What to Expect When Travelling to Yellowknife During the Winter vs. Summer

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Yellowknife is one of those unique destinations that offers plenty of things to do all year round. Since the tourist attractions will be vastly different depending on what month you go, we’ve decided to break it down for you. Take note that a Yellowknife winter means October to May, and a Yellowknife summer is June to September.

Travelling in the Summer

If you decide to visit Yellowknife in their summer months, you will be spoiled with choices of activities. Swimming, sailing, water skiing, and fishing will dominate the water-based activities, but on land, you’ll be able to enjoy golf, sightseeing, explore markets and festivals, and even take tours to see wildlife. Let’s dive into some more specifics.

Summertime in Yellowknife, particularly around the summer solstice (June 21), will give you 20 hours of sunlight and temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius and above. With all that daylight during your day and night, you’ll never need to miss out on an activity. It is recommended that you pack light clothes like shorts and sandals, along with plenty of sunblock and bug spray to keep you comfortable on all of your adventures.

One of the most exciting parts of a Yellowknife summer is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. To celebrate this special occasion, you will be treated to a street carnival, a golf tournament at midnight (in the sun!), and a full day tribute to Indigenous cultures. It is a pretty special time of year in Yellowknife, so if you’re wanting a summer vacation there, there is no better time.

Yellowknife is home to some of the best waterscapes in Canada, and as a result, many people love to spend time on the water. When visiting, you will have the option of renting a paddleboard that you can use to cruise around on the water at your leisure. This is a great way to view the city, and you can even take lessons. Another alternative is renting a canoe or kayak to go paddling and explore the surrounding areas. If you want to test out being a crew member on a sailing vessel, there is a large possibility that that opportunity will be available to you. Swimming and sunbathing is extremely popular as well, and if you travel with a boat and skis, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to get out and water ski. There are many areas to go fishing as well, and you can choose to go with an operator for 4 hours or an entire day, it’s up to you!

If you’re looking for some fun things to do that don’t involve water, a city tour should be the first item on your list. Nearly every visitor will partake, and you can expect to see tourists travelling the streets almost constantly. Tours can tell you about the mining history, ecology, and show you all of the important sights. If you have an adventurous spirit and you don’t mind heights, you can even take a sight-seeing tour in a plane. There are many ways to see the surrounding areas as well. You can hike or ride a bike independently and as part of a tour group.

There will also be festivals and markets scattered throughout the city, so you’ll be hard-pressed to go anywhere without encountering something celebratory and engaging.

Yellowstone River

Travelling in the Winter

If you head to Yellowstone in the winter you can expect it to be a lot busier than the summer months. This is the most popular time to visit due to some pretty unique attractions. It’s important to dress for the weather because it will likely be quite different than where you are coming from. You can expect temperatures to be below negative 20 degrees Celsius pretty consistently. While you should be bringing your warmest clothes with you, many operators will provide additional clothing such as parkas, hats and gloves, highly insulated boots, and warm-up pants to help keep you warm in the outdoors.

There are a handful of activities that locals will be encouraging you to participate in. The first is checking out the Pilot’s Monument. You’ll have to climb the equivalent of six flights of stairs to reach it, but the view of the town, especially in winter, will be well worth the climb. The monument was built to pay tribute to all of the engineers and bush pilots that paved the way for northern expansion in the 1920s and 30s. Many lost their lives in this endeavor, so it is pretty special commemoration to visit Yellowknife no matter the season.

Bullock’s Bistro is another staple in Yellowknife that tourists and locals alike will frequent. With homemade recipes and an aesthetic appeal to remember for a lifetime, this bistro should really be on your Yellowknife bucket list. If it isn’t, the locals will certainly convince you to visit. It was voted the number one bistro in Canada by Reader’s Digest, so it is something you really can’t miss.

Two of the most exciting adventures that await you in Yellowknife are dogsledding and Northern Lights tours. There has been a long standing fascination with the Northern Lights all over the world. Some people are lucky enough to live in areas that are home to these beautiful displays, but most have to travel for them. In Yellowknife, you can expect to see them between November and April. There are multiple tour options that will allow you to take in the astounding displays mother nature has to offer. Some of these tours will include dogsledding, snowmobiling, and even ice fishing. Dog sledding is one of the biggest attractions in the area, so it should certainly be one that every tourist takes advantage of. You can direct your own dog sled, and there are even friendly competitions you can take part in if you feel brave enough.

If you are interested in booking a stay in any season, check out Slave Lake Inn Yellowknife. What are you waiting for?