North Klondike Highway Wildlife Viewing Guide

  • By Kendell Tricker
  • 30 May, 2016

Yukon Wildlife Preserve km 8 (mi. 5)

Alongside the Takhini Hot Spring Road lies the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. The reserve features a variety of wildlife particularly Canadian mammals such as moose, elk, caribou, mule deer, stone sheep, mountain goat, bison, muskoxen, Dall sheep and lynx. This is a vast area for viewing with a stretch of over 300  hectares of wetlands, flat lands, steep rock cliffs and rolling hills.

Shallow Bay, Lake Laberge km 209 (mi. 130)

The beautiful and inspiring Lake Laberge is not only renowned for the famous setting for Robert Service’s poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee” but it is known for its abundant wildlife. In the spring and fall you can witness thousands of Tundra and Trumpeter swans. It is also a fabulous area for spotting songbirds and shorebirds on the bay like the Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls. Nearby horizons are edged with mountain ridges, that bid you to ceaseless hikes and walks. Also, keep in mind that land access to Shallow Bay can be hard. But you can take a trail on the east side of the Klondike Highway, located north of Shallow Bay road.

Lake Laberge Campground km 225 (mi. 139)

The campground is located on the east side of the highway of Lake Laberge shores on a signed side road 2.9 km (1.7 mi.). Here you will find a pleasant spot for camping, hiking and wildlife viewing. It is a great area to see water birds. In fact, it is the only area in the Yukon where you can reliably view Double-crested Cormorants. As well, the campground is one of the first places in the Whitehorse area to see the spectacular spring blooms of the Prairie Crocus (mid-April). In addition, Lake Laberge campground is the launch site for Yukon River boaters. Just be careful with the wind.

Fox Lake km 239 (mi. 148)

Although the Boreal Fire of 1998 has left some areas still scarred, Fox Lake is still an amazing area to visit. In fact, because of the fire, beautiful red fireweed is abundant everywhere. As well, in the spring there is a large migration of waterfowl. One of the most interesting is the Lesser Yellowlegs that will give you a verbal lesson if you venture to close. Also, winter and spring are a good time to see muskrats that feed on the profuse aquatic vegetation.

South of Braeburn Lake km 273-340 (mi. 171-212)

While you are traveling the North Klondike Highway between miles 171-212, be on the lookout for elk and bear. The best times for viewing are in the spring and winter. However, if you want to hear the elk bugling, visit in the fall or summer. Generally, the wildlife are found in the open terrain of the south-facing slopes. And every once in a while you may spot a Grizzly. 

Nordenskiold River km 320 (mi. 199)

Right before you get to Carmacks is the Nordenskiold Wetlands Habitat Protection Area. The pictorial wetlands are a migration area for many waterfowl and as well as beaver and other critters like red fox and mink. Some of the waterfowl include Ruddy ducks, Greenwinged Teal, Trumpeter Swans and Lesser Scaup plus singing Red-winged Blackbirds and Soras.

Tage-Cho-Hudan Interpretive Centre in Carmacks km 358 (mi. 223) 

The Tage Cho Hudan Interpretive Centre is a must see for anyone visiting the area. It is located .4 km (.25 mi.) north on the Klondike Highway. It features the past and present of the Northern Tutchone peoples, Yukon’s oldest inhabitants. Inside you will find an array of exhibits like a rare collection of stone and bone tools, a dug-out canoe, a moose skin boat, traditional garments and a beautiful beaded slipper collection. Outdoors there is a hiking trail that goes through numerous First Nation outdoor displays and the earth’s only mammoth snare diorama.

Łútsäw Wetland Habitat Protection Area km 442 (mi. 276)

Previously known as Von Wilczek Lakes, this is an important wetland area for post breeding, breeding, molting and migrating ducks. Locally, the Łútsäw Wetlands are known as Jackfish Lake and was labeled a Habitat Protection Area under the Selkirk First Nation Final Agreement.

Meadow Lake km 458 (mi. 286)

This is a shallow salty lake that is home to American Coots and Horned Grebes. It is also a great place to see the beautiful high salinity plants called halophytes.

Ethel Lake Campground km 523.6 (mi. 327)

This is the ideal spot if you want to see moose. In fact, they are quite abundant in the area. Just makes sure to take precautions and never approach them because they are known to be very aggressive. Ethel Lake is also a great place to fish for Northern Pike and Lake Trout.

Moose Creek Campground km 559.3 (mi. 350)

Moose Creek Campground you will find a 2.5-km nature trail that goes into the boreal forest along Stewart River and Moose creek. It is approximately an hour walk unless you decide to do some fishing. Floodplain residents include Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler and Northern Waterthrush.

Gravel Lake km 622 (mi. 389)

The lake is a major wetland area on the Tintina Trench for migratory birds in the spring and fall. As well, waterfowl nesting occurs in the summer. Due to the trenches you can sometime find rare unusual birds like the Black Scoter, American Coot, Ruddy Duck and Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Tintina Trench viewpoint km 655 (mi. 409)

Just past Gravel Lake is the Tintina Trench viewpoint. It is a large rest area on the north side that gives a impressive view of the Klondike River and the Tintina Trench. Not only is Tintina Trench one of the two most important passageways for migratory birds in the Yukon but it is also the largest geological fault in North America.

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