- Attend a free wildlife event
- Seasonal highlights
- Learn more about Yukon wildlife
Yukon is rich in biodiversity. We're here to help you find opportunities to view wildlife and appreciate nature.
Attend a free wildlife event
Join Yukon biologists and other wildlife experts for free activities, walks and talks. The season’s walks are added by April 1 and June 1 of the year, with winter events added as they are available.
The most popular wildlife viewing opportunities by season.
April – May – June
- In mid-April, A Celebrations of Swans bird festival heralds the return of waterbirds to the North. Witness thousands of swans at the Swan Haven Interpretive Centre.
- The Wood Frog specializes in northern climate survival. It wakes from hibernation early in Yukon’s spring and can be heard croaking from ponds that still have ice.
Roadside bear viewing
- Early spring plants pop up along roadsides, attracting bears emerging from hibernation. The lack of foliage means bears are easy to spot from the safety of your car.
Crane and Sheep Festival
- Visit Faro in early May to witness hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead and see Fannin’s Sheep on the hillsides.
- Visit 1 of Yukon’s 3 bird observatories in Watson Lake, Teslin and Whitehorse, or a birding hotspot to witness the return of thousands of songbirds in their breeding plumage.
Goat kids and sheep lambs
- Be sure to stay off alpine trails that take you near steep cliffs and rocky outcrops where sheep or goats are giving birth. The young are extremely vulnerable at this time. It’s a great time to view from a distance using scopes or binoculars.
June – July – August
- The Yukon Bird Club offers free guided walks and hikes from April to November. Schedules are set in the spring, so check back for the most up-to-date listings.
- Late June and early July is the height of the flower bloom, especially for alpine flowers. Put on your hiking boots and head up the mountains to take photos, not samples, of this rainbow of colours.
- Join biologists and experts at this annual nature discovery event. The location changes every year but there are always public walks and talks about Yukon’s biodiversity. Contact the Yukon Conservation Data Centre for information on this year’s event.
- Visit the Yukon Fishway in Whitehorse, July and August to see Chinook salmon climbing the fish ladder on the final legs of their journey from the Pacific Ocean.
- Visit one of Yukon’s established bat houses at dusk to watch bats leave for a night of hunting insects. Participate in a guided viewing night to talk with experts about this important mammal.
- In July and August the forest floor is littered with fungi of all shapes and sizes. You can pick certain varieties. Pick up a guide learn more about them!
September – October
- Paddle Yukon’s rivers in early September to see salmon in their red spawning colours travelling upstream. Or you can visit stocked lakes such as Long Lake or Scout Lake to see salmon from shore.
- Hiking in the alpine in the fall is a great way to take in the changing colours of the season. Dwarf willow turns a brilliant red, a stark contrast to the golden yellow of the trembling aspens in the valley below.
- Yukon’s elk herds in Braeburn and the Takhini Valley are in the rut. The males can be heard bugling to attract females and challenge other males.
- The Aishihik Wood Bison begin to move down from the alpine to the forest below.
- Barren-ground Caribou head to their winter range and may be visible on the Dempster Highway.
- Watch for Bald Eagles congregating by streams, feasting on spawning salmon.
November – March
Caribou on the roads
- In the winter Woodland Caribou move down from the alpine and into the forested valleys. They are attracted to roadside salts and can sometimes be seen crossing or on the side of the road. While it’s great viewing, be sure to slow down and drive carefully in low light and slippery conditions.
- Ravens are year-round residents of Yukon and can often be seen playing on thermals in the skies above Whitehorse and other Yukon communities.
- Each year a handful of Trumpeter Swans have been braving the cold temperatures in the small patch of open water at Johnsons Crossing.
Tracks and tracking
- Don a pair of snowshoes and go for a walk to see what creatures have been about. The snow provides a great canvas for capturing their prints.
Learn more about Yukon wildlife
Yukon wildlife viewing guide
- Common Yukon birds
- Common Yukon mushrooms
- Common Yukon roadside flowers
- Yukon amphibians
- Yukon bats
- Yukon butterflies
- Yukon freshwater fishes
- Yukon rodents and lagomorphs
- Yukon ungulates
- 10 great places to go birding in Whitehorse
- Naturally Carcross
- Viewing wildlife in Faro
- Wildlife viewing in the Watson Lake Area
- Wildlife in Whitehorse: A guide to our natural areas
- Driving the Firebelt: North Klondike Highway
For kids and the young at heart
These checklists are for people keeping track of birds species. These are not guidebooks detailing what the birds look like. If you are interested in learning about identifying birds, we recommend you look at books or online resources about the birds of western North America like All About Birds, eBird Explore and the Merlin bird ID phone app.
- Checklist of Yukon birds
- Checklist of the birds of Dawson
- A birder's checklist of the Faro and Ross River region
- Checklist of the birds of Tombstone
- Checklist of the birds of Watson Lake
- Checklist of the birds of Whitehorse