When a visitors centre 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 aback 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 that 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.Compare prices on flights to Yellowknife with Skyscanner
If you want to capture shots like this I highly recommend taking a guided photo tour of the Northern Lights. A professional will be on hand to help you adjust your camera settings to get the most amazing shots possible!
Alternatively, you can book a 3 day/2 night tour that covers the Northern Lights, Dog Sledding, and more!Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about Yellowknife tours at TripAdvisor
Take a Hike
Fall colours 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…
If you are visiting Yellowknife in late fall/winter be sure to check out the ice road on Great Slave Lake!
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 favourable, 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 Bullock’s 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 favourite. On top of that, the atmosphere and building are incredibly unique. Be prepared though, a meal for two with a couple of beer can cost you over $100.
Where to Stay
Yellowknife offers plenty of accommodation options for all budgets. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Explorer Hotel – Yellowknife’s oldest upper-end hotel. Also, where my grandmother once worked as a bartender!
- Chateau Nova Yellowknife – Newest hotel in town with a clean and modern feel.
- Bayside Bed & Breakfast – Budget BnB with great hosts!
Looking for more hotels?
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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