When a visitors center member says “ don’t visit in the fall,” you know something isn’t right. That is what I was told on my recent trip to Yellowknife, NWT. Naturally, I was taken back by this blunt statement. Sure the summer has great fishing, outdoor music festivals, and endless sunshine. The winter has the snow castle, ice roads, and dogsledding. Surely there is plenty of reasons to visit Yellowknife in the fall? While visiting family I took this on as a challenge and played tourist in my hometown. Turns out Yellowknife has plenty to offer those visiting in the fall.
See the Northern Lights
Yes, the Northern Lights. In the fall. Although your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in the fall are smaller, it is still very possible. The only reason you’re less likely to see them dance is because between September and November there is more precipitation and therefore more cloud coverage blocking your view. On my trip I was presented with one of the best light shows I’ve ever seen, and it was the end of October. I wouldn’t plan my trip around seeing the Northern lights in the fall but it is a nice bonus.
Take a Hike
Fall colors in around Yellowknife are beautiful. Taking it in on a hike is a great way to appreciate the seasons in the north. Head out to Cameron Falls or enjoy a walk along the city’s great walking trail along Frame Lake.
Even in the snow, the city trail can be wonderful if you dress appropriately. If not, you can always use socks for mittens…
Then there is the quirky and historic old town to explore…
Visit the Prince of Wales Museum
Opened in 1979 by Prince Charles, the Prince of Whales, the museum of the same name is not to be missed on a visit to Yellowknife. Inside you will find excellent displays on life in the north including wildlife, native traditions, and the early days of flight in the north. The best part? Admission is free, although donations are recommended
Explore Aviation’s Role in the North
Speaking of aviation, touring the aircraft that made the north accessible and keeps it moving today is a great activity in the fall. Head to Pilots Monument in the old town for a great view of the city and lake. If floatplanes are still in the water it is a great spot to view them coming and going.
At the entrance to the city you will find a Bristol Freighter proudly on display. Once a workhorse for Ward Air, this historic aircraft was the first to land at the North Pole and now stands as a reminder of the role aviation plays in the North.
From there pay a visit to the Buffalo Air hanger, home of the TV series Ice Pilots. Although under new management, guests can still get up close to these vintage aircraft that still service the north. Want an even closer experience? Book a flight to Hay River for ~$335.00 return.
Eat & Drink
If the weather is less than favorable, you have options. For years the Gold Range was the leading seller of draft beer in Canada. Of course, this is per capita but you can see how the place makes for an interesting night out. The venue and entertainment truly is one-of-a-kind.
For something a little slower paced head to the NWT’s only craft brewery. Tucked in the historic old town, the NWT Brewing Company is a great place to have a pint and enjoy a meal.
No matter the season, a stop at Bullocks is a must. Once hailed as the best fish and chips place in Canada, this iconic shop serves up the best food in the city. Panfried char is a personal favorite. On top of that, the atmosphere and building are incredibly unique.Be prepared though, a meal for two with a couple beer can cost you over $100.
Bonus Reason – Local Tour Guides
If the above doesn’t sway you to visit Yellowknife in the fall, this video might:
What's better than a guided tour of Yellowknife with a local friend? How about a guided tour with two local friends. I'm having an amazing experience here.
Visit Yellowknife in the Fall
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to visit Yellowknife, no matter the season. The weather may not be at its best but don’t let this deter you. If you get the chance to visit one of Northern Canada’s largest cities, do it. If that chance happens to be in the fall, don’t pass it up.
What say you?
Thoughts on these reasons to visit Yellowknife in the fall?
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