Kluane National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and largest internationally protected area on the planet. It is home to the largest non-polar icefields in the world and 17 of Canada's 20 tallest mountains including Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Ancient glaciers feed the Alsek River that flows through the sprawling Alsek Valley and dall sheep, mountain goats, caribou, wolves, grizzlies and black bears roam the massive park.
Flightseeing tours are a quick way to get deep into the park. Land and step out onto a glacier to take in the vast surroundings. Some adventurers experience Kluane by rafting a Canadian Heritage River to see grizzlies, eagles and glaciers. Paddling Kathleen Lake which has campsites, a day-use site and trails, is slower paced but every bit as wonderful. See wildflowers on a stroll along the lakeshore or hike up to the cirque of King's Throne for far reaching views of the lake and landscape.
Besides spectacular scenery in the Kluane Region, the First Nation cultures wait to be explored.
For 5,000 years the Champagne area has been occupied by Indigenous people. The site just off the Alaska Highway is also home to Long Ago Peoples Place, an authentic recreation of a traditional First Nations village. Pay a visit to learn about the Southern Tutchone history and culture, enjoy bannock, hear stories and feel the connection to the land.
A scenic drive leads from Haines Junction to the Kluane Museum of Natural History in Burwash Landing on the shores of Kluane Lake. The museum's fascinating exhibits include many that offer another look at the traditional way of life of the area's Southern Tutchone people.
Just before the Canada-US border is Beaver Creek home to the White River First Nation. Archeological evidence shows people have lived in this area for 10,000 years. The Visitor Information Centre displays examples of intricate beadwork and other traditional crafts.
Besides these interesting stops along the highway, First Nation tour operators offer unique, immersive experiences. Hear captivating legends, learn about living off the land and spot wildlife and medicinal plants.
Interested in visiting? see www.windowsonthewild.com and www.audleytravel.com
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and 12 x author. I'm published in national and regional newspapers / magazines.