Yukon: Geography and Climate

The triangle-shaped territory is bordered on the N by the Beaufort Sea of the Arctic Ocean, on the E by the Northwest Territories, on the S by British Columbia and Alaska, and on the W by Alaska. The highest point in Yukon is Mt. Logan , 19,551 ft (5,959 m) high, in the St. Elias Mts. in the southwest. Although most of Yukon is a watershed for the Yukon River and its tributaries, the northern and southeastern regions drain east into the Mackenzie River system.

Immediately south of the desolate arctic coast the country is uninhabited and generally unknown. The other parts of the territory have great natural beauty, with snow-fed lakes backed by perpetually white-capped mountains and forests and streams abounding with wildlife. Kluane National Park (8,499 sq mi/22,013 sq km; est. 1972) in SW Yukon includes Mt. Logan and extensive ice fields; it abuts parks in British Columbia and Alaska. Winters are long and cold, with low humidity. During the short summers the longer day and surprisingly warm sun bring a profusion of wildflowers and enable the hardier grains and vegetables to mature.

The few settlements are situated on the riverbanks. The capital and largest town is Whitehorse , where the vast majority of the population lives. Next in importance is Dawson .

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Canadian Political Geography

Browse by Subject