flats flank the river for about 200 m. and are from 40 to loo m. wide. Here the stream varies in width from to to nearly 20 m., and involves a confused network of constantly changing channels. Here, too, the river makes its great bend to the S.W., and its channels are constantly changing. The " Flats " are monotonous areas of sand bars and low islands, thickly wooded with spruce. The principal tributaries here are the Porcupine river (an important affluent, which enters the main stream at the great bend about 3 m. N. of the Arctic Circle); the Chandlar river, also confluent at the great bend, from the N., and, near the W. edge of the Flats, the Dall river, also from the N. The " Rampart Region " begins near 66° N., where the " Flats " end abruptly, and includes about 110 m. of the valley, from I to 3 m. wide, and extending to the mouth of the Tanana. No large tributaries are received in this part of the river. The Lower Yukon includes that portion between the Ramparts and the sea, a stretch of about Boo m. At the mouth of the Tanana (which enters the main stream from the S.) the gorge opens into a lowland from 15 to 20 m. wide. Along the N.W. boundary of the valley are low mountains whose base the Yukon skirts, and it continues to press upon its N. bank until the delta is reached. The valley is never less than 2 or 3 m., and the river has many channels and numerous islands; it has walls nearly to the head of the delta, though about loo m. above the delta the S. wall merges into the lowland coastal plain; the relief is about woo ft.

At the W. edge of the Ramparts the Yukon receives the Tanana river, its longest tributary lying wholly within Alaska. The Tanana Valley is about 400 m. long, nearly parallel to the Yukon from about due W. of its headwaters to the great bend, and drains about 25,000 sq. m. Its sources are chiefly glaciers in the Alaskan Range, and it receives many tributaries. The Yukon delta begins near 63° N. Here the main stream branches into several channels which follow N. or N.W. courses to Norton Sound. The northernmost of these channels is the Apoon Pass, and the most southerly is Kwikluak Pass; their outlets are about 75 m. apart on the coast, and from 40 to 50 m. from the head of the delta. Between them is a labyrinth of waterways, most of the intervening land being not more than 10 ft. above low tide. The stream is mudladen throughout its course, and though the sediment is heavier above the " Flats " than below them (where the slower current permits the settling of much of the silt), so much of it is carried to the river's mouth that the delta is being steadily extended. Immediately S. of the Yukon delta proper is that of the Kushkowim, into which undoubtedly the Yukon's waters once found their way.

The Yukon is navigable from May till September, and steamers ply on several of its larger tributaries, making the aggregate navigable waters about 3500 m., about three-fourths of which are in Alaska. The nearest harbour for ocean-going vessels is a poor one at St Michael's Island, about 60 m. N.E. of the delta; here freight and passengers are transferred to flat-bottomed river steamers. These enter the delta and the river by the Apoon Pass, which is about 4 ft. deep at mean low water, the current varying from I z to 4 m. an hour. The Lewes (about 400 m. long) is navigable (with some difficulty, during low water, at Lake Lebarge) as far as White Horse Rapids, which, with Miles Canyon, obstruct the river for a few miles; above them the stream is again navigable to its source, about loo m. beyond. The Pacific & Arctic railway from Skagway to White Horse (III m.) overcomes these obstructions, however, for traffic and travel; and even the dangerous White Horse Rapids may be run by a skilful pilot in a small boat, as was done repeatedly by the gold-seekers in 1896-97. The Stewart river, seldom less than 150 yds. wide, is navigable by light-draught steamers to Frazer Falls, a distance of nearly Zoo m. The Porcupine is navigable, in high water, to about the Alaska-Yukon boundary line (c. 90 m.); the Chandlar for a few miles; the Tanana (which is about 500 m. long) for about 225 m. to the Chena river (which is navigable for about loo m.); and the Tolovana, another affluent of the Tanana, is also navigable for about loo m.

In 1842-43 the Yukon was explored by the Russian Lieutenant Zagoskin, who built a trading post at Nulato, ascended the river (which he called the Kwikpak) as far as the Tanana, made a track survey of the stream to that point and reported that it was not navigable beyond there. In 1861 Robert Kennicott made his way overland by the Hudson Bay route from the Mackenzie river down the Yukon to Fort Yukon, and in 1865 he and Captain Charles S. Bulkley led the expedition sent out by the Western Union Telegraph Company to survey a route for a land telegraph line to Europe by way of Alaska and Siberia. Kennicott died at Nulato in r866, and the expedition was abandoned in that year, but explorations were continued by other members, notably Dr William H. Dall,' with the result that valuable surveys were made and the Yukon identified as the Kwikpak of the earlier Russian surveys. The first trading steamboat ascended the Yukon in 1869, and the Indian route by the Lewes river to the headwaters of the Yukon was used by gold prospectors as early as 1881, while in 1883 Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka (1849-1892) crossed the Chilkoot Pass (which he called " Perrier Pass "), descended the Lewes to Fort Selkirk, and down the river to the sea. Charles W. Homan, who accompanied Schwatka, made the first sketch survey of the great system; since then it has been frequently explored, but much of the region has not been mapped.

See Alfred H. Brooks, The Geography and Geology of Alaska, U.S. Geol. Survey, Document No. 201 (Washington, 1906); also G. M. Dawson, Yukon District and British Columbia, Annual Report of the Geol. and Natural History Survey of Canada, vol. 3, pt. I (1889); William Ogilvie, The Klondike Official Guide (Buffalo; N.Y., 1898); C. W. Haynes, " An Expedition through the Yukon District," Nat. Geog. Mag. vol. 4 (1892); R. G. McConnell, Salmon River Gold Fields, Summary of Report of Geol. Survey of Canada (1901); idem, The Macmillan River, Yukon District, Summary of Report of the Geological Survey of Canada for 1902; A. H. Brooks, A Reconnaissance in the Tanana and White River Basins in 1898, Twentieth Annual Report, U.S. Geol. Survey (Washington, 1900); and A Reconnaissance from Pyramid Harbor to Eagle City, Alaska, Twenty-first Annual Report, ibid. (Washington, 1900), and other sources cited by Brooks in the first-named work.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

The Yukon Territory's location in Canada
Yukon's flag




Gwich’in yukon (great river).


  • (UK) IPA: /ˈjʌk.ɒn/, /ˈjuː.kɒn/, SAMPA: /"jVk.Qn/, /ju:.kQn/

Proper noun




  1. Yukon Territory



Gwich’in yukon (great river).


Proper noun

Yukon m.

  1. Yukon Territory


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